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.