Mice can be a nuisance from the word go. They’ll chew up your sunday best, puncture electric wires, and sometimes contaminate your food. It doesn’t end there, and that’s why we all find it tempting to settle for mice traps whenever we can.
And fortunately, mouse traps do an excellent job of getting rid of the little pests. One thing, though; these snares won’t help you eliminate the mess that pesky mice leave behind, specifically, the droppings. You still have to find a way to handle those, often raising the question; can you vacuum mouse poop?
And yes, I did some research and a bit of consultation here and there to get to the bottom of this pressing question. So, if you’re wondering whether you can use your trusty vacuum cleaner to take care of those tiny turds, read on!
Can You Vacuum Mouse Poop?
Unfortunately, you shouldn’t vacuum mouse poop. Vacuuming mouse poop can break it up and release fumes that may contain dangerous viruses like hantavirus. If you come into contact with these fumes, you could become seriously ill.
The vacuum cleaner has revolutionized how we do our cleaning. It has brought a whole lot of convenience in dealing with mess around the home. I mean, whether it’s crumbs on the floor or pet hair on the couch, a quick run with the vacuum cleaner does the trick.
Vacuuming, however, is not always the best solution. Just like you wouldn’t vacuum up broken glass, some things are better left untouched by the vacuum cleaner. And mouse poop is one of them.
While vacuuming mouse poop won’t cause any harm to the machine, doing so is simply putting your health at stake. When you suck up those tiny droppings, you’re stirring up all sorts of dangers.
Is It Safe To Vacuum Rat And Mouse Droppings?
Unfortunately, it isn’t safe to vacuum rat and mouse droppings. Rats and mice droppings can cause several severe respiratory issues when vacuumed, so it’s best to avoid it. Instead, use alternative cleaning methods that won’t risk your well-being.
So, how about sweeping the mess? Well, perhaps you’re asking. But again, it’s neither a safe way to handle rat or mouse droppings. Just like vacuuming, sweeping these droppings can release small virus-carrying particles into the air. As such, also avoid using a broom for this job!
So, what’s the best way to deal with mouse poop, then? Well, we’ll share the safe way to handle rat and mouse droppings later. For now, let’s first understand the repercussions of using a vacuum cleaner for the chore.
What Happens If I Vacuum Mouse Droppings?
What happens when you vacuum mouse dropping is that the mess will end up in the vacuum bag or canister, just like when cleaning regular debris. The impact created by the vacuum will also break up the feces, which can release dangerous viruses into the air if the mouse is carrying any.
Mice may look small, but they can carry fatalistic diseases. And more often, these diseases are zoonotic – or zoonoses – meaning that they can be transmitted from animals to humans. Usually, transmission is by contact with the infected animal’s urine, feces, or saliva.
But in some cases, people can get these diseases just by inhaling dust contaminated with an infected animal’s urine, feces, or saliva. This is what can happen if you vacuum mouse droppings.
When you suck up the mouse poop with the vacuum, tiny particles of the “dust” may sneak back into the air. If the mouse was carrying a disease, these particles could contain the virus that causes it. And when you inhale these particles, you may end up getting sick.
Can You Get Sick From Vacuuming Mouse Droppings?
Yes, you can get sick from vacuuming mouse droppings. The danger lies in the potential viruses that the mice may be carrying. When you vacuum the droppings, you’re simply stirring up these viruses and risk inhaling them.
Mice have a variety of diseases that you can easily contract with just a single “breath-in”. And as we’ve already put forth, some of these diseases are lethal and could put you in a hospital bed. That’s why you shouldn’t take it lightly when cleaning up mouse poop.
Let’s take a look at each of these illnesses;
1. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)
HPS is caused by a virus usually found in the droppings of mice. It’s highly fatal, with research showing that 36% of the reported HPS cases have resulted in death! Yes, it’s that deadly!
When you inhale the virus, it’ll first attack your lungs and then eventually spread to other organs in your body. The symptoms of HPS will appear between 1 to 5 weeks after exposure to the virus and may include;
- Muscle aches
- Abdominal pain
- Coughing (which can progress to severe respiratory distress)
If you think you have HPS, seek medical help immediately. There’s no specific cure for the disease, but early diagnosis and treatment can improve your chances of survival.
Leptospirosis is another disease that you can get from contact with mouse droppings. It’s caused by bacteria found in infected animals’ urine and can be passed on to humans through contact with contaminated water or soil.
3. Rat-bite fever
The bacteria that causes rat-bite fever is usually found in the saliva of infected rodents. And as you can guess from the name, you can get this disease from being bitten by an infected rat or rodent. However, you can also get a rat-bite fever from scratch from an infected rat or contact with contaminated food, water, or objects.
