After the Infestation: How To Disinfect After Mice

After you’ve cleared a mouse infestation, there’s still a lot of work left to be done. Mice carry with them harmful, potentially life-threatening bacteria and viruses that can linger long after the last mouse is gone. Obviously, cleaning up after a mouse infestation is essential but it’s also important to do it the right way.

To avoid reinfestation

The very first thing to do is make sure that the mice are really gone and that they can’t come back. You can discourage mice from reinfesting your home by taking a few simple precautions:

  • Seal off any holes that mice can use to enter your home. Small holes can be closed off with steel wool while larger holes will require a sturdier patch.
  • Keep the outside of your home tidy to avoid giving mice somewhere to nest. Don’t let lawn debris like mulch or leaves pile up.
  • Remove any sources of food and water from your home and surrounding areas. You can store animal food in sealed containers instead of bags. Be sure to regularly turn your compost to bury fresh scraps. When dealing with mice, don’t feed birds and other wild animals outside your home.
  • Leave the mouse traps in place to make sure you get any stragglers. Once they’ve been empty for a week or so and when you no longer notice any signs of an infestation, it’s safe to assume they’re gone. Then, it’s time to move onto the cleaning process.

Before you begin cleaning, let each room ventilate for about a half hour and stay clear of the area while it’s airing out. Cross-ventilation is preferred to let in as much fresh air as possible.

You don’t need any special cleaners or equipment to clean properly. A simple 1:10 bleach and water mixture works well. To stay safe and clean properly, it’s all about technique. Also be sure to wear gloves (rubber, latex, or vinyl) to clean. Dry sweeping and vacuuming are to be avoided because they can circulate harmful particles in the air.

When cleaning up after a mice infestation, there are three basic things to worry about: urine, droppings, and nests (assuming you’ve already disposed of any dead mice).

How to safely clean mouse urine

Before you can clean up mouse urine, you have to be able to spot it. So, what does mouse urine look like? Well, it looks just like any urine: clear yellow liquid. The thing to know about mice is that, because they have weak bladders, they usually dribble urine as they walk. That means there isn’t a central area where they go to urinate; they’re effectively peeing all the time.

The best way to deal with mouse urine is to completely clean the areas where you suspect the mice have been in addition to any urine you’ve actually seen.

Use a mix of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water and spray any areas where you believe there may be mouse urine. Allow the solution to soak for about 5 minutes then use a disposable paper towel to wipe the area.

How to safely clean mouse droppings

The method for cleaning mouse droppings is the same as it is for cleaning mouse urine although it’s a little easier because mouse droppings are pretty easy to spot. Spray any that you see with a 1:10 bleach and water mixture, let soak for about 5 minutes, then pick up the droppings with a paper towel before cleaning the surrounding area.

How to disinfect after mice

Once you have the visible droppings and urine cleaning up, it’s time to move on to general deep cleaning of the whole area.

  • All hard floors should be cleaned using a disinfectant or bleach solution. Countertops, tables, and all hard surfaces should be wiped down as well.
  • In the kitchen, you may have to remove food from the cupboards and pantry to check for any out-of-site droppings and urine. Discard anything that isn’t sealed and clean the area as appropriate.
  • You should also consider how to clean dishes after mice if you’ve had them in your kitchen. Generally, washing dishes in the sink with hot water, a scrubber sponge, and dish soap is enough. If you’re still concerned, you can use a bleach and water mixture on glass, plastic, enamel, china, or porcelain, but not on silverware or metal (this includes pots and pans).
  • Carpets and upholstered furniture should be shampooed or steam cleaned and bedding should be washed with laundry detergent and hot water. If you’re wondering how to get rid of mouse urine smell, deep cleaning upholstery, carpets, and bed linens is the best approach.
  • As for how to clean mouse urine from wood, it depends on the item you’re trying to clean. Floors and furniture can be cleaned with a commercial disinfectant meant for wood. Any items that cannot be cleaned with a liquid disinfectant should be set outside in the sun for several hours as UV rays deactivate some harmful viruses. They can also be stored in a rodent-free area inside for about a week until the viruses are not infectious anymore.
  • Once you’re satisfied that the area is clean, remove your gloves and carefully discard. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if there is no visible dirt on your hands.

