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First, you hear a suspicious noise, but you can’t quite work out what it is!
You hop into your car the smell is far from pleasant! You check your shoes and they are fine.
A closer inspection of your car and you notice small droppings! Yikes! Yes, a mouse (or some sort of rodent) has been inside the car!
Who knows how they got in? All you know is that the disgusting smell needs to go! Your first option is to invest in commercial car carpet cleaning, however, it is also possible to DIY.
To get the mouse smell out of your car you can steam clean your carpets with an effective car carpet cleaner. You can also use vinegar and water spray to get the scent out of your vehicle.
Step 1: Purge the Problem Patch
Before you start worrying about the scent of the mouse in your home, it’s important to clean the floor of solid waste. This also includes picking up any food that could be attractive to mice!
I know, I know. It’s hard to focus on much else than getting rid of that awful smell!
However, you’ve got to start at the beginning and that means purging your car of any and all trash. You’ll also need to remove any loose personal belongings.
As you’re emptying your vehicle, keep an eye out for mouse droppings. If a mouse has been visiting or living in your car, there’s likely to be feces lying around.
If you come across these, make sure to use rubber gloves to remove them. Place them in a double bag, and throw them away in an outdoor trash can with a lid.
These steps might seem excessive, but mouse droppings can contain life-threatening bacteria. It’s better to be safe than sorry! Plus who wants to pick up mice poop with bare hands?
Step 2: Vacuum the Van (or Other Vehicle)
After you’ve cleaned out the trash from your car, it’s time to vacuum the floor. We’re doing this for two reasons:
- To clean up loose debris in the car
- To prep the vehicle for steam cleaning
When you vacuum your vehicle, make sure that you take the mats out of the car. Vacuum underneath them to make sure you don’t miss any dirt.
Step 3: Vinegar and Water Work Wonders
While there are tons of commercial carpet cleaners out there that claim to do away with unpleasant smells, I’ve found that nothing works as well as simple distilled white vinegar.
You can make your own homemade spray that dissipates smells and disinfects your carpet!
To make it, just mix one cup of vinegar with one cup of water. I like to make it in a spray bottle so that it’s easy to apply to your carpet.
Next, apply the solution to all the carpet’s and upholstery in your car. Even if you think you know where the smell is coming from, the mice could have been scampering around the entire car.
It’s best to clean the whole vehicle rather than run the risk of leaving harmful bacteria to brew in your vehicle.
Note: vinegar can be damaging to leather. If your vehicle has leather seats, you won’t want to use this on the carpet. Instead, use a commercial solution that’s designed for leather.
Step 4: Steam Clean Your Car
After applying your vinegar spray to the car, it’s a good idea to steam clean the vehicle.
Why? Because the high temperatures from the steam cleaner help kill bacteria.
On top of that, some steam cleaners are designed for use with professional carpet cleaners. If that’s the case, look for a cleaning solution that’s designed to kill bacteria.
You can either do this on your own at home or you can turn to a professional steam cleaner. If you DIY this step, make sure to follow all the manufacturer’s instructions on your steam cleaner.
Step 5: Let the Car Air-Dry
After steam cleaning the car, open all the doors and windows in your vehicle. Allow the car to air out for a few hours before you close it back up.
Then, close up the car and let it sit in the warm sun for a day or two. The next time you open your vehicle’s doors, you’ll get a clear idea of whether you need to move on to step four or not.
BONUS Step 6: Set Up an Ozone Generator
This step is completely optional, but I think it’s a great one for those who are dealing with stubborn smells.
If your car still stinks of mouse after steam cleaning, you might want to try placing an ozone generator in your vehicle.
Ozone generators remove odors from the air. You can either buy your own or rent one from your local hardware store.
However, they won’t work if you’ve still got a live mouse in the car, as this will perpetuate the problem.
How to Prevent Mice from Getting Into Your Vehicle
After following the above steps, you’ve got a car that smells as good as new! In order to keep it that way, you’ll need to take a few precautions. Let’s check them out.
Remove All Food
At the end of the day, make sure to remove any food waste from your vehicle. Better yet, don’t eat food in the car at all! Crumbs from meals and snacks eaten in the car can attract mice and lead to them setting up a home in the vehicle.
Use Some Peppermint Oil
Mice don’t like the smell of peppermint, so adding some peppermint essential oil to your carpet could help keep them at bay. You can add a few drops to your car’s carpet, but be aware that it will cause the whole vehicle to smell minty!
Drive Your Car Regularly
Mice are more likely to nest in vehicles that you don’t regularly use. As such, try driving your car regularly to deter mice from climbing into your vehicle and making it their own.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Get a Mouse Out of My Car?
If you’ve got a mouse in your car, you can get it out by turning up the heat or honking the car horn. If the mouse still won’t leave, you can try using a mouse repellant or setting traps in your car, although these can be hazardous to you and your passengers.
Why Do Mice Hide in Cars?
Mice hide in cars because they like the warmth that the vehicle provides. They’re also a great place to hide from predators.