Cleaning a Structure with a Marijuana Residue and Odor

marijuana plant

With the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in many states and more coming on board, there are going to be more cleaning jobs that involve this type of residue, especially in multi-family dwellings. This information can very useful to property managers and facility managers so they are aware that there are some very specific ways of handling the cleaning of Marijuana residue and odor at the properties.

Here are some cleaning recommendations:

Hard Surfaces

  1. Proper assessment is key before doing anything so that you know the level of contamination.
  2. If there is a mild residue, clean the walls and ceilings of affected areas using Wall Wash and add a solution with a 9D9 added for deodorization. The walls will most likely not need to be painted if this product is used.
  3. Other surfaces should be cleaned with a mild degreaser cleaner, making sure not to forget items like bathroom fixtures, windows, door hardware, etc.
  4. For more severe residue, clean the walls and ceilings with a more aggressive solution like Degrease-All. Painting the walls will be necessary if this method is used.

Carpet & Soft Contents

  1. All flooring and soft goods like bedding and window treatments will have to be thoroughly cleaned. These items have odor absorbing properties.
  2. Dispose of anything that is paper or cardboard.

Odor Removal

  1. After a thorough cleaning has been done, deodorize the structure with either hydroxyl generators or ozone machines. It is preferred that hydroxyl generators be used, because it is not as toxic and damaging as ozone and it can be used during the cleaning process.
  2. Using an air scrubber may be also useful. This will pull particles out of the air.
  3. Clean the HVAC and ductwork. Residue can pull through the system if it was running. If not properly cleaned, contaminates can recirculate. At a minimum the air filters should be replaced.

**** Protective gear is required for all cleaning personnel****

Something Dangerous to watch for:

In the past, when there has been a fire with marijuana involved, it was from overloaded electrical services or from the numerous lights associated with growing marijuana.

There is another concern now. The manufacturing of BHO (Butane Hash Oil). People are creating their own BHO, because the THC concentration is 80 to 90 percent while the THC concentration sold in retail shops is 23 to 25 percent. The increase in the THC levels means a quicker and more intense high for the consumer. BHO can be smoked, vaped in E- cigarettes, vapor pens or put into edibles for ingestion.

There are four steps to making BHO and it is in the third step that an explosion could occur, because it involves the heat source and the butane becomes a fugitive gas. The vacuum purge device used to manufacture BHO is highly explosive and extremely dangerous to anyone near the affected area.

To take it one step further, if the person wants to refine the hash oil, they use a process called winterizing. The purged BHO is poured into a glass container and acetone is added. The container is then placed into a freezer. The chemical-off gas and the fugitive vapors can come in contact with an ignition source when the freezer’s circulation fan eventually kicks on, creating an explosion. It is the purge step where the refrigerator/freezer explosions have happened.

effects of marijuana residue and odor

Manufacturing BHO is not new, but it has become more popular based on the belief that it is legal to do so privately. Management companies are always challenged by what tenants and homeowners are involved with. These types of damages are becoming more common and it’s important for managers to know about upcoming potential issues as laws and regulations are ever changing. All homeowners and tenants need to know they live in a safe environment. When in doubt on how to handle any of these cleaning situations, please call a professional for assistance. A local restoration company can help with this type of cleaning. Safety and a clean environment for all residents is the ultimate goal. No one should have to live with residual effects of someone’s previous decisions. Property and facility managers alike need to know how to handle these situations before they start the clean up process.

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