In a special episode of “Unfiltered,” we get an inside look at a job most people know little about: trauma and crime scene cleaning. Ben Giles, who is the founder of Ultima Environmental, talks to Raquel O’Brien about what it’s like to clean up after tragedies.

Ben’s story isn’t just about a job. It’s about the tough and often hidden work that goes into cleaning up places where sad and sometimes scary things have happened. He shares the real deal about the challenges he faces, why he does it, and how this work touches the lives of those who are grieving.

This blog is here to give you a sneak peek into their talk. We’ll go over what Ben has to say about dealing with the tough parts of the job, why he keeps doing it, and the unexpected moments of kindness and connection he finds along the way.

Let’s dive into the world of trauma cleaning. Through Ben’s eyes, we’ll see the care and hard work that go into every scene, showing us a side of life that’s often unseen but full of heart and hope.


For a deeper understanding and to hear Ben’s story firsthand, listen to the full podcast here:


A Journey from Window Cleaning to Trauma Scenes

Ben’s path into the niche field of trauma and crime scene cleaning was far from conventional. Originally a window cleaner, Ben found himself drawn to a profession that promised not just stability but a sense of purpose. Without formal training or clear regulations to guide him, he embarked on a journey that required him to navigate uncharted waters, building his expertise from the ground up. The transformation from cleaning windows to cleaning scenes of profound tragedy was marked by a steep learning curve. Ben and his early team had to rely on intuition and rudimentary practices, gradually establishing methodologies that would later define Ultima Environmental’s high standards.

The Emotional Landscape of Trauma Cleaning

The work of a trauma cleaner extends far beyond the physical cleanup; it involves navigating the emotional terrain of those left behind. Family members’ reactions to the deaths of loved ones can vary widely, from those who are primarily concerned with the financial implications to others who are deeply emotionally affected. This aspect of the job highlights the need for trauma cleaners to possess not only technical skills but also a deep sense of empathy and understanding. Ben also shares insights into unusual cases, such as farmers with shotgun licenses using them for suicides, illustrating the diverse and often unexpected scenarios that trauma cleaners encounter. These examples reveal the job’s unpredictable nature and the mental strength required to face each new situation.

Training for the Unthinkable

As the crime scene cleaning industry evolved, so did the approach to training and preparation. Ben emphasises the transition from an era with scant regulations to the development of comprehensive training programs. Ultima Cleaning Academy now offers courses that not only cover the technical skills required for biohazard cleaning but also prepare individuals for the psychological aspects of the work.

Insights into Life, Death, and the Space Between

Throughout the podcast, Ben offers reflections on life, death, and the impact of his work on his worldview. His insights into the nature of grief, the process of decomposition, and the societal implications of sudden death are profound. He discusses the peculiarities of human existence, from the logistics of cleaning up after death to the emotional narratives left behind. Ben’s observations extend beyond the scenes he cleans; they touch on broader themes of hope, resilience, and the human condition. His work has shaped his perspective on death and given him a deeper appreciation for life and the moments we share.

Educating the Next Generation

Ben highlights Ultima Environmental’s commitment to advancing the profession through education. The training courses offered are a testament to their dedication to setting high industry standards. These CPD-accredited programs aim to equip new cleaners with the necessary tools to navigate the complexities of the job, ensuring safety, compassion, and professionalism. Ben Giles’ conversation on “Unfiltered” is a tribute to the silent warriors of the trauma cleaning industry. Their work, often unseen and under-appreciated, plays a crucial role in the aftermath of tragedy. By sharing his story, Ben Giles not only sheds light on the complexities of this profession but also honours those who face the darkest aspects of humanity with bravery and compassion.

For a deeper understanding and to hear Ben’s story firsthand, listen to the full podcast here: