When Does a Vehicle Require Professional Decontamination?

cleaning car

Every business or organization that operates a fleet needs to clean its vehicle from time to time, but certain situations require more than a quick wash. Vehicle decontamination services make your vehicles safe to operate again or, in a worst-case scenario, allow you to decommission and dispose of them safely.

Understanding when a vehicle requires this service is critical, especially if you operate in an industry that routinely deals with biohazards. Although it’s impossible to cover every situation where you may need professional remediation, these three scenarios are clear cases where you’ll need a professional biohazard cleaner before returning your vehicle to service.

1. Confirmed COVID Exposures

Vehicles are small, confined spaces, and vehicle occupants often touch many surfaces during even relatively short trips. COVID virions can remain on surfaces for several days, which means that an infected vehicle can be hazardous for a significant period after exposure. Although the highest risk occurs within a few days of initial exposure, the potential period for infection may be longer.

Professional biohazard cleaning is your best option if you have a vehicle in your fleet with a confirmed COVID exposure that needs to continue operating. Even if it’s already been several days, a deep cleaning can ensure that no lingering chance of infection remains. Working with a professional company can also provide you with proof of disinfection to avoid future liability issues.

You should generally not attempt to perform these cleaning steps independently or have your employees do it. The cleaning process may expose them to hazards, especially if your workers do not have proper training or PPE for dealing with biohazards. Professional biohazard remediation allows you to get your vehicle clean without exposing anyone else to unnecessary risk.

2. Severe Accidents

Severe accidents can expose vehicle interiors to numerous biological and potentially hazardous substances. If one of your fleet vehicles was involved in a severe accident, it’s critical to determine if any fluids came into contact with interior surfaces. Blood, vomit, and other fluids require careful clean-up, and they can often make their way into hard-to-reach or hard-to-find areas.

Remediation is particularly critical if the vehicle has been sitting in the sun for some time after an accident. These fluids can bake into surfaces, making them exceptionally challenging to clean. Contrary to popular belief, bodily fluids can remain harmful even when dried onto a surface or exposed to sunlight for several days.

If you’re planning to return an accident-damaged vehicle to service, you should always use a professional cleaning service to ensure that the car is safe for operation. Even if you plan to use a professional autobody shop to restore the vehicle, it’s generally a good idea to fully address any biohazards before repairs begin.

3. Pest Infestations

Vehicles that remain in one place for too long face plenty of dangers, but pest infestations are one that many people overlook. Fleet vehicles that sit on a lot adjacent to woodlands or anywhere frequented by rodents can pick up unwanted guests over the months or years. Unfortunately, these vehicles typically need more than a quick jump start to operate again safely.

Mice and other rodents can spread numerous diseases through their feces, and they may leave droppings in places you can’t see. As these dry out, they create aerosolized pathogens that can substantially reduce air quality or even make the vehicle’s interior unsafe. It may be challenging to determine the extent of the problem, even in a small space like a car cabin.

If you’ve found evidence of a rodent infestation in one of your vehicles, it’s critical to safely decontaminate it before potentially exposing your workers or passengers to harmful pathogens. Don’t assume that there’s no danger if you’ve only found evidence of a past infestation, such as nests. A professional biohazard service can check the entire vehicle to ensure it’s clean and safe for use.

American Family BioClean can help you deal with whatever emergency decontamination situation your company faces, whether in a vehicle or a larger structure. Get in touch with us today to discuss your cleaning options.


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