A former hoarding technician shares 6 of her favorite cleaning hacks for a spotless home

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Fiona Mills shared some of her favorite cleaning tricks with Insider.Michael Duva/Getty Images
Fiona Mills is a former hoard technician at Spaulding Decon.
The nationwide company specializes in biohazard, hoarding and crime scene cleanup, and more.
Mills, who is now a franchise management consultant, shared her best cleaning tricks from her time in the field.
Fiona Mills is a former hoarding technician for Spaulding Decon, a nationwide company that provides biohazard cleaning services, including crime scene cleanups and meth lab cleanups.
Fiona Mills has been working with Spaulding Decon in Florida since 2018. Courtesy of Fiona Mills
Spaulding Decon's crew includes Fiona Mills, a former site fence technician and current franchise management consultant who joined the company in 2018.
Spaulding Decon has chronicled a number of his cleanups on TikTok, where he shared his first video in July 2020 and has 4.3million followers as of Wednesday.
Mills, 33, shared with Insiders her favorite tips and tricks for cleaning up the dirtiest messes.
Mills uses their go-to formula for cleaning appliances like refrigerators.
Photos shared by Fiona Mills show the before and after results of a dirty fridge. Courtesy of Fiona Mills
Several videos on Spaulding Decon's TikTok account show neglected fridges crawling with moldy food and maggots, but Mills said they're the easiest appliance to clean. Mills recommended homeowners use hot water and their cleaning solution, trisodium phosphate, or TSP.
"It's a powerful degreaser. Honestly, I'd recommend it to anyone," Mills said, adding that she learned about TSP while growing up with her father. "I say to all franchisees, 'You need this for your van.' It takes away half of the elbow grease you put into cleaning."
Mills suggested mixing ¼ tsp with ¾ hot water and a sanitizer for the average stain. Areas of heavy accumulation may require 50% TSP and 50% hot water. Add bleach if necessary.
Homeowners can buy a $10 TSP powder from Amazon or a $6.97 liquid TSP spray from Home Depot.
While refrigerators are the simplest, Mills said bathtubs and toilets are "the absolute worst."
Two before and after photos were taken by Fiona Mills to show the transformation of a toilet. Courtesy of Fiona Mills
Mills told Insider that toilets could be particularly challenging due to limescale and rust stains.
"I saw some toilets so badly we just had to remove them," Mills said. "Worst case scenario, I've probably been scrubbing a toilet for two to three hours."
Mills, who advised wearing gloves when cleaning, said Mills' TSP formula used hot water and a pumice stone to cut through the dirt.
"Just make sure the rock is wet," Mills said. "I'll scrub up and down in one direction, then come back and walk sideways."
Amazon sells pumice stones for $8.99.
The secret to a sparkling sink is coffee filters, Mills said.
Fiona Mills said people should soak their sinks in hot water, sanitizer and TSP before wiping them dry Katrin Ten Eikelder/EyeEm/Getty Images
One of the most common mistakes Mills has spotted with stainless steel sinks is people not letting the cleaning solution soak before scrubbing the sink.
"You can't just spray and scrub. You have to let those chemicals work," Mills said. "Whatever chemical you use, you must give it a chance to eat the buildup."
Mills uses a large bristle pad alongside the TSP formula, bleach and hot water to remove dirt. Once the sink has dried, she goes back inside to dry the surface with a coffee filter to make it "super shiny."
Mills said using charcoal or white vinegar will air out fetid odors that linger in the home.
This before photo shows a bathtub cleaned by Mills. Courtesy of Fiona Mills
While Spaulding Decon uses an ozone machine to eliminate odors, the average person can use ingredients from their kitchen cupboard.
“You can put white vinegar on the stove and let it boil for a while. It'll stink, of course, but give it an hour or so and it'll neutralize the air," Mills said, adding that people can include orange peels to add an extra citrus scent.
She also noted that charcoal bags, available for $16.95 on Amazon, help because charcoal reduces odors.
From food to blood stains, carpets can be difficult to clean without the right disinfectants.
Technicians sometimes remove the entire carpet from a property if the damage is bad enough. Peter Dazeley/Getty Images
Most customers want their carpets completely removed when they call Spaulding Decon, but there are some solutions to stubborn stains.
Mills pointed to a heavy-duty, multi-purpose cleaner called Shockwave that regular homeowners can mix with hot water or a disinfectant to clean areas of their home. Amazon sells a 1-gallon bottle of Shockwave for $33.99.
The Pink Stuff Miracle Cleaning Paste, which sells for $5.97 on Amazon, is also a great tool to use with carpets and other surfaces.
Technicians at Spaulding Decon have tackled their fair share of blood-stained carpets, which Mills says can be removed with hydrogen peroxide. However, most people mishandle blood stains.
"The biggest problem is that people typically fill in hydrogen peroxide and then scrub," Mills said. "That's the worst thing you can do because when you scrub it, you're actually pushing it further down and it's penetrating deeper."
She advised people to apply the hydrogen peroxide instead, and then "stir" it gently until it foams. Then blot with a towel or brush to get the stain out.
Everyday things like doorknobs and walls shouldn't be overlooked, Mills said.
Fiona Mill recommended Microban Multipurpose Cleaner on surfaces like walls and door handles. Courtesy of Fiona Mills
Insider's Megan Willett-Wei reported that ordinary things like handles, faucets and light switches are actually dirtier than a toilet seat — so don't forget to give them an extra scrub.
"Those areas are gross because your hands are dirty when you turn them on and the handle is still dirty afterward," Mills said.
Mills suggested using Shockwave, a disinfectant like Lysol, or Microban 24, which she says is "primarily used for mold but has a general multi-surface cleaner."
She also suggested Microban 24's disinfectant spray and multi-purpose cleaner. These products are sold on Amazon for $6.41 and $4.14, respectively.
Read the original article on Insider

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