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Specialty Cleaning Frequently Asked Questions

SERVPRO® offers a wide range of specialty cleaning services, beyond fire and water cleanup. We’ve answered some of the most common questions about those services below.

What is biohazard cleaning?

Biohazard cleaning is necessary after a traumatic event like an injury, death or crime has occurred. These specialized cleaning services were developed to address the likelihood that infectious materials are likely present, and our cleanup teams wear protective equipment for safety. Cleaning and disinfecting is administered in these situations where blood, human or animal remains, and/or other potentially infectious materials may be present and need removed.

Why is disinfection important when dealing with a biohazard situation?

Disinfection is important in a biohazard situation because potentially infectious materials may be present. SERVPRO teams have the training and tools to handle these incidents professionally and discretely.

How do you clean when a biohazard is present?

Because traumatic events often involve biological and chemical contaminants, it’s important to know that the restoration process is being handled in compliance with all government, environmental and health regulations. Our professionals do this in the safest way possible. We are trained and prepared both physically and mentally to handle biohazard, trauma and crime scene cleanup and restoration with respect and professionalism.

We’ll work to safely clean up contaminants from surfaces, and remove unsalvageable materials from the area.

Will my homeowner’s insurance cover a biohazard cleanup?

While some homeowner’s insurance policies will cover biohazard cleanup, not all do. You should check with your insurance agent to find out the specifics of your policy. Whether your insurance company covers this type of service or not, it is important that you do not attempt to clean up a biohazard situation yourself. Call SERVPRO to handle this for you in a professional and empathetic way.

Do I need to hire a professional for COVID-19 cleaning?

SERVPRO offers both proactive and defensive COVID-19 cleaning through our Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program. Using bio and microbial remediation industry standards for cleaning, SERVPRO’s highly trained and experienced professionals follow The Centers for Disease Control guidance to clean and apply a disinfectant to a variety of surfaces. We’ll pay special attention to frequently touched surfaces, such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, phones, keyboards, desks, toilets, faucets and sinks. Contact us at 1-800-SERVPRO if you are dealing with a COVID-19 exposure in your home or business, and we can quickly assist.

What hours are you open?

SERVPRO is open for emergencies 24-hours-a-day, 7 days a week. Find your local SERVPRO here.

How do you keep your technicians safe?

Our technicians are professionally fitted for their specific Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which is worn when conducting COVID-19 cleaning. SERVPRO professionals are trained to safely handle these contaminates according to the CDC and other governmental agency protocols.

Which chemicals do you use to clean?

While we use a variety of disinfectants that are designed to kill harmful bacteria and viruses, ServprOxide is employed most often in COVID-19 situations. ServprOxideis a hospital-grade disinfectant that has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 on hard, non-porous surfaces. It is approved by the CDC for COVID-19 cleaning.

What areas do you decontaminate and disinfect?

SERVPRO follows the COVID-19 cleaning protocols set forth by the CDC, federal, state and local agencies. Our processes begin with cleaning of both soft and hard surfaces, which is followed by disinfection of hard surfaces.

Some of the surfaces our teams consider for cleaning and/or disinfection include:

Kitchen/Food Areas

• tables and chairs
• countertops
• cabinets and pulls
• doorknobs
• floors-hard surfaces/wood
• mats
• food contact surfaces
• light switches
• paper towel/napkin dispensers
• push doors
•salt and pepper shakers
• sink hardware
• soap dispensers
• tabletops

Bathrooms

• bathroom stalls
• countertops
• cabinets/vanities and pulls
• doorknobs
• floors-hard surfaces/wood
• handrails
• light switches
• paper towel/napkin dispenser
• sink hardware
• sinks
• soap dispensers
• toilets
• diaper changing station

Classrooms

• book covers and binders
• carpets
• chairs
• computer equipment
• countertops
• doorknobs
• floors- hard surfaces/wood
• small hard surface items
• light switches
• mats
• paper towel/napkin dispensers
• rugs
• sink hardware
• sinks
• soap dispensers tabletops/desktops

Offices

• carpets
• chairs
• telephones
• computer equipment
• countertops
• doorknobs
• floors- hard surfaces/wood
• light switches
• rugs
• shared office equipment
• tabletops/desktops
• water fountains

Retail Space

• shelving
• racking
• displays
• mannequins
• packaged inventory
• carpets
• fitting room stalls
• chairs
• telephones
• computer equipment and registers
• sales counters
• doorknobs
• floors- hard surfaces/wood
• light switches
• rugs
• tables
• water fountains

Hallways

• carpets
• diaper-changing pads
• diaper-changing tables
• doorknobs
• floors- hard surfaces/wood
• handrails
• light switches
• playground equipment
• rugs
• water fountains

Other

• Fitness equipment
• Lamps
• Storage bins
• Shelves and racking
• Lockers
• Stair handrails
• Elevator cars

What does the cleaning process involve?

SERVPRO follows the COVID-19 cleaning protocols set forth by the CDC, federal, state, and local agencies, which includes our team wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We have three different cleaning protocols that are determined according to the category of exposure – proactive cleaning to minimize transmission, a possible exposure, and/or a confirmed positive case.

While the cleaning processes differ depending on the category of exposure, we begin with cleaning both hard (non-porous) and soft (porous) surfaces. This is followed with disinfection of surfaces using a disinfectant, like ServprOxide, that is included on the approved-disinfectant list published by the CDC.

What types of properties can you clean?

SERVPRO can professionally clean residential homes, small and large businesses, schools and universities, commercial buildings, factories and plants, government buildings and more. Our Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned defensive cleaning program was developed to specifically address COVID-19. We perform proactive cleaning services to help minimize transmission, as well as cleaning after a possible or confirmed exposure.

What is air duct cleaning?

