Mice are pesky critters that can wreak havoc in your home in many ways. They can chew important items, bring transmissible diseases, and leave a massive stink on vents. If you’re dealing with the latter, knowing how to get rid of mice smell in vents is necessary to save your nose from the odor.
The foul smell mice leave behind is due to their urine and feces. However, mice can also die inside the vent, which will release a repulsive and gut-wrenching odor. Unless you remove the carcass, you’ll have to deal with this for weeks.
Still, you and your family don’t have to suffer inside your own house. Below, we discuss steps you can take to remove the unpleasant smell in your vents.
How to get rid of mice smell in vents
If a mouse urinated, defecated, or died inside your air vents, it will release a bad smell. The worst part is that air vents in a house are interconnected. That means that the repulsive odor can spread from one room to another. This is a nightmare if a mouse is dead inside the air system.
Nevertheless, you don’t have to put up with the odor. You can do the following steps to remove the smell from your vents:
Step 1. Call a professional air duct cleaner
If you suspect that a mouse died inside your vent, the best solution is to call a professional air duct cleaner. Make sure that you discuss the issue with the technician, so they wouldn’t be surprised by the carcass.
Moreover, you can also avail of the same service if strong urine or fecal odor is coming from your air vents. And if you haven’t gotten your ducts cleaned for more than three years, the mice smell is a good excuse to have it checked.
While professional cleaning costs a fee, it will provide instant and quick relief from the bad smell. This will also save you from trying home remedies to the smell, which may not work. Also, if you’re expecting guests in the coming days, professional duct cleaning is the only logical option if you want to remove the mice smell as soon as possible.
Step 2. Block the mouse’s entry point
Once the professional cleaners have removed the carcass and disinfected the ducts, the next step is to seal all the entryways of mice.
Most duct cleaners are skilled enough to address this part. They can check the ductwork around the house and see where the rodents might be entering. Aside from that, the HVAC technicians can provide repellents to discourage mice from living inside your air system.
Also, you must seal your vents. You can use wire mesh to prevent mice from chewing through the vent cover. While caulk and expanding foam are convenient in blocking entry points, remember that mice can easily chew through them.
Step 3. Aerate the room
To remove the lingering mice smell inside your home, you must open all windows and doors. This is to aerate your home and dissipate the foul smell. Take note that even if the vents have been cleaned, the mice smell can linger on surfaces and other porous items.
To boost the ventilation in your home, you should use multiple fans. If possible, use industrial fans as this has a stronger airflow, which can help dissipate the foul odor. Exhaust fans are a big help, too.
You can also use an air purifier to help trap airborne dirt. Those equipped with an activated carbon filter can neutralize the lingering mice smell if paired with other methods discussed here.
Depending on the extent of the smell, it may take days of ventilation for the odor to subside. You have to be patient, especially if the cause of the smell was a mouse carcass.
Step 4. Wipe all surfaces
While ventilating your home, you should take the time to wipe all surfaces. It’s because the unpleasant smell of mice can stick to surfaces, not just to your vent.
You can use a solution made of 1 cup of bleach diluted in one gallon of water.
If you’re worried about bleach damaging stains, you can use a surface cleaner you can purchase from the store.
Aside from that, you should vacuum your floors to remove as much dirt as possible. And while you’re at it, you may consider a full spring cleaning in your home.
Step 5. Wash drapes and rugs
The foul mice smell can stick to porous items like your curtains, rugs, sheets, pillowcases, and drapes. It’s best to wash all of these to prevent the mice smell from wafting back into your vent.
For carpets and rugs, steaming is also a good option. This will help clean the fabric while removing any bad odor or bacterial buildup.
Take note that fabrics can easily retain various odors. If you don’t wash it, you may be surprised to get a whiff of mice smell in your house even after duct cleaning.
Step 6. Run an air purifier
Another effective way to get rid of the mice smell is to use an air purifier. This can remove particulates in the air and neutralize bad odors.
If possible, get a large unit that replaces the indoor air faster. This will help remove the foul scent faster, so your family won’t have to suffer from it.
Still, make sure that you wash or replace the filters of the air purifier you’re using. This is to avoid the allergens and the bad smell from recirculating.
If you’re looking for an air purifier that can help remove mice smell, you should consider the RabbitAir MinusA2 Air Purifier with Odor Remover. This uses 6 stages of filtration, which includes an activated carbon filter that will effectively remove household odors. You can also choose another customized filter to enhance the filtration power of this unit.
