Crime-scene cleaner CEO: This is the biggest mistake people make when it comes to coronavirus cleaning

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Erick McCallum’s team of cleaners at CG Environmental
Courtesy: Erick McCallum
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No cleaning job is ever too dangerous or dirty for Texas-based hazardous-cleanup company CG Environmental (aka the “Cleaning Guys”).

Since 1992, the company has cleaned up everything from crime scenes to chemicals spills and radioactive waste to dirty flood water caused by hurricanes.

In 2014, Erick McCallum, a former cop who founded the company, even answered the call to clean up the Dallas apartment of an Ebola victim. That job alone required a 15-person team and cost upwards of $100,000, USA Today reported.

Now “The Cleanings Guys” are being called in to disinfect hotspot areas from coronavirus.

“We have probably done a least a 100 of [coronavirus cleanings] so far,” McCallum, CEO of CG Environmental, tells CNBC Make It.

The company, which has five offices scattered throughout Colorado and Texas, works with state officials to clean police departments, 911 centers, office complexes and doctor offices.

CNBC: CG Environmental founder Erick McCallum
CG Environmental founder Erick McCallum
CNBC | Blue Collar Millionaires

“We did a 125 garbage trucks [on Sunday]” McCallum says. “I mean you name it…the list goes on and on.”

Though McCallum has seen it all when it comes to hazardous cleanups, he says coronavirus is a different kind of job.

“This is an infectious disease and this is why other [janitorial] companies shouldn’t be out there doing these cleanings,” he says.

“They’re not using the right products,” he adds.

Though McCallum can’t disclose the exact name of the products he uses on coronavirus for competitive reasons, they include a professional grade virucide (a chemical agent designed to deactivate and destroy viruses like coronavirus) along with a strong hydrogen peroxide.

Neither of these products can be purchased by the public who haven’t had infectious disease training, McCallum says. Instead, he suggests people use plain, hot soapy water for cleaning at home.

“That’s what kills the virus. I like to simplify things when everybody else make its difficult,” he says.

Bleach also works well, he says, but advises people to be “very careful” with it as it can take the color of fabrics and other things very quickly.

As for Lysol and other disinfectant wipes that are flying off store shelves, McCallum says the products are “sufficient” for disinfecting but suggests applying hot water to help aid in the cleaning.

However, he says the biggest mistake he sees people make in trying to prevent the spread of the virus is forgetting to take off their shoes before going inside their house.

”[Not taking your shoes off] is the best, easiest way to cross-contaminate from the outside world to the inside world of your house. So you need to take shoes off,” he says.

He also advises people to have a small pan with bleach and water outside their door to dip the bottom of their shoes in each time they go outside.

What’s more, McCallum says people should immediately take off their outside clothes and put them into the washing machine as the virus can attached to fabric.

Lastly, echoing health officials, McCallum says the best thing you can do to prevent the spread is by washing your hands thoroughly and consistently.

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