A recurring problem throughout Southern California (as well as other locales in the U.S.A.) is rodent infestations in garages. Once a rodent infestation is addressed and mice or rats have been eliminated, a homeowner or renter is next faced with the issue of rat droppings cleanup and the elimination of other waste left behind as a result of mice or rats living in a garage. If you find yourself in such a position, you must understand what you need to do to safely and thoroughly eliminate rodent droppings and associated waste from your garage. This includes considering the advisability to undertaking rodent dropping cleaning on your own or hiring a biohazard remediation service to tend to mice or rat dropping cleanup for you.
Inherent Dangers of Rodent Droppings
Before diving into the specifics associated with rodent dropping cleanup in your garage, you need to understand the inherent health dangers associated with theses types of feces. Mouse and rat droppings can contain what technically are known as dangerous pathogens. Pathogens include viruses and bacteria that are capable of causing diseases in humans, including serious and even fatal conditions.
Viruses and bacteria contained in rodent droppings can be passed to humans who have direct contact with these feces. In addition, it is possible for germs contained in rodent droppings to become airborne and infect a person who breathes in dust from these feces.
Rodent droppings become very brittle and crumble easily when they dry out. A virus like the hantavirus is capable of living in dried droppings for what can prove to be an extended period of time. When dried feces contaminated in this manner crumble, droppings dust containing the virus becomes airborne. A person can become infected with the virus if the dust is breathed in.
When rodent droppings cleanup is undertaken, safety considerations must be and remain a paramount concern. This issue is discussed with an eye to keeping you safe when cleaning rodent droppings in your garage.
Safety and Rodent Dropping Cleanup
The potential inherent dangers associated with rodent droppings truly cannot be overstated. You must approach rodent dropping cleanup in the same manner that you would any other type of biohazard. A biohazard is a biological substance that presents a risk to human health and wellness. Viruses and bacteria – found in rodent droppings – are examples of biohazards.
The cleaning process must begin by making certain that you utilized appropriate personal protective equipment. When it comes to remediating a situation in you garage involving rodent droppings, your personal protective equipment needs to include:
- HEPA mask or respirator
- Smock or uniform
The personal protective equipment that you utilize for rodent dropping cleanup in your garage must be rated for a situation involving biohazardous material.
Steps of Rodent Dropping Cleaning
The first step in garage rodent dropping cleanup is to air out the space to dissipate any feces dust that previously may have become airborne. What you do not want to do, however, is permit an unnecessarily strong breeze to unduly disturb settled droppings dust and cause it to become airborne.
Airing out a garage serves another purpose as well. When rodents infest a garage and when they are eradicated from a space, the possibility exists that dead rodent remains may have been left behind. The airing out process works to eliminate what potentially can be foul stench permeating the space.
Many people wrongly assume that rodent dropping cleanup means breaking out a vacuum or broom and dustpan and going to work. Unfortunately, this is the course that some people do take – and when they do, they put their lives and the lives of others at risk.
The first step in the actual rodent cleaning process in a garage is to saturate the feces with a sanitizing agent. This prevents dried feces from becoming airborne. This step also kills viruses or bacteria that might be present in the droppings. There are commercial products that you can use for this purpose, available from stores like Home Depot.
You can also create your own solution. You can make your own rodent droppings sanitizing solution by combining 1-part chlorine bleach with 9-parts water.
Place the solution in a spray bottle and saturate the rodent droppings that have been left behind in your garage. Allow the saturated droppings to sit for about 20 minutes, after which you can begin to clean them up. You can use rags or paper towels to accomplish this task. Place the droppings and towels used in the cleanup in a durable plastic bag. You might want to consider double bagging this waste and debris. You need to confirm that this type of waste can be disposed of in your community through “regular” household trash pickup at your residence.
Once this process is completed, you will want to spray the contaminated areas one more time with the sanitizing solution. This is doe to make certain that any viruses or bacteria that may have been present are killed.
There will be other waste that likely will need to be cleaned up as well. This is likely to include rodent nests and potential rodent cadavers. You need to make sure you wear appropriate personal protective equipment for cleaning up these items as well. Spraying these items with the sanitizing solution (like you did with the droppings themselves) is recommended. This particularly is the case for rodent nests because they likely will contain droppings, including dried feces.
Due to the serious challenges associated with safely and effectively undertaking rodent dropping cleanup in a garage in a complete manner, engaging the assistance of a professional is recommended. A skilled, experienced rodent dropping cleanup company can ensure that your garage is restored to a safe, clean, fully usable condition.