Removing tear gas residue is a complex and daunting task. The scene of an incident where tear gas was used is often plagued by damaged walls, broken windows, stained carpet, and thick, harmful residue. Cleaning up this residue is a labor-intensive process requiring the expertise of a professional to do the job safely and correctly.
What Is Tear Gas?
Tear gas is not actually a gas, but is a substance consisting of very small solid particles similar to a fine powder. It is a chemical typically used by law enforcement to subdue criminals or for riot control. Tear gas causes immediate discomfort and eye closure so that the perpetrators are incapable of resisting.
The four most common types of tear gas used in the U.S. are referred to by their acronyms: CS, CR, CN, and OC. Each type of tear gas requires different cleaning methods.
- CS: At room temperature, this gas is a fine powder aerosolized to produce a cloud in the air that is inhaled. The residue sinks into all objects around the incident such as clothing, backpacks, furniture, upholstery, and curtains.
- CN: Also known as mace, it works best at close range. It is dispersed as an oily substance, which causes it to adhere to skin and other surfaces.
- CR: This is another form of fine powder that is a pale yellow. It can stay active on surfaces for up to 2 months.
- OC: This type of tear gas is referred to as pepper spray. It can be delivered as an aerosol or powder.
Cleaning Up Tear Gas
When law enforcement is forced to use tear gas inside of a home or building, it can be unfortunate for the building owner and inhabitants. The effects of tear gas are long-lasting and raise major health concerns. It is both difficult and dangerous to clean up after the use of tear gas. You must leave the job to the professionals.
Here are a few reasons to let the experts handle it.
1. Proper Equipment and Experience
Tear gas cleanup requires the knowledge and equipment of trained professionals. Cleaning experts have the proper specialized cleaning agents and the ability to determine whether a scene has been completely restored. They also know how to proceed in cleaning an area from the type of tear gas used. Tear gas can penetrate every corner and can even be distributed through the HVAC system.
Removing tear gas residue involves vacuuming the area thoroughly with an industrial-grade vacuum. Home vacuums will simply not work because the fine dust will escape the filters and be redistributed again into the air. By attempting to clean it yourself, it will make the situation worse.
2. Better Protection
A professional tear gas cleaning company has access to personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect them from the effects of the irritants in tear gas. Tear gas can linger long after the missile is fired, and individuals flee. Its lingering effects cause irritation to the eyes, nose, skin, throat, and lungs, triggering difficulty seeing and breathing.
All cleaning experts wear protective gear when entering a space that was affected by tear gas. That includes a full-face respirator and biohazard suit. Once on the scene, cleaning professionals will have to remove carpets, upholstery, and furniture. Most homeowners do not have the proper protective gear to touch lingering residue without it affecting their health.
3. Property and Owner Safety
When tear gas is used, it releases an oil-based mist that can penetrate even the tightest of spaces in any room. It can leave a paint type of substance on walls and surfaces where it first ruptures which can be damaging. After an indoor space is contaminated, tear gas cleanup and remediation are necessary to reverse or stop further health or environmental damage.
If not properly cleaned, the residue will continue to irritate the mucous membranes of anyone living in, working in, or visiting the property after the initial incident. Hiring a professional to clean the area is important to return your property to a safe and healthy condition. Cleaning professionals will ensure the property, the owners, and all occupants are safe during the process.
Trusted Cleaning and Restoration Professionals
If your home or business has been affected by tear gas, we highly recommend you don’t try to clean it up yourself. At St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration, we take the proper steps in tear gas cleanup for the safety of you and others.
Our experienced and trained technicians use the proper biohazard safety procedures to thoroughly clean your property. Contact us immediately for all of your cleaning and restoration needs.