Did you recently discover a rodent infestation in your home? Maybe you found a mouse nest in a random spot in your garage or saw a rat scurry across your kitchen floor? Whatever the case, rodents can make a big mess. Cleaning up rodent droppings can be a fairly simple process, but it in important that you take the correct precautions prior to starting.
- HEPA-filtered vacuum
- A particle filtering mask (N95 or p100)
- Tyvek suit (if going into crawlspace)
- A headlamp
Eliminating your current infestation
Make sure that any current rodent infestation has been trapped or sealed out of the home. If the rodent hasn’t been caught then you risk having to clean everything up a second time. We recommend using snap traps baited with peanut butter to catch mice or rats. You will also need to locate and seal up any entry points at this time. Failure to properly do either of these will result in you potentially cleaning everything up only to have it come right back. Don’t waste your time, do it right the first time.
A thorough inspection will be necessary to make sure you locate all the entry points but it also helps you to determine what the scope of the rodent damage is. Are they in the crawlspace? Did they tear down insulation? Did they chew on wiring or pipes? Are they in the attic? Once you clarify the scope of the activity and you’ve ensured that no current rodents are living in the home you can begin the process of cleaning up the rodent droppings.
If the rodents have infested the crawlspace or attic you might consider removing the entire vapor barrier/insulation as needed and installing new. If the infestation is heavy in the crawlspace or ongoing for a long period of time then the damage can be quite severe, and the time to manually remove all droppings might be better spent simply redoing the vapor barrier and insulation. Rodents are constantly marking their surroundings by their droppings and urine, so vacuuming up droppings will only go so far in eliminating those pheromones.
Ensure that you use a vacuum that has a HEPA rated filter on it. Many household vacuums are moving this way, but not all of them are true HEPA filters. The reason why this is important is the filter’s ability to catch and hold potentially dangerous particles from the droppings. The last thing you want when you’re vacuuming up droppings is to disperse dangerous particles throughout your house due to a using a low-end vacuum. It is generally a good idea to wear a mask and gloves during this process just to be safe, especially if you’re kicking up dust into the air by sweeping or vacuuming. An N95 mask should be sufficient for most jobs within the home, but consider keeping a P100 mask on hand if you ever need to drop down in to the crawlspace. Another helpful item is a tyvek suit – if you are crawling around in the crawlspace this suit will help protect you from insulation, droppings, and urine. Tyvek suits make the process much more enjoyable. Lastly, a headlamp is an extremely useful tool for while you are working under the home – investing in a nice headlamp will pay dividends in the long run.
Using your HEPA vacuum, remove any current droppings in the home interior. Common areas of activity include underneath kitchen sinks, in pantry closets, and in garage areas. After vacuuming the droppings you can spray the area down with an enzymatic cleaner to ensure that any urine is also removed. When cleaning up a crawlspace use a similar strategy; vacuum the droppings, and spray the area down with an enzymatic cleaner to remove urine. As mentioned above, often times it is better to simply replace the vapor barrier than to try to clean the old one. Common areas in the crawlspace where droppings accumulate are: the support piers’ cement foundations, and the “footer” of the exterior walls where it meets the house foundation. Remove all visible droppings and spray down with an enzymatic cleaner.
Once you’ve eliminated the current infestation, sealed up the entry points, and cleaned up the droppings/urine, it is best to do an ongoing maintenance plan to ensure that your home exterior is monitored for rodent activity in the future. Our all-pest quarterly service is a great option for keeping your home protected against rodents as well as a long list of other pests like ants, spiders, and wasps. Call or text us at 503-985-6523 if you have any questions or a schedule an appointment.