Dealing with a Dead Mouse in Your Car

If you were faced with the pungent smell of a dead rodent in your car this morning, this article is for you.  If you’re facing a live mouse, then check out getting rid of mice in your car.  Handling a dead mouse as compared to a live mouse takes two very different approaches. If the mouse is still alive, there are things you can do.  If it’s dead, you have no hope of the mouse working its way out of your car on its own.

Unfortunately there are not a lot of options to deal with this problem.  The most likely scenario is that a mouse wedged itself into a place that it could not free itself from.  If this happens, the mouse will eventually starve to death.  After a while the body will start to decompose and foul smell will consume your vehicle.  You could take it to a mechanic to have the mouse removed.  This is likely to be very expensive because there is no telling where the mouse may be, which may result in significant disassembly of your vehicle to locate and remove it.  Some people have reported estimates in the range of $2000!  The benefit of having a mechanic remove the mice is that he can inspect the vehicle for possible damage.  This could save you in the future from an unexpected failure or potentially worse.

If it’s the case where you are not concerned enough to take the car to a mechanic and want to simply deal with the dead mouse smell, there are a couple options.  The first is the easiest.  You can just live with the smell and wait for it to eventually fade away.  The smell will only last as long as the mouse body is still decomposing.  Once it is fully decomposed, the smell will eventually fade away and things will return back to normal.  You may face the unfortunate consequence that the upholstery may absorb some of the smell, but that can be remedied with a thorough cleaning.

Your other option is to eliminate the smell with some sort of product.  A lot of people will try to buy the Christmas tree type air fresheners that you hang from your rear view mirror.  Some people buy five of them and hang them in their car.  That’s probably not your best bet for dealing with the problem though.  All that will do is try to mask the smell, and it probably won’t even do that good of a job.  What you’ll end up with is a mix of air freshener (that probably doesn’t smell that good to begin with) along with the musty odor of a dead mouse.  If you ask me, that probably won’t leave you with the best of driving conditions.  I would probably end up with a headache.  Either that or I’ll have dry eyes because I’ll be driving with my head hanging out the window.

The best option is to use an odor eliminator.  The difference between an odor eliminator and an air freshener is that one masks the odor, and the other eliminates it.  Odor eliminators work by chemically bonding with the molecules in the air and neutralizing the smell.  If you buy the right one, you won’t have some flowery scent in the air, but instead will end up with fresh smelling clean air.  The one that I recommend to everyone I know is Fresh Wave Odor Eliminator.  I tend to lean towards the gel version as it seems to be very effective eliminating various odors, but one of the cool things they’ve managed to do is develop a crystallized form in little sachets that is perfect for use in cars.  Simply throw a couple of these in your car, and it should take care of the smell.

The one case I see where the odor eliminator might not be as effective is when the mouse has died in your ventilation system.  If that’s the case, your air conditioner or heater will constantly provide a moving air source over the mouse and carry the smell into your car.  While the odor eliminator will help, it might not be able to keep up with the high air flow.  If possible try to heat / cool your car prior to getting in.  Then turn off the air circulation or put it on its lowest setting.  This should help reduce the high volume air flow and allow the odor eliminator to work its best on the air that remains in the vehicle cabin. Don’t expect it to be perfect, but you should notice a measurable improvement.

While your options may not be the greatest, there are steps you can take to mitigate the smell of a dead mouse in your car.  Spending a few bucks on an odor eliminator could save you a thousand bucks for professional removal.  I would give it a try for a week and see if conditions improve enough to save you the expense of having a mechanic remove it.

Best of luck!

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