How to clean up after a mouse infestation
You’ve managed to get rid of those annoying mice, but how can you clean up the mess they left behind? Here are some pointers to help you along the way:
Prior to beginning your cleaning, make sure all rodents have been entirely removed from the area. Set up your mouse traps, check them every day, get rid of any mice you catch, and then reset the traps. Continue doing this until a week has passed with no more rodent catches. It will then be reasonable to presume that the area has been cleared of mice. Their excretions will no longer be contagious after the same amount of time has passed. As you remove the last bits of rat waste, ventilate the area.
You could come upon a rodent carcass while cleaning. You should take further precautions with regard to sanitation when cleaning up dead mice. Equipped with rubber or latex gloves and disinfectant you should:
- Put on gloves and get the cleaning solution ready (bleach and water).
(Additional precautions should be used for cleaning homes or buildings with a heavy rodent infestation. If you have questions about your specific situation, contact your local health department).
- Spray the bleach/water mixture on the dead mouse or mouse nest and its immediate surroundings.
- Safely dispose of the rodent’s body outside and/or nest by placing the dead mouse or nesting materials in a plastic bag along with any used traps, unless you plan to reuse the trap. Tie the ends of the bag together in a knot to seal the bag. Place the full bag in a second plastic bag and seal that bag by tying the ends together in a knot.
- Discard the gloves, then thoroughly wash your hands. Wash hands with soap and warm water after removing gloves or use a waterless alcohol-based hand rub when soap is not available and hands are not visibly soiled.
If you want to get rid of mouse droppings, vacuum them up first and then soak them in a commercial disinfectant or bleach solution. If this isn’t done carefully, it could lead to the spread of disease-carrying particles throughout your house. Instead, use a bleach solution—ideally one that is 10% bleach to 90% water—to dampen any debris and wipe it clean.
To get ready to clean, do the following:
- Cover your hands with rubber or latex gloves.
- Use the disinfectant to saturate the mouse droppings for at least five minutes.
- Wipe up the waste with paper towels, then toss it in plastic trash bags.
- After everything has been cleansed, reapply the disinfectant to the affected area and any nearby areas that might have picked up the rodents’ infection.
If there is evidence that the mice travelled through other parts of your home, completely disinfected those areas as well. Clean any stains or prints left by rodents on the floor or worktops of your kitchen, wash any bed linens or fabrics that show signs of nibbling, and steam-clean any carpets or furniture upholstery that may have been soiled. Once you’ve cleaned every inch of your home, throw away the gloves and wash your hands with soap and/or rubbing alcohol.
Cleaning household items
When gathering contaminated items put them in a hot machine wash. After washing, put the clothes and other washables in your dryer and spin them at a high temperature; anything above 115 degrees should get rid of any hantaviruses that may still be present. It is necessary to use professional-grade steam cleaners with shampoo or disinfectant on infected rugs, carpets, and furniture.
Books, periodicals, and documents that cannot be liquid-disinfected should be left outside in the sun for a day or kept in a clean indoor space for at least a week if rats have touched them. Hantaviruses can survive on surfaces for up to three days before being killed by ultraviolet light. When handling certain objects that you suspect are contaminated, wear gloves. It wouldn’t harm to use a washcloth dampened with a formula to clean the front and back covers of some hardback books.
*Remember you should exercise caution when cleaning mouse nests and droppings, wear protective gear, and use a disinfectant mixture because mice can transmit several unpleasant illnesses (such as Hantavirus, Lyme disease, Salmonella and Typhus). Inform your healthcare practitioner of any exposure you may have had to rodents and/or their droppings and urine if you become ill and suspect it may be caused by a disease that is rodent-borne.