What You Need to Know About Rodent Dropping Cleanup
A dreadful experience is having to deal with a rodent infestation in your home. These critters can cause considerable damage to your home in very little time. Indeed, rodents can cause damage that can have catastrophic consequences. For example, rodents will gnaw on things like electrical wires. A considerable percentage of home house fires are attributed to rodents destroying the protective coating on electrical wires.
Rodents also present a significant health risk. The health hazards presented by rodents lives on after an infestation is eradicated from your home. Dangerous pathogens are found in rodent droppings and other waste left in the wake of an infestation. As a result, you need to know the ins and outs – and very real health risks – associated with rodent dropping cleaning.
Rodent Droppings and Health Risks
Humans can catch a number of diseases from direct contact with infected rodents. In addition, there are diseases spread by flea that interact with rodents and then bite humans. Finally, there are disease that are transmitted to humans from infected rodent droppings. One of these diseases that merits attention is salmonella infection, commonly known as food poisoning and caused by bacteria in rodent feces. A second disease is called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, caused by a virus that can be found in rodent droppings.
Salmonella bacteria from rodent droppings typically is transferred to humans through food or beverages. A food or beverage item somehow becomes contaminated by rodent droppings, the food or beverage tainted by bacteria then being consumed by a human.
Hantavirus can be spread if a person makes direct contact with rodent droppings. Perhaps more significantly, hantavirus survives for an extended period of time, even in dried rat droppings. Dried droppings crumble very easily. When this occurs, dust from the feces can become airborne, carrying the hantavirus along with it. A person can inhale the dust, becoming infected with hantavirus in the process.
A salmonella infection can leave a person feeling terribly ill. Nonetheless, the vast majority of people recover from the infection and its symptoms within about a week’s time. A salmonella infection is rarely fatal
The same cannot be said of a hantavirus infection. If a person develops hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, that individual will become extremely ill. Odds are a person who develops the syndrome will end up on a ventilator in a critical care unit of a hospital. Over 30 percent of people who develop hantavirus pulmonary syndrome die. There is no cure or specific treatment for the syndrome. Medical professionals advise that those who do recover do so spontaneously.
Safety First: Must-Have Personal Protective Equipment
Because of the very real health hazards associated with rodent droppings, you cannot begin the process of cleaning up these feces without proper personal protective equipment. You also must follow the cleaning protocols set out for your consideration in a moment.
The personal protective equipment you must have before you begin rodent dropping cleanup includes:
- HEPA mask or respirator
- Smock, uniform, or other appropriate garment covering
- Protective eyewear
This equipment must be specifically designed and approved for use in biohazard cleanup. No one must be allowed access to an area contaminated with rodent droppings without first putting on this personal protective equipment.
Steps to Undertaking Rodent Dropping Cleanup on Your Own
Due to the nature of rodent droppings (including the fact that they dry, potentially including the airborne spread of disease), cleaning up these feces is not a matter of getting out a broom and dustpan or vacuum cleaner. This commences with preparing a sanitising solution or purchasing an appropriate one from a retailer vendor. One homemade solution option involves the use of chlorine bleach mixed with water. The solution ratio should be 1-part bleach to 9-parts water. Pest removal expert Sean Cannon notes that you can otherwise use professional grade sanitising agents which commonly are used for cleaning rodents, possums and other pests which can leave considering waste in your property.
As is the case when using a bleach solution, you need to take care to ensure that it will not damage a surface or item it is being used on. Thus, you will want to test it out on a surface or object before full application.
Using the sanitising solution, saturate rags or cloths with it. Taking these rags or cloths, gently place them on top of rodent droppings. Leave in place for about 20 minutes to ensure that dried droppings themselves have been saturated and to allow for at least some initial degree of sanitation of the area.
With rags, cloths, or towels, physically cleanup the rodent droppings, placing them (and ultimately the cleanup up material utilised) into a sturdy, durable plastic bag. Once the droppings generally have been removed in this manner, generously apply the sanitation agent to the surface or object once contaminated by dropping. Allow the sanitation agent to sit undisturbed for 15 to 20 minutes and then scrub the area. This ensures that any residual fecal matter and dried urine is eliminated and further works to sanitise the area or object.
The droppings and other waste placed in a durable bag should be placed into yet another bag. Double-bagging ensures that the waste does not become free. You need to check with local ordinances to ascertain if waste of this nature can be disposed of in the “normal” garbage pickup and elimination system.
If carpeting or items made of fabric have been contaminated by rodent droppings, steam cleaning is the advisable option. You will want to saturate dried droppings in a manner similar to what was described earlier. You may not be able to use a chlorine solution if it will damage the fabric. As noted, there are sanitising products available on the market that may serve the purpose and that won’t damage your carpeting or other items made of fabric.
Any area or object in your residence must be cleaned and sanitised. This fact points out inherent limitations on you attempting to clean up rodent droppings on your own.
Limitations on Taking on Rodent Dropping Cleanup on Your Own
Rodents have the ability to access areas of your residence that are not readily accessible to you. Mention has already been made of rodent droppings in HVAC ducts. Droppings can also be found in an array of extremely difficult places to access, including:
- Between walls
- Under floorboards
- Above drop or faux ceilings
- HVAC systems
- Crawl spaces
- Fireplaces and chimneys
Failing to fully eliminate rodent droppings in your residence potentially can expose your loved ones to an ongoing health risk, at least for a period of time. Oftentimes, a person dealing with the aftermath of a rodent infestation elects to engage the services of an experienced, professional rat droppings cleanup company.
Removing the Rodent Infestation
Cleaning up after rodents is only part of your problem, you also need to remove the infestation to ensure this doesn’t become a recurring issue for your home. To do this you will need to identify the type of pests in your property so you can use the correct remedy. Baiting stations, poison and non-lethal capture devices can be used depending on the type of rodent. Possum removal Expert Jack Townsend notes that you need to be careful with some types of rodents and pests such as Possums, which have legal requirements on how they can be removed from your property. He notes that generally your local council will be able to help you understand any requirements you will need to meet.
Benefits of Professional Rodent Dropping Cleanup
Yes, there is a cost attached to hiring a professional rodent dropping cleanup company. However, there are companies that charge a reasonable fee for this service. Moreover, by engaging a pro, you can rest easier knowing that potentially dangerous rodent droppings left behind in the wake of a rodent infestation are eliminated.
A professional rodent dropping cleanup company has access to cleaning and sanitation agents and equipment no necessarily available to the public at large. Such a specialist has the ability to access out of the way zones in your residence which require cleaning and sanitation.
Finally, in the aftermath of a rodent infestation, you are likely to face issues with odours that linger. These odours can be generated by rodent urine. In addition, it is possible (perhaps likely) that dead rodents remain somewhere in your residence. A biohazard cleanup specialist that deals with the aftermath of infestations has the capacity to not only remove the physical cause of these odours but can thoroughly eliminate any stench permeating the premises. In short, a professional rodent dropping cleanup company ensures that your home is returned to its original, fully livable, safe condition.