Rat Feces and Urine Smell – Identification and Safe Cleaning
Whether you are dealing with an unwanted rat infestation in your house, or you have the furry rodents as pets – cleaning up is a must. If you have them as pets, you’ll surely want to keep their habitat clean. If you have them as unwanted guests in the house, even then you can’t avoid cleaning up rat poop and get rid of rat urine smell. This article explains why. It also offers handy tips on how to go about it.
Why Is Cleaning Important?
Are rat droppings and urine dangerous? That is an oft asked question. The monosyllabic answer to that is a firm YES. Human beings can get infected with several diseases from exposure to rat droppings and urine.
Rat excreta constitute the major source of diseases. Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, and salmonellosis are some of the most common infections that may result from exposure to rat poop. Health hazard risk obviously increases with a longer duration of exposure.
Human beings can also get infected with Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) through inhaling the virus. The virus is present in the urine, droppings, and saliva of infected rodents. In the U.S. mostly different kinds of mice spread the virus. But it is best to be wary of them.
The virus does not make the rodents sick, but it can cause serious respiratory disease in humans. Controlling rodent invasion of your house and cleaning up after getting rid of your unwanted visitors are the best known steps to take against HPS infection.
Trap the rodents for at least a week to make sure that you get rid of all your uninvited guests. Continue trapping till no rodents are trapped for three consecutive days. Take care to seal the entry points effectively as you begin your trapping operations.
Open doors and windows to let fresh air in for about half an hour before you start cleaning their feces. Ensure cross ventilation if you have such an option. Stay away from the area for these 30 minutes.
How to Clean Rat Droppings and Urine?
Do not use a sweeping brush or a vacuum cleaner before you clean up the rat excreta and urine. That will stir up the dust and make the dried rat poop spread.
Prepare a bleach solution with one part bleach to 10 parts water and spray it over the rat urine and feces. You can use some readymade disinfectant also. But do take care to check for dilution level and time needed for the disinfectant to be effective.
Protect your hands with rubber or latex gloves before you begin cleaning. Pick up rat droppings and wipe rat urine with paper towel/s. Drop them straight into the garbage.
Check for any item that might have been polluted with rat feces and urine. Spray your bleach solution or disinfectant on them.
Then mop the entire area, including window sills, countertops, etc. with the bleach solution or disinfectant. Make sure you steam clean upholstery and carpets. Wash all removable items like bed linen, table cloth, cushion covers, etc. in hot water.
Once all of that is done, throw those gloves away. It is best not to wash and keep them. Then wash your hands with soap and warm water. Make sure you clean under your nails and around your wrists. Massage some hand disinfectant after you have washed your hands.
How to Identify Rat Droppings?
If your property is under an onslaught from these furry rodents, you will find their poop everywhere. Dark pellets of rat shit will be everywhere. But how would you differentiate between rat poop and mouse poop?
There is a simple method of identification. Rat poop is slightly larger in size – about that of an olive. Rat shit is found in groupings. You will often find rat feces near insulations. Mouse poop, in contrast, is smaller. It is slightly elongated and has a sharp end.
But remember one thing: rat droppings are usually black in color. But the color can change to brown or green, depending on what they are feeding on.
How to Differentiate Between Rat Poop and Squirrel Poop?
This really is a lot more difficult than distinguishing between rat droppings and mouse excreta. Rat and squirrel feces look pretty much the same in color and size. But they use their droppings to mark territory. You’ll find them scattered all over the place they had infested. Squirrels tend to use the same spot for excrement.
How to Know if Rat Droppings Are Fresh
It is not very difficult to distinguish fresh rat poop from older rat shit. Rat feces are dark and shiny and moist to touch when fresh. They become grey and dusty when old. Rat droppings start to fade and dry 48 hours onwards.
How to Get Rid of Rat Urine Stench
Rat shit also smells, but the stench is much stronger in rat urine. And if you have had a rodent attack, their pee will be everywhere. Just as they use feces to mark territory, they use urine to mark safety and ownership. This is a safe route for us to take. Pee all over it to mark it. That’s how rodents go about it. So, food, nest, each other – they will pee everywhere that they consider safe and their own.
