Does vinegar disinfect mouse droppings? Vinegar is a popular natural cleaner used by many to clean their countertops, sinks, and other household items. Since vinegar is a disinfectant, perhaps, it should work on mouse droppings.
You can mix vinegar with ingredients such as baking soda to wipe hard surfaces. It is also an effective alternative to harsh cleaners, although there are a few drawbacks, particularly with disinfecting.
If you’re a fan of natural, eco-friendly remedies, you’re considering giving vinegar a shot to decontaminate mouse droppings in your home. This publication provides the needed answers.
Does vinegar disinfect mouse droppings?
You need to recognize the difference between a cleaner and a disinfectant. A cleaner is made to get rid of debris, dirt, and some germs from a surface—it does not kill germs. However, a disinfectant can kill germs and also inactivate or eliminate harmful germs such as bacteria and viruses.
A white distilled vinegar is a good choice for a cleaner. White distilled vinegar generally contains a 4% to 7% acetic acid compound that can dissolve dirt, debris, and grime.
As a disinfectant, vinegar does not work well. A disinfectant should be able to kill 99.9 percent of disease-causing bacteria and viruses, according to EPA standards. Vinegar only works against germs such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes, which cause common foodborne diseases.
Meanwhile, A recent study shows that some mice carry bacteria that cause gastrointestinal infections in humans, including salmonella, E. coli, Shigella, and C. difficile. Vinegar does not kill all germs such as SARS-CoV-2.
Vinegar is not also registered as a disinfectant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA does not also review the effectiveness of homemade ingredients against germs.
Thus, due to these limitations, vinegar may not be the best choice for disinfecting mouse droppings in your home.
Products that are effective as disinfectants
A cleaning solution needs to meet specific EPA standards to qualify as a disinfectant, especially the ability to kill 99.9% of harmful germs within 5-10 minutes.
Some products that meet the EPA disinfectant standard include the following:
- Bleach (sodium hypochlorite
- Phenolic compounds
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Ethanol (ethyl alcohol)
- Quaternary ammonium
- Isopropyl alcohol
These disinfectants are known to eliminate various types of pathogens such as fungi, viruses, and bacteria, and will effectively disinfect mouse droppings.
You could also buy potent disinfectant products from your local store or online. Make sure to read the label for the EPA registration number before buying. The number should be listed as “EPA Reg. No”.
Proper steps to disinfect mouse droppings
Follow the guide below when disinfecting mouse droppings in your home or workspace:
a) Protect yourself
First, leave the windows and doors open for some minutes to ventilate the room.
Protect your skin from the droppings and solution to be applied on the area—wear disposable gloves. You could wear rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves when cleaning the mice urine and droppings.
Do not vacuum or sweep mouse droppings, this exposes you to the risk of airborne diseases such as Hantavirus transmitted through the dust particles.
b) Remove the mouse droppings
Apply disinfectants—using vinegar will not kill all the germs in the mouse droppings. Buy cleaning solutions online that meet EPA standards. 1 part bleach to 10 parts water concentration is recommended. If using a commercial disinfectant, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label to know the time for dilution and disinfection.
Pick up the droppings and urine with a paper towel after some time or the specified time, place them in a plastic bag, and dispose of them in airtight garbage.
c) Clean the contaminated area
You need warm, soap water to clean the area contaminated with mouse droppings and other dirt and debris.
You can mop the floors and clean countertops with disinfectant or bleach solution. Steam cleaning is acceptable, or you can use shampoo on upholstered furniture and carpets where you find evidence of mice.
d) Disinfect exposed items
Make sure to wash any bedding and clothing in the room using laundry detergent in hot water. Disinfect other items that may be contaminated by the mouse droppings such as desks, doorknobs, and light switches.
e) Get rid of the gloves
Finally, remove and dispose of the hand gloves. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer in the absence of soap.
Cleaning dead mice and nests
If you see a dead mouse or its nest, you need to wear rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves to clean it up.
First, spray your disinfectant solution on the dead rodent or nest and other surrounding areas. You can mix it with bleach and water.
Allow the solution to soak the dead rodent for at least 5 minutes or up to the specified time on the product label of the manufacturer. Wipe it with a paper towel or rag.
Trash the dead rodent and nesting materials in a plastic bag sealed tightly and place it in another plastic bag before throwing it in a regularly emptied airtight trash can.
Remove and dispose of the gloves. Wash your hand thoroughly with soap and warm water or use a waterless alcohol-based hand rub if your hand is not excessively soiled.
Cleaning mouse droppings with vinegar
Suppose you have to use vinegar (having in mind that it is not an effective solution to disinfect mouse droppings.
Mix vinegar and water
First, you need to make a DIY all-purpose vinegar cleaner or buy it from your local or online store.
The DIY requirements include:
- Half cup white distilled vinegar
- 2 cups distilled/filtered water
- A spray bottle
Pour white vinegar and water into your spray bottle and tighten the lid. Shake the bottle to mix the ingredients.
To reduce the vinegar smell, you can add 10–20 drops of essential oil.
Apply vinegar on mouse droppings
Just spray your natural, homemade solution on the surface where you have the mouse droppings. Allow the vinegar solution to soak the droppings for up to 5 minutes before picking them. Make sure to open the doors and windows to ventilate the area.
Dump the droppings in a plastic bag and then in your airtight waste can.
Vinegar will not effectively disinfect the droppings but will make a good cleaning solution.
Wipe the area with a clean glove with your gloves on. Clean nearby areas that may be exposed to mice evidence and dispose of the gloves.
Disinfecting textile (clothing, bedding, and stuffed animals)
The mouse droppings may have contaminated your bedding, clothing, or stuffed animals. You need hot water, detergent, and a mixture of vinegar.
Ensure to wear rubber, latex, vinyl, or nitrile gloves when handling your contaminated laundry. For machine drying, use a high setting or air dry the textile in the sun.
Alongside vinegar, laundry detergent will break down the lipid envelope of the virus, making it harmless. If you use a machine dryer, the generated heat can render the virus noninfectious.
Using your clothes dryer alone is not enough treatment because some dryers do not reach the necessary temperature of 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) to inactivate hantaviruses.
Disinfecting carpets and furniture
It is more effective to use a commercial-grade steam cleaner and commercial-grade shampoo to disinfect your carpets, rugs, and furniture. Household vinegar is not powerful enough to decontaminate mouse droppings.
Disinfecting papers, books, and other non-washable materials
Leave your papers, books, and other non-washable items under the sun. Disinfecting them with vinegar or a commercial disinfectant can destroy the item.
You could also store such items in a mouse-free indoor area for up to 7 days. Ensure to wear rubber, latex, vinyl, or nitrile gloves when picking the items. Wipe them gently with disinfectant before storage.
Hantaviruses survive in an environment and remain infectious for 2-3 days—ultraviolet rays from sunlight inactivate them.
Vinegar does not completely disinfect mouse droppings since it can’t kill up to kill 99.9 percent of disease-causing bacteria and viruses. To disinfect mouse droppings in your home or workspace, use an EPA-certified disinfectant. Make sure to refer to the product label for the EPA registration number.
You could still use vinegar as your all-purpose cleaner after disinfecting the droppings due to its high acidity. Vinegar is effective for removing debris and dirt on surfaces such as sinks, countertops, and glass.
Before you go: vinegar can rid your car interior of bugs