Homeowners Cleaning Up Rodent Infestations Need to Take Precautions in Order to Prevent Spreading Diseases
Rodent infestations in homes are a serious problem. Even after all of the rats or mice are exterminated, the waste they leave behind can carry a range of diseases, including hantavirus, Leptospirosis, Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis, rat-bite fever and Salmonellosis. These viruses or bacterial infections are transmitted from rodents to humans through direct physical contact with live or dead animals, or through infected fluids like blood, saliva or urine.
Because of these and other potentially serious diseases, homeowners dealing with rodent contamination removal need to take extra precautions in order to ensure all areas are cleaned properly and illnesses are not spread to themselves or other household residents.
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Once the active rodent infestation is eliminated, homeowners should wait for at least one week before attempting to clean up any urine or feces. By then, any infectious viruses or bacteria in the waste and nesting areas should no longer be infectious.First, it’s a good idea to ventilate the space. Homeowners should keep doors and windows open for at least a half hour before starting and use cross-ventilation during the cleaning process. When starting to clean, it’s also important to avoid vacuuming or sweeping up feces, urine or nesting materials. This will stir up dust and spread contaminants through the house. Instead, use a paper towel to pick up the waste and throw it away in a sealed garbage bag. Wearing rubber, latex or vinyl gloves is another must. A dust mask can be worn to protect against inhaling dust, molds, and insulation fibers, but it will not protect against viruses.
The next step in rodent contamination removal is to spray the affected area with a disinfectant, and let it sit for at least five minutes. A solution of one part bleach to 10 parts of water works well. Mop floors and clean countertops, walls, etc. with the disinfectant. Any upholstered items should be steam cleaned with a commercial-grade cleaning agent, carpets need to be shampooed, and bedding or clothing should be washed in hot water and then dried on a high setting or left to dry in the sun.
If dead rodents or nests are found during the cleanup process, they should be sprayed with the disinfectant and left alone for five minutes. Handle the dead animals and nests using gloves and paper towel or rag. The bodies and materials should be placed in a plastic garbage bag and sealed well before being discarded in the trash.
Items that were in storage should be unpacked while wearing gloves in a sunlit, ventilated area. Hard surfaces – including plastic, glass or metal storage bins – can be cleaned with the liquid disinfectant. Cardboard boxes should be thrown away. Items like books and papers cannot be cleaned with a liquid disinfectant or laundered, so they can be left outside in direct sunlight for several hours in order to deactivate any viruses. After that, wear gloves and wipe down the items with a cloth dampened with disinfectant.
When the rodent contamination removal process is finished, remove gloves and wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
Rodent contamination removal is a very time intensive and difficult task. The cleanup may even require professional help, particularly if the infestation was extensive or if rodents contaminated the home’s insulation or ventilation systems. Likewise, a professional can help patch up any holes in siding, or around the foundation and pipes in order to prevent future infestations. In either case, rodent contamination removal isn’t just a matter of being clean and tidy – it can also be a matter of health, and should therefore be taken seriously.