It is imperative that any efforts to clean up mice droppings be carried out with caution. This is because mice are known to be capable of spreading bacteria, disease, and other viruses.
When cleaning up rodent feces or dust particles, it is vital that you do not disrupt those areas being affected. In addition, any nesting material should be left uninterrupted when cleaning up the mice droppings.
Mice droppings can be identified by their shape, similar to small spindles, proportioned similarly to that of a rice grain. Making a discovery of these rice-sized spindles can mean you have a rodent infestation. What to do about it and how to rid your home or other building of them is your next question.
How to Handle Mouse and Rat Droppings
The first thing you will need to do about a rodent infestation is to get the area washed. Before doing so, of course, there are certain safety measures that must be taken. When you want to clean up mice droppings, you must first capture the animals. You can do this by closing off all portals they use to get in and out of the area. By doing this, you ensure no new mice can enter. This technique to ambush the rodents must continue for at least a week. If you don’t trap mice after a week, then you have been successful in ridding your home or building of the rodent infestation. A week will give adequate time to ensure there are no virus-laden droppings lingering in your home or business.
Prior to the start of sanitizing the area, you must allow it to air out completely by opening windows and doors. Permit the room to aerate for at least half an hour before you attempt to come back inside. While you are cleaning, it is essential to let the area cross-ventilate and ensure that no one enters it during that time.
How to Clean Up Mice Droppings
One of the most imperative things to remember when you start to clean up mice droppings is to not agitate the soil. Do not vacuum or sweep the components of the nest, droppings, or urine.
For safety issues, you should follow these steps:
- When sanitizing an area with droppings or urine, you should be wearing latex, vinyl, or rubber gloves at all times.
- Using a water and bleach concoction, splash the droppings and urine area to soak it for several minutes. It is advisable to use a combination of 10 parts water to one part bleach. If you have a wholesale preventative solution, ensure to follow the instructions on the label provided by the manufacturer.
- If you must pick up the droppings or urine, use a paper towel and get rid of it right away in a trash receptacle.
- Once you have gotten rid of the urine and droppings, make sure to sanitize any contaminated items by the rodents.
Now that you have sanitized and removed the rodent droppings, urine, and nesting materials, you must disinfect the entire area.
Do this by following three steps to ensure the safest, cleanest way of fighting rodent infestation and infectious viruses:
- You will need a mop and bucket filled with your bleach solution or other commercial sanitizing products. Use this solution to clean all countertops and floors in the area.
- Carpets and furniture that have upholstering will need to be either shampooed or steam-cleaned to remove any signs of rodents.
- Use hot water and laundry soap to wash any clothing or bedding that may have been unprotected from rodent feces or urine.
As a final reminder, ensure you wash your hands completely with soap and water after removing the gloves. (If you do not have soap and water available, you can use an alcohol-based, waterless hand sanitizer).
What to Do With Dead Rodents & Nests?
This is a nasty job, but someone has to do it. When ridding your home or other building from a rodent infestation, there are going to be dead ones to deal with. A dead rodent is still capable of spreading infectious diseases. In addition, an empty nest can also carry disease. Therefore, it is imperative to get rid of the nests, too. Put those vinyl, rubber, or latex gloves back on.
Then, follow the steps below to get rid of these dead pests and their nests:
- You will need your bleach and water concoction or store-bought disinfectant to do this job. First, douse the entire area as well as the rodent with the solution of choice
- Allow the mouse or rat to soak with the solution on it for several minutes. In addition, allow the nest to soak as well prior to using a rag or paper towel to wipe it clean.
- Next is the hard part (at least for me). Pick up the dead rodent and put it in a sealable bag. Seal it tightly to ensure no air gets in or out. This step allows any infectious viruses remaining on the animal to stay safely within the bag.
- Do the same thing with the nest remains as you did with the rodent. Ensure that you place all the items inside a tightly sealed bag. Now you are going to place the bag with the rodent and the bag with the nesting in another bag.
- Take the bag outside to a lidded trash receptacle. Make sure to promptly dispose of the trash in this bin.
Just as when you finished disinfecting the nest and area of the rodents, you need to remove your gloves. Then wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. If you do not have soap available, you can use an alcohol-based and waterless hand sanitizer as an alternative.
Is it Dangerous to Vacuum Mouse Droppings?
The answer to this question is “yes”. It is very dangerous when removing a rodent infestation to vacuum or sweep the mouse droppings. Either of these methods as a means of removing mouse droppings may release tiny particles of the deadly Hantavirus into the air. This brings us to another question about the seriousness of a rodent infestation. That question is,
‘what is a hantavirus, and what causes it?’ The virus known as the Hantavirus belongs to an association of viruses that certain rodents spread. These hantaviruses are uncommon yet very dangerous. In some cases, the infection caused by the Hantavirus can lead to a condition known as Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS).
What Happens if You Breathe in Rat Feces?
It can be very dangerous to breathe in rat feces. According to the CDC, it can cause the Hantavirus. As previously mentioned, certain species of rats and mice are responsible for the spread of HPS. The white-footed mouse, rice rat, cotton rat, and the deer-mouse are the species in North America guilty of spreading HPS.
Disease Spread by Mice and Rats
Certain breeds of mice and rats spread the Hantavirus or HPS. Not all mice and rats spread this deadly disease, but it is safe to avoid all wild mice and rats. Pets such as cats and dogs are not able to spread the Hantavirus infection to humans. (So, no need to worry about that mouse your kitty just ate for breakfast!)
How Can Humans Be Infected by HPS?
Humans can contract HPS by ingesting the hantaviruses into their respiratory system. This risk can increase when you vacuum or sweep up particles of urine or rodent feces. These particles may include the hantavirus and the action of vacuuming or sweeping, stirring them up, and making them airborne. There are also other ways to contact HPS, and that is by touching the urine of a rat or mouse. Or coming in contact with the components of their nest or droppings. The virus spreads when someone rubs their mouth, nose, or eyes after coming into contact with any of the mentioned items. HPS infection can also occur if a person is bitten by a rat or mouse.
Below are actions you might participate in which might create a risk for developing HPS:
- By not taking proper precautions prior to sanitizing the urine, droppings, and nests of rats and mice.
- Entering a closed-up shed or cabin to clean it before allowing it to air out.
- Doing work in areas such as barns which are prone to be primary residences of rats and mice.
The HPS virus has yet to be transmitted human-to-human within the United States. So the best way to avoid contracting it is to take the necessary precautions outlined in this article.
Common Symptoms of HPS
Should you become infected by HPS, you generally start feeling ill about one to five-week following infection. The symptoms you may experience include:
- Harsh muscle aches and pains
- Feelings of fatigue
Respiratory issues often follow these symptoms after a couple of days, and you will have a difficult time breathing. People have also reported having chills, nausea, headaches, dizziness, stomach pain, and diarrhea. However, there's no typically a report that sore throat, rash, or a runny nose are symptoms of HPS.
By visiting the CDC site, you can learn more about mice droppings and how to clean them up safely.