What should you do when an unattended death occurs?

The term unattended death is when an individual passes away and is left unattended/alone for a period of time before they are found. When this happens, it is important to properly clean, remove, disinfect, and sanitize the entire area. Unattended death usually leads to the decomposition of the body. In a recent conversation with the coroner’s office, Valor Technical Cleaning learned about the timeline of a decomposing body that has not been found or embalmed:

  • 1-3 hours postmortem the body begins to stiffen. The term is called rigor mortis, or the tightening of the body’s muscles.
  • Starting at 12 hours up to 5 days from postmortem, when rigor mortis subsides the body’s internal organs begin to decompose. This leads to liquefaction of the organs, leaking out causing bacteria, pathogens, and odor to spread quickly
  • From 5-10 days the blood in the body also begins to ooze out.
  • After 1+ month the corpse itself begins to liquefy into a sludge.

When an unattended death occurs, you need to call a professional cleaning company. The first step in the cleaning process of unattended death cleanup requires the removal of all blood, bodily fluids, body material, and property that has been contaminated. Bleach and other cleaning solutions will not remove the biohazard contamination and odors. Valor Technical Cleaning follows a stringent checklist to remove all blood and bodily fluids left behind, disinfect the entire area, and deodorize. We then use adenosine triphosphate (ATP) tests to guarantee hospital-level standards of disinfection, Valor will also test for other harmful bacteria and mold caused by an unattended, decomposing body.

Cleaning a situation like unattended death/decomposition yourself can lead to long-term trauma and if not properly cleaned, the area can spread infectious diseases and bloodborne pathogens to the greater community. Please reach out to Valor if you need our services at 855-476-4911 to clean and disinfect the entire area.