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The Dirty, Stinking Truth About Real-Life Hoarders (GRAPHIC, NSFW)

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CRIME SCENE CLEANUP
Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon

A&E's "Hoarders" has forever changed the crime scene cleanup business.

Whenever Laura Spaulding gets a call for a job, prospective clients usually describe the dilapidated, urine-soaked, garbage-festooned premisses they need cleaned as "bad," but "not as bad as the show."

The truth is, it's always worse. Always.

"When you're leaving s--t in a bag in the kitchen, yeah, it's worse than the show," said Spaulding, the president of Spaulding Decon based out of Tampa, where the perpetual heat and humidity makes the stink all the worse.

"Hoarding is right up there with the worst things we have to clean up. At what point do you disconnect, where you just throw your used maxi pads on the bathroom floor next to you?"

It's morbid work, but somebody's gotta do it. And who better than Spauling, a 40-year-old retired cop, with a seen-it-all-before, salty sense of humor straight out of "The Wire." When she wore a badge, she spent time as an undercover detective, busting narcotics and prostitution rings. But she grew disenchanted and "the money sucked," she told HuffPost Crime.

One day while investigating a homicide, somebody at the scene asked her if she was going to clean up the mess. She had no idea -- so she did it herself. She retired, and since 2005, her company has been cleaning up crime scenes. Suicides, meth labs and hoarders' homes are her bread and butter.

Food, however, is the last thing you'll want to think about when you see the photos she shared with HuffPost Crime.

CLICK HERE TO REVEAL THE GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW
  • There are some jobs worse than hoarding cleanup
    Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
    "A shotgun suicide [not pictured] is probably the worst," Spaulding said. "You've got brain matter, teeth, jaw fragments everywhere. They fly around the room like a boomerang. It's tedious cleanup, and you'll be cleaning blood off of every surface of the room."
  • But hoarders come in a close second
    Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
    Spaulding made a name for herself in Orlando and Tampa with her motto, "There's no job we'll say no to." She cleans up messes like this in a hazmat suit while the hot sun beats down. The before-and-after photos of her cleanup jobs will make you want to check who lived in your home before you -- and what they did. Many states don't require landlords to report the previous renter's dirty secrets. If they had a meth lab or a sex dungeon right under your bed, you wouldn't know.
  • BEFORE
    Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
    "Yeah, it always f--king reeks, even when you're wearing a suit," Spaulding said. "One time, this guy shot himself in the attic in the summer. I'm like, what the f--k! It's 140 degrees up there. That was the worst."
  • AFTER
    Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
    The average cleanup job for a death [not pictured] is about $2,500, Spaulding said. Filth, hoarding and particularly messy jobs like this one can cost more.
  • BEFORE
    Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
    This is a bathroom.
  • AFTER
    Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
    This is the same bathroom.
  • BEFORE
    Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
    This is a kitchen.
  • AFTER
    Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
    This is the same kitchen, now ready to be rented out.
  • Bathrooms are usually the worst rooms
    Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
    Most of the stuff you see in this photo is exactly what you think it is.
  • Did the landlord tell you about this before you moved in?
    Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
    "In Florida, you can rent a house and never know you're going to get sick because it's a meth house [not pictured]," she said. "One lady bought a home and her dog licked the carpet. It got sick and died. She had to flip the home and there was nothing she could do about it."
  • Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
  • Yes, those are maxi pads
    Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
  • Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
  • Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
  • Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
  • Sometimes, you have to clean up bodily fluid
    Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
    Spaulding's job includes cleaning up after a resident dies of natural causes. This photo shows bodily fluid stuck on a mattress after a corpse decomposed. "Everybody comes to Florida to die," Spaulding said.
  • You never know what you'll find in a home...
    Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
    ... So workers are always dressed in hazardous materials gear.
  • Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
  • Pick your truck
    Laura Spaulding / Spaulding Decon
    Spaulding's fleet includes an unmarked truck, which can be requested for a job if a client "doesn't want the neighbors to know." This route is often chosen by hoarders who are embarrassed by their mess, she said.