How to safely clean up mouse poop


Mice are often hard to spot as they are nocturnal and like to stay hidden. However, a single mouse produces between 50 and 75 pellet-shaped droppings (aka poop) every day! Although disgusting this means that droppings are a good indicator of an infestation. It’s very important to follow proper safety precautions whenever you may be in close contact with mice, their nests, their droppings or urine as mice are known to carry and transmit disease – read on to learn how. 

Canadian Mice 

There are many species of mice but the most common mice that cause problems for homeowners in Canada are the house mouse and the deer mouse. The house mouse is found throughout southern Canada including in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Unlike deer mice which mainly invade homes in the fall when temperatures start to drop, house mice enter homes year-round. Deer mice are found throughout every province and territory in Canada except for Newfoundland and Nunavut, however they are more common rurally as they thrive in grasslands and forests. 

How to Identify Mouse Droppings?

It can be difficult to tell mouse droppings from rat droppings or those of other pests but the size is really the key indicator. Mouse droppings or pellets resemble dark grains of rice about 3 to 6 mm in length whereas rat droppings are larger, around 12 mm in length. The colour will change depending on how old they are, over time the pellets dry and transition from a shiny black colour to a chalky brown. 

Mouse droppings

Are Mouse Droppings Toxic?

The droppings of deer mice have been known to cause a serious lung disease called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) when inhaled. Although cases are rare it still warrants precaution as it has a 40% mortality rate. Hantavirus can also be spread through their urine and through any food contaminated by mice. This is why it’s so important to take proper safety precautions when cleaning mouse droppings. 

How to Clean up Mouse Droppings

What you’ll need: 

  • Rubber or disposable gloves
  • N95 mask
  • Garbage bags 
  • Paper towels 
  • Diluted bleach or disinfectant in a spray bottle 
  • Long pants & long sleeve shirt

Step 1 – Protect yourself 

Never touch mouse droppings with your bare hands and avoid breathing in the same area. 

As discussed above mouse pellets can carry diseases that can be transferred in a variety of ways including becoming air born. To protect yourself, rubber or disposable gloves and an N95 respirator should be worn when cleaning up mouse droppings, as well as long pants and a long sleeve shirt. 

Step 2 – Air Out 

If possible, open surrounding doors and windows at least 30 minutes before cleaning so that the area is well-ventilated. However, if the wind could blow in and move the droppings around do not proceed with this step. Additionally, make sure that pets and children have no access to the area for the entirety of the cleaning. 

Step 3 – Soak

Do not sweep or vacuum up droppings! These will both promote pathogens becoming air born. Instead, dampen the dropping and surrounding area with a diluted bleach solution (one part bleach and 9 parts water) or an appropriate household disinfectant making sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Let the bleach or disinfectant sit for at least 5 minutes before continuing. 

Step 4 – Wipe & Remove 

Wipe up the dropping with a bleach-dampened paper towel and immediately place them in a garbage bag. After all the droppings have been removed tie the garbage bag up securely and dispose of it in an outdoor bin that is emptied regularly.

Step 5 – Disinfect the Area

Clean the area thoroughly with diluted bleach or disinfectant. Make sure to disinfect your gloves as well before removing them and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after.

Step 6 – Monitor

You will want to reinspect the area where you cleaned up the droppings regularly. If droppings reappear it’s a strong sign of an infestation

Mouse chewing wire

If you are dealing with a heavy accumulation of mouse droppings the situation becomes more hazardous and it is best to contact a pest control specialist like Terminix to keep you and your family safe. The same goes for if you feel unsure about any of the steps outlined above – don’t risk it, call in a trusted professional. 

Terminix Canada offers expert pest control services for both residential and commercial properties. We have local pest control experts at locations across Canada including BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Call us today to learn how we can help.