Perhaps no other space in your residence is more overlooked than your attic. If you are like the majority of people in Southern California and across the United States, you pay no never mind to your attic except on those rare occasions when you haul something up to that space to store. The reality is that the health and wellbeing of you and your loved ones depends upon keeping your attic clean and in a safe condition. You need to ensure that your attic undergoes a comprehensive cleaning to eliminate harmful substances that can imperil the health of people who live in your home.
Dangers That Lurk in Attics
Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to the potential dangers that lurk in attics. A typical attic that isn’t subjected to rigorous, regular cleaning can harbor a myriad of different types of dangerous substances. These include:
- Rodent droppings
Because of the way in which HVAC systems are structured in a typical residence, those dangerous substances referenced here don’t lurk isolated in an attic for very long. In fact, mold, dust, dander, and dried rodent dropping dust ends up gusted throughout a residence via HVAC and ventilation systems. Simply, you and your family end up inhaling these hazardous substances, imperiling your health and that of your loved ones in the process.
Special Focus on Rodents and Their Hazardous Droppings
Certainly, a mold accumulation and dust issues in an attic can cause problems throughout a residence. These types of contaminants in an attic can result in health issues or aggravate existing ones. For example, if a person in your home suffers from some type of lung condition, the presence of mold or dust accumulating in an attic can aggravate such an issue. Asthma is a prime example of a respiratory condition that can be aggravated – and sometimes significantly so – by the presence of mold or accumulating dust in an attic.
When it comes to attic cleaning, special focus necessarily needs to be placed on contamination caused by hazardous rodent droppings. Rodent droppings have the propensity to carry bacteria and viruses that are capable of causing serious diseases or conditions in residents of your home. For example, rodent droppings can carry salmonella. In addition, they can be infected by the hantavirus. There are other pathogens that are found in rodent feces.
The list of rodent species that are known to carry hantavirus has expended in the past year. For a number of years, only the deer mouse was specifically identified as being a carrier of hantavirus. As of the end of 2019, that list now also includes:
- Cotton rat
- Rice rat
- White-footed mouse
An important caveat needs to be made. These are species of rodents that definitely have the capacity for carrying hantavirus. The fact is that there are likely other species of rodents carrying the virus at this time. No case of transmission to a human from some of these other species of mice or rats has yet been linked. Scientifically speaking, there is likely no species of mouse or rat that would be incapable of carrying hantavirus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Steps to Comprehensive Attic Cleaning
Comprehensive attic cleaning is a multifaceted process that commences with the removal of contaminants like mold or rodent droppings. Both of these types of potentially hazardous items are first saturated with an appropriate agent to prevent the release of spores when mold is removed or dried feces dust when the target of a cleanup is rodent droppings. By saturating these types of contaminants before removal, spreading potential biohazards is reduced considerably if not eliminated altogether.
Turning to rodent droppings as the example of a potentially hazardous material necessitating attic cleanup, there are commercial solutions available in stores like Home Depot. You can also formulate your own sanitizing solution by mixing 1-part chlorine bleach with 9-parts water. Rat droppings are saturated with the solution, which is allowed to remain in place for about 20 minutes before the waste is physically removed.
Once rodent droppings have been physically removed and placed in a durable plastic bag for disposal, a second application of the sanitization solution is used on contaminated areas. With this application, the sanitization agent usually is left to dry.
The next phase of comprehensive attic cleanup is likely to be deodorization. A rat infestation is likely to result in odor issues because of droppings, urine, and the remains of dead mice or rats. If the issue is mold, unpleasant odors may also be present. The deodorization phase is apt to necessitate the use of a commercial grade product.
Benefits of Hiring an Attic Cleaning Professional
Due to the inherent complexities associated with comprehensive attic cleaning (including safety considerations as well as the need for specialized equipment and products), homeowners and others with attic cleaning issues typically are wise to hire a professional. A reputable attic cleaning company has the full spectrum of resources, coupled with vital experience, to accomplish this type of cleanup and remediation in timely, effective, and safe manner.