I Accidentally Vacuumed Mouse Droppings [Hazard!]

Having mice in the house can be dreadful as they spread nasty diseases through their droppings and urine. 

But you should never vacuum or sweep mouse droppings as they can break up and spread virus particles in the air. However, if you have already vacuumed mice feces, it is important to disinfect your vacuum and the cleaned area.

Let’s take a look at how you can ensure you stay safe after accidentally vacuuming mouse droppings and how you should clean them next time should the issue ever occur again.

What Happens If You Accidentally Vacuum Mouse Droppings?

Dried mouse droppings can easily break when vacuumed and release viruses and bacteria. Hantavirus is the most common virus. Breathing these particles can be a health hazard and even cause death. 

Watch out for symptoms within one to five weeks.

Symptoms of Hantavirus include:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Sore muscles
  • Nausea
  • Headaches

Viruses and bacteria can spread quickly once airborne, so it is crucial not to vacuum mouse droppings accidentally.

How To Clean Vacuum After Mouse Poop

If you have accidentally vacuumed mouse droppings, you must disinfect your vacuum.

As your vacuum has been contaminated, make sure you first wear an n95 mask and some rubber gloves.

Then, follow this step-by-step process: 

1. Dismantle the Vacuum

Empty your vacuum cleaner and remove any attachments as well as any replaceable and washable parts.

2. Clean the Filters

First, check your vacuum’s manual to locate all the filters.

Your filters could be washable or non-washable.

If washable:

  1. Put the filter in the sink filled with water and disinfectant
  2. Clean it using a toothbrush
  3. Rinse the filter in cool water
  4. Leave the filter to dry for 24 hours.

If the filter is not washable:

  1. Tap the filter against a surface to release particles
  2. Clean it using a cloth 

3. Clean the Canister

Skip this step if your vacuum has a bag and simply replace it.

If you have a bagless vacuum:

  1. Empty the canister
  2. Scrub the canister in warm water with soap and a disinfectant
  3. Rinse it
  4. Let the canister air dry

4. Clean the Beater Bar

Remove any trapped hair and debris.

If your vacuum has a rotating brush, you can remove it and scrub it in warm water and disinfectant. Just make sure you let it air dry.

Clean the bottom of your vacuum using a cotton pad and some cleaning alcohol.

5. Clean the Attachment Accessories

Clean all washable attachments in soapy water.

Let the attachments air dry for at least 24 hours.

6. Wipe Down the Exterior Unit

Clean the outside of your vacuum cleaner by using a microfiber cloth with some cleaning alcohol.

7. Reassemble the Vacuum

Ensure everything is dry and reassemble the vacuum to get it ready for use.

Can You Get Sick From Cleaning Mouse Droppings?

Yes, you can get sick from cleaning mouse droppings as these contain lots of viruses and bacteria that can spread in the air and become a health hazard.

Those coming in contact with mouse droppings, urine, and nesting materials can get hantavirus disease.

Do All Mouse Droppings Have Hantavirus?

No, only certain types of rats and mice can give humans hantaviruses. Mouse droppings usually (but not always) cause hantavirus if they belong to the white-footed mouse, the deer mouse, the cotton rat, and the rice rat.

How Long Does Hantavirus Live In Feces Indoors?

Hantavirus can be infectious for 2 to 3 days at room temperature. The colder it is, the longer the virus will survive.

How Long Does It Take For Hantavirus Symptoms To Show?

Usually, the symptoms of hantavirus will begin within one to five weeks after entering someone’s body.

What Disinfectant Kills Hantavirus?

Detergents and disinfectants such as bleach and Lysol will help you kill hantavirus. 

How to Clean Mouse Dropping Safely

Before cleaning mouse droppings, protect yourself with a mask (ideally an n95 one) and some rubber gloves.

Then, follow these steps:

  1. Spray bleach mixed with water (or a disinfectant) over the droppings to wet them
  2. Let the droppings soak for 5 minutes
  3. Wipe them up using a paper towel
  4. Dispose of the waste 
  5. Disinfect anything that may have been contaminated by mice feces
  6. Mop floors and clean countertops with bleach or a disinfectant
  7. Steam clean or shampoo carpets and upholstered furniture that may have been contaminated
  8. Wash any clothing or bedding using a laundry detergent in hot water
  9. Dispose of your mask and gloves, then thoroughly wash your hands

Conclusion

Rodent feces can be dangerous to your health, but there are still precautions you can take if you accidentally vacuumed mouse droppings:

  1. Disinfect your vacuum
  2. Clean the contaminated area with bleach or disinfectants
  3. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap if you have just come in contact with the droppings

Author

  • My name is Brenda Pearlman, and my friends always joke about the “pearl” part. Why? Because I am a clean freak, who likes to see everything shine like a pearl, lol. With years of using my vacuum to clean almost everything in the house, I have discovered tips and tricks that I want to share with you! I am looking forward to helping you make your home shine 🙂