25 Cleaners Reveal The Most Disturbing Things They’ve Found

Published 3 weeks ago

Cleaners are the unsung heroes who often find themselves dealing with the messes most people wouldn’t dream of tackling. Recently, a Reddit user asked, “As a cleaner, what’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen? No matter how gory or disgusting?”

The responses poured in, revealing a wide range of horrifying and stomach-churning experiences. Here are some of the most shocking stories shared by cleaners from around the world.

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Image source: A0ma, Ksenia Chernaya / Pexels

Former carpet cleaner. I used to clean a lot of assisted living places for old folks. You got all kinds of people. One man got his carpets cleaned every 6 months religiously, paid in cash with exact change, and gave me a handful of cinnamon hard candies as a tip.

I remember going into an older ladies place. She had never been a customer before. There were s**t stains all over the carpet. Pets were allowed, so I told her she needed to train her dog better, and I would need to charge her extra to treat it all and get the smell out. She replied, “I wish I could blame the dog.” She had just been prescribed a new medication and it was wreaking havoc on her bowels. She also told me she couldn’t afford to pay extra to treat the s**t stains. She was 80 years old and still working at Walmart. I treated it anyway because no one should have to live like that.


Image source: Vitchman, Gabor Monori / Unsplash

Not a cleaner, but in freshmen year of college: we had 2 person room that shared bathroom (toilet and tiled walk-in shower with another 2person room. If you looked down at the room it was a giant H.

Well the other room was bought but some rich Chad so he paid for 2 people to have his own room to himself. He would have parties over there all the time and keep my roommate and I up. We joined him every now and then, but generally didn’t like the guy.

Well come winter break and last week of semester, he and his buddies had a WILD a*s party. They absolutely destroyed the shared bathroom, vomiting all over the floor, the toilet, the shower floor and walls. It was disgusting. We stopped by and told him to clean it up before break and another group of friends down the hall let us use their showers.

Well, he left for winter. We left for winter. Everyone came back to vomit and s**t just sitting there rotting up our shared bathroom for like a month. It was the nastiest s**t ever. I hired a cleanup crew and put his name on the bill and slid it under his door. Never heard from him, or about it, again lol.


Image source: kwolff94, alexandre saraiva carniato / Pexels

Not a cleaner, but I helped some friends who were trying to clean out their neighbor’s neglected house after he had a stroke. It was beyond help, truly I don’t know how the state never got involved, they’re still not aware of the hazard this house poses and it’s only gotten worse since he went into nursing care. But his estate pays the bills, i guess.

The poor guy had been in a wheelchair for a long time and was essentially trapped on the first floor of a three floor colonial home that had been in his family for generations. He had a single clear-ish path through decades of trash from the front door and couch to the bathroom and kitchen. He would feed stray cats that made their way inside and had kittens, and racoons also made their way in. The smell was beyond amonia and urea, i always wore a respirator and my lungs would still be irritated. The rest of the first floor was so inundated with trash that it took weeks to create a path to the other rooms, which were also so packed the doors barely opened, and to the stairs.

Upstairs was worse.

He’d spent a few months in the hospital years earlier and his sister, who he had a bad relationship with, died on the second floor. When he returned he assumed she’d taken off and never bothered to tell him. It took SEVERAL years before the decomposition caused the ceiling to collapse, prompting the first responders to check out the second floor and find her remains.

Again, i do not know how the state didnt intervene at this point. No one came to deal with what was left upstairs after her remains were removed, the bed was left as is, just soaked in ancient putrid rot, and by the time we found it all we were so overwhelmed we just kind of marveled at it all and tried to piece together what the hell happened. Dozens of trash bags filled with empty cans and cat litter, cigarette cartons, and beer cans had been ripped open and strewn everywhere (probably by the racoons). There was cat litter everywhere. There were two dead cats locked in a bathoom that may or may not have had heads, they’d been there so long it was impossible to tell. My friend found documents suggesting she had lung cancer, and we wonder if she took her own life.

Amazingly the attic was perfectly sealed and dry and protected a lot of antique treasures. My friends kept trying to go through everything, less to save the house and more to find family photos, history, anything the owner may want and then almost in an attempt to put together some kind of record of the family. They found a lot of photos, film slides, old letters and ancestry, keepsakes, but the pipes froze and burst last winter, and it became even more of a biohazard, which is a shame.


Image source: SaolaBe, Frederic Köberl / Pexels

Used to be the hospice caretaker for my father with cancer, went from fully functional lad to completely deathly over the course of two years.

