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Crime-Scene Cleaner Careers: Job Duties and Salary

Kristi graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Human Development and Developmental Psychopathology of Children.

Once investigations are complete, sanitization professionals are often hired to decontaminate crime scenes.

Once investigations are complete, sanitization professionals are often hired to decontaminate crime scenes.

Crime-Scene Cleaners

If you faint at the sight of blood or get weak in the knees when you see vomit or bodily fluids, becoming a crime-scene cleaner is not for you. Many people confuse crime-scene cleaning with crime-scene investigation and analysis, but the two fields are very distinct. While crime-scene investigation and specialty tasks like blood-spatter analysis are done by law enforcement professionals, cleanup and sterilization are usually performed by private companies.

What Do Crime-Scene Cleaners Do?

Crime-scene sterilization involves dealing with and removing bio-hazardous waste, including toxic waste, human remains, blood, vomit, excrement, urine, trash, drug paraphernalia, and all manner of other unpleasant smells and sights. The remediation of these factors is the primary job of a crime-scene cleaner. Cleanup and sterilization professionals are not allowed to enter a crime scene until the relevant investigation is complete, and they are not involved in the legal process or court proceedings at all.

When Did the Biorecovery Industry Emerge?

Historically, it was left to family or survivors to remove any remnants of violence, death, homicide, or suicide from their dwellings. In the 80s, however, murder rates began to rise, and so did the need for sanitation services. Over the years, the industry has grown into such a popular field that it has garnered television shows, documentaries, and its own cult following. Crime-scene cleaners go by various titles depending on where you are in the world. Other names for the field include:

  • Biorecovery
  • Bio cleaning
  • Trauma cleaning
  • Trauma and crime-scene decontamination
  • Blood cleanup
  • CTS Decon

What Does the Job Involve?

There are many different types of crime scenes and other messes that cleaners encounter regularly. Although Dexter makes it look easy, cleaning up a crime scene can be a very difficult and involved process. Cleaners are on call 24 hours a day, and they are expected to perform a very unique set of tasks depending on the nature of the environment they are hired to sanitize or decontaminate. The table below lists a few of the most common materials, scenarios, and situations that biorecovery professionals clean up after.

Unattended Deaths




Drug Labs

General Filth/Debris


Needles and Other Drug Paraphernalia

Hazardous Chemicals

Bodily Trauma



Tear Gas/Chemical Weapons

Human Waste

Animal Waste

Cleaners that deal with bio-hazardous materials must careful and qualified.

Cleaners that deal with bio-hazardous materials must careful and qualified.

How Do Forensic Cleaners Deal With Hazardous Materials?

The most critical job of a cleaner is to ensure that an area is free of infectious materials and other hazards. Cleaners undergo extensive training to ensure that all regulations are followed in regard to bodily fluids and blood-borne pathogens.

The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) sets forth strict requirements for the disposal of human blood, bodily fluids, body parts, and organs and requires cleaners to wear protective gear during all cleanup processes.

Cleaners must have a Hepatitis B vaccination, and many employers encourage or require regular blood tests to ensure employees have not been exposed during a cleanup. This is especially important after needle-heavy cleanups.

In almost all cleanup scenarios, cleaners are expected to remove any and all indications of the incident, do so in a timely fashion, and return the space to its original state as though nothing ever happened. They perform this arduous task with great risk, often dealing with long hours and sometimes extreme situations.

Crime-scene cleaning may not be pretty, but for those who can handle it, the pay isn't bad.

Crime-scene cleaning may not be pretty, but for those who can handle it, the pay isn't bad.

How Much Does Crime-Scene Cleaning Pay?

Starting salaries for crime-scene cleaners can range from around $35,000 to $80,000 yearly. The high end of that range is for persons dealing with biohazard cleanup. If you don't mind working with anthrax on a daily basis, you may be well on your way to the bank. Realistically, however, there are no opportunities to work with biohazardous waste on a daily basis in most cities, so it's important to get excellent training and be hired by a reputable company.