Rat urine smell will thus come from two sources even after you’ve managed to drive them out. The surfaces or materials that have soaked their pee will carry the stench. The stench will also linger in the stagnant air in the area where they might have built a nest.
To get rid of the deadly odor of rat urine, you need to take care of both of the above. Here is a step by step guide to how you can go about it:
Step # 1: Break Down the Chemicals
Certain chemicals in rat urine create the overpowering odor. If you manage to break down those chemicals, you will manage to neutralize the stench. Buy an odor removing enzyme solution and spray it generously.
Rocco and Roxie Professional Strength Stain and Odor Remover is one of the best products available in the market. Don’t be stingy when spraying it and allow it to stay for some time. It needs to break down the chemicals, right? That needs time.
Step # 2: Draw Out the Stench
Baking soda is your answer to get that bit done. Mix baking soda in water or vinegar and spray it. You can also make a paste of thicker consistency and spread it on the surface of the areas where the stench is coming from. Wait at least 24 hours before you clean it up.
Step # 3: Remove the Stench from the Air
The first thing to do for this is obvious. Open up doors and windows for fresh air to come in. If you use fans, switch them on as well. This will help to dispel the stagnant air.
You can follow that up with some easy home remedies to totally eliminate the lingering stink of rat urine. Baking soda, charcoal, coffee grinds, raw onions, and vinegar are all great stench removers. Place a bowl of any of these in the areas where the stink lingers.
Replace with a fresh supply every alternate day to get rid of the stink faster. Definitely replace once every three days. Continue till there is no smell left any longer. How long it will take depends on how much rat urine had accumulated over how long a time.
In Case You Aren’t Happy with Home Remedies
There are ready to buy odor removers that you can source from the market, in case you don’t want to use any of the suggested home stench removers. There are some fancy electronic ones also. Feel free to buy any of them and follow the directions.
How to Mark Areas with Rat Urine
Of course, you need to identify the areas with rat urine smell before you can start getting rid of it. Using black light is the most recommended formula. There are some ready to buy stench removers that turn into white foam when in contact with rat urine. That is another way to identify.
Some Special Safety Tips
Rat infestation often happens in the attic. If you notice that your ceilings have damp marks, it could well be due to accumulated rat urine. It is best to change the board in that case.
The same goes for insulations. But change both the board and the insulations only after treating them. The rat urine smell will linger otherwise.
In Case It’s Mice, Not Rats
You already know how mice poop looks different from rat poop. You will know whether it is mice or rats who are your uninvited visitors. But that shouldn’t make any real difference. Follow everything shared here even if your house is infested with mice instead of rats.
Most important: follow the same safety measures when cleaning and afterward.
If You Have Pet Rodents
Well, if you have rodents as pets, they will be in a cage. So, you’re saved the trouble of trying to identify areas covered with their droppings or urine. Cleaning the cage will be enough.
But please do remember to follow the safety measures suggested here when you clean up the cage. You will still need the disinfectant and the gloves to protect yourself and others from contamination.
When to Ask for Professional Help
If you have an outhouse or a cabin that has not been used for long, the chances of rodent infestation there will be high. It can happen to a small vacation cottage you have somewhere also. Please take care to check for rodent infestation before you decide to use any of these.
Remember, rat droppings and rat urine may be contaminated. They can be harmful to you and your family. There is no escape from being careful.
One final suggestion is that, if the infestation is very heavy, driving them out and cleaning up the rat feces and rat urine may not be within your capacity. It may be best to source professional service then.
As We Sign Off
We do hope that you will not have to deal with unwanted rodent visitors to your property. Just in case you do have these uninvited guests, we hope this guide will come in handy in cleaning up the mess they will leave. In the form of rat excreta and rat urine, that is.
Finally, please don’t ignore these same safety tips even when you clean the cage/s where your pet rodents live. Rat feces and urine can cause the same harm even when they are pets.