Rat Feces Cleanup: What You Need to Know

One of the most frustrating, destructive, and potentially dangerous that can happen to you is to experience a rat infestation in your home or business. During and in the aftermath of a rat infestation you face the need to undertake rat feces cleanup. You need to understand what is involved in thoroughly and safely cleaning up rat droppings in your home or business.

The Inherent Dangers of Rat Feces

Rat feces can be dangerous. Before diving into a discussion of the cleaning process, understanding the inherent dangers associated with rat droppings is crucial.

Rat droppings can contain bacteria and viruses, including pathogens that can infect humans and result in serious disease. Examples of pathogens that can be present in rat dropping include salmonella, a type of bacteria, and hantavirus, a type of bacteria.

The hantavirus provides a useful illustration of the dangers presented by rat feces. This virus is capable of surviving in rat feces for an extended period of time, even after the droppings dry out.

When rat droppings dry they crumble very easily. This causes dust to become airborne. If the dust contained the hantavirus, a person can breathe it in and become infected by the virus.

The manner in which dry droppings can crumble causing dangerous germs to become airborne underscores the need to follow specific procedures when cleaning up rat feces. In other words, you cannot just walk into a contaminated space with a broom or vacuum and expect to safely clean up the debris.

Cordon Off the Impacted Area

The first step in eradicating rat feces from a home or business is to cordon off the area and keep others out of the area. No one should be permitted to enter a contaminated area without wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (which is discussed in a moment).

The reality is that when it comes to a rat infestation, an entire residence or business might be considered to be the contaminated area. Rats might have defecated in the HVAC system ductwork. This can result in droppings drying in the ducts, which can end up crumbling and germ-laden dust being spread throughout a residence or business via the HVAC system.

Wear Proper Personal Protective Equipment

Before commencing the cleanup process, you need to be sure to wear proper personal protective equipment. This includes:

  • The respirator of HEPA mask
  • Gloves
  • Protective eyewear
  • Smock or uniform (a disposable Tyvek suit is recommended, which is available at Amazon)

You need to make certain that this gear specifically is designed for biohazard cleanup. Not all fear of this nature is designed to be used when a person is going to have contact with potential biohazards like rat droppings.

Comprehensive Rat Feces Cleanup

Whenever possible, fully ventilate the space to be cleaned before work commences. Open doors and windows for at least 30 minutes to air out the space. Leave the area when it is being aired out in preparation for rat feces cleanup.

As mentioned, dry rat feces have the potential for becoming airborne. Thus, to protect against this from happening, spray rat droppings, dried urine, nests, and other waste. You need to spray this waste with a mixture of bleach and water or other commercial disinfectants. The recommended disinfectant is Odoban Disinfectant, which is available at Home Depot.

You must never just vacuum up or sweep away rat feces. This results in dried droppings becoming airborne, potentially spreading disease.

If you are going to make your own disinfectant mixture, you need to blend one-part chlorine bleach with nine parts water. Fully saturate the droppings or other waste with the chlorine mixture and water or the disinfectant. Allow it to soak for about 20 minutes.

Use a paper towel or disposable rag to remove droppings and other waste. Throw these materials into a garbage bag, which is then sealed. Ideally, this waste is placed into an appropriate biohazardous waste receptacle. You need to confirm whether or not this type of waste can be disposed of in your normal garbage can. Some jurisdictions have specific rules about how this type of waste can be discarded.

Once the actual waste is removed, anything in which the feces and other debris was found should be thoroughly cleaned or scrubbed. This includes objects that might have been contaminated by rats.

When the feces and other waste removal and associated cleaning process are completed, the area and any contaminated objects in it needs to be sanitized. You can use the same type of disinfectant employed at the outset on many surfaces and objects. Carpeting and upholstered furniture can be shampooed or steam cleaned.

Professional Rat Feces Cleanup

The importance of safely and thoroughly cleaning up rat feces (and other associated waste) cannot be emphasized enough. The serious health issues that can arise if rat feces are not safely and thoroughly eliminated are truly significant. Consequently, many people engage the services of an experienced rat feces cleanup company to address this type of issue. A reputable biohazard remediation specialist will provide an estimate of costs involved in a rat feces cleanup so that you can make an educated decision about the process.