What Do You Need to Succeed in This Career?

You don't have to have a college degree to be a crime-scene cleaner—but you do need an iron-clad stomach and a willingness to do things that are thankless, exhausting, and often uncomfortable—literally (hazmat suits are hot and heavy).

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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Kellie on September 05, 2020:

How old do you have to be to stary this job?

Paul on August 30, 2020:

Class A Professional Truck Driver

Max Edouard Duval on August 23, 2020:

I want this, where do I apply

Lyneth on August 04, 2020:

I need this job how could i apply im from Durban

minerva farias on July 17, 2020:

i live in Tucson Az. how could i get this job?

Amanda on May 08, 2020:

How do I get a job like this Im in Indiana

Jonathan Moore on May 03, 2020:


Bryan McKnight on May 01, 2020:

How do i apply

Mariah c. on April 15, 2020:

I'd love to become a crime seen cleaner , are there classes i can take to study/ get training so im not completely new at the job?

Tracy Cormier on April 07, 2020:

How do i apply

Brittany Contreras on April 03, 2020:

How do I apply?

O. Michael Hollingsworth on March 17, 2020:

Thank you!

Zin J on March 15, 2020:

Great, where do I start?

Sasha bell on March 13, 2020:

How do I get started?

effegegfe on March 06, 2020:


Matriarch2015 on February 23, 2020:

Are there links to required certifications?

Judith H Bardischewski on February 22, 2020:

How do I get I get started.I live in Jupiter,Florida.I‘m interested to apply for a job in bio clean up. Thanks,Judith

Dee Dee Reynosa on February 04, 2020:

I live in San Antonio Texas and I would like to apply for a job in bio clean up

Richard black on January 21, 2020:

Lives in scotland i could do this job

Alejandro Chantelle on January 16, 2020:

please how do I get started I'm interested

Hailey on January 12, 2020:

This looks fun

Erin on January 08, 2020:

I'm interested in becoming involved in this field of employment.

How do I get started

marcia on January 07, 2020:

how do i get started i live in south africa

Wendy on December 27, 2019:

How do i get started and i live in niceville fl

Beverly thompson on December 05, 2019:

All the information is helpful. However how can people obtain the training? Where is it located etc

O Michael Hollingsworth on December 02, 2019:

I have a drug testings company. I would like to add crCrime scene clean up tom my services

Russell Ferreira on November 23, 2019:

Can I get info on being a cleaning tech

Gabriela da silva on November 16, 2019:

I need information on how to become a biohazard cleaner and forensics cleaner thanks

Edward on November 15, 2019:

Please tell me how to get a job doing this kind of work.

Chelsey on November 13, 2019:

Hello, I’m very interested in learning how to get a job in this field.

Karen Umstead on November 06, 2019:

Hello I'm Karen I would just love to learn how to do this can you please tell me how to do this please

Lynn Jones on October 25, 2019:

I am really interested in doing this line off work could i have more info on how i could get a job doing this please

Felicia Williams on October 21, 2019:

Would like more information

DIANA MONTOYA on October 21, 2019:


Rosa Cruz on October 17, 2019:

I need information on how to become a biohazard cleaner. I am very interested in a career in forensics

Cosmin Daniel Preda on October 09, 2019:

Hi please tell me what steps I need to take to get the job to work like scene crime cleaner.

caleb on September 27, 2019:

how can i do this

Charlie Palmer on September 20, 2019:

I cleaned up after the dead when working for Servpro. This was back around 2000. Very challenging but satisfying work.

SALENA BARTEE on September 14, 2019:

My name is Salena and I am trying to start my own forensic and hoarding cleanup service in NC and I need to know how do I found out the state's requirements and certifications to have a successful service and also what schooling will I need to obtain the correct information?

Thank You, in advance!

