Don’t let rodents become a ‘perm-anent’ salon resident

A rodent scurrying across a shop floor is not a good look for any business. This is especially true for customers trying to relax while having their colours done. However, rodent activity in salons across the UK is not unusual, and owners shouldn’t be surprised if they start to see signs of the pests in their premises. In fact, salons and hairdressers prove attractive places for both rats and mice, which may seek shelter in cupboards or store rooms, food from crumbs in the kitchen area, and even strands of human hair to make their nests a cosy place for their young.  

The trouble is that it can be difficult to keep rodents out of buildings particularly if they are located in shopping parades with other attractive venues for rodents like fast food outlets. Mice, for example, can fit through holes no bigger than the width of a biro. Rats, meanwhile, can enter premises through drains and have even been known to use toilet pipes to get into buildings. On top of that, rodents are difficult pests to control. A mouse only needs three grams of food per day, and they are capable of eating from up to 70 different food sources in 24 hours.

Infestations can cause a loss of revenue due to reputational damage and negative customer reviews, as well as damage to equipment. In extreme circumstances rodent activity can even force salons to close while treatment is carried out to control or remove the infestation. There are things salon owners and managers can do to spot the signs of any activity, as well as preventative measures they can implement to help keep rodents out.


Salon owners and managers should constantly be on the lookout for the tell-tale signs of a rodent problem. These include:

  1. Smell and sound: Rats and mice have a very strong ammonia smell. On top of this; rodents are often noisy, making audible scrabbling noises as they move around premises.
  2. Droppings: Rats excrete about 40 dark, pellet-shaped droppings per day, which are up to 14mm long. Mice can produce 80 oval-shaped droppings, which are typically 5mm long.
  3. Smears: Rodents use established routes along skirting boards and walls due to their poor eyesight. You may notice grease marks where rodents brush up against your walls and surfaces.
  4. Footprints: Rats can leave foot and tail marks in dusty, less-used areas of your premises. Shining a strong torch at a low angle should reveal tracks clearly. To establish if an infestation is active, sprinkle fine flour or talc along a small stretch of floor near the footprints and check for fresh tracks the next day.
  5. Damage: Rodents gnaw on anything to keep their teeth at a manageable size. This includes electric cables, which is perhaps the most dangerous aspect of an infestation, as it causes a fire hazard, while also being very difficult to spot.


You might not think that one mouse sighting warrants immediate attention, but a problem can quickly escalate into something more serious if left untreated. Rodents like to stay hidden out of sight as it helps them feel safe, so just one pest could indicate a larger problem. They also have a relatively quick reproduction cycle, so failing to act could create the conditions for an isolated issue to turn into a full infestation. This not only poses a risk to health and safety, but also other assets within your business.

Prevention is definitely better than a cure when it comes to rodents, so a proactive pest management strategy is vital.

Three steps to rodent-proof your salon

  1. Cut out clutter and remove potential entry points: Move storage away from walls where possible and remember that less clutter means fewer places for rodents to hide. Seal holes in the exterior of the property with wire wool, caulk, metal kick plates or cement. Check drains regularly to ensure they aren’t damaged.
  2. Remove sources of food: The simple step of ensuring that food and waste is properly sealed and stored can make a big difference. Make sure that you are using strong plastic or metal containers for waste, so that rodents are not attracted to any smells.
  3. Employee education: There are online courses available (such as Rentokil’s myLearning) which can educate salon staff members on the basic elements of pest control, including the biology of the animal, to help them to recognise signs of rodent activity or other pest infestations. This can turn employees into an army of eyes and ears, helping to spot the signs of a pest problem before they escalate.

Whether you’re dealing with a pest problem or are simply looking to prevent one, it’s important that you know who to contact. It’s the role of external contractors to be fully up-to-date on the latest legislation changes in their area of expertise. Pest controllers are no different, so if you’re in any doubt as to what the best methods of pest control are, and which traps or treatments are appropriate, then it’s always best to check with the experts.