It’s a dirty job — but someone’s gotta mop up after us when we drop dead.
A trauma unit is coming clean about the grisly work that goes into picking up people’s decomposing bodies after they die. Now-viral videos detailing the Australian crew’s macabre — but essential — job are currently racking up millions of views on TikTok. [Warning: Viewer discretion advised.]
“It’s not the kind of business that you advertise — but regardless people need to know what it is you do because it’s really prevalent,” said corpse custodian Dan Hood, 34, of his gory gig. “We only get involved when things get quite drastic.”
Point blank: “When the body does die, it leaks,” Hood told Kennedy News. “The organs liquify and turn black. The fluid that comes out is essentially the breaking down and decomposing tissue that leaks out of the body.”
He and his dad Ashley, 65, run the Perth-based business Trauma Clean Australia, which mops up the most extreme postmortem messes — as well as meth labs, feces and other apocalyptic debris — often with the goal of making the houses suitable for resale.
One recent cleanup job involved a middle-aged Perth woman who died on her couch of natural causes: “This particular body would have been there for about a week,” explained Hood matter-of-factly while pulling back the curtain on corpse cleanup. “The heat accelerates things.”
He added, “Over where we are in Perth, it gets very, very hot. It was in hotter weather and the decomposition rate is much faster in summer than it is in winter.”
An accompanying video, with over 7 million views, shows the leather couch covered in the deceased’s blood, body fluid and hair like a scene out of “Seven.” The woman’s plasma has even pooled on the floor, attracting hordes of bugs.
“There’s insect activity that would have happened and insects travel to different parts of the house,” Hood said. “They carry with them that odour and decomposition.”
That’s where the father-and-son cleanup team “come in” and try and make these gore-splattered scenes look so pristine that it looks as if “nothing had occurred there.”
“We clean houses and hit the reset button to get them to a state where other trades [workers] will go in,” said Hood, who dons a full PPE suit for the gig. “A lot of trades won’t get involved when there’s a lot of biohazard in a house, so we take care of it.”
The first part of the process involves inspecting all the different materials in the house as “decomposition is going to go into everything porous,” according to Hood.
Next, the family remediators remove every piece of clothing, carpets, furnishings and blinds to make sure they leave no trace of the cadaver, Kennedy News reported. Even the flooring has to come out because the fluids tend to seep down into the wood.
The accompanying footage shows the team stripping away a blood-soaked floor, suggesting a gory hybrid of “CSI” meets “Extreme Makeover.”
“It’s possible we’ll have to jackhammer concrete and have to take out that,” said Hood. “The walls need to be washed with chemicals even if they’re not physically touched by anything. You want to clean and sanitise the whole area, regardless of if you see anything.”
Disposing of the debris requires more than a trip to the town dump: Trauma Clean has to take all the biological waste to different spots for incineration.
“It’s a huge process,” said Hood of the R-rated renovation, which, in the case of the aforementioned dead woman, took about two to three weeks. He added, “It’s hard to give a specific time in work time because you want to let the house sit so you know you’ve really remediated the smell.”
The damage control isn’t merely physical. “While you’re providing a service, you have to deal with the client in the most sensitive way possible,” said Hood. “You’re walking into a situation where someone has no idea how to proceed.”
He added, “We have] to be able to just assure them that we can handle everything from start to finish and the next time they walk in, they won’t even know anything occurred there.”
Hood says the job can be particularly difficult as some “people refuse to go back in” while others “think there might be something supernatural in there.”
Needless to say, the online peanut gallery was shocked and revulsed by the graphic behind-the-scenes expose.
“Omg..their hair is stuck to the couch,” exclaimed one appalled gawker, while another wrote that the clip, “just set my anxiety through the roof.”
Meanwhile, one TikTok wit joked, “Are they selling the sofa. Mines bust.”
One prospective customer even eerily requested Trauma Clean’s services, writing: “Can I get a quote from you guys. I may need a clean similar to this done in the next week or so??”
In an equally gory tutorial closer to home, New York and New Jersey cleanup companies divulged the dirty details behind cleaning up after murders, suicides, and other shocking incidents.
“A shotgun [suicide] is the hardest to clean up,” Andrew Danilack, owner of northern New Jersey’s Spaulding Decon crime-scene clean-up franchise, told The Post. Danilack recalled an incident from just before Christmas when the 30-something son of elderly parents shot himself in the basement of their home. As is the norm, a crew of crime-scene cleaners arrived in hazmat gear and employed proprietary cleaning products.
“We had to pick up a piece of the individual’s head and bone fragments from behind a storage box,” he recalled. “The floor was concrete. We cleaned it and sanded it and sealed it so that odors and stains stayed inside. A HEPA air scrubber vents everything out and filters the room.”