Salmonellosis contraction usually occurs through ingesting water and food contaminated by infected urine, feces, or nesting materials. The bacteria can be found in many different animals but is most commonly linked to rodents like rats and mice.
5. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV)
This disease is caused by a virus transmitted from rodents to humans. You can get LCMV from contact with infected urine, droppings, or the saliva of rodents. The virus can also be transmitted through a bite from an infected rodent or when an infected animal’s urine, droppings, or saliva is introduced directly onto broken skin.
These are just some diseases you can get from exposure to mouse droppings. As you can see, they’re all severe and could even be fatal. That’s why it’s essential to take precautions when cleaning up mouse poop and to always seek medical help if you suspect that you might have picked up any of these conditions.
How Long Do Mouse Droppings Remain Infectious?
Mouse droppings containing hantavirus can remain infectious for 2 to 3 days on average at room temperature. Usually, the duration of the infectiousness is reduced with exposure to sunlight, while cold temperatures will lengthen it.
But even after these days have passed, you should still handle mouse droppings with care. There could still be other disease-carrying viruses or bacteria present in the urine, feces, corpse, or nesting materials.
Can You Vacuum Mouse Droppings With a HEPA Filter?
You can use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to vacuum up mouse droppings. HEPA filters, unlike other kinds of filters, trap very small particles, like those found in mouse droppings. This will help to keep any airborne particles contained and prevent them from spreading.
Different types of filters have varying capabilities when it comes to trapping particles. The smaller the particle, the more difficult it is to trap. But with a HEPA filter, you can trap even the tiniest particles.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), HEPA filters can trap 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. That tells you it will capture even the most penetrating particle size (MPPS), including most viruses and all bacteria.
But again, note that in the case of viruses, we’ve used the word “most”. Viruses can be as small as 0.02 microns. That’s to say; a HEPA filter can’t completely eliminate the risk of infection. There’s always a possibility that some particles might slip through.
That’s why I encourage you to forget the whole idea of using a vacuum cleaner for the chore. Instead, opt for other safe methods of dealing with the mess left by a mouse or rat infestation.
And with that said, let’s get to the cleaning part.
How To Clean Up Mouse Poop on Carpet?
You can clean up mouse poop on the carpet using bleach or any other effective disinfectant and paper towels. Bleach will disinfect the poop of harmful bacteria or viruses, while paper towels provide an effective and convenient way to wipe away the mess.
Cleaning up mouse poop on the carpet doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s an easy step that you can perform with what you already have in your home.
Here’s what you need;
- Bleach solution
- Paper towels
- Spray bottle
Step 1: Aerate The Room
Open the windows and doors to ventilate the room. This will allow fresh air to circulate and help get rid of any bad odors. You can do this 30 minutes prior, so by the time you’re ready to clean, the room will be well-ventilated.
Step 2: Put On Gloves
You don’t want mouse droppings coming into contact with your skin. So, you should put on gloves before you start cleaning. And here, work with latex or rubber gloves. They provide the best protection.
Step 3: Spray The Droppings With Bleach Solution
Use a spray bottle to soak the mouse droppings with bleach solution thoroughly. You can make your own bleach solution by mixing one part bleach with nine parts water. If you don’t have bleach, any other effective disinfectant will do.
Step 4: Wait For 5 Minutes
After spraying the mouse droppings with a bleach solution, wait for five minutes to allow the solution to work its magic. This will help to kill any harmful bacteria or viruses that might be present.
Step 5: Wipe Away The Mess With Paper Towel
After five minutes, use a paper towel to wipe away the mouse droppings. Be sure to dispose of the paper towel in a plastic bag and seal it before throwing it away. You should put the plastic bag in a trash can that’s frequently emptied.
Step 6: Disinfect The Surface
Once you’ve removed the mouse droppings, disinfect the surface. Disinfecting will help to prevent the spread of any harmful bacteria or viruses. You can use a bleach solution or any other effective disinfectant.
Step 7: Wash Your Hands
Before removing your gloves, wash your hands with warm water and soap. You don’t want to come into contact with any traces of mouse droppings. So, take time and wash your hands with warm water and detergent.
Step 8: Remove Your Gloves
After washing your hands, you can remove your gloves. And be sure to rewash your hands with warm water and soap. If you don’t have soap, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It will work just as fine.
And that’s it – you’re done!
Vacuuming or sweeping mouse droppings or nesting materials can land you in the hospital with Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, a deadly disease with no known cure. That’s just one of the many diseases that mice and rats can transmit through their feces.
So, you should avoid using a vacuum cleaner altogether. Instead, follow the above procedure to clean up mouse poop on the carpet safely and effectively. And as usual, if you have a lot of mess to handle, you can always contact professional cleaners for help.