How to Safely Clean Up All Animal Feces in Your Attic

The importance of cleanliness in our houses cannot be gainsaid as far having a comfortable life in them is concerned. We take every other measure to keep them clean knowing very well that doing it any other way would have detrimental effects on our health and ability to have a comfortable life in there. Even when we keep pets in the house, we always make a point of cleaning up after them. We actually do not make much fuss about them simply because we love the pets and in most cases the places to be cleaned are relatively open and therefore easier to clean.

However, it becomes a problem when other animals make it their business to convert the tightest places in your house into a public latrine. You may be having squirrels, rats, raccoons or bats nesting in your attic for a certain period of time. This leads to contamination of your insulation with fecal matter, urine, parasites, dander and other forms of contaminants. This definitely calls for collective measure to be taken since if the disease-causing contaminants or fecal matter remain in the attic, they would be a health hazard even after the particular animal has left. Not only would the animal poop be very unhealthy, but will also give out odors that would attract even other animals to re-infest in your attic. This underlines the importance of not only removing the animal and excluding it from the attic, but also using biocide to treat the attic as well as replacing that insulation with a clean and new insulation.

When you discover a colony of animals in your attic, make plans of excluding it them from it then determine how much contamination has been done. Note that when the fecal matter has accumulated in your attic, removing it would not be the initial step.

To begin the process of cleaning, remove whatever animal may be living in the attic. In this endeavor, you can use chemical repellants or ultrasonic devices to eliminate the animals. One of the most effective ways of controlling animals is by physically trapping them, getting them out and excluding them. You will need to seal the active exit and entry points as well as the points they would be likely to use in re-entering the building.

It would be important that you prevent being exposed to diseases from animals. Be sure to prevent the contaminants from becoming airborne as they will be inhaled thereby causing diseases. Some of the diseases that you would be exposed to include rabies, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, raccoon roundworm, histoplasmosis, plague, anthrax, eosinophilic meningitis, as well as other zoonotic ailments.

In cleaning the animal poop from the antic, it would be important that you use a vacuum cleaner (industrial) that has high-intensity filter in order to bag the contaminated matter. You could also use enzyme based vacuum cleaners that would eliminate the biohazard organic material from the animals. Use atomizers (electric powered) which will create a mist that coarses throughout the attics giving a complete coverage as well as cleanup.

In order to protect yourself from animal biohazard and insulation fibers, it would be important that you wear protective clothing and especially respirator mask.

Removing the animal poop from your attic would be immaterial if you do not properly dispose off the waste. In addition, be sure to apply approved disinfectant in order to eliminate any fungus or parasites that come with animals. These include mites, fleas and mites infesting the animals. When you remove the host animal, the parasites would have to go looking for other hosts in which case they may find their way to other parts of the house.

How to identify rat feces and where is it found?

Our homes are the ideal places for some unwanted beings like rats.  These rodents enter our homes through any hole, pipes or openings, to find food or shelter during the wintertime.  But, how do we know if we have a visit from rats? 

In the next post, we will show how to identify rat excrement and where to locate it.

How can we recognize rat feces? 

When rats move around, they leave their feces all over the place. Even when they feed.  For this reason, one of the greatest pieces of evidence of a rat presence in your home is finding excrement.  But, many little animals also excrete leaving their remains scattered in spaces of the house. So, how can you be sure it’s a rat you are dealing with?  

How to recognize rat feces

In order to identify the feces of these rodents and differentiate them from other small animals, it is necessary to consider certain characteristics.  One of them is the shape of their excrement, which is cylindrical, black in color, and its ends are rounded. Their size will be proportional to the size of the rat.  Thus, the excrement has a certain resemblance to a grain of rice. Mice have similar droppings but their tips are sharper.  This means that if you look closely at the animal's feces, you can even tell the species.

