real life

Kellie received a warning from school about her teen's morbid humour, and had to explain why.

Parent-teacher interviews can release within a parent both searing pride and also the pit of guilt and despair. And as a mother of five in a blended family, Kellie Polaschek has had her fair share over the decades.

But the latest one, for her youngest daughter Nicola, 13, was different.

"I'd raced from work and was sitting in her English teacher's classroom. I know Nicola loves creative writing, storytelling and reading. So I was surprised by what I was met with."

The English teacher's face turned sombre. He gulped.

"I don't know if he was trying to find the words or the courage," explains Kellie.

And then the words tumbled from his mouth. "He said, 'I wanted to tell you that her stories are dark. Like really dark. She'll write about someone dying, but also how they died – and how it was cleaned up," Kellie says.

It was then she began to chuckle. 

"I told him not to be concerned. That's normal for our household. That's dinner table talk," Kellie laughs.

Peer into the Polaschek household on a Sunday at dinner time and they're like any regular family. There are trays of baked veggies on the table, the 'chink' of cans opening, the warming aroma of a chicken roasting in the oven, and conversations competing over the top of each other.

But while other households may be discussing the RBA interest rate rise, their latest holiday, or what’s on their Christmas wish list, this dinner table conversation is, well... darker than most.

You see, Kellie – while raising a family, rescuing animals, being an active member of her local softball community and keeping her home tidy – is also the matriarch of a family business. Which just happens to be cleaning crime scenes, jail and rail accidents, hoarder homes, biological hazards, deceased estates and more. 


Whatever grossest thing you can think of, Kellie and her family business, Kamakan, have seen, smelled and cleaned it.

Watch: What a forensic cleaning team usually encounters at their work. Post continues after video.

Video via YouTube/The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Her job has put Kellie in a unique position to partner with cordless vacuum company Shark, using her experience to help everyday Aussies take care of their seven most overlooked areas in the home.

Even Kellie admits it's an unlikely side hustle – one that blew up seven years ago due to demand.

"My husband, Andrew, used to be in commercial kitchen cleaning. He was showing my sister-in-law, who is also an emergency nurse, before-and-after photos of a commercial kitchen clean, and she said, 'If you can do that, you could do forensic cleaning,'" says Kellie.

Within a month, the business had a waitlist of clients, and Kellie quit her job to join the booming family business. Today, their clients include the NSW Government, Sydney Trains, NDIS and a number of private clients. The business is staffed by the Polaschek family, their children's friends and even a next-door neighbour.

"It's a 24/7, 365 days a week business. All calls come through me. And in our line of work, most jobs are fast response, where our team is required at the site within hours," explains Kellie.


Listen to True Crime Conversations where a forensic cleaner shares what her workday looks like. Post continues below.

There are the gross filth cleans, says Kellie. 

Then the hoarder homes, like the elderly woman from Sydney’s Eastern suburbs who had a room filled with 50 front doors.

The stomach-turning find in a luxury apartment block to rival the infamous poo jogger. 

The unattended death, where $10,000 was found in the mattress. Every job, there’s new dinner table fodder.

"Your family might talk about a day at the office, or on the work site. Ours talks about our sites."

It almost reads like an episode of Ricky Gervais' After Life. But before you worry, "It's all age-appropriate," explains Kellie of their nightly chats. "It's normal for my teen daughter and our family. It's how we make a living. She hasn't seen photos or described anything in detail. We just think of it as a mess, you can’t think of what it was beforehand.

"I must admit, there is a lot of dark humour in our household," adds Kellie.

And while the school community might be new to Kellie’s profession, the sporting community in which she's involved isn’t.

"Everyone knows what we do. The conversation on the sidelines is really interesting because parents will ask, 'What did you do this week?' Or not to bring it up at all. It's funny how often people will say, 'I've never met a forensic cleaner before.' But the truth is, we are just like you."

Feature image: Supplied.

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