Nancy Ruiz on September 05, 2019:

I’m looking for work and I’m interested in this particular job because for me it’s helping grieving families not having to endure anymore pain and that alone gives me satisfaction in what I’d be doing. I have a strong stomach and feel I can handle it.Information on getting started would be appreciated.

eugene karema on August 29, 2019:

Am good to go, how do I apply

absolutely clean from West Colorado & Utah on June 23, 2019:

great, i also provide Biohazard Cleanup services in Western Colorado & Eastern Utah. Visit

Dennis on June 19, 2019:

If i have a college degree?can it boost my salary ?

Douglas braham on June 02, 2019:

What it do acquirement to become clean up I am already blood-borne certified clean up multiple blood a lot of it from people trying to Suicide herself so I've seen a lot of blood

Nayely maradiaga on May 16, 2019:

Im interested but i havent have any traing

Denise mcpherson on May 14, 2019:

Hi I live in Philly how can I apply for that type of job where do I go can anybody help me out there I need that job

Kenny on May 07, 2019:

Definitely some great insight in here. For more info on how to become a crime scene cleaner check out and

Julia Routledge on April 13, 2019:

How do i gain work in this industry please

Tina Staley on March 01, 2019:

I work in surgery as an orderly done this job for almost 9 yrs looking for something different

Edwards24t on February 12, 2019:

How do you get started in this field?

Racheal on February 02, 2019:

Is there any certificates needed or i can get for forensic (crime scene ) clean up in new york?

How do i start? Do i go to police stations and leave info?

Kali on January 30, 2019:

Need more information about how to get started immediately with this.

Nila foust on January 29, 2019:

How old do you have to be to do this sort of thing?

Kyo on December 06, 2018:

I work in a hospital as a biohazard housekeeper. How do I start getting close to this job requirements?

Charlie on November 27, 2018:

I'm 34 with lots of war time clean up. I could clean up body parts guts blood and eat a sandwich. I have burned human feces with jp8 (shitter detail) in Iraq and dealt with many other gross situations. Its not a matter of if I can do it, my question is how do I get certified officially trained and hired in hot springs village, Arkansas? Any information would be greatly appreciated

Kat on October 16, 2018:

So I am a 24 year old female and 4’10 and physically weak. I’m interested but will I be able to get a job for this?

Blanca M on October 16, 2018:

I am interested, i have experience doing regular cleaning and industrial cleaning, now I’m a truck driver and some times I got to used chemical protection and respirator but I hope it can help me to be little more comfortable to do this job

Nicole on October 16, 2018:

I understand everything this says. BUT, what is the pathway to becoming a crime scene cleaner? What College/University qualifications do we need??

Pat on October 12, 2018:

I'm sure there are many like myself responding to this article of 2017, and having done such we're all pointing out that even though we do appreciate your telling us in some detail what it takes to become one ... you've failed to give information on how to actually receive training -- Why? Is it a secret? Must we go to our local police stations to find out -- what?

Krystal Holley on October 04, 2018:

Im very interested also. I Know the

sight of blood doesn't bother me. I watched my dog give birth and it didn't bother me lol. I know it can smell really bad but my stomach can handle it.

JR on September 12, 2018:

They are hiring for people in Denver. Check and the company's name is called Aftermath. Good luck! "Crime Scene Cleanup Assistant Supervisor"

David Castillo on August 29, 2018:

would like more info ive been working in the OR for 29 yrs

Sweeper on August 20, 2018:

You know, human bodies arent that different than pigs bodies just dont accidentally spill the brains for some reason I'd rather eat diarrhea than smell human brains

Ashley on July 18, 2018:

I am very very interested anything that pays the bills for my family

Antoinette Evangelista on July 14, 2018:

How do I apply, very interested

Sandra on June 23, 2018:

I very interesting doing this job.

