If you are like many people, you are repulsed by the idea of a rat infestation in your home. You probably have two primary issues on your mind. First, you want to get rid of rats and prevent them from returning to your home. Second, you want to know what the best way is to clean up rat droppings.
If you are also like many people, you may not fully understand how truly dangerous rat droppings potentially can be. Indeed, rat droppings, urine, and saliva – fresh and in dried form – can present serious and even fatal health risks. For this reason, there are specific protocols that you must follow to clean up rat droppings. You cannot simply go to the location of rat droppings in or around your residence with a broom and hopes of safely sweeping feces away.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide detailed information about the proper procedures, supplies, and equipment needed to safely and thoroughly clean up rat droppings, urine, and saliva. Before diving into the proper protocol associated with rat droppings clean up, you need to keep this cautionary note in mind, a warning that is so important that it is repeated at the end of this informational statement as well.
Because rat droppings can contain highly dangerous biological pathogens, you expose yourself to a significant risk of infection if you elect to clean up rat feces, urine, and salvia on your own. In addition, if you do not properly eradicate rat droppings and their associated pathogens, others may be exposed to dangerous viruses or bacteria after you believe you’ve completed the cleanup process. For these reasons, you best protect your health, and the welfare of other people, by engaging the services of a professional rat droppings cleanup specialist.
Eliminate Active Rat Infestation
Before commencing the actual clean up of rat droppings, you must first eliminate the infestation in your home. This involves trapping rats and sealing up entryways to be certain that no additional rats can invade your space.
You need to continue the trapping process for about a week. If no more rats are captured at that juncture, you can be fairly certain that all rats have been eliminated from your property.
Air out Space to Be Cleaned
The first stage in the cleanup process is the ventilation of the space in which rat droppings are located. The space should be aired out from at least 30 minutes. Cross ventilation is the most effective method to aid out the area in which rat droppings are found.
The airing out process is vital to attempt to eliminate as much airborne rat feces, urine, and saliva dust that may have become airborne. When rat feces, urine, and saliva dry, this material does turn to dust, part of which can become airborne. Keep in mind that rat feces crumble and turn to dust very easily when they dry.
Proper Personal Protective Equipment
You must wear comprehensive personal protective equipment if you intend to clean up rat droppings on your own. This includes:
- Shoe coverings
An appropriate ventilator is particularly important to protect against inhalation of rat droppings dust, material that can contain biohazardous material. In addition, if possible, you should use disposable gloves, smock, shoe covers, and even goggles. It is far better to appropriately dispose of these items after use in a suitable, approved biohazard container.
Remove Rat Droppings, Urine, and Saliva
The first step in physically removing rat droppings and urine is soaking them with disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water. There are commercial disinfectants on the market. The bleach and water mixture should be comprised of 1-part bleach to 10-parts water. Rat droppings and urine should be allowed to soak for five minutes.
After the time period lapses, feces, urine, and saliva can be cleaned up using paper towels, according to the CDC. The CDC advises that the towels with remnants of feces, urine, and saliva can be thrown in the garbage. In order to err on the side of caution, some suggest this waste should be deposited into a proper hazardous waste container.
Disinfection of Area
Once the removal of rat droppings, urine, and saliva is completed, the space in which the clean up occurred must be disinfected. The same commercial product or bleach and water mixture can be used for this purpose. Floors, countertops, and other surfaces need to be disinfected in this manner.
Carpet and furniture in the space need to be steam cleaned or shampooed. Bedding and similar items need to be laundered in hot water as well.
Personal Clean Up
Remove and dispose of personal protective equipment. Thoroughly wash your hands and upper arms with soap and water. If for some reason soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.