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Cleaning Horror Stories

Usually it’s not so bad. You have a job to do and you know what to expect when you walk in the door...dirty bathrooms, messy breakrooms, entryways that need a good vacuuming. But every cleaning professional has at least one story that makes them cringe every time they tell it. Here are a few of those stories.

Toilet Mountain of Doom (from Chris in Texas)

toilet mountain of doom

I worked for an independent cleaning company that cleaned offices, break rooms, bathrooms, and warehouses for a grocery chain. Since this was my second job, I primarily worked evenings during the week, but I wanted to pick up some extra hours so I started cleaning the warehouses on the weekends. After only a few weeks, I realized their break rooms and bathrooms were always quite a bit more messy and dirty than the offices or non-perishable warehouse. Most of the time it was just run-of-the-mill things like food exploded and dried on in the microwave, soda spilled on the floor and tracked up and down the halls, overflowing garbage cans and sinks clogged with leftover noodle soup (at least I think that’s what it was).

Well, that all changed the weekend of what I like to refer to as “toilet mountain of doom.” Now, keep in mind, the refrigerated warehouse had separate men’s and women’s bathrooms, but it was only the women’s bathroom that you had to get a key from the office staff to access. That weekend, I figured out why the women’s bathroom is kept locked at all times…it’s so the men in the warehouse didn’t have unregulated access to it. When I walked into the men’s bathroom that day, I immediately noticed the “bathroom smell” was quite a bit stronger than usual. As I made my way closer to the last bathroom stall, I knew something wasn’t right because the smell was actually making my eyes water. When I opened that stall door, I was greeted with one of the most vial things I’ve ever seen. Apparently, at some point over the weekend, the toilet had clogged. However, instead of plunging the toilet or just leaving it unused, a select group of warehouse workers had decided to continue to use the toilet for their #2’s. And they used it over and over and over again. There was so much excrément and toilet paper in the toilet, it had actually piled above the height of the toilet seat, towering like a mountain in the toilet bowl. This means that the individuals using this toilet had to actually have squatted over the top to do their business. What kind of human being (and I use that term loosely) would do such a thing?

It was at this point I realized I did not, in fact, need the extra money that bad to choose to put up with this kind of disgusting and immature behavior. I called my boss to let him know I would no longer be cleaning on the weekends. Also, for the record, I have yet to meet anyone who can “top” this cleaning horror story.

Hotel Bodily Explosion (from Anna in Michigan)

hotel bodily explosion

I worked at a hotel cleaning rooms, bathrooms, etc. There was a guest once that stayed for several days but vocally refused to let the cleaning staff in his room to clean or change the sheets. Though this usually wouldn’t cause suspicion, there was a noticeable smell coming from the room. After four or five days, he walked across the street to the gas station to buy beer, and on his return trip collapsed in the parking lot. An ambulance was called and he was rushed to the hospital. When the cleaning staff entered the hotel room he had been staying in, the smell of fecal matter and bodily fluids was overwhelming. It was one of the most disgusting and down-right scary scenes I’ve ever seen. Besides the smell, the carpets were covered with feces, vomit and what looked like a tar-like substance. The bed was also covered in the same substances, and there was a trail of it from the bed to the bathroom. In the bathroom, it looked as if something vile had exploded as there was feces and more bodily fluids covering the toilet, floor and even on the walls. From what we could tell, the man had been “sick” nearly his entire stay at the hotel as much of the excrement was soaked in and dried on the carpet, bed and walls. Several attempts were made to clean the carpets, but ultimately they needed to be replaced, as did the mattress on the bed and the walls cleaned and repainted.

On a side note, it was reported the man that was staying in the room had some sort of internal bleeding or something of that nature, and we were told that if he had not collapsed in the parking lot and gotten the medical attention he did that day, he would have died within a day or two because his medical issues were so severe. After seeing the state of that room, I have no doubt that was true.

Vomit-Covered Waiting Room (from Alex in Wisconsin)

vomit covered waiting room

I was the lucky person at our company who was on call during the day for any situation that couldn't wait for the evening crews. One day we got an urgent call from one of our doctor's clinics. We were told there was "a mess" in the waiting room. I showed up with my van full of tricks and tools and headed inside. I found all of the patients huddled over to one side of the waiting room and throw-up all over the other half. Carpet, upholstered chairs, magazine table, you name it, it got hit. I had the awesome job of cleaning up throw-up (while trying not to throw up myself) with an audience of about 15 people watching!

Gloves are for Wimps (from Sonya in Florida)

gloves are for wimps

My first day on the job for a small cleaning company I asked my boss if we could get some non-latex, powder-free gloves. I wanted to keep my hands clean and germ-free while I worked but I am allergic to latex and to the powders commonly found in disposable gloves. My boss told me that I was being a baby. "I remember a time when used syringes were thrown in the trash can with all the other garbage" he told me. "You'd throw a full bag of trash over your shoulder and feel the needles jab into your back. Nothing bothers me anymore." He went on to say, "If I see a spec of $hit in a toilet, I reach in with my bare hand and scrape it off with my thumbnail. Then I bite my thumbnail off and spit it out!" That's when I realized how hard-core sanitation work can be!

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Do you have a scary, gross or shocking cleaning experience you’d like to share? Try to scare us...we dare you!
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