Was Your House a Meth House? Here’s How to Tell

biohazard symbol with needles overtop

Critical Signs of a Meth Lab in Your Home

Are you worried your new-to-you home may have once been a meth house? Watch out for these critical signs of a meth lab in your home.

Have you recently bought a home and are now worried that your new dream house once served as an underground crystal methamphetamine lab? You have a reason for concern. While authorities discovered over 84,000 crystal meth labs since 2004, estimates have that at a mere 5% of the total.

The signs of a meth lab can be hard for the untrained eye to see. So hard, you and your home inspector may miss them during the buying process. You should know whether your house was a former meth house for your safety and the safety of your family. Keep a lookout for these top warning signs.

What Is Meth and How Is It Made?

To understand the warning signs of a former crystal meth lab, you first need to know crystal meth production and why it’s so easy to produce in a house. Crystal Methamphetamine, or meth, is a derivative of amphetamine. Amphetamine gained popularity as a nasal decongestant. It is a high-octane stimulant classified as a Schedule II substance by the United States Government.

Over-the-counter cold medicines that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine serve as the base for this drug. These drugs are then combined and cooked with chemicals like acetone, freon, and phosphorous that cause a chemical crystallization to occur.

The ephedrine or pseudoephedrine combines with phosphorous or lithium. The next step is the addition of water. After the water comes a solvent like gasoline or acetone to extract the methamphetamine. The last step involves heat to form crystals. These chemicals found in nail polish remover, brake fluid, anti-freeze, and matches are all hazardous to humans. The crystal meth manufacturing process is very unstable, and a wrong combination of these chemicals can lead to an explosion.

Was Your House a Meth Lab? You Need to Know

Knowing if your home was a meth production facility is important for several reasons. The chemicals used in meth production are hazardous, and their residue lingers in walls and on home surfaces. The pernicious effects of the drug are felt by those living in the midst of its production. Hair samples taken from people who live in a former meth lab tested positive for methamphetamine.

Meth lab contamination leads to a series of illnesses and other health effects in adults and children. Living in a former meth lab can lead to the development of asthma, sleep irregularities, hyperactivity, and ADHD. Not only that, but former drug labs carry other safety issues.

These houses of methamphetamine production are associated with other crimes. If you live in a former drug production hotspot, these unsafe aspects may still exist around you. If you suspect your new home was a meth lab, an investment in a meth lab testing kit is one of the best ways to find out. These home kits test surfaces in your house for harmful meth production chemicals.

Top Signs of a Meth House

When you shop for a new home, you make sure to check things like the foundation. You look for signs of mold and water damage. You check the property to make sure all possible sliding hillsides are secure with retaining walls. You test for radon. Given the proliferation of methamphetamine in America, you should inspect your new home for signs of meth production. Here’s what to look for.

On-site Chemicals

When you walked through the basement, did you notice a more than normal amount of paint cans? People do paint their homes and keep the leftovers. Or did you find it odd there were so many jugs of anti-freeze? Or matches?

Keep an eye out for an excessive amount of these chemicals. It is challenging because many of the items used in meth production are common household items. Be suspicious of an abundance.


If you’re familiar with the television series Breaking Bad, you know that crystal meth production is a form of chemistry. A former meth lab can look like an abandoned high school science class with an abundance of burnt glass beakers and tubes. Keep an eye out for items like abandoned propane grill tanks with blue corrosion around the nozzle or coffee filters with weird green stains. Another tell-tale sign of a meth lab is an abundance of burnt aluminum foil.

Wall Stains

Meth production creates iodine byproducts. These yellow or red stains on the walls could be a sign of its presence. If this harmful byproduct is present in your home, all drywall must be removed to ensure the safety of current occupants. The presence of iodine byproducts can cause serious health ramifications.

Strong, Unidentified Odor

When you walk through your prospective new home, do you notice an odd odor? Not rank like a sewage line leak or musty like a damp basement, but something else unpleasant? Meth production omits a strong odor from the chemicals used.

This scent lives in the walls and lingers long after production ceased. A strong odor accompanied by stained drains is a big indicator of a former meth lab.

Check the Database

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) keeps a registry of all houses that were identified as clandestine drug labs. This list is available to the public and is a great resource to check. With this list, you can also see if any homes in your new neighborhood were once drug labs.

Learn the Signs of a Meth Lab

If you’re in the market for a new home, you need to know the signs of a meth lab. Buying a home that housed a meth operation means exposing yourself and your family to harmful chemicals.

Look for signs like excessive amounts of household chemicals, odd-colored stains, and strong odors you can’t identify. If you suspect your house is a former meth house, make sure you consult a professional for a test and clean-up.

Are you suspicious your new home was a drug house, or are you in need of clean-up solutions? Contact us today for an estimate.  

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