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How To Clean Up After A Mouse Infestation

Updated: Apr 9


How To Clean Up After A Mouse Infestation Graphic

Cleaning up after a mouse infestation can technically be a simple task. All you will need to do is:


  • Prepare your protective gear and cleaning materials.

  • Ventilate the affected area.

  • Remove any nesting materials and debris.

  • Disinfect all surfaces.

  • Wash or dispose of your cleaning materials to prevent spreading contaminants.

The major risk involved with cleanup is the potentially fatal diseases that you can pick up.


Contact with mouse droppings and nesting materials left behind after rodent infestations can lead to serious illness.


Additionally, mouse droppings crumble easily and turn to fine dust over time in a process called aerosolization. This means the fine powder from the droppings can become airborne and be inhaled by humans, leading to diseases like Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.


To help you navigate this safely, this article breaks down how to clean up after a mouse infestation into five simple steps. We will also look at when to consider calling in biohazard decontamination specialists, like Chore-ology.

 

Step 1: Prepare


Before you start cleaning, you need to get your protective gear and cleaning materials in order.


Protective gear


  • Rubber gloves or vinyl gloves prevent direct skin contact with rodent waste.

  • Protective goggles will protect your eyes from any fine airborne debris that has accumulated from the rodent infestation.

  • Disposable shoe covers or thick rubber boots will prevent the spread of any potentially infectious material.

  • Coveralls will protect your clothing from contamination.

  • For particularly heavy infestations, use a respiratory protection device to guard you from any airborne disease-carrying particles. Masks that include a negative pressure respirator or a powered air-purifying respirator are ideal, and both should include a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter.

Cleaning materials


  • Bleach solution: Make a bleach solution with 1 part bleach mixed with 9 parts water and place it in a spray bottle. Do not use this on any fabric surfaces that can be stained by bleach.

  • Commercial disinfectant: Dilute the disinfectant as per the manufacturer’s instructions and place it in a spray bottle. The CDC notes that only products using the word “disinfectant” should be used to clean up after an infestation, including products like Lysol. Check that your mixture is safe to use on the surfaces you need to disinfect. Some chemicals may harm surfaces like hardwood floors, etc.

  • Disposable paper towels: Use paper towels to wipe up any debris. It’s much safer to throw away a soiled paper towel than to effectively wash and disinfect a cloth or rag.

  • Plastic bags: Use a plastic bag to dispose of debris, trash, and other items that have come into contact with rodent droppings. Waste from an infestation needs to be placed in a second plastic bag to ensure the safe disposal of contaminated materials.

  • Disinfectant soap: After you have completed the cleanup and removed your rubber or latex gloves, you must wash your hands with soap.

 

Step 2: Ventilate


The location of the infestation must be well-ventilated for at least 30 minutes before you attempt any cleanup. Particles from rodent droppings will become airborne over time. You must ensure that the tainted air is replaced with fresh air before you can get to work.


Open all windows and doors leading to and from the infested area, ensuring the room is properly aired out and the mouse urine smell has dissipated. Now you can move on to the next step.


Step 3: Remove


The next step is to remove all the debris left behind by the mouse infestation. This includes any nesting materials, dead rodents, mouse poop, and other detritus.


With any rodent infestation, the nesting materials are a prime source of disease. They include rodent droppings, rodent urine, and even ticks. You want to approach these areas with caution as they have the highest risk of infection.


Clean up nesting materials and other debris 


  • Use your spray bottle to soak any areas with nesting material, mouse poop, or dead rodents. Spray down everything with your bleach or disinfectant solution first.

  • After you spray the affected areas, wait a few minutes for the cleaning liquid to be absorbed. If the items are soaked, it will prevent any particles from becoming airborne and being inhaled.

  • Wearing rubber gloves, wipe the disinfected surfaces with a paper towel to clean up any droppings or urine. Dispose of the used paper towels in a plastic bag.

  • Carefully pick up any remaining nesting material and place it in a plastic bag. Remember to double-bag this waste.

