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 to 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.

48 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.

Johanna

I found mouse poop on paperwork I need for my taxes. How do I disinfect that? I don not live in an arra that has hantavirus but still..! Also, can I pour some boiling water on some items that I cant really boil and leave in a bowl for 10 minutes?

    InsectCop

    Papers can be disinfected by putting them outdoors, placed under direct sunlight for a few hours. If that’s not an option, leave them alone for a week or so indoors (just make sure no rodents have access to the area). That should be enough to kill the virus if it was ever there.

Julie Hupp

How to disinfect silverware if I can’t use bleach?

    InsectCop

    Washing them in hot water and with some dish soap should be enough. You can also look into disinfectants for silverware specifically, or boil them for 10 minutes or so.

Tam

Hi !! I live in an apartment , what equipment should I use to clean couches and mattresses? Also, I used a little bleach on my pots and pans, is it dangerous or should I stop using the bleach?

    InsectCop

    Diluted bleach can be used to disinfect pots, depending on the material they’re made of. As for the couches and mattresses, we suggest shampooing and steam-cleaning.

B

i just bought a used stove that I have found to be full of mouse droppings, urine and nests that are on top of the oven insulation. I have removed the droppings and nests but am not sure what to do about the urine stains.
Will spraying and saturating the insulation with bleach kill any remaining diseases if there are some?

    InsectCop

    Yes, bleach should do the trick

Beth

I recently had mice in my apartment, and I know that they were running around in my clothes. I can wash some of them in hot water, but I have several things that can only be washed in cold, or it will destroy the items. If I wash them with cold water and laundry detergent, will that be enough? I also cannot use bleach on these items.

    InsectCop

    There are different opinions about this. Some say the laundry detergent will be enough on its own, to kill the germs, while others disagree. If the heat isn’t an option, we suggest going for some non-bleaching products that have disinfecting agents, to stay on the safe side.

Kelly

While cleaning out the garage, I found an old wicker dresser that belonged to my grandmother. Unfortunately, when I opened the drawers, I saw droppings and could smell urine. I couldn’t see any active mice in the garage. Is it possible for me to effectively disinfect the wicker and the boards at the base of each drawer, or is the dresser a lost cause? For some reason I question my ability to clean wicker/particle board over something like glass or ceramics.

    InsectCop

    If you want to be very safe, you can try soaking them in something that has strong disinfectant properties. Though, avoiding bleach might be a good idea. Can’t guarantee the dresser will still be in a usable condition, but it’s worth a shot if tossing it is the only other option.
    However, you can also try leaving it out and open in direct sun for some time. The virus can’t live in such conditions for a long time. Other than that, you can also leave it be for about a week. As long as no new rodents get in contact with it, to not contaminate it once more. These measurements would most likely be enough.

Julie Hall

If you had mice in the pantry, I took out all the dishes, pans and appliances and washed withe soap and water….I took all the canned goods and unopened boxes and additionally wiped them off. Two ? Was that sufficient cleaning and how long before I should wait to put stuff back in the pantry. We had bait traps set for 6 days

    InsectCop

    We suggest waiting for a week or so. However, if you’ve disinfected the pantry, as well as everything else, you might as well put it all back now. If not, then a week should be enough for any possible virus to become ineffective.

Amy

I have wooden kitchen drawers with lots of mouse droppings and urine. It’s incredibly porous wood that soaked up a lot of urine. I know it’s nearly impossible to sanitize porous wood. Does enough time passing sanitize them, or do they need to be replaced?

    InsectCop

    Replacing them isn’t necessary if you really want to keep them. It would be great if you could take them somewhere outdoors, in direct sunlight. Either way, if you leave them alone for a week or two, the viruses should be dead by then. Just make sure mice have no further access to them.

Abi

Hi so I dropped a cap to my soda next to a mouse dropping and then I washed it with hot water and dish soap should I be fine since it’s plastic I can’t boil it

    InsectCop

    You should be fine. However, if you’re starting to develop any symptoms, check in with your doctor.

Cindy

I had mice in my cupboards, & drawers in the kitchen. I haven’t wanted to use them since. I can’t see well, so I’m kind of afraid of cleaning them myself. Can you give me directions as to what I need to clean them with? I’m going to put new liner down after washing them. There’s one down below my island that is to hard for me to reach. Who would I call to come clean the mouse droppings & urine for me? Thank you

    InsectCop

    You can either try disinfectant solutions, a bleach solution, or scrubbing the surfaces with dish soap carefully, depending on the materials your belongings have been made of. As for professionals, you can look into cleaning companies, to see which ones deal with disinfecting after rodents.

Timothy Black

What’s the best way to clean droppings from the drawer at the bottom of an oven? It’s made of metal, and bleach is not recommended.

