Meth Cleaning Suggestions from the EPA


For the safety of on-site personnel, ventilate or “air out” meth labs with fresh, outdoor air (by opening doors and windows, and using fans, blowers and/or a negative air unit with a HEPA filtration system) before, during and after the remediation process.

HVAC systems should be shut down and remain off until remediation of the former meth lab is complete.

Cleaning by Washing

Using a detergent-water solution; wash the ceilings, walls, floors, furniture and other household items that will not be discarded.

Most experts and guidance documents recommend using a household detergent or soap product (such as Simple Green®).

Follow the detergent manufacturer’s recommendation to determine the concentration of the solution.

Cleaning should thoroughly cover the entire surface, not just spots.

The wash water does not have to be hot.  Hot water has not been proven more effective than cold water for cleaning.

Repeat the cleaning and rinsing process three times, especially if post-remediation sampling will not be conducted before the walls are repainted (i.e., encapsulated).

If post-remediation sampling will occur before repainting, the walls should be cleaned until they meet the required remediation standard. Most guidance documents recommend cleaning from ceiling to floor.

Follow each wash with a thorough rinse using clean water and a clean cloth rag.  When washing, change cloth rags and detergent-water solutions frequently. After washing, dispose of cloth rags appropriately.

The use of harsh chemicals should be avoided.

Be advised of the following when using bleach, trisodium phosphate, methanol and peroxide-based or other proprietary chemicals:

Bleach — The interaction of bleach and meth is not fully understood and their by-products are currently unknown.  Until further research is conducted to identify these by-products and their health effects, bleach should not be used as a cleaning agent in a former meth lab.

The use of bleach should be specifically avoided if the Red Phosphorus method of production was used to manufacture meth because the reaction between bleach and iodine (which is used in the Red Phosphorus method of production) could produce a toxic gas.

If bleach is used (in cases where mold is present), properly ventilate while cleaning.

Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) — The use of TSP is recommended in some guidance documents. TSP is a strong cleaning agent, but it can also be irritating to the person using it. Fresh air and protective gloves are appropriate protection when using TSP.

Methanol — (Methyl Alcohol, Wood Alcohol) – Although some guidance documents recommend using methanol as a cleaning agent, the use of methanol should be avoided because it produces flammable vapors and has a low flash point. (Could Cause an Explosion)

Peroxide-based and Other Proprietary Chemicals — The effectiveness of peroxide-based and other proprietary chemicals should be verified before they can be recommended for cleaning former meth labs.  Additionally, research should be conducted to ensure that these chemicals do not react adversely with meth and its associated precursors and by-products.

Wash Water Disposal

Wash water left over from the detergent-water washing process will usually not be contaminated enough to qualify as hazardous waste.

Capturing and testing the water before disposing of it is generally not necessary (except in the case of a P2P lab where meth production uses mercury and lead and where the wash water may pose additional hazards) and will increase cleanup costs.

However, some states may require the testing of wash water depending on the sensitivity of their hazardous waste criteria.

Generally, wash water can be disposed of via the wastewater system (sanitary sewer).

For Complete Copy see: