Many people will agree that a rodent infestation is not a good thing. Not only do these unsightly vermin cause diseases, they also gnaw on cables, walls, carpets, and building insulation. This risk to your health and the state of disrepair in your home they can wreak on your house make rodents a very undesirable presence in your place indeed.
Signs of infestation
Spotting rodents can be quite challenging, but if you know the signs they leave behind, you can determine which areas of your home may be harbouring vermin.
The most common sign of a rodent infestation is their droppings, which are typically dark brown. They often collect nesting materials as well, like paper scraps and plant leaves. You’ll also want to check whether your cables and wires have been chewed on.
Another sign of rodent infestation is scratching noises, especially late at night as they scurry across floorboards and quiet rooms.
Cleaning up a rodent infestation
Once you find signs that rodents may have inhabited somewhere within the property, you should start cleaning up and disinfecting right away.
You aren’t required to buy special equipment or chemicals; you can use whatever cleaning and disinfecting items are available in your home. Use only one type of chemical—avoid combining them. You never know what chemical reactions might occur if you mix different types of disinfectants.
Before doing anything, however, determine if the cleaning materials are safe to use on the surface you are cleaning. If the cleaning agent requires you to dilute it, make sure you carefully follow the instructions. Don’t forget to wear protective gear too, like disposable gloves.
Here are some tips on how you can properly clean and disinfect areas where rodents may have been:
Rodent droppings may be small, but they’re filled with viruses and bacteria and as such, can compromise your health and those of loved ones living with you.
To clean and remove droppings, you need to wear non-absorbent gloves and a mask of some sort. Pick up the droppings one by one and place them inside a non-absorbent material (similar to your gloves) and dispose of them properly. Once you are done, remove all clothing you wore and disinfect them right away. (You can even opt to dispose of them if you wish.) Wash your hands for several minutes as well.
Never use your vacuum cleaner or broom in cleaning rodent droppings. Dry rodent excrement will readily crumble into very small particles and these are light enough that they can float through the air. You can easily inhale these. Instead, spray the droppings with ordinary household detergent or disinfectant. Let the droppings steep in the disinfectant for a few minutes after spraying, and then use a disposable cloth or paper towel to wipe them up. Place the droppings inside a sealed bag and throw the packet away.
Finding dead rodents
Removing dead rodents requires extra care.
Wear your gloves and spray a bleach-and-water solution on the carcass. Let the body soak in the mixture for several minutes. When you remove it, do not use your bare hands when picking it up. Use a pair of high-quality disposable gloves. Place the remains inside tightly sealed bags. Many people also use double bags.
Throw the bag into the refuse bin or any outdoor trash bin. Throw away your disposable gloves as well, along with all the other materials that may have come in contact with the rodents.
Clean the area or surface where the rodents were removed. Exposing it to sunlight and fresh air for several hours will help in disinfecting the area.
Don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly after removing the rodents and cleaning the area.
Cleaning up rodent nests
For areas where rodents may have lived or built their nests, use a mixture of water and bleach for disinfection. If the area is enclosed, ventilate it for around 30 minutes by opening windows and doors. This allows fresh air to flow through the area thus removing any contaminated air.
Search for rodent droppings that are sure to be present. For instructions on how to get rid of them, see the “Cleaning droppings” section, above.
When you’ve made sure no droppings remain, pour your disinfectant mix onto the area and let it dry. Avoid using a spray bottle; you will inadvertently break up any contaminated material like urine-steeped shredded fabrics and aerosolized the viruses and bacteria feeding off them.
Apply disinfectant or a water-and-bleach solution on floors and mop off any signs of dirt.
Cleaning furniture and bedding
If you think rodents infested and urinated on your carpet, bedding, and furniture, these items have to be cleaned and disinfected.
For carpets and furniture, the ideal thing to do is to shampoo or steam-clean them. Wash your clothes and beddings with hot water and laundry detergent.
Rodent infestation due to disrepair
If the rodent nests in your rented home are caused by disrepair, you shouldn’t do anything about solving the problem on your own. You have to inform your landlord and provide them with all of the details. If your landlord has not responded or actioned a solution after 21 days, you can file a housing disrepair claim. Don’t worry if this sounds complicated,, you can get in touch with the disrepair experts at DisrepairClaim.co.uk and they’ll guide you down the right path by helping you file a disrepair compensation claim.