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I Accidentally Vacuumed Mouse Droppings: Do This Immediately!

It’s a terrible mistake to sweep or vacuum mouse droppings. 

Droppings comprise the rodent’s urine, feces, and nesting material. Vacuuming them will break down these elements, releasing viruses like hantavirus and arenavirus into the air. Moreover, inhaling such air will cause sickness and respiratory illness. 

Here’s what you should do instead:

  • Soak the droppings in bleach water for at least 5 minutes. 
  • Next, add a few drops of disinfecting solution and pick up the droppings with paper. Do not touch the droppings directly with your hands. 
  • Dispose of the waste properly in a sealed plastic bag. 

Continue reading for a detailed guide on what to do if I accidentally vacuum mouse droppings.  

👨‍⚕️What Happens if You Accidentally Vacuum Mouse Droppings?

I Accidentally Vacuumed Mouse Droppings

Besides damaging your house, rats, mice, and wild rodents can cause more than 35 deadly diseases, including HPS, Weil’s disease, Salmonellosis, and rabies. These diseases spread through contact with the rodent’s saliva, urine, or poop via physical touch, air, or food contamination.

Vacuuming mouse droppings can accidentally lead to the virus spreading in the air, infecting your vacuum cleaner. 

🤒Is It Ok to Vacuum up Mouse Droppings, or Will You Get Sick?

If the rat was a virus carrier, you might fall sick from vacuuming mouse droppings.

The droppings will contaminate the vacuum cleaner, forcing virus particles into the air. As a result, anyone breathing the same air can get infected with the virus. 

If you see too many mice droppings, it’s better to get an exterminator.

Risk of contracting Hantavirus disease: It’s very rare 

Eight hundred thirty-three cases of hantavirus disease were reported by laboratory experts in the United States at the end of 2020 in a survey that the authorities initiated in the year 1993. 

Out of the total count, 807 cases were of HPS, and the remaining 26 were non-pulmonary hantavirus infections. In addition, 38% of the patients were women, while 62% were men. 

The risk of getting infected by the virus is lower, even for people constantly under mice or rodent exposure.

Note that 70% of infections occur at home. It is because the infected person gets exposed to this virus while cleaning areas frequently get infested by rodents. 

Also Read: Do Spiders Survive Being Vacuumed? 

👨‍🏫What to Do if You Breathe in Mouse Droppings?

If you’ve breathed in rat droppings, firstly, stop panicking. Trust me; a panic attack will make it worse. 

It raises your blood pressure or blood circulation, thereby contracting the virus into your bloodstream.

Below are further steps you should follow:

  • Quickly wash your mouth and hands with soap and water. 
  • Wear a KN95 mask. Also, wear rubber gloves on your hands immediately.
  • Next, call or visit a medical expert who can help you with disease control.
  • Provide them with detailed information about the incident.
  • Continue following the medical suggestions and stay in touch with the doctor until they declare you safe. 

If you notice any of the following symptoms after cleaning a rat-infested area, you might be contracted Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). In such a case, contact the medical expert ASAP

  • Fever and chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Cough
  • Irregular blood pressure
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea, and 
  • Breathing difficulty

Remember, it can even take you 4 weeks to see severe symptoms of the infection. But you shouldn’t wait that long as it will only worsen the situation. 

A wiser step would be to seek medical assistance as soon as you notice flu-like symptoms after exposure to rodent droppings. 

Doctors will help you with oxygen therapy so that you can breathe properly. In addition, they will provide intensive care and treatment to prevent the spread of the virus in your body. 

Also Read: Do Ants Die When Vacuumed Up?

👩‍🏫What to Do if I Accidentally Vacuumed Mouse Droppings? (Step-Wise Guide)

After seeking medical help, disinfect the vacuum cleaner so you can use it again after 2 to 3 days.

The steps are:

  • Wear rubber gloves and a KN95 mask. Don’t touch anything with bare hands, especially the area around the droppings. 
  • Open the windows and doors for proper ventilation. 
  • Clean the canister first. Carefully remove all the dust and waste from the canister into sealed plastic baggage. Now scrub the canister with detergent. Rinse and keep it. 
  • Start by dismantling your vacuum cleaner. Segregate the washable and the nonwashable parts separately. 
  • Use bleaching powder or detergent and warm water to clean the washable parts. 
  • Use alcoholic solution spray and a clean cloth to wipe nonwashable parts. Do it properly, leaving no residue behind. 
  • Let all the parts dry under sunlight for 5 hours. 
Also Read: How To Vacuum Fleas

🧼How To Clean Mouse Droppings From Carpet: Step-By-Step 

After you’ve received medical attention and disinfected the vacuum cleaner, the next step is to clean the rat droppings area. If that’s your favorite carpet, follow the steps mentioned below:

📝Materials You Need

  • Chemical disinfectants 
  • KN95 Face mask
  • Rubber gloves 
  • Household disinfectant
  • Bleach solution 
  • Spray bottle 
  • Sealable plastic bags 
  • Paper towels

😒Precautions to Take Before Cleaning

You must keep a note of these points before you start cleaning mice droppings:

  • Wear a KN95 mask and rubber gloves. 
  • Do not touch mouse droppings before soaking them in the disinfectant for 5 minutes. 
  • Never touch mouse droppings with bare hands. 
  • Disinfectants that include ammonium compounds should be rinsed thoroughly.
  • Do not touch any item that might have come in contact with the mouse droppings. 

