Throwing a party always seems like a good idea until it's over. It's only in the early morning, once you're fully hungover and covered in unfamiliar liquids, that the regret sinks in. This usually happens after a) you realize in a drunken and/or otherwise intoxicated state, you did something regrettable, or b) you see the mess that's exploded into your house: the empty bottles and beer cans strewn about, passed-out friends littering your floor, the strange-colored vomit caked on to your shower.
This is where Tugrul Cirakoglu comes in. Cirakoglu is the owner of Frisse Kater, a cleaning company based in Amsterdam that specializes in post-party clean-up. He started the company last year, after he'd completed a masters degree in London and witnessed a number of horrifying things at dorm parties: people pissing in the sinks, people breaking things, people getting in fights and splattering blood everywhere. He realized there weren't any companies in the Netherlands offering to clean up those kinds of messes and saw a business opportunity.
On their website, Frisse Kater claims their services are used only for the "dirtiest, most extreme, and disgusting after-party clean-ups that you could ever imagine." I had to wonder what they meant by that. So I called them up to hear about what they've witnessed.
VICE: What does an average party clean-up look like?
Tugrul Cirakoglu: We're usually called after parties, where about 50 to 100 people attend. For the Netherlands, that's quite large, because houses here are quite small. Everyone has been drinking, using drugs, and everything gets messy. There's usually alcohol and food all over the floor, muddy footprints, broken glass, puking, sometimes urinating, or even people taking shits on the walls. It can get really extreme.
I'm sorry, what? People taking shits on the walls?
I think that was just one time, but yeah. For a normal person, everything [we clean] would be extreme, but for us, the most extreme things are human feces.
Do you usually field calls the day after a big party, when the host realizes that someone has taken a shit on their wall?
We have some people who are really prepared and they'll call us like, two months before the party [to schedule in advance]. But a lot of people call us the day after, because they think it will be easy to clean up and then the next day they see the mess and they realize they'll never be able to clean it up. So they call us all panicky like, "Please, can you come and help me? I need your help." Some people have friends who promise them that they will help to clean up, but afterwards they just disappear. We also have a fixed clientele—mostly rich young people—who throw a lot of parties and they'll call us on a continuous basis.
Some of the parties you've cleaned up after must be pretty wild. What kinds of things have you seen?
We have parties where people wreck the toilets—like, breaking the sink and the toilet, and water goes everywhere, flooding. One time, we cleaned up after a "candy party." They filled a blow-up swimming pool with marshmallows in the living room, and eventually those were thrown all over the floor and the candy was mixed with the alcohol and it was all over the floor. Sometimes we're also called for emergencies, like kids who have a party [while their parents are out of town] and the next day their parents come home. So we rush there and we clean everything. But in those situations, we don't clean it too well, because then the parents will be suspicious.
There was this one party where they rented a restaurant. The owner [closed the restaurant down for the private party], and 50 guys came in for the party. What they were doing inside was basically this initiation event for their club. First they had dinner and drinks, and then these ten guys were taken inside the bathrooms and they were violently beaten with whips; they were punched, kicked, smacked with those rubber placemats in bars where they put shot glasses. And then that evening, the owner called us and was like, "Yo man, I really need you guys. Something happened." So when we came, we saw all the mess and what had happened and he told us everything. I was like, Whoa, this is really heavy. We never experienced anything like that before. There was blood, and it was really dirty.
That's insane. Do you charge extra for situations like that?
We charge by the hour, but if it's extreme, we say, "Hey, this wasn't the agreement." Sometimes, people will call us and when we arrive, we immediately see that there was no party—the guy's just extremely messy and dirty and needs his house cleaned.
People actually do that?
Yeah. Last month, we were called by a guy. I don't know if he went on [vacation] or what, but there were trash bags left in the home for so long that everything inside had rotted, and maggots and flies started growing inside the bags. Eventually, they escaped and the whole house—literally, thousands and thousands of flies and maggots—were crawling around on the ceiling, the walls, on the furniture, in his toilet, in his kitchen… everywhere. We've never seen anything like that.
In the beginning, we didn't expect people would call us for that type of thing, so the materials we brought with us were normal cleaning materials. Now, we bring a van filled with cleaning materials for hazardous cleaning—we have masks and protective gloves and gear for these types of jobs. We also have special cleaning chemicals to kill the most extreme viruses and stuff.
Do you ever have to deal with drunk people while you're cleaning house parties?
Sometimes we see people lying on the floor or on the couch, completely passed out. In some cases—it's a bit more rare—we come to parties and there's still one or two people tripping. Most people aren't really a problem if they're just sleeping, because they don't bother you. If they wake up, they're normally just like, "Where the fuck am I?" The difficult people to deal with are the ones who are still [on drugs] and want to actively engage with you. There are different kinds: people who are really annoying, they can't stand still; and people who are so high on drugs that they think it's the best thing in the world and they also want you to experience it. The first kind might keep coming up and touching you or trying to hug you; the second kind keeps coming up to you like, "Hey, I have some coke, take some!"
There's another interesting group, which is people who are high but get on this "cleaning trip." They get extremely active, so once you start cleaning, they want to help—brushing everything, sweeping everything. They start scrubbing aggressively. They are really fun.
"There's no chemical substance to deal with difficult customers. You can't just spray something on them and they'll go sit down and leave." — Tugrul Cirakoglu
There are some really gross photos on your Flickr. Like, there's one photo with a bunch of used condoms on the floor. There's another one with what appears to be a shit in someone's sink.
That was cat shit actually, but it was a commercial restaurant.
Yeah, we also do commercial cleaning, and even in commercial cleaning, somehow, the craziest people always manage to find our number and call us. Personally, I never eat at restaurants. I have to be starving, because of the things we see in commercial places.
Aside from cat shit in the sink, what kinds of things have you seen in restaurants?
We see a lot of places where the owner has zero knowledge about cleaning. One time, we went inside this restaurant. We always ask the owner if we can see the closet with their cleaning supplies, because when we see what they have, we immediately know the [cleanliness] situation. So I asked, "Where are the cleaning cloths?" You know those yellow cloths that you just use one time and you throw them away? Those were the only cloths that he had in the restaurant. I was like, "How do you know whether your staff has just cleaned the toilet with this cloth or the kitchen counters?" And he was like, "Hmmm, I don't know." So basically, you're telling me that you don't know whether this cloth here on the table has been used to clean the toilet or the kitchen or the bar or the table? What are you doing?
That can't be very common though, right?
No, it happens in so many places. You know Windex? We've seen that used in so many restaurants as an all-purpose cleaner, even though it's just for cleaning windows. When we ask them, "Hey, don't you have a product to clean bacteria and sterilize your kitchen?" And they say, "Doesn't Windex clean everything?" That's very disturbing.
Which is worse: restaurant kitchens or houses after a party?
I would say both of them are dirty. I don't have any problem with someone not cleaning their own home, because that's a personal problem. But if you have a restaurant or a coffee shop, you are serving people food and drinks there, and you have to clean! You can't just wipe everything with Windex and make it appear shiny when in reality it hasn't been cleaned for years. For me, that's like committing a crime.
Your job doesn't sound very fun. Does this job totally suck?
A lot of people ask, "It must be so difficult to do this job, because these places are so filthy." But no, that's the easiest part. We use our professional cleaning supplies and everything gets clean really quickly and easily. The problem is, there's no chemical substance to deal with difficult customers. You can't just spray something on them and they'll go sit down and leave.
See more photos from real parties Frisse Kater has cleaned below.
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