The heating and cooling system in your home, business or industrial facility transports conditioned air throughout your building. An air duct cleaning refers to the interior cleaning of this ventilation system, and other components.

What are the health benefits of air duct/HVAC cleaning?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, knowledge about the effects of air duct cleaning is just in the beginning stages. The EPA states that you should consider having the ducts cleaned if:

  • There is substantial mold growth visible inside the ducts or your elsewhere in your system.
  • Ducts are infested with rodents or insects.
  • Ducts are clogged with dust and debris that is getting released into your home through the registers.
Why should I have my air ducts cleaned?

According to the EPA, some research suggests that a cleaning may improve the efficiency of your HVAC system. Improving the efficiency of your system may lead to longer life and cost savings in repairs down the road.

How often should I have my HVAC system cleaned?

The EPA recommends getting your ducts cleaned on an as-needed basis. If you see substantial mold growth in the system, it is infested with vermin, or is clogged with dust and debris, you should consider a cleaning.

What is the cost to have residential ductwork cleaned?

The cost of air duct cleaning varies greatly depending on the size and complexity of your system and building. Residential ductwork cleaning varies and can cost between $450 to $1,000.

How long does it take for ductwork to be cleaned?

Air duct cleaning should take less than an afternoon to perform, usually around two to four hours. However, the size and complexity of your system will determine how long the cleaning takes.

Can I remove Graffiti myself?

It is possible for you to remove graffiti yourself, but it depends on many factors. The type and amount of surface covered, including if it is a rough or smooth surface, determines how difficult the job will be.

When using different over-the-counter solvents marketed for graffiti, be aware that they can be hazardous. Wear proper protective gear, including a respirator and eye protection. If the graffiti is mild and on a smooth surface, soap, water and a wire brush may be effective.

How long does it take to clean up graffiti?

The time it takes to clean graffiti depends on how large of a space was covered, the type of surface marked, and the type of paint or ink used.

Can you pressure wash graffiti?

Some graffiti can be removed with a pressure washer, but some surfaces can be etched by this method. It’s best to test an area first and call in a professional for tough or large graffiti jobs.

What are the three most common graffiti removal methods?

Here are a few common methods of removing graffiti:

  1. Solvents and a stiff/wire brush.
  2. Pressure washing.
  3. Media blasting using dry ice or sand.
What should you do before you remove graffiti?

The graffiti area to be cleaned should be pretested before applying any solvent or technique to the full area. Wear protective equipment to help guard against breathing in any harmful fumes, and also wear eye protection.

What is the best graffiti remover?

SERVPRO uses proprietary solvents for graffiti removal, which are highly effective. Call 1-800-SERVPRO or find your nearest location for help with graffiti removal.

Can water damaged pictures be restored?

Yes, in many situations, water damaged pictures and documents can be restored. Our Document Restoration Team uses the same technique that the Library of Congress uses to dry water-damaged books. The state-of-the-art technology we use is the only method approved by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the General Services Administration (GSA).

Can SERVPRO clean and disinfect documents?

Each document is hand cleaned front and back in order to remove debris and surface particulates before it enters into our drying services. Besides cleaning, the types of document restoration services we offer includes:

  • Vacuum Freeze Drying
  • Digitizing
  • Gamma Irradiation
  • Certified Destruction

Gamma Irradiation is a process used specifically for cleaning/disinfecting and decontaminating documents or other consumer goods.

What types of documents and media can be restored?

We can restore most types of paper documents, including photos, photo albums, yearbooks, x-rays, and more.

How is paper document restoration and photo restoration done?

Vacuum freeze drying is the preferred method of document drying as it does not alter the structure of paper fibers, unlike some other methods.

With our custom-designed drying chamber, we are able to use vacuum freeze drying technology to vaporize the water in affected items. This process begins with an item containing moisture that is frozen and dried using various vacuums and pressures to achieve sublimation. Sublimation is the direct conversion of a solid (ice) into a gas (water vapor), without passage through the liquid stage.

How do I get rid of a bad smell in my house?

Removing the source of the odor is the first step in getting rid of the bad smell. We will first work to remove the source of the odor, and then clean, which will provide the best result.

How do I remove cigarette smell from my house?

Removing a cigarette smoke smell from your home will begin with a thorough cleaning to remove any tar and nicotine from walls, ceilings and other hard surfaces. Soft surfaces will also need to be cleaned. This will be followed by a deodorization technique, possibly using an ozone or hydroxyl machine. The needs for each situation varies, so contact your local SERVPRO for a customized plan.

How does the odor removal process work?

The odor removal process starts with identifying the source of the smell and removing it. Once the source has been taken care of, our team will work to clean and deodorize your home, using a variety of methods. These include cleaning of surfaces, applying deodorizers, and/or using ozone or hydroxyl machines when indicated.

How much does odor removal cost?

The cost of odor removal greatly varies, depending on the source of the smell and the size of the area affected. Your local SERVPRO can assess your situation and give you a customized timeline.

Do odor removal companies actually remove the odor or just mask the smell with deodorizers?

While we cannot speak for other companies, the first step in any odor removal situation for SERVPRO is to locate and remove the source of the smell. Without this vital step, the smell will most likely return, no matter what other deodorization methods are used.

Unless otherwise noted, each use of "SERVPRO," “us,” “we,” or “our” throughout servpro.com collectively refers to both the SERVPRO brand and the Servpro Franchise System, which is made up exclusively of independently owned and operated franchise locations.

*#1 Choice in cleanup & restoration based on Commercial and Residential Attitude & Usage Tracking studies. Polling 816 commercial business decision-makers and 1,550 homeowner decision-makers on first choice for future needs related to cleanup & restoration work. Studies conducted by C&R Research: Oct 2019 and Decision Analyst: Oct 2019.

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