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While nobody ever wants to have to deal with a rodent infestation, mice and other vermin can find their way into our homes regardless of how clean we keep them. Since they can carry infectious viruses, it is important to know how to clean mouse droppings from carpets and rugs. Before cleaning, make sure that the infestation is completely stopped so that your efforts do not go to waste.
How to Clean Mouse Droppings From Carpet
Mice droppings can carry infectious diseases, the primary of which is the hantavirus. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), while rare, is potentially deadly and should be taken seriously.
Droppings from mice, in addition to being unhealthy for humans, are also just plain annoying. Mouse droppings never pile up in one or two spots like fecal matter from domesticated animals, they end up being spread all over the home. Be sure to check every area of your house for droppings and other signs of vermin.
Taking Care of Mouse Infestations
The very first thing you should do when attempting to clean mouse droppings from carpeting is to remove the mouse (or mice) from your home. Since it will be indoors, poison is not recommended, especially if you have children or pets in the house. Poison traps can cause serious health effects after exposure and possibly death for animals and kids.
From a humane point of view, live traps that only capture rodents can be very effective, but be sure to check with the laws for your city and county. Many incorporated areas do not allow you to move wild animals from one area to another, so only release them within 100 yards of where they were captured.
Snap traps, while they will kill or at least seriously injure mice, are the most effective way to make sure that you end a vermin infestation. Sticky traps are the worst, as they rely on inhumane treatment of the animals in their capture. Whatever method you choose, be sure to check traps multiple times a day to make sure any animals can be dispatched as humanely as possible.
Tip: Be sure to use gloves or a shovel to clean up trapped rodents. Place dead animals in a secured plastic bag before disposal in the trash.
Cleaning Mouse Droppings From Carpeting
The most important thing to remember when cleaning up after a rodent infestation is to not stir up dust in the area where the droppings are located. While vacuuming might be the first thought that you have, this may force infected dust into the air. Using a vacuum may make it easier for humans and pets to breathe and possibly become infected with hantavirus or other diseases that can be passed in an aerosol form from mouse droppings.
To be safe, latex, nitrile, or other protective gloves are absolutely recommended. If there is a chance you might stir up dust around and including mouse droppings, also consider wearing a mask to prevent breathing in any viruses.
- Open all windows in the room to create cross-ventilation. Do not use a floor fan – ceiling fans at low speed will normally be fine.
- Spray the affected carpeted area(s) with a disinfectant. To make your own at home, mix a small amount of bleach with water, with a ratio of approximately 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. The amount of bleach is very small in this solution so it may be color safe for carpets, but we highly recommend testing in an inconspicuous area first.
- If using a purchased disinfectant, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Let the disinfectant soak. 5 minutes should be enough with a bleach solution, follow the instructions on the bottle if using a commercial disinfectant.
- Pick up all droppings on the carpet that you can find with a disposable paper towel or napkin.
- Dispose of the droppings and paper towel in a sealed bag or container in the outside trash.
- Repeat the first step of disinfection, to be sure that any areas of the carpet covered by droppings you have just removed are clear of any virus or bacteria.
- Shampoo or steam clean the carpeting. Rental steam cleaners work very well for this, as the heat adds an additional layer of disinfection. If you have your original carpet manufacturer’s instructions, be sure to familiarize yourself with their recommended steam cleaning settings.
- Let the area dry completely.
- Vacuum to restore the nap and texture of the carpeting.
Mouse droppings in a carpet can potentially create a serious health risk, so take every possible precaution. Gloves are very important, and a mask can add an additional layer of protection from any airborne problems that these droppings may create while trying to clean them from your carpet. Be sure to disinfect multiple times to be sure that all possibility of infection is removed.