What is the last step of any spill cleanup procedure?

hazmat team responding to a hazmat situation

No one wants to think about the possibility of a spill, but the truth is that spills happen all the time. Whether it’s a small chemical spill at the office or a large oil spill in an industrial setting, it’s important to know how to clean up a spill properly. The last step of any spill cleanup procedure is always the most important: making sure the area is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. 

How to clean and disinfect after a spill

People often think that cleaning up a spill is as simple as throwing away the absorbent materials you used and calling it a day. However, that’s not the case. Once you’ve cleaned up a spill, you also need to disinfect the equipment used/contaminated, as well as any people who have been in contact with or around the spill. This process is known as “decon” or decontamination. Decon is an essential part of containing and cleaning up a spill, and it should not be overlooked. Here’s what you need to know about decon.

How to Decon After a Spill

  • Remove PPE (personal protective equipment) and dispose of the equipment. This includes any gloves, goggles, aprons, or other personal protective equipment that was used during the cleanup process. 
  • After the cleanup crew has been taken care of, it is important to degrease and disinfect all areas that came into contact with the spill. This includes the floor, walls, ceilings, and any equipment that was used during the cleanup. The specific cleaners and solvents required will depend on the type of spill. Once everything has been properly cleaned and disinfected, containment berms can be removed and disposed of according to local regulations. (Keep Reading: What is a HAZMAT situation?)


Cleaning up a spill is not as simple as just wiping it away—you also need to properly clean both the clean up crew and their equipment afterwards. This process is known as “decon” or decontamination, and it’s an essential part of containing and cleaning up a spill. By following these steps, you can ensure that your decon area is safe for reentry.

Keep Learning: Your guide to a spill response plan