This winter I bought a large 5 gallon shop vac for dealing with the flooding in my shop. With the addition of some bags and some brush tools the vac works great for getting up the mouse droppings, plus we don’t have to worry about the dust or spreading anything via the shop vac exhaust. I have a small 1.5 gallon Shop vac that has worked out great cleaning the laundry area and closets where the big shop vac is difficult to maneuver around in tight quarters. My only complaint about the Shop vacs is the power cords are too short and I have to use an extension cord for almost every job. I don’t think using your regular vacuum to clean up a vermin infestation is a good idea. Save that house vacuum for your everyday cleaning chores and get a cheap shop vac for around $20.00-$60.00 depending on the size and features.
Cleaning off the existing shelves I have been using a “Shop brush” ($2.00 Harbor Freight) and an oversized dust pan ($1.00) Dollar Tree. These tools work great for cleaning shelves that have open areas between the slats. You can place some newspaper below the shelf and just sweep everything onto the paper or into the oversized dust pan. I am looking into building some of my shelves with smaller 1×2 or 1×3 and painting all shelves with a semi-gloss paint so they will not absorb odors and will be easy to clean in the future.
Cleaning solutions: The Clorox urine remover is working out great! I bought a spray bottle to try it out ($5.00 Lowe’s) but I will be buying the large jug ($13.00 Lowe’s) for my cleaning supply. What I like most is this cleaner works on all surfaces and has not bleached or discolored my furniture or carpets. I’m using a mild bleach solution to clean the cement/concrete wall of my basement area. The mice don’t seem to care for bleach solution or it disrupts the scent pathways they establish. Mom and I are cleaning the buckets with the mild bleach solution and so far we have not found any mouse dropping on those cleaned buckets. The basement is smelling better overall and in the area we have cleaned still smells clean after 5 days.
Traps: Tom, I have added one of those Victor Tin cat traps in the basement and using a bit of grain rather than peanut butter as bait. In the last four days we have caught 10 adult mice. I’m using a lot of sticky traps in the house as Snap traps are difficult for me to set and use. Heck even the local Dollar store has those sticky traps though it may take laying out the traps in groups of 2 or 3 traps to catch the mice, they do work. One thing I have learned about sticky traps the more surface area the trap has the better it works for catching mice. Over all I think the Tomcat metal re-usable traps are a better solution for a prepper. I think adding sticky traps when you find them on sale are great and should be added to preps.
Last but not least clean up item, construction grade trash bags. These bags have a heavy mil of 2-6 depending on on what you buy and are great multi-taskers. This last winter we did not have trash pickup for over 6 weeks. I do have a bit of an advantage with the wood stove to burn most paper trash. While I had extra cans on hand for trash I was ready with those super thick bags to hold trash. I live in a small city and if my neighbors don’t contain trash properly the vermin will affect me and not just them.
Okay now the fun shopping stuff for the day. I bought a small under counter LED light that runs on rechargeable batteries for $20.00 at Home Depot. What is great, is the light is recharged via a USB cable and all of my power packs and my fold able 15 watt solar panel has USB connection for power. This a great way for me to start a solar powered light system for the kitchen via a solar panel/ power pack but still can be recharged via the electric company’s outlets. No direct wiring is need to install this little LED lamp. You don’t need a large solar array to take advantage of solar energy. A small solar panel system that charges a small battery bank can be a great start. I have a small power pack that that can jump a dead car battery though I have not tested it for charging via my little solar panel. As soon as the sun comes out in SW Idaho I will test it out.
I forgot I’m adding a bug barrier insecticide as we clean the basement. I’m not sure how the insecticide is working but I do have a great system of battery powered pump sprayer now. I think it is helping but it is early days of testing.