How to Safely Handle Rodent Droppings In Your Home

Here’s how to identify mouse poop and dispose of it safely.

Rodent droppings in your home or in its surrounding area is one of the sure signs that you may be dealing with an infestation. The amount of droppings that you see can also determine how large of an infestation you are dealing with. With mice and rats defecating 40 to 50 times per day on average, droppings are likely to be seen anywhere that they are frequenting. A pungent smell can commonly be found from places that have rodent feces and is usually a mixture of droppings and urine in those areas.

In this article, learn more about mouse and rat droppings and how you can use it as an identifier to prevent them from coming back again.

The Difference Between Rat Droppings & Mouse Droppings

Identifying what type of rodent droppings you are seeing will help determine what type of infestation you are dealing with. Understand the different characteristics you’ll see when inspecting droppings to then take the correct measures towards getting rid of mice and rats.


Rat Droppings

Rat droppings in general, are typically dark brown and 1-2cm (0.5-1 inches) long. With two types of rats that are commonly found in Canada, rat droppings are larger in size than droppings from mice. Seeing droppings from either Norway rats or Roof rats does not change the steps taken to get rid of the rodents, although Norway rat feces tend to be more oval shaped than the thinner looking feces of Roof rats.

Read our article to learn more about rats and how to identify them.

Mouse Droppings

Mouse droppings are lighter brown and are significantly smaller than rat droppings. Mouse droppings range in size from 0.3-0.6cm (⅛ to ¼ inches) long. Smaller than grains of rice, mouse droppings may go unnoticed and might be mistaken for specs of debris or dust in your home. The most distinct part of seeing mouse feces is that they are commonly found in trails or piles as mice defecate in that matter, rather than one droplet at a time. As soon as you suspect that you see mouse droppings, you are likely correct.

Read our article to learn more about mice and how to identify them.

Old and New Droppings

Understanding how old the droppings are is one thing to consider in addition to whether the droppings are from rats or mice. How long the droppings have been in your home determines how long you’ve been experiencing rodent problems.

When the droppings are dry and crumbly, it is more than likely that the droppings are from a long time ago. A mix of old and new droppings of course, would determine that rats or mice have continued to enter your home many times before and would likely involve an infestation that would need to be solved immediately.

The Dangers of Rodents and Rodent Droppings

Rodents such as mice and rats rummage through garbage and other places with unsanitary conditions to consume any food that they can find. For this reason, rodents bring toxins into any space they enter. Rat and mice infestations can bring unwanted toxins into your home and contaminate your living space which makes rodents extremely unsafe to live near.

Diseases That Derive From Rodent Droppings

Due to their activity in highly unsanitary conditions outdoors, rodents can carry toxic diseases that can be brought into your home and will greatly affect the health conditions of your living space. Rodents can carry these pathogens in their droppings, urine and fur as they travel across your home’s floors, through cabinets and other areas of your living space. While it is not quite yet known that House Mice can carry the same diseases as rats in Canada, all rodents should be controlled the same due to the hazards they pose in your home in general.

  • HPS (Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome): More commonly known as Hantavirus, this respiratory disease is transferred to humans through the inhalation of rodent droppings, urine and fur dander. Symptoms of hantavirus include fatigue, body aches and fever which can quickly lead to shortness of breath the longer you live in such poor living conditions.
  • Leptospirosis: Affecting both humans and pets, Leptospirosis symptoms are similar to that of Hantavirus and are equally as deadly. Unlike Hantavirus, this disease is transmitted through the contamination of home surfaces that rodents have contaminated, but can also enter the body through your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis: This disease affects humans, even when they show no symptoms for a long period of time. Exposure to Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis occurs through exposed skin or through the inhalation of pathogens from rat droppings which can lead to meningitis-like symptoms as soon as someone begins to experience the effects of this disease.

Fleas & Ticks

flea and tick

Fleas and ticks can easily be attracted to rodents such as mice and rats when outside and then brought into your home as rodents explore your living space. Due to these parasites being so small, it is very difficult to know that rodents have been exposed to fleas and ticks which is why it is important to control rodents sooner than later before the discovery of these pests occur.


Growing to only 0.13 inches in size, fleas spend their lives consuming blood from mammals such as humans, pets and wild animals like rodents. Fleas spread up to 40 eggs a day and are so small that they are difficult to identify only until humans and animals are affected and showing symptoms. Fleas can hide in the fur of rodents and can spread typhus which can lead to fever, headaches and skin rashes for multiple weeks.


Despite only reaching up to 0.5 inches in full size, ticks are larger than fleas and also consume the blood of humans, pets and rodents. Ticks can bring Lyme Disease into your home and infects mammals by a single tick bite. Sharing similar characteristics as spiders, ticks are difficult to identify due to their small size and are best prevented by immediately controlling rodents in your home.

After living in an area with fumes from rodent droppings, these diseases are possible to attract in up to a week once the air in your home has been compromised. Early symptoms of these types of diseases include fever, fatigue, nausea and muscle pain.

How to Safely Clean Up Rodent Droppings

Due to the toxicity of mouse and rat droppings, it is important to clean up any visible rodent droppings while being careful of contamination in your home. Cleaning out rodent droppings will also require the sanitization of the area to get rid of the potential of diseases that rats and mice may have brought with them. Some of the following cleaning supplies will be required to clean up rodent droppings:

  • Rubber gloves and a face mask: To avoid skin irritation and inhalation of toxins when cleaning up rodent droppings, keep yourself safe by protecting your skin and your lungs.
  • Dustpan and broom: It is recommended to never reuse the dustpan and broom that you would be using to sweep up the rodent droppings to ensure that all potential toxins are removed from the home. Instead, use one dustpan and broom for designated use towards cleaning up the droppings and dispose of the dustpan and broom afterwards.
  • Disinfectant spray: Spraying and wiping down any surfaces that were in contact with the droppings is important in getting rid of any leftover smells and residue that was left over from the rodent droppings and urine.
  • Paper towel: Clean up and dispose of any soiled paper towels used to easily disinfect surfaces in your home that were once infected with mouse or rat droppings.

How to Dispose of Rodent Droppings

With the correct supplies required to safely clean up rodent droppings, it is a meticulous job to ensure that home surfaces are not contaminated in the future. Follow these steps to dispose of mouse of rat droppings properly:

  1. Prepare for getting rid of the rodent droppings by first applying gloves and a facemask.
  2. Use the dustpan and the broom to sweep up any physical droppings found in the area and immediately place the droppings in a garbage bin.
  3. Once all the droppings have been swept and placed in the garbage, spray all home surfaces that once had droppings with disinfectant spray.
  4. Let the disinfectant spray settle into the surfaces for over 30 seconds before thoroughly wiping down the surfaces with a paper towel. All soiled paper towels should be disposed of in the same garbage bag as the droppings.
  5. Once all surfaces have been disinfected, dispose of both the garbage bag with the droppings, as well as the broom and dustpan used to sweep the droppings.

In some cases of infestation, dead rodents may also be found where droppings are. To dispose of dead rodents, they can also be swept up as you sweep the droppings, but can also be disposed of by handling dead rodents using gloves to dispose of them directly into the garbage. For this reason, using a dustpan, broom, gloves and face mask are all essential items when cleaning up after rodents in your home.

NOTE: It is important to always use a new pair of gloves when touching droppings, dead mice or rats and any other residue to maintain sanitary conditions during your clean up.

How to Prevent Mice and Rats from Entering Your Home

With a better understanding of how to handle rodent droppings safely, read our article to learn more about how to effectively prevent rodents from entering your home again.