Step 7. Use air deodorizers
Lastly, you can use air deodorizers to restore the fresh smell of your home. Just remember that these deodorizers should only be used once the source of smell has been removed from your ducts. Otherwise, it will just mask the odor or even make it worse.
There are many air deodorizer options in the market. You can use activate charcoal bags to help remove any remaining odor.
Overall, deodorizing your home is just the cherry on top after removing the mice smell. It’s not necessary, but it won’t hurt to treat your nose to a nice scent after dealing with the pungent odor for days.
How to prevent mice from getting into the vents
Since mice are small, they can squeeze through tiny holes. This makes it challenging to keep them off your vents. Still, the following workarounds can help:
1. Cover your vents
The best way to block mice from entering your vents is to cover them with a wire mesh. Rodents can’t chew on metal, so this is an effective and economical solution.
You should use wire mesh with fine holes since mice are small. Still, the mesh shouldn’t block proper airflow.
Aside from blocking mice, wire mesh can also help prevent dust from circulating in the air. Just make sure that you clean it regularly.
2. Set up live traps
Controlling the mice population in your house will prevent the critters from nesting in your vent. It will also benefit your home in general.
For this, we recommend live traps since it’s more humane and less messy. After all, lethal traps can also lead to a foul mice smell if you forgot to check and the rodent you caught died.
Box traps never go out of style when it comes to humane mouse trapping. To prevent trapped mice from going back to your house, you should release them at least 100 yards from your property.
3. Invest in regular HVAC checks
You shouldn’t wait for a mouse to die and smell on your vent before you get your HVAC checked. Regular duct inspection can catch mice infestation in its infancy. With these, the critters won’t proliferate inside the ducts and emit a foul odor.
In general, an annual HVAC inspection is ideal for households. This is a proactive approach instead of reactive when the mice’s smell is already present.
4. Use ultrasonic deterrents
Another way to prevent mice from getting into your ducts is by using an ultrasonic repellent. This device emits high-frequency sounds that aren’t audible to the human ear. However, animals find it disorienting, so they would leave the area immediately.
However, you should know that ultrasonic waves are short and can’t pass through walls or blockages. With this, you should plug it near your vents or ductwork.
Also, ultrasonic repellents can affect house pets, including dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and so on.
5. Use scent-based repellents
If ultrasonic repellents aren’t enough to drive the mice away from your vents, you can use a scent-based repellent. These can be purchased from retail stores and are formulated with essential oils and herbs that mice find repulsive.
The good thing is that most of these repellents are plant-based and safe. Still, you shouldn’t let house pets consume it as some are mixed with oils that are toxic to four-legged animals.
6. Remove potential food sources
Lastly, you should remove potential food sources for mice, which could attract them to hide in your vents.
Never leave any food item on the countertop at night. It’s best to put it inside a sealed container that rodents can’t sniff or chew.
Aside from that, you should cover your trash bins. And if rodents chewed on your garbage can, you should switch to a steel type instead.
Lastly, you should fix pipe leaks and other moisture sources in your HVAC system that sustain the mice infestation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can mice live in air vents?
A: Air vents are dark and enclosed spaces, which are perfect hiding places for rodents. Also, vents keep mice warm during winter and it’s also a safe place to raise their offspring. However, mice can also die inside the vent, which will unleash an unimaginable odor inside the house. This is why infestation prevention is necessary to keep this from happening.
Q: How long does a dead mouse smell last?
A: A dead mouse’s smell can last for several weeks. It depends on the size of the mouse, the temperature of the environment, and the level of ventilation. Overall, two weeks is the minimum when it comes to how long the decaying odor will start to subside.
Q: Will mouse urine smell go away?
A: While mouse urine smell can go away on its own, it may take several days to do so. If you want to remove the smell right away, you should clean and disinfect the area where the mouse urinated. Otherwise, your nose will have to put up with the stinky smell.
Q: Can the smell of a dead mouse make you sick?
A: While the smell of the mouse doesn’t literally bring sickness, the “smell of death” can make you nauseous. The odor will make your stomach turn, thus the feeling of being sick. But once you get out of the room where the scent is, you will start to feel better.
Q: What does a rodent infestation smell like?
A: A rodent infestation will make your house smell pungent and stuffy. You’ll also notice a musky odor, especially on the vents. It’s important to control the infestation as mice can die in air vents where the unimaginable odor will spread.
The process of how to get rid of mice smell in vents requires removal of the source of the scent. You also have to disinfect, clean, ventilate, and deodorize your home to eliminate any lingering mice odors.
Overall, you shouldn’t hesitate to call an HVAC professional to have your ducts checked for dead mice. They can remove it for you as well, saving you from the gross task.