Daniel on June 06, 2018:

The title is misleading. This blog post tells me "what one is", not "how to become one"

Stacy Crockett on April 11, 2018:

How do I apply

Crystal on April 05, 2018:

I don't know why but I love things like this I can take stuff like this Blood anything like that I could take it I want to try this but have one thing I have trouble reading I'm 25 years old I have two children but I want to go to school for this

Carlos Marmol on February 22, 2018:

How do I apply ?

Robert on February 08, 2018:

How do I apply

MICHELLE on November 08, 2017:

How heavy is the hazmat suit?

Robert Cekikj on November 01, 2017:

How can i apply for a crime scene cleaning job on September 25, 2017:

Very informative. Ty

Tawana Shelton on September 18, 2017:

Yes. I have a cast iron stomach and the willingness to do things that are thankless, exhausting and often uncomfortable - literally (hazmat suits can be worn for my safety to get the job done.

Patexiss on July 27, 2017:

I am interested in this career but I could not take it if it involved rodents or animals

Mightgurl on July 23, 2017:

I'm a very curious person by nature... Dead bodies causes my mind to wonder about life... Now I am wondering if this is a feild for me... how would I go about finding out if this could be a job for me?

Irina Quenga on June 03, 2017:

I am really interested in this job. I do have the stomach for because I used to work in a crime scene team. I am doing more research on where to apply for the job. Thank you for your article.

Lauren on May 29, 2017:

I am interested in this field of work but have many questions. How can I get more info? Thanks.

Demetria Grier on May 22, 2017:

I am very interested in changing my career and the abundance of information I have found on the internet is overwhelming. I want to do this and know I can. Any info you can provide on where to start will be GREATLY appreciated.

Jennifer Williams on February 23, 2017:

Great read. It's unfortunate that one of the companies you accredit at the end is a horrible company. Aftermath, Inc, in our opinion, shouldn't be one of the top 2 you would recommend due to their unethical business practices.

But, the rest of your content is pretty spot on.

Thank you!

chris on February 05, 2017:

I had no idea what went into this job, thank you. What are the requirements to be a cleaner? Like experience?

Tiffany on January 13, 2017:

This is something I could see myself doing... yes I know most don't wake up and think... well I'm going to do crime scene clean ups, but someone has to do it. I wonder how one would acquire this job...?

Chickpea on January 12, 2017:

I called for their services to clean up a very small bathroom. They wanted $40,000 to clean up and sanitize the room. Just a cleanup (without sanitize), they wanted $10,000.

I did it myself.

Mark Skirvin on January 12, 2017:

Like the idea that there alot of jobs that people do not want. How do you go about finding and applying for these jobs? Is there alot of up front training required prior to landing One of these jobs. That's where the trouble lies.

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on January 12, 2017:

sheldon, thank you for reading and for commenting. I don't know the answer to that but I would assume that in this day and age there is a way to clean them so they don't have to get a new one each time. Sorry I don't have a better answer but you can bet I'm going to find out. Best, -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on January 12, 2017:

Visit your local community college websites and check if they offer Forensic Science degrees. I know that Kaplan offers a course online but I don't know that it's an accredited course. Best of luck, -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on January 12, 2017:

Don, thank you for reading and commenting. I would love to receive anything you have about clean-up/remediation. I thank you very much for offering this to me. It's always good to have someone who is an expert give you some tips! Please email them to me. Best, -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on January 12, 2017:

Helen, thank you for reading and commenting. I tried to find a company in the UK but was unsuccessful. I would google Forensic Science schooling and see what you get - I assume you are writing from the UK. :) Best of luck -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on January 12, 2017:

Lorban, I would visit your local community colleges and see if they offer a degree in this field. Additionally, you can visit the govt. website to see if they have any job postings and what the requirements are. I would also visit a crime scene clean-up facility such as Aftermath -they place people everywhere. You can look at the link on this page. Best of luck, -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on January 12, 2017:

Donna, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I agree with you, I would love the detective work but not the aftermath! I appreciate your input. Thanks again, -K

Kristi Sharp (author) from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota. on December 21, 2016:

moniece, Thanks for reading and commenting. I would contact your local community colleges and find out which of them offer degrees in crime scene or forensics because most departments prefer a degree. Additionally, get on to the local police department website or city website and find out if they have any availability or openings. Some forensics programs offer placement which is something you should also check into. Best of luck, -K

moniece on December 21, 2016:

I have years of experience in hotel cleaning, environmental clean, healthcare cleaning. I would like to know how and where can I receive the training for crime scene cleanup in the Washington DC metro area. Please advise..

