How to Sanitize After a Rodent Infestation

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When rats and mice infest homes, it’s extremely important to clean up properly after them to prevent any problems from happening in the long-run. Failing to sanitize correctly can increase your risk of health-related issues, pungent odors, and returning rodents. 

So how do you properly sanitize after a rodent infestation? To make sure that your home is properly sanitized, you should remember to use proper cleaning products, to never sweep or vacuum rodent droppings, and to inspect all areas for possible contamination. 

How to Sanitize Properly After a Rodent Infestation

The Center for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) has outlined the proper method of how to clean up after rodents. To make sure that you are sanitizing properly, you should do the following: 

1. Make Sure the Area is Well-Ventilated

Before cleaning up any spaces that have been infested with mice or rats, open any windows to ventilate the area. Keep the space open for at least 30 minutes to let fresh air inside a room before proceeding to clean up any rodent droppings or urine. 

2. Never Sweep or Vacuum Rodent Droppings

When cleaning up rodent droppings, never sweep or vacuum. Instead, pick up the droppings using a paper towel and dispose of them properly. This ensures that no droppings are stirred into the air and inhaled by humans. 

3. Use Protective Gear

Make sure that you are well-protected when you clean up after rodents. Use rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves whenever you handle droppings or dead rodents to avoid cross contamination. It is also highly recommended to wear a mask to reduce the risk of inhaling any virus that can cause diseases. If faced with heavier infestations, it’s best to also protect yourself with coveralls, disposable shoe covers, protective goggles, and air purifying devices. 

4. Use Proper Cleaning Products

Wiping down spaces and floors that have previously been infested with mice and rats is not enough to sanitize the area. The following cleaning products are recommended by the CDC for proper and thorough sanitizing:

  • Commercial Disinfectant: A general household cleaner or commercial disinfectant works great for sanitizing after rodents, and there are several kinds available on the market. Before using any product, always remember to carefully read and follow the instruction label for the recommended disinfection time.
  • Bleach and Water Solution: If you don’t have any commercial disinfectant available around you, the CDC also recommends using a solution of bleach and water. You can make this solution by mixing 1 part bleach with 10 parts water. Spray any rodent infested areas with the solution and let it soak for 5-10 minutes before wiping down completely.  

5. Inspect All Places for Rodents

A common mistake people tend to do when cleaning up after rodent infestations is forgetting to inspect all areas of the house. Mice and rats tend to hide in dark areas like the attic, garage, crawlspaces, and basements so it’s highly recommended to check those places and sanitize them as well. 

6. Disinfect the Whole Area After Clean-Up

After cleaning up rodent urine and droppings, make sure to disinfect and mop the area again. Sanitizing the area again ensures that nothing toxic remains on the furniture or the floors. You should also clear the area of anything that’s possibly been contaminated with urine or droppings like bedding, clothing, and upholstered furniture.

To clean up fabrics, wash it with laundry detergent and hot water. Afterwards, machine-dry the laundry on a high setting or hang it out in the sun to air dry. According to the CDC, laundry detergent breaks down the virus’ lipid envelope, rendering it harmless. 

7. Dispose of Dead Rodents Properly

Lastly, remember to properly dispose of any dead rodents you find while cleaning up any area. Before throwing away dead mice or rats, spray them with a commercial disinfectant of bleach solution for at least 10 minutes. Dead rodents should be double bagged using plastic bags before throwing them away in a covered garbage can. After disposing of the garbage, don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and water to prevent cross contamination. 

Risks of Not Cleaning Up Properly After Rodents

1. Diseases

Health-related problems are the most common issue people face when they fail to sanitize properly after a rodent infestation. Some diseases that stem from improper cleaning include: 

  • Hantavirus: Hantavirus is a respiratory disease caused by inhaling the virus after contaminated rodent droppings or urine are stirred up into the air. 
  • Salmonella: Salmonella is a virus that can make people sick by eating any food that has been contaminated with rodent urine or feces.
  • Rat-bite fever: People can get infected with rat-bite fever when they come into contact with the bacteria from rodent urine, rodent droppings, and any contaminated surfaces.    

2. Pungent Odors

When you don’t use the correct cleaning products to clean up after rodents, pungent odors will persist. This causes your place to still smell like there is a rodent infestation even if the pests have already been eliminated. 

3. Risk of Rodents Returning

Not sanitizing infested areas properly can increase the risk of rodents returning. For example, mouse urine pillars are used by mice to track their activity around your home. Failing to clean these up properly helps the pests stay and navigate around. 

Professional Rodent Control Services at Pinnacle Pest Management

The best way to guarantee that your property is properly sanitized after a rodent infestation is to ask the help of professionals. Pinnacle Pest Management provides professional rodent control to ensure that your place is free from any viruses that these mice or rats carry with them. We have a team of experts who will thoroughly inspect your place and offer the best solutions.

Our team promises to offer excellent service to all our clients. We are happy to help you out with any problems you face regarding rodent and pest infestations. To know more about us and the services we offer, you may give us a call at one of our offices in Northern California. 

Learn more: Why Is My Mouse Trap Not Working?

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