Nearing the end, he was unable to make bathroom trips alone but also too prideful to always ask me for help.
One of our worst experiences was a time when he had tried to get up to the bathroom himself but collapsed before making it, ending up both vomiting and defecating all over the floor with him rolling in it.

Nothing more scary than waking up at 3am to your father screaming, begging for help only to open the door to a scene like that.


Image source: GloomyMarsupial7451, Erik Mclean / Pexels

I used to clean more upscale houses, so I didn’t really see anything disgusting.

However we did have a man with life size horror character replicas. No one warned me, just said they didn’t want to take that room. Scared the s**t out of me when I walked in blind.

To be fair, they were cool. Just not while alone in a randoms house.


Image source: Heroic-Forger, David Brown / Unsplash

One time I offered to help a friend clean out an old dilapidated house that they planned to move into after the old owners moved out a week ago or so. The paint was forming blister-like pockets of rainwater and peeling off the walls, the bathroom reeked of sewage and the floors were caked with clumps of moist dirt that smelled of mold, to say nothing of the spoiled food in the fridge they’d left behind, for some reason.

But the worst part was when we checked the basement, because, as it turned out, the previous owners had abandoned a dog in there. His fur was so overgrown that it was basically a disgusting mat all encrusted in dirt and dust and feces and urine, to the point when we first saw him we didn’t even know *exactly what* we were looking at, and he was also pitifully thin (the owners had bailed out a week ago so that meant he hadn’t eaten for at least a week and survived off the puddles or water that leaked through the walls), and when my friend went and rushed him to a nearby vet, he had dozens and dozens, maybe hundreds of ticks under the goopy mass of coat when they finally shaved it off. It took the vet several hours to pluck off all the ticks and when she was done she’d collected enough to fill a small pickle jar.

Fortunately for the poor pooch he had a happy ending, my friend eventually decided to adopt him after we cleaned out the old house and they fully moved in, after the dog made a full recovery at the vet’s. As for the original owners, they were traced down eventually and got a rather large fine for animal neglect and cruelty and were banned from owning pets again.


Cleaning a toilet area during a small event in an office building. Im cleaning 2 urinals as 1 guy in a suit comes out of a booth wiping his hands on some tissue. Looks me dead in the eye, drops the tissue on the floor and walks out. Didnt even wash his hands. This complete waste of human space is the most disgusting thing I ever came across during this job.

This is 10 years ago and to this day I think of that moment as life-changing.

The dirtiest however was an outside dumpster filled with operating room refuse (blood soaked stuff and god knows what else) that had been sitting in the hot sun for 4 days straight. The smell when I opened that dumpster was also a life-changing event.

Weirdly the live-sex venue I used to clean was the cleanest, nicest location I ever took care of lol.

Image source: coinglitch


My cousin is a hotel cleaner and was cleaning up a room after a particularly rowdy bunch of guests had left.

The room was a bit of a mess but nothing too out of the ordinary. After she started the usual post check out clean up she found what appeared to be a piece of jelly on the floor in the corner of the room. Upon closer inspection realised it was most of a human nose.

Freaked out and disturbed she called her supervisor, who contacted the police. As this was happening, a guest with clear facial injuries, came back looking to recover something he had left in said room.

The police took him to one side for questioning before rushing him to hospital. I believe the attempts to reattach were unsuccessful.

It had turned out that he had gotten in to a substance fuelled brawl with his ‘friend’ and in the commotion had his nose bitten off, not realising until he had partially sobered up the next day.

Image source: docenn


I didn’t think I had anything to contribute until a few other stories dug this one from the depths of my memory.

I had a friend in high school who came from a really neglectful upbringing – parents were divorced, he lived with his stepfather with zero oversight, and there were rampant mental health issues all around. We also lived in a very rural area full of farms.

His stepdad worked long hours and was basically never home, but owned 2 dogs. These poor animals were just kept inside all day long, despite how much open property there was around. He never let me come over before, but had told me that he was scraping money together to fix up their basement into a separate apartment. Big stuff for a 16 year-old, and I was on board to help however I could.

Even though this was at least 25 years ago, I can still smell and taste the ammonia that punched me as soon as I was granted access to their home. Windows were dark and sooty…

(Narrator: it was not soot)

…carpets just covered in mounds of dog hair, dog s**t, and plastic milk jugs they’d give the dogs to chew on. My heart really broke for all of them for having to live like this. It took a while but we spruced up the main floor. However, the basement was so much worse.

We spent days cleaning more of the same out. Bags upon bags of trash and dog s**t. Swept the floors – more (powdered) dog s**t. Remember that soot upstairs? Nope – alllllll dog s**t. Everything was covered in that powder.