If the feces are fresh or recently defecated, they will look like this:

  • Its color is shiny black
  • They are elastic when handled
  • They're sticky

If, on the contrary, the stools have been excreted at least one day before, they become a dull color and harden.  The smell that rats leave behind when they urinate and defecate is strong, similar to ammonia.

Where should you look for the feces?

Another way of knowing that it is rat droppings is that you will find them near the place where you store food.  For example, near the pantry, around the kitchen, or in corners and enclosed places, such as storage rooms or closets, which would serve as a burrow. 

You can also find the feces along the walls. If you notice excrements smaller than the size of rice and larger quantities, you may be in the presence of a burrow, since young rats do not move far from their nest.  

On the other hand, if you want to know if the rats keep infesting your home, you can do a test by removing the feces found and wait the next few days to see if there are any more stools.  This will help you to know if it was an accidental entry or if you already have them permanently in your home.

Tips to prevent a rat’s visit to your home

  • Keep all spaces clean. Especially where rodents might take shelter, such as sheds, storage rooms, or where leaves and debris accumulate.
  • Avoid leaving your food exposed in the kitchen or place objects that serve as shelter.
  • Cover all holes inside and outside your home to prevent entry.
  • Garbage cans should be tightly closed.
  • If there are pets, avoid leaving food in their bowls, this could be a source of food for rats.
  • Rat feces are the most accurate evidence you can have of their invasion in your home or office. 

Stay alert!

Rats often find their way into homes, especially attics, and wherever rats are, feces will be there. Here we’re going to be advising the proper way the clean to rat feces from your attic in a way that will ensure cleanliness, sterilization, and protecting your health.

Before you can clean your attics and other places that the rats may have ventured to it is necessary to ensure that the problem is gone; otherwise, you just end up being a maid to a population of rodents living in your home.

Once you are confident that the infestation has gone, it is generally advisable to wait just under a week. Before you attempt to clean the former nest, make sure to ventilate the area well to allow the buildup of airborne toxins or pathogens to pass by opening doors and windows at least an hour before starting. Use cross-ventilation and leave the area during the airing-out period.

Once you have well ventilated the area, follow these step by step instructions to aid in cleaning out the attic:

  1. Wear personal protective equipment like rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves when cleaning up urine, droppings, or nesting materials. A dust mask is easy to obtain from a hardware store and may provide some protection against dust, molds, and insulation fibers, however, this does not protect against viruses so try to obtain one of the correct masks.
  2. Spray any urine, droppings, and nesting materials with either a bleach and water solution (1 parts bleach to 9 parts water) or a household disinfectant prepared according to the label instructions for dilution and disinfection time. Soak well. This will inactivate any virus. Use a paper towel or rag to pick up the materials and dispose of them, ensuring that you double bag the waste.
  3. Mop floors after spraying them using a bleach/water solution or a disinfectant. Dirt floors can be sprayed with either a bleach and water solution or a disinfectant.
  4. If exposed insulation has become contaminated with urine and droppings, it should be placed into plastic bags for removal and should be replaced.
  5. To remove any potentially contaminated materials from storage vessels/boxes:
    1. First, move the storage vessels/boxes outside and place them in an area that is well-ventilated and exposed to direct sunlight. The outside of the storage vessels/boxes can be disinfected using bleach and water solution or a disinfectant solution;
    2. Next, remove the potentially contaminated materials while in the sunlit, ventilated area. Remain upwind so that any dust or debris is not blown toward your face. Some contaminated stored materials, such as clothing, books, etc. can be decontaminated by following the recommended methods of disinfection; items that are no longer needed can be discarded.
    3. Dispose of any cardboard boxes contaminated with urine or droppings. Plastic, glass, or metal containers can be disinfected by spraying with the bleach and water solution or disinfectant. Then, using a rag or paper towel, wipe up the urine or droppings, and dispose of the waste.
  6. Clean countertops, cabinets, and drawers with disinfectant or bleach and water solution.
  7. Decontaminate gloves with disinfectant or bleach and water solution. Wash hands well with soap and warm water.