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Mouse in the house? Here's how to clean up

Filed Under: cleaning

Mouse in the house?Although some people think little mice are adorable (I admit it), the truth is that the wild mouse population in North America can carry a rare but deadly disease called Hantavirus. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the illness is contracted by handling mouse droppings or even breathing the air where infected mice have been.

Recently, a reader wrote in to DIY Life to ask for tips on cleaning up after an invasion of mice in the family kitchen. The reader had already washed, rinsed, and dried the cabinet shelves but wanted to know what else we could recommend to make sure the area was truly clean. That's a great question, and here are some things to try.

The number one thing to use when cleaning up after a mouse? Bleach, and lots of it.

1) Mix equal parts bleach and water in a spray bottle and saturate any area where you suspect mice have been. Let soak for at least five minutes.

2) While wearing rubber gloves, wipe up the wet area with paper towels. Wet clean paper towels with water and wipe the area several times to rinse the bleach. Dump all the dirty paper towels into a plastic bag, tie securely, and put it in the trash.

3) Wash your hands.

There are a couple of important points to keep in mind. If you use a mop to clean a large surface, be sure to discard the mop head when you're done. Better yet, use a disposable mop like those made by Swiffer or Clorox.

Do not sweep or vacuum mouse droppings. Doing so releases fine particles into the air that may carry harmful bacteria, germs you don't want in the air you're breathing.

This time of year, it's common to get a mouse in the house. While the chances that you're little visitor carries a disease is small, it's better to be safe than sorry so always make sure to clean up the area well.

Do you have a question for DIY LIfe? Drop us a note and we'll do our best to find you an answer.

  • Anna

    My in laws recently moved out of my basement after living there 3 1/2 years and to our surprise we have captured 45 mice and found another 21 dead. This is what I call an infestation. We didn't know that they had a huge issue with mice. Of course, you always get the occassional mice when you live in the middle of nowhere..... We have started the process of "gutting" the basement. Some would say this is over kill but there are so many holes in the walls, corners, and ceiling tiles that we know and have seen many nests behind the walls. Do you think we are creating more work for ourselves? Just seems like the sanitary thing to do. FYI, we'll also use the bleach/water mixture to disinfect.

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