We did get it all cleaned, and he did eventually build his apartment. Other than the sheer shock of how they all lived like that, the worst part for me was for 2 days after, every time I’d cough or blow my nose, it was completely black. We were kids…. we didn’t use masks at all for this.

So basically, I was inhaling particulate dog s**t for days and blowing it back out of my nose.

Image source: unleashedchemist


Image source: FireFighterZz, Jack Kelly / Unsplash

Not a cleaner necessarily, as a garbageman I have peered into the dirty abyss. I have smelled the smells I shouldn’t have smelled. The only thing I haven’t seen yet is a human body. I have seen some dead animals.

To shift a bit, one of my coworkers found an alligator once. No, we are nowhere near swamps and live north side.


Not a cleaner, but a paramedic. Responded to a welfare check, turned out to be DOA. Turned out the guy had died because of the swollen veins in his throat bursting, quite horrible death. As we stepped around the corner into the room he laid in, we heard the sound of a little blood wave splashing around because there was just so much blood. Not too bad, we saw worse but we also had this intern on his first day with us that wanted to get to know EMS and maybe join, he slipped and fell right into said blood pool and showered us with the guys blood. I never saw him after this call ever again.

Image source: WayTooManyDamnSquids


Worked in a small hotel and the cleaners would chat away to us.

The night porter called one of the owners at like 5am “there’s s**t everywhere”. The porter wasn’t an English speaker so the owner was like great someone’s trashed the rooms again. We would cater for a lot of hens and stags so it would get wild sometimes.
Owner arrives and the porter is still saying guest ruined the room, theirs s**t everywhere. Opens the door.
Human s**t…everywhere. on the carpet, white beds, towels, towels thrown out the window that landed on the glass canopy over the restaurant and all mixed in with chips (fries) on the ground.
Owner checks logs and sees its a gang of four lads. The other owners and cleaners arrive at 8am and are like wtf. The lads arrive back for their stuff and when they get questioned they are like we have no idea what happened, our door must have been left open. The owners said we wouldn’t mind if they were blitz drunk and thought they cleaned up an accident but made it worse but nah, these lads didn’t fess up. They had to pay for the room to be steam cleaned and new linens.

Image source: isaidyothnkubttrgo


I definitely have seen worse, but I once found a donut with one bite out of it in a toilet. It was a pastor who did it. I left a note saying, “No donuts in the toilet.” He then wrote a 2 page letter on church letterhead explaining how he did nothing wrong. ?
Pretty disgusting.

Image source: HumanTwist4136


Image source: sirennn444, Abstral Official / Unsplash

I cleaned my grandmas dirty old biker bar on weekends and more than once a guy puked mushrooms into the urinal. Puke on the floor vs in the urinal you animals.


Image source: MjauDuuude, Liliana Drew / Pexels

I honestly can’t think of any specific occasion, working as a cleaner you get desensitised very quickly. Like unflushed diarrhoea or s**t smeared on the walls etc. Grown men pissing on the floor. Grown men not wiping and not flushing their p**s. I have learned to always flush the toilet before opening the lid.
Dried vomit on the outside of toilets.

What really gets to me is the disrespect of some people. Especially preteen and teen boys. Pulling out paper all over the floors, stuffing toilets with paper (and sometimes s**t) which you can’t flush so you have to fish it out of the toilet, pissing in the trash bins, wetting paper and throwing it in the ceiling so it sticks, previously mentioned s**t on the walls etc.

At one school I had to have the teachers locking the bathrooms ’cause the kids messed with me every single day and having to deal with that at 6am just destroyed my spirit. So they had to ask a teacher to unlock the toilets if they wanted to use it, I enjoyed that very much XD.


Image source: LasciveMaiden, Ananthu Ganesh / Pexels

I worked at a walmart when I was 19. I was a cart pusher. There have been occasions where people leave a bunch of trash in their carts, but that’s kind of expected honestly. What wasn’t expected was this woman who left her baby’s leaky diapers in the cart in the middle of July (Where it hits around 100F in the parking lots). When I told my supervisor about it I was only told ‘why are you telling me, grab gloves and bring it to the back of the store and wash it quickly’.

Customers can be such s****y people.. or at the least have s****y children, hue.


