Mouse poop is gross. There is nothing worse than looking under a kitchen appliance, in the back of a cupboard, or under a long-forgotten item, to find mouse droppings. We all know that mice are everywhere and that at some time or other, they have probably been in our home, but the actual sight of the poop makes it real.
If you have mice living in your home or mice are using your home as a food source, then there will probably be mouse poop lurking somewhere. The first thing you need to do is to get rid of the source (the mice) and then get rid of the droppings. Mouse feces can harbor all kinds of bacteria, so special attention should be taken to dispose of it all and clean up when you are done.
Identifying Mouse Droppings
Most of the time, you will know that there is a mouse in your house when you see some droppings. Mice are shy and cautious creatures. They generally come out at night, and if there is any noise, they will stay away. You may hear mice behind and under appliances and cupboards, but it is more likely you will spot mouse droppings before you spot a mouse.
Mice need to eat a lot of food to survive. A typical mouse needs to eat more than its body weight each day just to stay alive. An animal which eats so much needs to defecate a lot. A mouse can produce between 50-75 dropping a day. If you have even one mouse in your house, that means a lot of droppings. Mouse droppings are small and pellet shaped. They are dark in color. They are 1/4 in length (approximately), and they are pointed at each end. If you find some droppings in your house and they match this description, then you more than likely have a mouse.
There are other ways to identify if you have a mouse in your house, so you should not base your conclusion on the mouse droppings alone (or lack of droppings). You may hear mice scuttling in dark corners or by walls. You may find gnaw marks in food items, and you may notice for missing. Mice also like to gnaw on wires, wood, and bags. They also like to shred paper for their nests. If you have any of these indicators in your house, then you should be ready to get rid of the pests and clean up any droppings after you do so.
Eliminating the Source
The best way to get rid of mouse droppings is to eliminate the source. There are some things you can do to get rid of mice once they are in your home, and there are also preventative measures you can take to deter mice before they get into your home.
Mice are small creatures, but you would be amazed at just how small they can make themselves when they want to fit through a hole or a gap. Rodent proofing your home will deter mice from getting in and coming back. Mice can fit into a hole the size of a pencil. The best way to keep mice out is to fill any holes of this size and larger. You can do this from the outside and the inside. Fill any holes, cracks, gaps around utility lines, gaps around windows, and gaps under doors.
If a mouse has gained entry into your house, then you need to move to plan B. The classic wooden mouse traps are still the best defense against mice. They are used for a reason. The mechanism is simple, and it really works. Make sure to buy plenty of traps; they are inexpensive so they will not set you back too much money. Cheese is fine, but a mix of seeds and peanut butter is better. This mixture will stay on the trap longer, and the mouse will not be able to pull the bait off the trap. Check traps every day and dispose of the mice as needed.
You can also buy bait stations (or have a professional come in and place them for you). These traps are sealed and allow the mouse entry in, but not out. There are some humane traps which only trap the mouse, allowing you to release the mouse back out into the wild, while others have a poison which will kill the mouse. Use whichever you prefer, but make sure to check them daily.
It may sound like a cliché, bit cats really keep mice away. Invest in a cat from your local adoption shelter, and you may never have to think about dealing with the mice. Of course, you may have to deal with the droppings still.
Getting Rid of Mouse Droppings
We already talked about what mouse poop looks like, but does mouse poop smell? The answer, surprisingly, is no. For the amount of poop exerted by a mouse, the smell is negligible. On the other hand, mouse urine does smell. If you notice patches in your house which have an ammonia smell to them, then it is likely mouse urine.
There are some steps to take when you are getting rid of mouse poop, and there are some precautions to take. Mouse droppings can spread diseases, so you should never touch mouse droppings with your bare hands. You should also check the spots you clean for a few days after. If the droppings return, then you have not taken care of your mouse problem. Follow these simple steps to get rid of mouse droppings and clean any areas where mouse droppings were.
The first thing you need to do is to locate the mouse droppings. There will be some obvious areas, and the droppings will be highly visible. There may, however, be unseen areas of mouse droppings. Draw an imaginary path between the food source they are accessing and their points of entry. If in doubt, have a quick look under and inside anything you can. Once you have found all of the mouse poop, it is time to clean it up.
