How to properly clean up squirrel feces in an attic

Squirrels love the attic as it provides them with a dry, warm haven that protects them from the elements and predators. Even as squirrels look all cute and cuddly, they likely will leave the attic thrashed, cluttered, and full with nest materials such as leaves and matter. Squirrels are known to defecate and urinate anywhere they want to.  This can cause odour problems, promote breeding grounds for mould that is host to potential pathogens and health risks, and this odour can contain pheromones that attract other squirrels into the attic. Sometimes the droppings or urine can leak through the drywall and onto your ceiling. A full restoration is often required to completely clean your attic. A waiting period of a week or more after no active infestation of squirrels are advised by the CDC so that any infectious virus in the rodent’s urine/droppings or nesting material is no longer contagious.

Identifying Squirrel Feces

Squirrel droppings are cylindrical in shape with rounded edges. They tend to be about 1/8 to 3/8 of an inch in length. It is relatively easy to tell squirrel waste apart from that of other animals because of its unique smell. It also tends to get lighter with time and be red or brown, something that isn’t true for other rodents.

Squirrel Feces

In most cases, squirrel droppings will be randomly scattered, but you may find some clusters in areas of the attic where they eat. They look very similar to rat droppings, so don’t confuse the two. In general, you will usually find squirrel droppings to be light brown, rusty, or reddish in colour, while rat droppings are generally darker brown or even black. Also, the diet of the two animals is quite different, and you will find that the pellets of squirrel droppings are usually slightly thicker in the middle with rounded edges, while the rat is narrower and tend to have a more pointed end.

Removing Squirrel Feces

Obviously, the first step to cleaning up the squirrel feces in your attic is removing them. Remember to put on a mask of some sort and gloves for protection from infectious germs before you start cleaning up the mess. Spray disinfectant or a bleach-water mixture on the urine and droppings and let it soak for 5-10 minutes. The recommended concentration ratio of the bleach to water is 1-part bleach to 10 parts water. You will probably have to pick up the squirrel droppings one by one with your hand. Never touch the waste directly because of the germs that can be transmitted from squirrels to humans, particularly those zoonotic diseases that can be passed from squirrel to humans, such as leptospirosis and Salmonella. Use a paper towel or napkin to pick up the urine and droppings and dispose of them in the garbage immediately. If you have a filter vacuum, you should use it to collect the droppings quickly and easily. Just don’t forget you will need to sanitize the entire area afterwards. Just because you cleared all the droppings, doesn’t mean that the bacteria and fecal particles are all gone. Don’t forget to remove and replace items like insulation that may be contaminated.

Sanitizing The Attic

There are two generally accepted methods of sanitizing the attic after removing the squirrels. Most people will find that cleaning with a bleach and water mixture to be easiest since you probably already have all the materials on hand. For a more thorough clean, you should use an enzyme-based cleaner and apply it as a spray. This will allow the solution to penetrate every inch of the attic and get rid of all bacteria, germs, and the remaining fecal matter.

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