Not a cleaner but I’ve got a story for you from my college days. During my first year, I lived in a campus housing, each unit had 4 rooms, 3 single and 1 shared with an attached bathroom. So, one night, my roommate comes back from a party blackout drunk, 2nd time, I mean two of his friends carried him in and put him on his bed. 2am, he wakes up, rushes to the bathroom and throws up in the sink. Not the toilet bowl, the sink. The velocity splattered the toothbrushes and the mirror. My boy then walks back to bed and knocks out. He left the bathroom door and light open, it was a hot and humid night, you can imagine the aroma of bile, half digested food and alcohol.

I was forced to clean it else I was gonna get sick. The toothbrushes I threw away. When he finally woke up at lunch, I gave him the mother of all lectures and either he crashes at his friend’s place or learn his limits. Anyway, following semester I moved out and rented a house with some friends since it was cheaper. I eventually learned he was expelled 2 semesters later due to failing multiple subjects, some of which for the 3rd time.

Image source: AT1313


Not a cleaner but I had to empty the house where FIL passed away. Let’s just say that decomposition starts very quickly and that the technicians can’t take everything. It will live with me forever.

Image source: LeRosbif49


Image source: PreparedStatement, Marafaphotos / Pexels

I worked as a custodian at the college that I also attended for five years. Toward the end of my time there, we had a serial pooper who would smear s**t all over the bathroom walls and mirrors. The custodial crew even gave them a nickname, the “Poop Bandit.” And it garnered a small article in the school paper.

They’d strike about once a week and this went on for a few months. Nobody was ever caught. I only had to clean one of the bathrooms they hit and it was nasty, like they squished it in their hands and just ran their fingers along the walls. It took over an hour to clean when most bathrooms could be cleaned in 15-20 minutes.

On a tangent, the industrial strength carpet cleaners we used can work miracles on blood stains from occasional medical emergencies. We also used a blood and vomit kit to disinfect every instance we found since it can be a biological hazard.

One final note, the literal s**t I’ve seen in toilets. How someone can push out a log as large as a liter bottle is still baffling to me. Have fun breaking that up with a plunger.


Image source: Intelligent_Rain_946, Sofia Shultz / Pexels

I’m a plumber, and we got a call from one of our contacts about a mentally challenged couple who lived together having issues with their sewer system. They were part of church housing.

I arrived onsite and was pre-warned about the smell, even warnings of what to expect in the bathroom. One person said dont be surprised if you find a fetus.

Luckily, no fetus, but my heart sunk walking into their place. They were absolutely lovely and didn’t understand how bad they were suffering.

I dont gag often, but this bathroom was horrible. 8 months this bathroom had been sitting stale full of s**t. They had been s******g in plastic bags and throwing them into their rubbish bin to remove.

Unfortunately, a 5-inch tree root had grown through the 6-inch boundary shaft. There is nothing we could do other than dogging it up. The church decided to look after and resolve the issues.

To this day, my heart sinks thinking about this couple.


Ok, so I’m not a cleaner but…

My girlfriend (at the time, now she’s my wife) were moving in together and we got an apartment. She wasn’t able to break the lease on her current studio apartment and ended up having to sublet it, even though her contract forbid it. We just couldn’t afford to not break that rule.

Well… When the time came for her lease to end, she had to go back and let in the realtor for a showing, and the realtor showed up with the guy who was a potential renter and… well… He decided he never wanted to live there.

My girlfriend came back to our apartment, completely mortified and embarrassed beyond belief, because she had to take the full blame for the state of that apartment… because she couldn’t let them know she had broken her contract and sublet the place. She begged me to help clean it.

Here is what she took the blame for:

When we arrived to clean it, I took a look around. The apartment had only been sublet for 2 months at this point. But there was somehow YEARS worth of dust and pet hair everywhere. There were discarded lollipop sticks stuck to the carpet, there were tampons hanging from the ceiling fan. The person who had been staying there was a transgender person. Male, but identified as a woman. They had no use for tampons. Yet there they were, dangling from the ceiling and coated in something crusty and brown.

I opened the fridge and saw about a half dozen adult diapers, used, sitting next to cartons of milk that had long-since expired. And I mean expired about 6 months ago. They had brought the curdled milk with them from wherever they had lived before.

I shuddered at the idea of what the bathroom must look like, but I was looking for any easy choice of where to start cleaning. Just something to get me started. The bathroom was surprisingly clean… Not ACTUALLY clean. Just ***more*** clean by comparison to the rest of the place. There were no weird smells, the sink had some hair in it, and despite how slowly I opened the toilet, just knowing so was going to see a massive pile of unflushed s**t… It was empty.

