How to Clean After a Rat Has Invaded Your Room

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Rats leave urine, feces and chewed debris whenever they invade an area and, because this mess poses a risk to human health, cleanup requires precautionary measures. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that humans can contract more than 35 rodent-borne diseases through contact with urine and feces, breathing germs in the air from stirred droppings and from mites and fleas carried by rats. Clean up thoroughly after the rats once you have eliminated an infestation.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 1/2 cups bleach, Lysol or commercial disinfectant
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Latex or rubber gloves
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • Upholstery cleaner or steam cleaner
  • Laundry detergent
  • Soap
  • Open doors and windows and leave the room for a minimum of 30 minutes. The CDC recommends providing cross-ventilation to air out the room while you're away.

  • Mix bleach into a gallon of water and fill a spray bottle with the solution. Use Lysol or a commercial disinfectant diluted according to the manufacturer's instructions as an alternative to bleach.

  • Spray the bleach or disinfectant solution on rat urine, feces, carcasses and all infested surfaces. Allow the disinfectant to soak for 5 to 20 minutes, or for the time period suggested on the product's label.

  • Put on latex or rubber gloves and pick up all droppings, debris and carcasses with paper towels. Wipe the sprayed surfaces with paper towels, too, and dispose of everything in a plastic bag. Seal the bag when finished and place it inside two more plastic bags, as recommended by Oregon's Multnomah County Health Department brochure on rodent infestation. Drop the bag in a lidded garbage can that is emptied regularly.

  • Scrub the hard surfaces with the same dilution of disinfectant after removal of all waste, and shampoo or steam clean carpet and upholstery, as recommended by the CDC.

  • Launder clothes and linens from the room and clothes you were wearing during the cleanup in hot water and laundry detergent.

  • Wash your gloved hands in soap and hot water, remove the gloves and dispose of them, and then wash your hands and arms again in soap and hot water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Place non-washable objects in the sunlight for several hours or in another room for one week, as recommended by the CDC.
  • Do not sweep or vacuum rodent droppings and debris, as this can spread harmful dust in the air.

References

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