I Accidentally Vacuumed Mouse Droppings: What to Do

I accidentally vacuumed mouse droppings, what happens? From a public health standpoint, mouse droppings are dangerous since they can transmit disease. As such, you want to properly remove mice feces and urine.

Meanwhile, an Everett man contracted hantavirus from mouse droppings while camping near Leavenworth. Apart from public health problems, a mouse can also be destructive. It can eat through wood, plastic, electrical wire, glass, and rubber, to mention a few.

I accidentally vacuumed mouse droppings

I Accidentally Vacuumed Mouse Droppings

It is necessary to avoid sweeping or vacuuming mouse droppings, including nesting material, urine, and feces. If you accidentally vacuum mouse droppings, they can break up. Thus, forcing virus particles into the air, which you can inhale and get infected while cleaning. Arenavirus and Hantavirus from rodents are transmitted in this manner.

Though you should not worry too much about the mouse droppings, it is recommended to always use an N95 mask when dusting or vacuuming if you’re really concerned.

You should also get an exterminator if you see a lot of mouse droppings after cleaning.

How to safely clean mouse droppings

Hantavirus is a quite severe and potentially fatal illness. Accidentally vacuuming the droppings can expose you to Hantavirus if the rodent that dropped them is infected. The virus is airborne, meaning that vacuuming areas with infected mice or mice droppings is risky.

Follow the cleaning steps below to reduce your risk of illness:

  1. Keep the doors & windows open

First, open the doors and windows where you have the mouse droppings. Let the area ventilate for up to 30 minutes or more before you start cleaning. Do not use the area or allow your pet to go closer to it while it ventilates.

  1. Prepare to clean

You need to wear rubber gloves. Get bleach or any water solution to thoroughly soak the mouse droppings, dead mice, and nests. 1 part bleach to 9 parts water is a good measurement to disinfect the area. You could also use household disinfectant such as vinegar. However, vinegar is not very effective as a disinfectant for mouse droppings.

  1. Start cleaning

You need to allow the bleach water solution to soak the droppings, dead mice, or nests for at least 5 minutes.

Again, do not disturb the droppings before adding the disinfecting solution. When the 5+ minute elapses, use a mop to clean the bleach-soaked droppings. Pick them up with paper—avoid direct hand contact, even after adding the solution.

You could also pick the mouse droppings with paper and place them into a plastic bag. Ensure to properly seal the plastic containing the droppings.

  1. Dispose of the materials and wash up

Dispose of the sealed plastic bag into a garbage container that uses a tight-fitting lid. Next, wash your hand gloves right before removing them. You would also have to thoroughly wash your hands thoroughly. Using warm water and a mild soap is advisable after cleaning mice droppings.

Again, vacuuming or sweeping droppings, nests, or dead mice are dangerous. It can cause inhalable dust that may contain the harmful Hantavirus.

  1. Contact your local health professional

If you accidentally vacuumed mouse droppings, and you deal with significant mouse infestations in poorly ventilated spaces, make sure to contact your local health practitioner to discuss necessary special precautions.

If you have a Hantavirus infection, you should experience symptoms in 1 or 2 weeks after exposure. In some cases, the symptoms appear 5 weeks after exposure.

The symptoms look like severe influenza and include body aches, fever, chills, and severe breathing problems.

Thus, if you have developed severe influenza-like symptoms after accidentally vacuuming mouse droppings, see a doctor immediately.

Cleaning mouse droppings from carpet

If you find only a few mouse droppings in your home, you can use an adhesive cardboard pad and paper towels to pick them up.

Make sure you dispose of any item in direct contact with the droppings in a plastic bag—go further and place the plastic bag in another plastic bag.

Finally, soak carpets with any approved, commercial-grade disinfectant. Use a commercial-grade steam cleaner to clean the entire area. Make sure to follow the instructions on the product label to know if the cleaner is suitable for your carpets or rugs.

Cleaning mouse droppings on hardwood floors

You can remove mouse droppings from your hardwood floor using an adhesive pad or a moist paper towel. Dispose of the items in your plastic bag and trash them in an airtight container.

Apply disinfectant in the cleaned area and use a recommended steam cleaner for your hardwood. Look online for a suitable steam cleaner that will not scratch or damage your hardwood.

Cleaning mouse droppings on clothing

You can remove mouse droppings from clothing with adhesive pads or paper towels or adhesive pads. Dispose of the droppings in a plastic garbage bag within another plastic garbage bag.

You can use a laundry detergent made of disinfectant to wash the clothing in a high heat setting. Wash every piece of clothing next to the clothing with the droppings. If washing colored clothing, you would want to test to make sure it is color-safe.

Make sure to wash the protective gloves use for the picking up. Wash your hands with soap and water.

Cleaning mouse poop in a cupboard

Mice can get into your cupboard in the kitchen when in search of food. You would also find them in your pantries and other closets where you store food items.

In addition to properly cleaning mouse droppings, make sure to dispose of any foods you suspect have been chewed by mice or any other rodent in your home.

If the cupboard is removable, take it outside and leave it under the sun for up to 30 minutes. Make sure to wear hand gloves while sunning the cupboard. Take out and clean cupboard shelves using soap and disinfectant to remove droppings that may be hiding within the cupboard cracks and crevices.

Read also: what if you mistakenly handle mouse poop with bare hands?

Diseases mice can transmit to humans

Mice waste contain 2 main types of diseases—Salmonellosis and Leptospirosis.

Salmonellosis is considered a type of food poisoning. A mouse can walk through their droppings or urine, and then through human food, which transfers bacteria from the droppings or urine to food. Of course, this contaminates the food. If you unknowingly consume the infected food, you will get sick.

Leptospirosis is also a type of food poisoning bacteria that will contaminate your food or water. When mice step on their droppings and then walk through your food, it gets contaminated.

Mice can carry viral diseases released after the break up of their dried feces, urine, or saliva such as Hantavirus. Such diseases are inhaled as dust after breaking up, making them airborne and can lead to respiratory illness.

Tips to find evidence of a mouse in your home

a) Strange noise

If you keep hearing scratches, movement or gnawing, usually in your cabinet, closet, behind an appliance, or a crawlspace, it could be a mouse or mice.

b) Damages

If you notice damage on your patio furniture, it could be a mouse. Your pets may also cause this damage, but that of a mouse is usually smaller. You will also find tiny pieces of paper or chopped book edges signifying the presence of a mouse.

c) Mouse droppings

Mouse droppings are a clear sign that you have a mouse in your home. Depending on the quantity, you may be able to tell that you have mice.

Dried urine is not very easy to detect. However, you should see spots that look like a water stain, which could be the urine. You should also get a pungent odor if the urine is in large amounts.

d) Nesting materials

Look out for mice nesting material, including tissues, furniture stuffing, paper, and insulation. Don’t be surprised if you see food chunks missing meat bones you left in your dirty dishes.


Be sure to follow the steps mentioned in this article to properly handle mouse droppings, including soaking, disposing, and disinfecting the area and any items used to pick up the droppings. Remember never to vacuum or sweep evidence of mice to avoid exposing yourself to vector-borne disease.

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