I pulled back the curtain to the bathtub and that’s where things got weird. It wasn’t horrible… At least not at a glance. It looked like it wasn’t used a lot. Like, there was a lot of dust and film on floor of the tub. But the weird part were these blackish barnacle things stuck to the walls of the tub. They were everywhere, at different heights and of different sizes. They favored one side of the tub, but they were pretty much everywhere.

I had thick gloves on, so I poked one. Hard as a rock.

I grabbed one and tried to pull… Stuck solid.

… So I tried to bend or snap it off. It snapped about a quarter of the way up from its base…

I was immediately hit in the nostrils by the overwhelming smell of human feces, rotting eggs, and sour milk. I looked at the thing in my hand, and even though the outside was black and hard, the inside was a pale yellowish green, and mushy.

It was pretty clear to me that these barnacle things were more like small stalactites of s**t.

We were never able to make contact with the person my girlfriend had sublet it to. No matter how many times we called, they never picked up. We ended up finding them months and months later on a site called Fetlife. We also saw they were in a relationship and, out of curiosity we reached out to their listed partner.

They replied.

It turns out that they had broken up, but their profile hadn’t been updated. They gave us the tea of what went down in that apartment.

Apparently the subletter had a few disgusting kinks. Like drinking old milk to give themselves diarrhea, then getting into bathtub, bending over, f*****g their a*s with a dildo, and then ripping it out while the diarrhea sprayed on the walls behind them.

… Then they just left it to dry.

They also hung tampons to remind them they were a woman. The brown crusty stuff on the tampons was blood, just not from a vagina.

Having diarrhea dehydrates you, so certain orifices dry out… We’ve all seen dry, cracked lips.

Well… It also makes your a*****e less elastic. So if you shove a big dildo up a dry, dehydrated a*****e, you tear and crack it. It bleeds. So they put tampons in their butt to soak the blood, and then hung the tampons from the ceiling fan to feel more like a woman.

The used adult diapers in the fridge were just because they had a “Little” fetish. When they were horny, they liked acting like a little girl who was too young to be potty trained. They would “wet themselves” because that’s – and I hate that this was ever a sentence said to me – “how they got their hole wet for Daddy”. I still have no idea why they ended up in the fridge instead of the trash. Nobody was able to make sense of that one.

And I would be happy to live in blissful ignorance of all that… And I could have… Except it manifested in the most disgusting mess left behind for my girlfriend and I to clean…

But now we’re married, we moved out of the state that happened in, and we look back and laugh at this horror story.

Image source: US_Atlas


Image source: RayseOdium, Sander / Pexels

My grandmother used to be the principal of a school in the 70s and 80s.
A teacher approached her about two kids, siblings, that always looked tired, had trouble with homework and grades and frankly smelled terrible all the time. The head teacher of the two and my grandmother invited the parents of the children like 4 times and they never showed up. The parents gave apology letters to their kids stating stuff like they had a surprise visitor, some one fell ill….
A bit later my grandmother, the head teacher and a youth welfare officer knocked on the door of the family to talk about things. One of the children opened the door.
The smell was sickening, the garbage was beside some paths everywhere, there were mice and rats on the floor, on the shelves and in the garbage, not a single light was on and the bathtub was almost completely filled with urine and s**t, the mother passed out on the couch.

So the mother was single, lost her job, could not afford to pay water and electricity anymore and survived on food stamps. When she was given money by the state she would use it to buy d***s.

Needless to say they got the kids out of the flat immediately and the youth welfare officer waited another 4 hours in that hell hole to inform the mother.


Image source: FAQUA, cottonbro studio / Pexels

I’m not a cleaner, and I didn’t even witness the scene firsthand. When I was a kid, the lady across the street had died in her upstairs apartment. The only reason she was found was because her body had started to break down, and the fluids were seeping through the floor into the apartment below. What I did see were the police and the other first responders running out of the building and vomiting all over the yard. My mom had spoken with the police and gotten the story from them. This happened in a rural midwest town sometime during the 90s.


Image source: Decent-Explorer2500, David Sunshine / Flickr

Not a cleaner, but my wife used to help clean hoarder houses. The worst was one where she had to scrap dead cats off the floor. Plural. Rotted into the floor.


Image source: Strawberry____Blonde, Steshka Willems / Pexels

Worked in doggy daycare and there was this one white lab who had severe coprophagia. I’ve never seen a dog so obsessed with s**t. She’d eat it out of the trash, follow dogs who were going… Just gorged on it.

Anyway, she used to eat so much she’d throw it up so it was a horrible runny mess that was one of the worst smelling things I’ve ever smelled.

We eventually got her under control but she was sneaky. We called it Shomit and would have to unload like a whole can of deodorizer/disinfectant.

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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