General Question

capet's avatar

How to disinfect places where a mouse has been but HAS NOT POOPED?

Asked by capet (988points) 3 months ago
17 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

A mouse got into my cabinet. There are a few poops in there; I cleaned those up and cleaned the affected area with bleach solution.

I’m going to improve my food storage situation, catch the mice, and check closely for other areas where they have been. **But I have some more specific questions about how to clean up:**

1. There was a cloth in that cabinet that they may have touched or pooped on. **Is it enough to just put that cloth in the washing machine?** Or do I need to do something else?
2. I know where the mouse pooped (that cabinet), but they were likely in more areas beyond just that cabinet. There’s no poop anywhere else, but maybe they left pee? Viruses? I don’t know. **How should I clean those areas?** It’s a big area, and some of it is not very friendly to bleach. Is there some other chemical I can use? Do I even need to clean areas like this? Will the diseases and stuff just go away over time?

I’m in the US midwest, in an urban area but we get a lot of critters like raccoons and stuff coming around. I mention that in case it’s relevant to the regional diseases.

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smudges's avatar

I can’t answer your question, but I did find this which might help you in repelling them.

jca2's avatar

I am assuming the cabinet is wood, so therefore not that easy to bleach clean. I would wipe it all down inside, and then wipe it with an antibacterial solution or a bleach solution. Then I would put, on top of that, a plastic barrier, like a plastic sheet made for cabinets (cut to size). That way, if you have any future infestations, you can just take the plastic sheet and wash it with hot water and soap.

I would think putting any fabric that the mouse may have been on into the washing machine would be good enough, although if it’s totally covered with mouse poo or pee, I would just throw it out.

I have had mice in my house, too (I live in the country and from what I hear, mice are inevitable when you’re in the country). I try to keep my food in either plastic or glass containers (flour, sugar, rice, pasta, cereal,etc.). I have plugged up holes in the cabinets where the mice could get in with Brillo. Mice are very determined and will find even the smallest hole to enter and exit your home.

Lucky Guy has spoken extensively about this. I’m going to send this q to him.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Just do the best you can. If you’re not sure if something should be washer, then wash it.

janbb's avatar

Just clean the house well and don’t worry about bleaching everything
It’s not that big a deal.

seawulf575's avatar

Getting rid of the mice is the first step. If you don’t get rid of them cleaning up doesn’t do much good. Traps are quick and easy. Bait is effective as well but verify it desiccates the little buggers. If not, they can crawl into some unreachable spot and die. When they rot you will have to deal with the smell.

If you think you’ve gotten rid of them there are some things to consider:

1) yes they pee. Probably as much if not more than they poop. Usually seen as brownish/yellow drops or stains.

2) as was said, wood is porous. Pee and poop can get into any unpainted surfaces. I would first clean all surfaces with either bleach or ammonia (not both at the same time!!!). Let the cleaner sit for a minute or two before wiping it up. After this, consider either painting the inside of the cabinets or using something like shelf lining paper to block this wood from things that might be contaminated. But paper might be chewed on.

3) when in doubt, wash it or throw it out. Cloths can be laundered. Might want to put a little vinegar into the washing machine soap compartment for this washing. Helps sanitize.

4) inspect all food containers very well. Mice love to nibble into things like flour, nuts, rice, crackers, cookies, etc. I also discovered they love Lara Bars. Things in thicker plastic (peanut butter for instance) are probably okay, but should still be inspected. When in doubt, throw it out.

5) fire the cat.

RocketGuy's avatar

@seawulf575 – good tips! For laundry, use vinegar or color-safe bleach for colored fabrics; bleach for whites.
@capet – When you are wiping the cabinet you should wear an KN-95 mask to avoid breathing in “mouse dust”. That will reduce your risk of contracting mouse-borne diseases.

Dutchess_III's avatar

(Why am I not dead already??)

RocketGuy's avatar

You were lucky your mice were not carrying Hanta Virus. Hanta is more common in deserty areas. Several people died from mouse-borne Hanta from cabins in Yosemite several years ago.

capet's avatar

Thanks @seawulf575 ! Just for my own curiosity, what would you do if you had tought-to-clean items in the affected area, like board games or children’s books? I can’t really think of a good way to clean them, and my guess is that a lot of diseases would die on those surfaces after some period of time. Am I right about that? If not, is there a good way to clean them? Maybe leave them out in the sun?

Fortunately I don’t have anything like that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Just wipe them off @capet.

longgone's avatar

Maybe you could get a UV flashlight that’s specifically for urine detection. I hear that they pee wherever they go, pretty much. And yes, wear a mask.

SnipSnip's avatar

I would not use bleach as it may harm the finish on your cabinets as well as harm you if you use other products at the same time. Use an industrial sanitizing cleaner like those available at SamsClub or Costco. They are concentrated and you have to use about a 5 to 1 formula so you’ll need to buy a spray bottle. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS AND FOLLOW THEM. ALSO never use a used spray bottle when dealing with chemicals. They can stick around and don’t want to share their space.

seawulf575's avatar

@capet Things like that are a bit difficult to clean, not because they are porous but because it requires a lot of effort. The easy way to clean something like a board game is to open the board, pull out all the pieces, spray the whole thing down with something like Lysol spray, let it sit for a minute or two and then wipe each and every thing off. It is very time consuming. Books are somewhat easier. Since mice can open the book and walk around on each page, wiping off the cover and the edges (the spine and the pages) with a disinfectant wipe would be my go to.

Mice are annoying. They get into places you wouldn’t think they could, they chew on things that I’ve never seen any appeal in, and they don’t bathe at all! They can spread germs wherever they go. But they don’t have opposable thumbs so they aren’t as bad as they could be.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I assumed the board game was still in the box.

kruger_d's avatar

I have moved most of my dry goods—oatmeal, cornmeal, etc to mason jars which seem to do a better job containing odors than plastic. I never see mouse evidence in that cupboard.

jca2's avatar

@kruger_d Mason Jars are great. I get them at thrift shops for a dollar each, put them in the dishwasher and they come out like new.

RocketGuy's avatar

We use Mason jars to store our coffee beans.

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