  • Always wear gloves when you are working on contaminated surfaces. Any bare-handed contact with a dead rodent, rodent nests, or urine and droppings puts you at risk of spreading or becoming infected with rodent-borne illnesses.

How to clean carpets safely


Do not vacuum up mouse poop and any other nesting materials, even if your vacuum has a HEPA filter. The CDC recommends that you should not use a vacuum as this may cause more infectious particles to become airborne. Not to mention, you would need to disinfect the vacuum afterwards.


The best way to clean rodent droppings and debris from your carpet is to pick them out using adhesive pads or paper towels.


First soak any dropping or nesting materials with a fabric-safe disinfectant solution and let it soak in.


After you have removed debris from the carpet, you must use disinfecting carpet shampoo or a steam cleaner to fully clean your carpet. This is a task best suited for biohazard decontamination professionals like Chore-ology.

 

Step 4: Disinfect Surfaces


To disinfect surfaces, wipe them down with disinfectant spray. Take special care to clean all countertops, food storage or preparation areas, behind and under furniture or appliances, and near all rodent entry points.


Cleaning furniture and other fabric surfaces


Porous surfaces like fabric couches, curtains, or stuffed animals pose a challenge. It is not enough to clean these surfaces with just soap and hot water. Instead:


  • Apply commercial disinfectant spray to fabric surfaces using your spray bottle, then wipe the surface down or allow it to dry.

  • For heavy soiling, contact a professional service to fully disinfect larger items like furniture and mattresses.

Wear your protective equipment while you are cleaning fabrics and furniture. You may have cleared up the dead rodents and droppings, but you are still at risk of infection from contaminated materials and surfaces.


Step 5: Disposing Of Your Cleaning Materials


Let’s look at the final steps to finish the cleanup operation.


  • Double-check the area and make sure you cleaned all surfaces and cleared out all nesting materials.

  • Place your double-bagged waste in the bin without removing your gloves.

  • Before you start removing your gloves, wash your gloved hands with soap to prevent any cross-contamination.

  • Remove your coveralls, shoe coverings, face mask, etc. and disinfect these if you plan to use them again.

  • Remove and dispose of your latex or vinyl gloves using the same double bagging process you used for dead mice and droppings. 

  • Wash your hands with soap after you have cleaned up everything else.

 

When To Call In The Professionals


If you have a rodent infestation of more than one nest, it's best to contact a professional. It's especially dangerous once rodents have started moving into your air ducts and pipework, as this makes cleanup a nightmare.


Professional biohazard decontamination services, like those offered by Chore-ology, are a much safer and more thorough option to clean after an infestation.


Can You Get Sick From Mouse Droppings?


While you can get sick from mouse droppings, it is hard to get accurate numbers on the transmission of rodent-borne diseases. Symptoms of these diseases are often flu-like. This means most people ignore them until they develop into serious life-threatening conditions.


If you start experiencing symptoms within eight weeks of cleaning up an infestation, see your doctor and let them know you have been exposed to mouse droppings and/or rodent urine.


How long do mouse droppings remain infectious?


Viruses and bacteria can remain active for a few days to a few weeks depending on the conditions. If the site of the infestation is a closed, dark room with high humidity, the virus will remain alive a lot longer. Viruses rapidly degrade when exposed to sunlight or low-humidity air.


Common mouse-borne illnesses

Let’s have a quick look at the most common mouse- and rodent-borne illnesses you could be exposed to:


  • Hantavirus – About 27 cases are reported each year. It can lead to a potentially life-threatening respiratory disease.

  • Salmonellosis – 1.3 million cases reported per year.

  • Leptospirosis – More than 100 cases are reported in the US each year.

  • Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM) – The CDC estimates that 5% of all rats have this illness.

  • Rat bite fever – This disease is caused by contact with rodent urine. It has a mortality rate as high as 10%.

Those are just five reasons why it makes more sense to have a mouse infestation cleaned up by professionals. Cleaning up rat droppings, dead rodents, and other leftovers of mouse infestations can be risky.

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