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How to clean & sanitize fabric from mice droppings

Updated February 21, 2019

Mice dropping are not only unsightly, they can pose a serious health threat since some mice can shed the deadly hantavirus in their urine, droppings and saliva. Hantavirus can cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in humans, an often fatal disease. According to the National Center for Infectious Diseases, hantavirus is spread when the virus is inhaled by humans. Handling dried, infected material causes the virus to become airborne where it can be inhaled.

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  1. Put on gloves and a face mask. The CDC recommends using rubber, latex, vinyl or nitrile gloves.

  2. Pour 1 1/2 cups of household bleach into 1 gallon of water to create a hypochlorite solution. Thoroughly wet the infected fabric with the disinfecting solution. If the fabric is not colour-safe, you can wash clothing and stuffed animals in a washing machine with detergent. To disinfect fabric on furniture, use a commercial-grade steam cleaner or shampoo.

  3. Remove solid mouse droppings that have been thoroughly soaked with the disinfecting solution with a damp towel, and mop or sponge the area with more disinfectant.

  4. Disinfect gloves with soap and water before removing. Double-bag gloves and mouse droppings and discard into an appropriate waste disposal system.

  5. Dry clothes or stuffed animals in a clothes dryer after washing.

  6. Tip

    Leave fabric that cannot be saturated with disinfecting solution in the sun for several hours or in a rodent-free indoor area for approximately one week before removing mouse droppings. The lipid envelope that surrounds the hantavirus will break down during that time, rendering it harmless.


    Do not attempt to clean fresh rodent droppings without first disinfecting. Sweeping, mopping or vacuuming fresh droppings can cause the virus to become airborne and cause disease. If you experience symptoms such as fever, deep muscle aches and severe shortness of breath after being exposed to mouse droppings, see a doctor immediately.

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Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Disinfecting spray, such as alcohol or bleach
  • Towel
  • Mop or sponge

About the Author

Viola Horne

When not working in her family-owned food and bar business, Viola Horne can almost always be found with a cookbook in one hand and a whisk in the other. Horne never tires of entertaining family and friends with both comfort food and unusual delicacies such as garlic cheese smashed potatoes and banana bacon pancakes.

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