🐭Steps To Clean Mouse Droppings

Keeping the precaution notes in mind, I hope you are ready with your cleaning equipment mentioned above. Let’s start with the steps!

  • Start with ventilation. Open doors and windows to allow fresh air circulation in the house for at least half an hour. 
  • Spray an alcohol-based disinfectant on the mouse droppings or nesting materials. 
  • Let it sit for 5 minutes. The chemical solution will loosen the mouse droppings making them easier to remove.
  • Pick up the rat droppings with the help of a paper towel and trash them in a sealed plastic bag. 
  • Make sure to dispose of the sealable plastic bag in an airtight dustbin. 
  • Scrub the carpet area with detergent water and a toothbrush for 5 minutes. 
  • Rinse it with warm water, or use a commercial-grade steam cleaner to leave it squeaky clean.
  • Make sure you clean the rest of your house as well. Use cleaning solutions such as vinegar, bleach, or commercial disinfectants to kill germs, bacteria, and viruses. 
  • You may also hire a cleaning professional to disinfect the rest of the house. Pay close attention to the corners of the house, the linings of the walls, and the ground openings. 
  • Once you’re done with cleaning, dispose of your rubber or plastic gloves in the same airtight dustbin. Don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly.

Even if there are dead mice or rodents anywhere in your house, the cleaning tips remain the same.

Also Read: Remove Ash Stains From Carpet


To prevent the Hantavirus infection and the hassle of cleaning mice droppings, you need to control the rodent infestation in your house. 

These tips will help:

  • Seal holes and gaps in the house that might serve as a passage to rodents. 
  • Store human food in airtight containers. 
  • Make sure to clean and disinfect your house daily.
  • Keep your garden trimmed and well-maintained to keep mice and rodents outside.
  • Pipe leakages cause moisture in the house, attracting rodents. Repair them immediately. 

🤔How to Recognize Mouse Droppings?

Apart from your carpet, you can find mouse droppings in your clothes and cupboards. They’re 3-6 mm long, smaller than a rice grain, and slightly curved in shape.

The color is black, and you will always find them scattered in mice nests. Once you recognize them, it’s important to clean them appropriately.

Here is how:

👕How to Clean Mouse Droppings From Clothes?

You know that wearing protective gloves is mandatory before cleaning mouse droppings from anywhere.

  • Pick the mouse droppings from the clothes with paper towels or an adhesive cardboard pad, secure them in a sealed plastic garbage bag and dispose of them in an airtight dustbin or a second plastic bag.
  • Wash your clothes in detergent, and let them dry under the sun for a few hours to remove the pungent odor. Be careful with the type of laundry detergent used for washing colored clothing.
  • Wash your protective gloves and hands with soap and water. 

💩How to Clean Mouse Droppings From the Cupboard?

Rodents and mice can always find a way to your cupboards to find food and warmth. 

  • Wear protective gloves and soak the mouse droppings in bleach or detergent water. 
  • To Remove droppings, use paper towels or an adhesive pad and seal them in a plastic bag. 
  • Remember to clean other items in the cupboard, as they’re equally exposed to the droppings. 
  • Dump the bag in an airtight dustbin. 
  • Mop the cupboard shelves rigorously with commercial disinfectants. You can keep removable cupboards under the sun for 30 minutes. 
Also Read: 3 Ways To Dump Mop Water

🙋‍♂️I Accidentally Vacuumed Mouse Droppings FAQs

How long does hantavirus live in mouse droppings indoors?

The lifespan of hantaviruses varies according to the environment and temperature. They might continue infecting people for 2 to 3 days at room temperature. 

Exposing the virus to sunlight will reduce its lifespan, whereas the viruses can thrive in cold temperatures.

What happens if you step on mouse droppings?

Stepping on mouse dropping can cause two probable infections: 

Leptospirosis (Blood infection): Apart from food contact, it is caused by coming in dermal contact with rodent urine through skin cuts. 

Ringworm: It is caused by a skin fungus acquired by mice. One can acquire ringworm from a cat passed on with the same fungus by a rat. 

Are old mouse droppings dangerous?

Yes, dried feces, nesting material, or a dead rodent is not safe. 
Once mouse or rodent droppings dry, they diffuse hazardous viruses into the air. Inhaling the same air might transmit diseases like Hantavirus.

What looks like mouse poop but isn’t?

Cockroach poop often resembles mouse poop. To differentiate between the two, observe the endpoints of the droppings. Mouse droppings have pointed ends, whereas cockroach droppings have blunt ends.

What happens if I touch mouse poop with bare hands?

Never touch mouse poop with bare hands, or you will expose yourself to diseases such as Hantavirus, Arenavirus, and Leptospirosis.

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