Rat Poop: Identification, Precautions & Safe Clean Up

Exterminator hold a dead Roof rat

Rats have been known to spread infectious diseases for thousands of years. Even back in the middle ages, black rats were thought to have been the largest spreaders of the plague. Today, rats still spread disease and can cause serious health problems. Rat poop can carry diseases like ​​tularemia, leptospirosis, and salmonella. You need to be very careful when cleaning up rat poop in your home. You could potentially release viruses trapped in the poop if not handled properly. 

Today, we’ll show you how to safely remove rat poop in your home. We’ll also share some common places you’ll likely find rat droppings hiding throughout your home. 

Rat Infestations 

If you find droppings in your home, it’s highly likely that you have a rat infestation in your home. Even if you haven’t seen a rat directly, they could potentially be hiding in your walls or nesting close by outside. After properly cleaning up rat feces, you should immediately set up traps and call an exterminator to assess the problem.

A pregnant woman stands over a crib. This picture warns against the dangers of cleaning rat poop. It reads: WARNING pregnant women, children, or those with immunity deficiencies should not attempt to clean rat poop. Rat feces can be highly toxic and can severely affect your health.

Also Read: How Mice Get In The House

Identifying Rat Poop

Rat feces, or droppings, can be the worst contributing factors to health issues in your home. However, it can easily be mistaken for other types of feces, such as mice. Although the process for cleaning up both are relatively similar, it’s important to identify what type of infestation you have so you can find the right supplies. 

Rat poop has several distinctive characteristics that can help you better identify the feces:

  • Size: rats often leave several droppings in one area, unlike other pests. 
  • Shape: dropping are often the size and shape of an olive, which is around 3/4 of an inch to 1/2 an inch. The droppings will appear slightly larger than a mouse’s.
  • Smell: yes, rat poop does smell; however, you should NEVER attempt to smell rat droppings you find. 
  • Color: Fresh rat droppings will appear almost black. Over time, they become lighter brown and will eventually turn gray.
  • Freshness: Rat droppings that crumble when touched are older. Fresh droppings are moist.
  • Location: Although rats can fit into small holes, you’ll likely find droppings in larger storage areas, unlike mouse droppings.

People often mistake squirrel, bat, mouse, and even cockroach droppings for rat droppings. After finding droppings, regardless of what the species is, you should call an exterminator to assess the situation. In the meantime, you can safely clean up any droppings you do find. 

How To Clean Up Rat Poop

The first thing you should do when you find rat droppings in your home is open all windows and doors so your home are air out. This helps the toxins in your home filter out. While you’re waiting, grab your cleaning supplies. You will need:

  • Rubber gloves
  • A medical-grade mask
  • A bleach solution spray (1 part bleach to 10 parts water)
  • Paper towel
  • A mop or steam cleaner
  • Garbage bags
  • Disinfectant 

Step One: Bleach

Put on your rubber gloves and mask. This ensures that you’re protected from toxins in the rat poop. It’s vital that you do this to ensure you’re fully protected while cleaning.

With your bleach solution, spray the droppings and the surrounding area. Let this soak for at least five minutes.

Once the droppings and urine have been completely soaked, use a paper towel to pick them up and dispose of them in its own garbage bag. 

Step Two: Clean Up

Prepare a strong cleaning solution for your floors. Mop the entire room if you found droppings on tile or hardwood floors.

If you found droppings on carpet or furniture, use a steam cleaner and the recommended shampoo to thoroughly soak and clean the area. Once you’ve let the area soak for five minutes, vacuum the excess moisture. 

Wash all bedding and clothing that may have come in contact with the droppings. Use soap, a deodorizer, and the hottest setting on your washer. 

Step Three: Disinfect and Dispose

Throw any leftover remains from your steam cleaner, mop bucket, and vacuum away. The vacuum remains should go in the same bag as the droppings. The infected cleaning solutions can be thrown away safely outside. Do not throw the remains down the sink or in your regular garbage. 

After tightly sealing your garbage bag with the droppings and leftover vacuum remains, dispose of it in your outside garbage.

Finally, disinfect your gloves, mop, and other materials used to clean the droppings and urine. Disinfect other items that may have come in contact with the feces and urine. Lightly disinfect the affected areas with a disinfectant spray. 

Once you’ve fully removed all the droppings from your home, thoroughly wash your hands in hot, soapy water for 60 seconds. 

Also Read: The Top-Rated Mice and Rat Killers on Amazon

Dead Rodents and Nests

If you find a dead specimen or a nest, follow all the same steps as you did with the droppings and urine. Common places you may find dead rodents, nests, and dropping include:

  • Pantries and cupboards
  • Outdoor cabins, sheds, and barns
  • Attics, basements, and crawl spaces
  • Vehicles and campers
  • Inside walls 
  • Air duct, or heating and cooling systems
  • Unused or minimally used closets

If you find a dead rodent or nest, call an exterminator immediately. The problem may be much worse than you originally thought if you find a dead specimen rather than a live one. Be sure to read our early signs guide to know more about what to look out for. 

Identifying Types of Rats 

There are two prominent types of rats that infest homes in America: Roof rats and Norway rats. They have slightly different feces, so you may be able to better identify your infestation:

  • Roof rats have rounded ends on their feces and are about ½ an inch long.
  • Norway rats have pointed ends on their feces and are about ¾ an inch long. 

Mouse poop will be much smaller than either of these. Once you’ve identified the type of infestation you have, let your exterminator know so they can better prepare.