How to safely remove a mouse nest

Nests require special attention because there’s a much high concentration of contaminants. Be sure to wear gloves when cleaning the nest and the area around it.

  • Saturate the nest with a bleach solution or disinfectant and let soak for 5 minutes.
  • Then, wipe the surrounding area and collect the nesting materials using a paper towel.
  • Discard them by placing them in a plastic bag and sealing it tightly.
  • Then, place this into a second bag and seal.
  • Throw the double-bagged nesting material into lidded trash can or take it directly to a dumpster.

How to clean after a heavy infestation

If your infestation was particularly bad and there are a lot of visible droppings and strong urine odors, the safest thing to do it contact a professional cleaning crew. With large amounts of contamination comes to a lot more exposure to dangerous viruses and pathogens. To be safe, extensive protective equipment may be needed.

Get clean, stay safe

Remember, mouse urine and droppings carry harmful viruses and other contaminants that can be life-threatening to humans. Proper cleaning is essential and using the right technique is the only way to make sure that you and your family stay safe and healthy.

12 Comments

Wendy Bills

I just found a mouse nest in a laundry room cupboard. /shelf. I have no idea how long it’s bern there but we have caught mice in our house. I’ve thrown away any clothing/items that were on the shelf. I now should go in and disinfect that area. Maybe I need to remove ALL the items from that Laundry room to see if there are any other nests. What would you advise? Thanks in advance

    InsectCop

    I would actually suggest to not limit your search to just the laundry room, since technically there is a chance there might be nests in other areas as well, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to check those, just to be safe. You can also check out our articles about mouse nest identification and getting rid of mice. You might find valuable information to help you solve the problem.
    Hope this helps, good luck!

Kay Hirsch

I can not get to where I need to clean to keep my family safe. It seems there is some type of padding under a built in, floor to ceiling pantry type of cupboard. This “padding” (probably used because my floor isn’t level) is absolutely saturated. Help… I can’t spray it, or remove it. What do I do?

    InsectCop

    To play it safe, I suggest looking into changing the old padding to a new and clean one after all. Maybe try contacting professionals about removing the floor in order to do this? If it’s impossible, I’m not sure what to suggest, since, as you said, you can’t get to it.

Hana Khokhar

We had a carrycot and a baby bouncer in the garage in a new house where I have recently found mouse droppings. How do I ensure carrycot and bouncer are thoroughly cleaned

    InsectCop

    I would treat these the same way as upholstered furniture. Either shampoo or steam clean them. Also, considering those are made for babies, it would also be a good idea to clean it professionally, if that is an option for you.

VeeRich

How do I clean pots and pans if I can’t use water and bleach on them

    InsectCop

    Washing them in hot water, with some dish soap and lots of scrubbing should be enough. You can also try boiling them in water for about 10 minutes.

Teri P

Hello! We cleaned out a storage locker and found lots of mouse poop. Several boxes had poop in them. How can I make sure the stored items are safe to use? Items include dishes, pots and pans, some stuffed toys and electronics. If I run the dishes etc through the dishwasher, will that sanitize them? Then does the dishwasher need to be sanitized? Thanks!

    InsectCop

    Running them through the dishwasher should be fine. You the highest temperature you possibly can (take into consideration what your items are made of, so you don’t damage them). Combined with the dishwashing product, it should be enough to solve your problem. Also, the dishwasher most likely also doesn’t require any other sanitizing since it will also be getting the same treatment.

Michele

Hi I am having a profession “green” cleaning company clean a long vacated apartment. The mice lived in/nested in and pooped huge amounts happily in for years.
They want to use Concrobium Broad Spectrum Disinfectant II (2). It seems to kill most everything but I don’t specifically see Hanta Virus-though we live in CT and risk is low. Would you feel safe with this product? I am trying to be non toxic to the environment, yet disinfect this apartment.
Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!
Michele

    InsectCop

    Couldn’t find any sources that would state whether or not thymol kills Hantavirus. A good solution would be asking the company about their experience and information that they have available. Also, when hiring them, did you ask about your Hantavirus concerns? As professionals, they should have some idea of what the products they use, can or can not achieve. Also, good cleaning companies usually have enough experience to know what they can and should be dealing with.
    Still, having read a bit about the product, I don’t think I would be too worried. I would probably still ask about Hantavirus specifically, but I don’t see a reason why the product wouldn’t be trustworthy.

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