How to Handle Mouse Droppings

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

If you’ve come across mouse and rat droppings in the past, chances are you’ve simply swept them up and out with the everyday dirt and dust. That’s actually a bad idea, because they can carry a wide range of diseases that are dangerous to humans—and many of those diseases are spread by breathing in dust that’s been contaminated by mouse poop or urine. (The same goes for rat droppings.)

Diseases Spread by Mice and Rats

While there’s no reason to panic if you see rat or mouse poop in your home, rodent droppings can be potentially dangerous. Here are some of the diseases they can spread if you forget to put on rubber gloves while handling rodents or their droppings. Avoid touching your nose, ears, or mouth, and always wash your hands (even with protection) once you’re done.

  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is a respiratory disease caused by stirring up air contaminated by rodent feces. (Avoid sweeping up droppings!)
  • Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection you or your pet could get by coming into contact with water, food or soil that contains rodent urine.
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis is a rodent-borne neurologic disease you can get either directly from a mouse bite, or if a cut or scrape on your skin comes into contact with rodent urine or feces.
  • Rat-bite fever is a bacterial infection caused by coming into contact with rodents carrying the disease, their droppings, or contaminated water.
  • Salmonellosis is an infection you can get by eating or drinking food or water contaminated by rat feces.

Rat Poop vs. Mouse Poop

What does rat poop look like compared to mouse poop? Here’s how to recognize mouse poop when you see it: Each pellet is just ⅛ to ¼ inch long, shaped like rice, and narrow at either one or both ends. One mouse can produce 50 to 75 droppings in a single day. Rat droppings are larger—½ to ¾ of an inch long—are dark, and both ends are pointed.

How to Handle Mouse and Rat Droppings

Once you notice an infestation, follow these simple guidelines to get rid of mouse poop safely:

  • Ventilate the area.
  • Don't touch mouse droppings with your bare hands.
  • Spray contaminated surfaces with a bleach-based or household disinfectant.
  • Don't stir things up.
  • Mop and wash up.
  • Safely dispose of the nest.

How to Get Rid of Rats and Mice

Of course, you’ll also want to take steps to get rid of the rodent leaving all of those droppings behind. Here's what to do:

  • Fix holes and seal up gaps.
  • Don’t give them what they want.
  • Bait wherever there are signs of infestation.

Sure, now you know how to safely clean up mouse poop, but who wants to do that on a regular basis (or ever)? Once you’ve rid your home of mice, keep them out so you won’t have to clean up after them ever again.


*1-oz. bait block, based on no-choice laboratory testing