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How to Clean Up After Raccoons, Squirrels and Other Wildlife

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

How to Clean Up After Raccoons, Squirrels and Other Wildlife


Cleaning up after wildlife like raccoons, squirrels, and other critters that may have wandered into your home or yard can be a daunting task. However, with some planning and diligence, you can safely and effectively clean and sanitize areas after wildlife encounters. I have dealt with my fair share of surprise wildlife guests over the years, so I wanted to share what I’ve learned about properly cleaning up after them.

Safety Precautions

Before cleaning any area that wild animals have inhabited or visited, it’s crucial to take safety precautions:

  • Wear gloves, long sleeves, closed toe shoes, safety goggles, mask: Protect yourself from potential diseases as well as sharp objects or debris that may be present.

  • Use disinfectants safely: Open windows and use fans to ensure proper ventilation. Read all labels carefully and follow directions.

  • Seal entry points: Before cleaning, you’ll want to humanely seal any entry points animals used to get inside. This will prevent reinfestation or encounters with animals still onsite.

  • Exercise caution: Wildlife can become defensive if cornered. Use humane removal methods or call professionals if needed.

  • Look for signs of animals: Inspect areas for feces, nests, carcasses, etc. Wildlife may still be present. Proceed with care.

Removing Feces and Urine

Animal feces and urine are common leftovers you’ll need to tackle. Here are some tips:

  • Wear PPE when handling feces as it can contain parasites and diseases. Scoop up droppings with a trowel or shovel and place in sealed plastic bags.

  • Soak urine stains with an enzymatic cleaner designed to break down uric acid. Let sit, then blot and scrub.

  • For heavy saturation: Mix 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. Rinse surface with clean water after disinfecting.

  • Dispose of waste properly: Seal it tightly in bags and discard with your normal garbage collection.

Disinfecting Surfaces

Thoroughly disinfect any areas wildlife had access to:

  • First, remove all visible feces, nesting materials, etc. Scoop up with disposable gloves.

  • Wash surfaces with hot, soapy water and rinse well.

  • Disinfect by wiping down surfaces with disinfectant products containing bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or alcohol.

  • Allow surfaces to air dry completely after disinfection.

  • Pay special attention to countertops, cupboards, floors, attics, basements, and crawl spaces.

Removing Nests

If you find any nests or denning areas, here’s how to remove them:

  • Using gloves, carefully place nesting materials like leaves, straw, twigs into plastic bags.

  • Spray nests thoroughly with disinfectant and let sit 10 minutes before bagging.

  • Seal bags tightly and discard with regular trash pickup.

  • Fill in or cover any cavities, holes, or entry points nests were built in.

  • Check attics and basements for common nesting sites. Remove all materials found.

Laundering Contaminated Items

Any fabric items soiled by wildlife should be laundered:

  • Do not shake fabrics or you risk scattering pathogens or parasites.

  • Wear gloves when handling soiled items.

  • Wash in hot water separate from other laundry. Add bleach or disinfectant laundering booster.

  • Use highest heat drying setting to kill any lingering organisms.

  • Discard heavily soiled items that cannot be thoroughly cleaned.

Seek Professional Help if Needed

While cleaning up minor wildlife encounters is often manageable on your own, professional assistance may be needed in some cases:

  • Advanced decay, hoarding situations, or large infestations.

  • Bats, raccoons, skunks, or other high risk disease carriers were present.

  • You are immunocompromised and at higher risk.

  • Humane removal or exclusion of live animals is required.

  • Attic, wall, chimney, or crawl space access is needed.

Don’t hesitate to call in wildlife control pros when warranted. They have specialized tools, protective gear, and expertise.

By following these guidelines, you can clean and disinfect areas after wildlife encounters safely and effectively. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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