Studies have shown that roach feces may cause a host of health problems, including allergies, asthma, Salmonella Typhi, Poliomyelitis, and Dysentery, among other issues. Simply cleaning the feces may not be enough to deter or prevent these issues, as agitating the feces may cause portions of it to become airborne. Here are some tips to properly clean and disinfect areas affected by roach feces to make the areas safer to inhabit.
Areas of large roach infestations are generally easy to spot. Small specs are generally present and those specs are often dried feces. Specs are easier to spot on light colored surfaces, such as white doors or casings. However, in certain areas, such as inside cabinets and drawers, the specs may not be as visible. Feces may be on the bottom of drawers, on the backs of drawers, in the cracks of the corners where the cabinets are joined, behind the cabinets (not visible unless the cabinets are removed from the wall), behind quarter-round molding, etc. If you are unable to see the specs, the chances for properly sanitizing those areas are drastically reduced.
2. Cleaning and Sanitizing Strategies
When possible, saturate the specs with a broad-spectrum disinfectant. Read the disinfectant label to see how long the product must remain wet on the surface to work properly (normally a minimum of 10 minutes). Applying a disinfectant to the surface and allowing it to work for the duration of the dwell time will reduce the likelihood that the dried feces will become airborne. You should wear a disposable N-95 respirator and disposable gloves at a minimum to reduce your exposure to airborne fecal particles, but a half-faced or a full-faced respirator is preferred. Get a medical evaluation and a respirator fit test by a properly trained instructor before wearing a respirator.
3. Accessing Tough-To-Reach Areas
If you suspect there are areas of infestation that you cannot see or access, there may be a few things you can do to make those areas more sanitary. If the areas of infestation occur where a wall and a floor meet, there is generally molding that covers the junction. You may want to pry the molding away from the wall, even if it is temporary, and generously apply disinfectant to that area. However, to make sure you are not introducing mold into areas (not all disinfectants prevent and/or kill mold), thoroughly dry those areas before re-applying the molding. You can use the same technique if molding exists in areas around cabinets as well. You may have to touch up the paint around the molding where it was removed, as paint can sometime crack from the molding or from the wall when the molding is removed. You should also exercise extreme caution when handling the molding, as the molding will likely have many nails holding it to the wall, potentially making it brittle in those areas.
Remove drawers from counters completely if possible. Check the sides, backs, bottoms, and tracks for specs of feces. Thoroughly clean all areas and allow to dry before placing the drawers back in their original spots.
4. Use HEPA Air Purifiers in Infested Rooms
Air purifiers or air filtration devices are great ways to improve indoor air quality. HEPA air purifiers generally have one or more filters and filter out air particles as small as .03 microns (generally, potentially dangerous respirable particles such as mold, lead-based paint, and asbestos fall in this category). Air filters can filter out many of the airborne contaminants if properly sanitizing them isn’t effective or possible.
Ask your pest control professional how to properly sanitize areas affected by roaches after the pest control is successful. Or, contact a local extreme cleaning specialist. Many extreme cleaning specialists know how to properly sanitize areas affected by large roach infestations.