How to clean feces in shed?
June 22, 2010 1:17 PM   Subscribe

How to clean old wood shed with (cat?) feces.

We moved into our new house and it has a decent sized outbuilding. One door, one window. I cleaned out lots of the old debris but there are tons of what looks to be cat poop in this one corner. What is the best way to clean it up? I found some resources on cleaning up after mice and using a 1:9 solution of bleach and water.

Ideally I want to get all of the contaminents out, demo the existing shelves and a partition wall, sweep/clean and rebuild what needs to be. What precautions should I take?
posted by NotSoSimple to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Sometimes dried feces contain viruses which you should not inhale, so to be meticulous, you could wear a mask while cleaning this. If the wooden shed has (as I assume) a wooden floor, it is possible to sand the floor to remove any lingering trace of feces (if that is worth the bother). However if the wood had been well sealed (by varnish or paint) then you might be able to just wash everything off, the way you would clean any floor (of course, first you shovel out the tons of poop).
posted by grizzled at 1:39 PM on June 22, 2010

Grizzled is right. I would take it a little farther. First, keep the door and window open while you are working in there. Second, don't just use an ill-fitting paper mask. Step up to a real respirator face mask. You will probably have use for it again, so don't balk at the seeming high price. If possible, hose down the entire interior, including the ceiling and all walls, being sure not to let the spray splash back on you too much. Scoop the nasty stuff out and let the whole place dry out. Now apply the bleach mixture to all of the walls and floor. Finish, if necessary, with a good coat of enamel. If you really want to do it right, start with a primer and then finish coat with a good satin or matte finish.
posted by Old Geezer at 2:24 PM on June 22, 2010

I'd also use a proper respirator type mask. If nothing else it's going to smell in there once you start stirring things up!

In the past I've worked for an agricultural research organisation. After the large animal trials I cleaned out the sheep and cow sheds first by hosing then by water blasting the walls, floors and all pens/grates/etc. The waterblasting did an excellent job of getting off even ground in dirt from wood and concrete, much better than any kind of scrubbing or bleach would do, and was actually kind of fun. So in your situation I'd go to work with a shovel to remove the solid stuff, followed by a quick hose and possibly splash some bleach around then if you're paranoid, then just hire a waterblaster for a few days and go over everything. You might want to do the demolition before the waterblasting so you're cleaning the surfaces that will be left, but either way let the waterblaster do the bulk of the cleaning.
posted by shelleycat at 2:49 PM on June 22, 2010

Not too worried about the stuff left over in the wood. Just want to get the loose crap off. I do own a pressure washer but was worried about deteriorating the plywood even further by hosing it down. Does not look like the wood was sealed at all either.

Keeping the door and window open for sure, esp since there is no other airflow or light source.
posted by NotSoSimple at 3:31 PM on June 22, 2010

It's true, using your pressure washer on unsealed plywood invites rot. Plywood is insanely water absorbent, at the edges in particular (where you have end grain). So just shovel and sweep, never mind the washing. If you really did have to get the wood very clean, as I said earlier, you can sand it, which is a technique that does not get the wood wet. But that is really a lot of work. It is also possible to paint over the wood, even if it is not entirely clean. An enamel paint sticks to everything.
posted by grizzled at 4:32 PM on June 22, 2010

Oh, yeah, I wouldn't use water at all on unsealed plywood. Real wood sure, it does an amazing job really fast, same goes for concrete. But I wouldn't want to keep dirty unsealed plywood anyway, depending on what's made out of it, it's only going to get dirtier and more fragile with time and use.

If you're not worried about ground in stuff then you'll go a long way with just a broom and brush and shovel, assuming everything is dry. Sweeping isn't as much fun as water blasting but still surprisingly therapeutic.
posted by shelleycat at 5:09 PM on June 22, 2010

clean it out completely.
then gently wash everything down with bleach and water. do this on a hot summer day, so it will dry quickly - use a fan and towel to help it dry.
then paint it with kilz

kilz is what professional use to block pet odor, mold, bacteria, and all sorts of other things.
posted by Flood at 5:52 PM on June 22, 2010

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