Before you don your protective equipment, you should air out the areas with mouse droppings for at least 30 minutes. This will help to get rid of any bacterial particles in the air and make it less likely that anyone will get an infection.
Your safety is the No.1 priority, and while cleaning up mouse poop may seem like an easy task (and is an easy task), you should always wear protective equipment before tackling the task. Wear protective gloves made from vinyl, latex or rubber. Keep your arms covered as a precaution. Wear a face mask or a respirator. Wear safety glasses as an added precaution. It may sound (and look) silly, but a few minutes of preparation can save you a big headache later on.
Use a small brush and dustpan to sweep up the droppings. Once swept, dispose of the droppings in a bag, which you will then tie and place in a covered garbage bin. Clean your tools in the same bleach cleaner which you will use to disinfect the mouse dropping areas.
Make a disinfectant spray by mixing one part bleach to ten parts water. Spray the disinfectant on the exposed areas and leave to soak for five minutes. Use rags or disposable paper towels to wipe the areas clean, and then dispose of your materials and gloves in the garbage.
Remember always to wash your hands, even if they did not come into contact with any droppings. Some hot soapy water will provide a good barrier to any potential infections.
Check the cleaned areas over the next few days. If they remain dropping-free, then you know you have taken care of your problems. If you find more droppings, then follow the guide for ridding your home of mice, and repeat these steps to dispose of any further droppings.
If you find that you cannot get rid of the mice in your home, and you are constantly finding droppings, then it is time to call in the experts.
You may also want to clean up after mice in other ways too. There could be chewed cables which need replacing. Any food which a mouse has been in contact with could be spoiled and toxic. Discard any food which a mouse has gotten into or any food which has chewed packaging. Double check for entry points and fill them. You will also want to hold off on any vacuuming and sweeping you would like to do until the mouse dropping areas have been cleaned and sanitized. you do not want to spread any of the bacteria.
Health Risks of Mouse Poop
There are some real dangers which come with mice and mouse droppings if they are left untreated. Mice carry a lot of bacteria, disease, parasites, and viruses. These can all be harmful to humans and can be passed on through the mice themselves, through their droppings, and through their urine. Humans are at real risk of contracting lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) from mouse droppings. This occurs when you breathe in the dust which has been contaminated with mouse poop.
If you have LCM, you have a viral infection. Among many symptoms, you will experience a fever, headaches, nausea, and a lack of appetite. LCM is a neurological disease and will affect your brain if left untreated. Only 5% of mice carry this virus, but with the number of mice out there, and the number which can get into your home, the risk is very real.
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is also a serious danger when mice are in your house. This is another virus which is transferred through saliva, poop, and urine. If particles of mouse poop find their way into the air, you can breathe them in and contract this virus. HPS can be deadly.
At the beginning of the virus, a lot of people display flu-like symptoms. This can make it hard to identify. With HPS, your breathing will gradually become worse, and the lungs can fill with fluid, causing death. As this is a hard visor to spot early, the fatality rate for people who contact this virus is 50%. Symptoms can include tiredness, fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, and chills, among others. As the virus progresses, symptoms get worse and more extensive.
Thankfully the virus is uncommon, but the more you are exposed to mice and mouse droppings, the more at risk you put yourself. Even the healthiest person is in danger of contracting the disease. If you display any of the above symptoms, you should immediately consult a medical professional.
There is one main way you can remove mouse droppings from your house, and that is to remove the source; prevention is the best cure. If you can mouse-proof your home, then there is no chance of mouse poop appearing anywhere in your home. Fill any holes in your building. Keep bushes and shrubs around your home short so that mice do not have anywhere to hide. Keep all food products stored in sealed containers. Do not leave any food in your yard, which may attract mice to your home (this includes pet food). Dispose of your trash in a covered trash can.
Of course, you can do as much prevention in the world, only for a mouse to get in still. If this is the case, then work fast to get rid of the mice before they have time to excrete around your house. Buy traps and poison. Borrow a friend’s cat. Make sure there is not a food source.
If you do find mouse droppings in your home, then all is not lost. You can still get rid of the mice, and you have seen how easy it is to clean up the mouse droppings and sanitize any affected areas (you probably have all you need lying around your house). Remember always to be safe and protect yourself when it comes time to clean up. A few minutes of preparation can be the difference between getting sick and having a clean home.