A mouse infestation in your home can cause damage in a number of different ways. Mice can cause physical damage to the premises. In addition, a mice infestation will result in droppings left in various locations throughout the residence. What many people do not realize is that mouse droppings can end up contaminating fabric of different types in your home, including your clothing. As a result, you will want to have a basic understanding of how to safely and effectively clean mouse droppings from fabric.
Mouse Droppings Are Hazardous to Your Health
You need to understand that mouse droppings are not only “gross,” but they present a health hazard. This definitely includes mouse droppings that end up on clothing items.
If you discover mouse droppings on your clothing, odds are strong that they may include older droppings that have dried. You must not make the mistake that dried mouse droppings are somehow safe.
The fact is that mouse droppings can harbor dangerous pathogens including viruses and bacteria. There are pathogens that can remain viable (or alive) in dried rat droppings for an extended period of time. An example is the hantavirus.
What makes rat droppings particularly dangerous in fabric is that dried feces can crumble very easily. When they crumble, droppings dust can become airborne – carrying hantavirus along with it. This dust containing the virus can end up being inhaled, resulting in you or someone else being infected with the hantavirus.
Cleaning Mouse Droppings from Fabric
Mouse droppings can be cleaned from fabric safely and thoroughly, provided a person utilizes proper equipment as well as cleaning and sanitization agents. You can return fabric, including garments, to their original state.
Underscoring the very real danger that can be associated with fabric contaminated with mouse droppings, you must take appropriate safety precautions in advance of starting the cleaning process. This includes using appropriate personal protective equipment designed for biohazard cleaning. This equipment needs to include, at a minimum:
- Protective eyewear
- Apron, smock, or other clothing covering
- Mask or respirator
Yes, this may seem like a great deal to utilize when you are “just cleaning up rat droppings.” But, as has been explained, the dangers associated with rat droppings are very real and must never be minimized.
An important piece of equipment that you must use to clean mouse droppings from fabric is what is known as a high-efficiency particle arresting vacuum. This type of equipment is more commonly known as a HEPA vacuum.
A HEPA vacuum has high-efficiency filters that keep bacteria and virus particles associated with mouse droppings from getting into the air you are breathing. (Of course, as was set forth a moment ago, before you begin this process, you need to don the personal protective equipment delineated for you.)
Once the mouse dropping debris is removed with a HEPA vacuum, you need to wash the garment or other fabric to remove any residual feces as well as urine that is likely embedded in the material. The key to washing is using the hottest water the fabric can sustain as well as using chlorine bleach in the process (again, as the fabric permits).
Professional Mouse Dropping Cleanup
Although cleaning up mouse droppings on fabric is doable, in the end, you want to be certain that the job is thoroughly and safely done. Additionally, you may be like many people and have had a considerable number of garments contaminated with mouse droppings and urine. This happens when people have stowed apparel away for the season in an out of the way place in a residence. The reality is that locations in your home that are off the beaten path are not only convenient places to store items, they are also attractive to mice.
If you have multiple clothing items that have been contaminated with droppings and urine, you definitely want to consider hiring a professional mouse dropping cleaning specialist. A professional will use a three-part process to fully eradicate mouse droppings and urine from fabric. This process includes:
- Thorough cleaning
The cleaning phase is designed to ensure that droppings and urine themselves are eliminated from fabric. In addition, during the process of cleaning droppings and urine from fabric, a professional remediator will utilize specialized sanitization agents. These agents are designed to kill pathogens that can harbor in droppings (and urine). This includes bacteria and viruses, including salmonella and the hantavirus.
The final phase of a professional cleaning process is deodorization. The reality is that mouse urine can leave a foul stench in fabric. The odor oftentimes can only be fully eradicated through the use of commercial grade deodorizing agents.
The ultimate objective of professional mouse dropping cleaning is to restore garments and other fabric to a completely usable condition. Any trace of the contamination is eliminated.