    InsectCop

    You can either carefully wash it with soap, or look into some disinfectants that are metal-friendly.

Mandy Z.

Caught a mouse with a glue trap but not before it went crazy in my kitchen drawers.. In 30 years this is the first time it has happened. I threw out the towels but it did get into the utensil drawer. Should I just throw everything out? I can probably boil the metal but what about my items that r silicone, should I throw them out as well?It is December so no sun. Am going crazy. Please help. Thank you

    InsectCop

    Giving them a decent scrubbing with dish soap under hot water should be enough to kill the viruses.

Angela

Hello. I had a mouse in one of the base wooden cupboards in my kitchen chew up a good amount of paper recipe magazines and run across a few pots and pans. The cupboard has a long lengthy stretch, separated by wooden boards from the other cupboards. A few question: 1) How do I get the chewed paperwork and mouse droppings out of the cupboard and then clean it without infecting other parts of my kitchen (e.g. my stone floor)?
2) Can I sweep it out & throw away the broom afterwards?
3) Should I clean all of the cupboards even though the mouse droppings were found in only one?
4) I know I’ll throw away the paper magazines but, should I also get rid of the pots? And finally, 5) How long should I wait before I start using the cupboard after cleaning it? Thank You!

    InsectCop

    While you’re cleaning up, make sure to wear proper protective clothing, including your respiratory system to avoid inhaling the potential virus. If the cupboards have been disinfected properly, there is no need to wait before using them. We usually suggest waiting if there are parts that you haven’t been able to access, as the viruses will die naturally with time. Outdoors it takes about a week or so. As for cleaning the other cupboards, we suggest doing so. While they most likely are safe to you, there’s always a possibility mice have been in there as well, so it would be a good idea to clean it. There is no need to throw away your pots and pans, just make sure to clean them thoroughly. Dish soap, scrubbing sponge, and hot water usually does the thing.

Linda Faye Anderson

We just found concentrated mouse droppings on kitchen aide mixer parts. What is the best way to sterilize?

    InsectCop

    Careful scrubbing in hot water and dish soap should be fine. You can also look into disinfectants that can be used on the materials your mixer was made of.

Hal

If items (mostly childrens’ toys) have inadvertently brushed against a mouse poo without me realising and then been touched before being cleaned how likely are they to have been dangerous? Presumably direct contact with the poo or urine is considerably more risky than contact with something that touched it?!

    InsectCop

    If the mouse was infected, there’s a possibility of the virus having transferred.

Quincy

Hello!

A week ago, I found and caught a mouse in my closet.

I did clean my closet out by vacuuming and spraying disinfectant spray into it and the areas the droppings were seen (wiped the areas too with wipes = carpet).

However, as you’d expect, I have clothes in my closet. I sprayed my clothes with the disinfectant spray since on the bottle it days it works on clothes and kills 99% or bacteria/viruses ect.

The mouse has only been there for about 3 days before I caught it so:

1.) Do I need to do anything else to my closet space/clothes to ensure I’ve cleaned out my closet properly?

P.S. I’ve regularly checked and cleaned and sprayed that closet since then:

2.) but what else can I do? Do I leave the closet door open for ventilation?

Thanks. It’s a bit of a read, but I hope it’s enough info haha. It’s my first time dealing with a mouse so I’m new to all of this

    InsectCop

    Hi! If you’ve already cleaned and disinfected the closet and your clothes then you should be fine. Of course, ventilating the space would be suggested, for both the closet and the area it’s in. Not necessarily due to the mouse but rather to air out after the disinfectant.
    We also suggest washing the clothes if possible. Other than that, you should be good to go!

Amy

I have a muffin baking stone and stone loaf pan that were both in a mouse infested kitchen. Since these unglazed stoneware items can’t be washed with soap, and immersion in water is not recommended, I washed them with baking soda and vinegar and rinsed with hot water. Is this enough or should I bake them also? If so, what temp and for how long? I’d rather not set them outside, in case of birds or insects crawling on them.

    InsectCop

    It should be enough for you to be safe.

mary heiligman

I have a pest control company that comes every 90 days and sprays my
house and outside 6 feet around the house. also had a problem with mice getting in the house thru the dryer vent hose, a few weeks ago there was
a terrible strong order in my laundry room and I knew a mouse must have died and my son and I pulled out both the washer and dryer and never found anything. Do I have to be worried about the mouse getting into my washing machine or dryer and what should I do to make sure that it is safe to wash and dry my clothes ?

    InsectCop

    If you’re concerned that there might be a dead mouse in your washing mashing or your dryer, you should get a professional to inspect the insides of it. If a mouse is found, make sure to clean it properly, following the safety measures.

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