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CARPET & RESTORATION

Cleaning up contamination Rosemary Pritchard* examines a commonly adopted cleaning method for the removal of methamphetamine contamination. With approximately 700 clandestine lab busts per year and thousands more properties contaminated through heavy use, the business of methamphetamine decontamination is on the rise throughout Australia with a number of cleaning and restoration companies seizing the opportunity to diversify their service offering. Whilst sugar soap products can certainly be effective in reducing low level contamination, it is the foaming method that is commonly adopted for excessive levels due to its ability to penetrate surfaces and draw out methamphetamine residue. To gain an understanding of how this method works we first need to understand a little about the surfaces that require cleaning and the nature of the methamphetamine contaminants.

Chemical residues In addition to meth there can be other chemical residues. These can be in the form of impurities not removed during the cooking process, or if the premises has been used for manufacture there can be a range of cooking by-products. Many of these contaminants have been in a vapour form that have become airborne before settling and bonding to a surface. In a typical meth clean up situation there can be a number of different surfaces that are contaminated with chemical residues. Some surfaces such as glass are easy to clean and others such as varnish can be quite difficult.

Methamphetamine Methamphetamine in its natural state is a solid. Through the smoking process it becomes a vapour which returns to a solid state once it cools on a surface. During the process of changing from a vapour back to a solid it can form strong bonds with the surface. In some situations, it doesn’t bond to the surface itself but to soiling on that surface. In theory “a dirty house is easier to clean than a clean house” as the meth residue sitting on a film of soil is much easier to remove. 34 INCLEAN March/April 2019

“In a typical meth clean up situation there can be a number of different surfaces that are contaminated with chemical residues.”

Profile for The Intermedia Group

INCLEAN March-April 2019  

Published for more than 25 years, INCLEAN magazine is the only dedicated cleaning and hygiene industry magazine in the Australian and New Ze...

INCLEAN March-April 2019  

Published for more than 25 years, INCLEAN magazine is the only dedicated cleaning and hygiene industry magazine in the Australian and New Ze...