Mindy on November 13, 2016:

So I'm very interested how do I get my foot in the door to do this job. I want to do it.. Can u give me any suggestions I really appreciate it..

Don1 on August 10, 2016:

Those two types have a beneficial factor by talking about they truely can be reduced by any person that cares enough to help others that speak with no words but will display with actions hoping tool notice before it's too late.......... The other types are top graphic and benefit Noone by mentioning.

Don1 on August 10, 2016:

Suicide scenes are all uniquely diffetent. The ones successful will almost always display 1 of 4 paths leading to the end. Depression and Loss of All Hope are usually easiest. It's been thought about for a long time and attempt to control their mess being considerate knowing someone will have to clean up. If the court system could tell the difference between a dead beat father and a father pleading to have their children UN- STOLEN by a manipulative mother to just be a part of their life.. These type would be greatly reduced..... Seeking attention type find they messed up and went too fast for real.. Huddle to compress the wound scared alone 'till time is up... Seeking attention to not be alone but are all alone at the scariest time if their life... Teach the children early that all kids(wierd, shy, awkward, handicapped, and even mentally disabled all need a friend.. You can see the loneliness within the scene. These should never happen and can easily be reduced.

Don1 on August 10, 2016:

Crime scene, suicide, and trauma remediation (clean - up) are all part of my many remediation responsibilities. Bio hazardous materials found on scene is unique in its aura. A wall is just a wall until that same wall has blood splater brain matter blasted into it. I've watched several individuals throw up inside of a full face respirator with a 100% sealed Hazmat suit sealed tight with it. Tightly sealed can feel clostriphobic knowing that when you are ready to take a break you have a 10 minute safety procedure to unsuit properly. Being surrounded outside your suit by the aura of the scene where tragedy took place.. And then filling your sealed respirator with your own bio hazard when even a drop can't escape from your face...eyes close naturally leaving you in the dark.. Clamping your mouth shut and unable to breath puke into your nose.... Your health, safety, sanity, and life is in your co-workers hands .. Even when I lead them outside and do an emergency decontamination, those 2 minutes of absolute helplessness can't ever be forgotten and most refuse any and all trauma projects ever lol. Those jobs are all about the detailed preparation for all of the hazardous issue that can arise in a second. I've prepared a collection of techniques that if followed correctly can make a Horrific scene safe, simple, and quickly completed properly per state standards. If interested I'll pass on a few of my personal trade secrets.

Helen salisbury on August 08, 2016:

Hi my name is helen am 32 and have allways wanted to do this type of job. Am a mum of 2 age 8 & 10. And have a very strong stomach, live on the wirral in the uk. I send respect and love to you all hopfully one day i can live my dream and join a uk based team.

Helen xxxx

lorban on August 01, 2016:

I have worked in the medical field for a number of years now. Working in a variety of different fields such as nursing home care and ER and have to deal with odd smells. I have been out of a hospital setting for a long time and now work in a doctors office and now am looking for a change in scenery again. What is the best aspect of this job that you can tell me as it looks to be an interesting career change for me now that I'm in my 40's

Donna on July 30, 2016:

I'm gonna keep it real, there's Absolutely No Way I could Ever do this job! I just became curious while watching an episode of The First 48, I can't imagine being a mom or dad or sibling that has to clean up after a family member commits suicide! Just the thought of it is Horrendous, I salute the people that work this job, they are very brave!

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