Mouse droppings are one of those things that are really, truly awful to find in your home. It’s a telltale sign of a mouse loose in your house. Unfortunately, when there’s one mouse, there’s likely to be more.
If you find mouse droppings, you are probably going to have a problem with pests on your hands. Here’s our guide to handling mouse droppings and what you should do after spotting them.
What Does Mouse Dropping Look Like?
It’s very easy to conflate mouse droppings with rat droppings if you haven’t seen them either. Mouse droppings are small, dark, and are about the size of a grain of rice. Rat droppings are similar, but are between 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch long. That’s far larger than a mouse’s turd.
If you have ascertained that you have mouse droppings in your house, clean up the droppings safely and then start looking into pest control immediately. Mice are extremely dangerous to your home’s sanitation and can cause deadly diseases.
How to Clean Up Mouse Droppings?
The first thing you need to do is clean up the droppings, and this isn’t as easy as taking a broom and sweeping it away. Here’s how to do it:
1. Get protective gear
You will need rubber gloves, a mask, and protective eyewear for this. Mice carry several diseases that can be airborne through feces and urine, including Rat-Bite fever (hantavirus), leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, and salmonellosis.
You and your pets are at risk of these diseases if you have a mice infestation. Getting into contact with their droppings is a major risk. This is part of the reason why you need to sanitize the area ASAP. It could spell serious harm for you and your pets.
2. Open a window for 30 minutes
You need to ventilate the area to help get rid of any contaminated air particles near the droppings. If you have a vent nearby, now would be a good time to turn it on.
3. Disinfect and remove
This is going to be the hard part, let’s see how it process.
- You will need to use a commercial disinfectant or a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. You may want to make a few cups of this, since you’ll need a lot.
- Put the disinfectant in a spray bottle, and spray the entire area down.
- Grab a paper towel, pick up the feces, and then place the feces (and towel) in a plastic bag for disposal.
- Use additional paper towels to wipe down the area.
- Remove the soiled towels in the plastic bag by tying them up and putting them in a garbage can.
- If you have carpets in your home, then you will need a disinfecting rug shampoo and a steam cleaner. Do not vacuum rat or mouse droppings.
- Remove what you can manually, and then spritz everything down with a disinfectant.
- And last, shampoo your rug.
PRO TIP – Always read the labels on the detergent you want to use (if you use it instead of bleach) to ensure that it won’t damage the wood or fibers in your carpet or cabinetry.
Why can’t you just sweep or pick up mouse droppings?
It’s simple: the viruses, parasites, and bacteria that come with mouse droppings are dangerous and can enter your lungs fairly quickly. In order to prevent getting seriously sick, you’ll need to exercise caution.
If you notice symptoms like headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, chills, muscle pain, dizziness, or diarrhea in you, your pets, or any of your family members, see a doctor immediately and mention the mouse infestation.
What should you do if you have reason to believe your pets came into contact with mice?
Check your pets for bite marks. If they have bite marks, you may need to clean the wound, quarantine them or even take them to the vet. Mice are not likely carriers of rabies, so you can usually watch them for 48 hours for signs of vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, or swelling.
Contact a vet if you have reason to believe the mouse ate poison or if the mouse transmitted an infection. If your pet starts acting strangely and is unable to keep down water during quarantine, call animal control immediately.
If you found mouse droppings in your home, does that mean you have mice?
In the vast majority of cases, finding mouse droppings in your home is a sign that you do have an infestation. You will need to assume this is the case. You may also find chewed up boxes, partially-eaten food, and more.
However, you generally do not need more signs to assume that a mouse is in your home. You need to treat it as such.
How to Get Rid of Mice in Your House?
Honestly, this is usually a matter where a professional exterminator may be the best choice for you. However, there are a couple of things you can do to tame a relatively small infestation:
1. Invest in a mouse trap or two
…Or three, or four, or however many you need to get the job done. The best traps will have poisons that kill them and prevent them from leaving the trap. However, if you don’t want to kill mice, you can also find “catch and release” traps.
You will need to check to see if the traps work every day or so, otherwise you might attract other pests when the mouse’s body starts to rot. Remove the filled traps (or just dump the mouse carcass in the trash.)
2. Seal up all food in glass, metal, or hard plastic containers
Mice will continue to stay in your home as long as food can be accessed by them. The easiest way to make mice disinterested is to store food in a way that they can’t access. Since they can chew through cardboard and weak plastic, you need to store food carefully.
It should also go without saying that you should remove your garbage on a daily basis. Do not let your mice burrow into your trash!
3. Seal off potential entry points
Mice will need to enter your home or find ways to get around your house. One of the easiest ways to stifle your mouse infestation is to cut off their ability to go in and out of the house at will.
Use caulk, sealant, or insulation foam to fill in cracks and crevices that mice could get in through. If you have doors, install door sweeps so they can’t get in. On a similar note, make sure that vents are covered with a metal mesh grate.
PRO TIP – You can often ask a professional exterminator to mouse-proof your home.
4. Start investing in scents that mice hate
Part of keeping mice out of your home is knowing how to make mice hate the smell of your home. Mice have strong senses of smell, so powerful smells will make them run. In particular, mice hate the following scents:
- Mint oil/peppermint oil
- Cayenne pepper
PRO TIP – It’s also worth noting that mice really do hate cats. Cats don’t even have to hunt mice for mice to avoid them. Cats emit an odor that naturally repulses rodents, triggering their “flight mode.” Maybe it’s time to adopt a cat?
5. Make your home’s yard less mouse-friendly
Finally, you will need to find a way to get other rodents to stay away from your house while you eradicate the issue inside. Otherwise, they may still find ways to sneak into your place regardless of how much sealing you try to do.
This is actually fairly easy to do. All you have to do is move the lawn, removing shrubs and crawling plants, and keep your yard tidy. If you have a lot of ivy or thick flower beds, try to move them away from your house or plant mint near the entry of your home.
If you are not ready to part with crawling ivy, that’s okay. The number one thing you should do is clear your yard of debris. That’s usually enough to fix the issue.
If you want to make sure that your home is safe from mice, clean up the droppings and urine with a highly effective disinfectant. Don’t sweep or vacuum it up, as this can release deadly bacteria.
Treat the droppings like toxic waste, because in reality, that’s what it is. Oh, and if you found droppings inside your home, it’s time to look up mouse eradication techniques. You have an infestation. (Sorry!)