Get rid of the mice infestation and create an exclusion zone.
Wear full protective gear before you begin.
Air out the space before you start.
Avoid disturbing the areas before you disinfect them.
Use a suitable antibacterial disinfectant.
Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime, and so they can quickly take up residence in your home. And one or two mice quickly turn into a horde that urinates and defecates whenever and wherever the mood takes them. The smell is potent, and the health risks are real.
So the first step in reclaiming your home is to get rid of the mouse problem. Then you can tackle the smell of their urine. Use these top tips to eradicate your mouse problem and the smell of mouse urine.
1. Identify Mouse Infestation
Before you even think of starting to clean up mouse urine, you need to make sure that what you're dealing with is a mouse incursion. There's no point in trying to tackle the smell of mouse pee if you've still got a house full of mice. Whether you've got a mouse or rat infestation, you need to take care of that before you take on the cleanup.
2. Get Rid of the Mice—and Stop Them Coming Back
So now you know you've got a rodent infestation, you've got to get rid of them and keep them from returning. You can get rid of a small mouse or rat infestation on your own by setting humane traps and sealing entry points into your home.
You can help by making your home uninviting by making sure there are no food sources. Mice only need a small supply of carelessly dropped crumbs to be satisfied, so make sure your home is clean and all messes are taken care of immediately.
3. Identify Mouse Urine
The actual mice are being taken care of at this point, so you can turn your attention to the cleanup. And that starts with identifying mouse urine.
It stinks. It's potent. It's a strong, musty but sharp ammonia scent that's very distinctive. You'll most likely notice that the smell is stronger first thing in the morning or after you get home from work, before the home is aired out.
And, if the infestation is a serious one, you'll probably find urine pillars. These are similar to grease rubs, but instead of being the oil from the mice fur, these little mounds or pillars consist of an amalgamation of urine, coat grease, dirt, feces, and fur. Urine pillars can reach 2 inches in height and half an inch wide, and you'll find them in the most heavily affected areas, including crawl spaces, the attic, the basement, behind the refrigerator, or under kitchen cupboards.
4. Gather Protective Supplies
Mouse urine isn't just gross; it can potentially carry disease, as can mouse feces. So, before you start cleaning, which involves getting up close and personal with the waste, you need to protect yourself. Mice can carry Hantavirus, which is a zoonotic pulmonary disease that can jump the species barrier and infect humans. The urine and feces can also cause salmonellosis, hemorrhagic fever, lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis, leptospirosis, and tularemia.
Hence the need to protect yourself. You need:
Old clothing you don't mind either bleaching when you're done or throwing away
High-quality rubber gloves that won't split or tear
A face mask, preferably one with a fine particle filter to avoid inhaling any particles
5. Avoid Agitating the Affected Areas
Even when you're fully kitted out in your PPE, avoid agitating the space too much. For example, don't think it's a good idea to grab the area rug and give it a good shake to loosen the pee and poop. Yes, it will loosen some of the particles, but it'll send them airborne, increasing the risk of infection.
Don't vacuum or mop, either, even though that seems like the best and quickest course of action. Vacuuming and mopping will send more particles airborne and it will infect your vacuum, too, which can then spread the dried urine particles to other parts of your home.
6. Air Out the Space
At least an hour before you begin cleaning, open the windows and doors. Get a cross breeze moving through the space to help draw out as many airborne particles as possible, and get fresh air into the room.
7. How to Clean Mouse Urine
You need to focus first on disinfection to render the urine harmless. For hard surfaces, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using a mixture of one part bleach to 10 parts water. While still kitted out in your protective gear, spray this mixture on the affected areas and leave to soak for at least five minutes. This gives the bleach time to work and eliminate bacteria.
After soaking, wipe over the area with paper towels and dispose of them.
For soft surfaces, you need specific upholstery and carpet disinfecting products, as a bleach solution may harm your soft surfaces.
8. Deep Cleaning Upholstery and Soft Furnishings
The only way to render mouse urine harmless and get rid of the smell from soft surfaces is to deep clean them. You can use specially formulated disinfecting or antibacterial cleaners designed to work safely on sofas, curtains, and carpets. And you can steam clean. Steam cleaners work well because they use high-temperature water to sterilize a surface.
Remember, though, that not all materials can withstand all types of cleaners or are suitable for use with a steam cleaner.
If in doubt, call a local cleaning company who can advise you or can tackle the job for you.
9. Make Your House Smell Like Home Again
Once you've disinfected everywhere that you suspect contained even the smallest traces of mouse urine, you may want to soften the smell of your home and make it smell less like a clinical environment. Again, letting a cross breeze blow through is useful, as it draws out the smell of the cleaners you used.
You can also try your usual air fresheners, incense, or a mixture of vinegar, water, and essential oil spray. To help deter mice, bugs, and other pests from coming into your home, you can also use peppermint oil spray to both freshen the space and act as a deterrent.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the dangers of mouse urine?
Mouse urine and feces can carry all kinds of pathogens, including:
Does apple cider vinegar repel mice?
There's plenty of anecdotal evidence that apple cider vinegar does help to repel mice. But it won't get rid of an existing infestation. For that, you need a local professional pest controller. To repel mice, you also need to keep your home scrupulously clean and make sure there are no obvious places they can gain entry to your house.
What disinfectant kills Hantavirus?
Diluted bleach, at one part bleach to 10 parts water, along with disinfecting products containing phenol, such as Lysol are known to kill Hantavirus and the other pathogens contained in mouse urine and feces.