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Home > Rodents > How To Get Mice Smell Out of Car Upholstery & Car Vents: 6 Effective Tips

How To Get Mice Smell Out of Car Upholstery & Car Vents: 6 Effective Tips

Mouse climbing a rope and chain

Although you may have successfully removed a mice infestation from your car, the odor of mice and their waste can linger. Sometimes, the smell can disappear by keeping your windows and doors open for a few hours. However, it often remains because there are still parts of the car that either contain or are stained with mice urine and feces.

If you find that your car still smells like mice, you can try a few things to clean it out. Here are some solutions to lingering mice odors.


Before You Start

Mice are known to be carriers of hantavirus (HPS), which can spread through touching or inhaling rodent urine or feces. So, before you start on any cleaning projects, make sure to wear face masks to protect your nose and lungs. Also, wear long-sleeve shirts and gloves to protect yourself from coming in contact with any mice waste.


The 6 Ways To Get Mice Smell Out of Car Upholstery and Car Vents

1.  Clean Carpet Mats with Dishwashing Detergent Solution

Materials: Dishwashing detergent, water, spray bottle, towel
Difficulty: Easy

Mix one teaspoon of dishwashing detergent with one cup of warm water. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray liberally on car mats, especially on spots where you can see stains.

Let the solution soak for a couple of minutes. Then, blot out the stains using a towel. If you still see some stains on the mats, repeat the spraying process again. If you aren’t so concerned about the appearance of your mats, you can try using a bristle brush to scrub off the stain a little more vigorously. Start gently so that you don’t damage the carpet mats.

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2.  Clean Mats with Commercial Solution

Materials: Commercial cleaner, towel
Difficulty: Easy

If a homemade solution doesn’t work, you can try using a commercial cleaning solution. There are many different kinds of cleaning sprays that are specifically formulated for removing pet urine stains and odors. Make sure to select one that also has a deodorizing or odor-eliminating component in it.

Use the spray according to the instructions on the packaging. If your carpet mats fit in your washing machine, you can also run them through a wash cycle to get rid of any remaining cleaning solution.

3. Steam Clean Interior

Materials: Steam cleaner, cleaning solution, towel
Difficulty: Easy

A steam cleaner is also effective in removing odor-causing stains. If you don’t already own one, there are ways to borrow one from your local hardware store or cleaning service.

Like commercial cleaning sprays, you can find commercial cleaning solutions that are specifically for pets and animal stains.

Before you steam clean your car, make sure to thoroughly vacuum your car first, especially the gaps under the seats. There’s a good chance that mice have hidden there and left their droppings behind.

When you use the steam cleaner, try to wipe as you go with a towel. This will help reduce any residual moisture in the car while immediately cleaning up any stains.

man cleaning car seat
Image By: peeonelove, Pixabay

4. Use a Deodorizer

Materials: Deodorizer
Difficulty: Easy

A deodorizer can help destroy any odors left in your car. Make sure to buy a product that clearly states that it works to break down, absorb, or eliminate odors. The last thing you want to do is purchase an air freshener with a fragrance that just masks the mice’s smell.

Regularly spraying your car with a deodorizer can help lift and remove odors trapped in any car upholstery.

5. Clean Out Cabin Air Filter

Materials: Commercial air filter cleaner
Difficulty: Moderate

If you’ve done everything you could to clean out your car’s interior and the car still smells like mice, it may be because the mice got into the hood of the car and made nests inside. Sometimes, they can get into the car’s HVAC system, and the car’s air filter can trap mice droppings.

You can usually locate your car’s cabin air filter by reading the car manual or by contacting the manufacturer. Once you’ve located and accessed the air filter, you can spray a commercial air filter cleaner onto the filter to clean it.

If the condition of the air filter is too far gone, you can always replace it with a new one. If you feel unsure about cleaning your car’s air filter, you can always ask a mechanic to help you out.

Man cleaning car interior
Image By: borevina, Pixabay

6. Get Your Car Professionally Cleaned

Materials: N/A
Difficulty: N/A

If all else fails, take your car to a professional car wash or detailer to get your car thoroughly cleaned up. This option is obviously the most expensive option, but if you plan to continue to use your car, completely clearing out all traces of mice is necessary.

Since mice are carriers of hantavirus, inhaling urine or droppings can cause you to contract hantavirus. It’s better to be safe than sorry because you may end up dealing with some serious health-related issues.


How To Prevent Mice from Getting into Your Car

Getting rid of mice smells can take a lot of time and effort. So, it’s best to make sure that you take proper steps to discourage and prevent mice from returning to your car.

If you park your car in a garage with an overhead door, make sure that the door closes immediately after you enter the garage. This can help reduce the chances of mice scurrying inside. Also, remove and relocate any food sources away from your car. It’s best not to keep food in the garage because it’ll attract mice and other pests.

If you park your car outside, you can use a tarp to cover your car and make it difficult for mice to get inside. Mice can also try to get inside cars by climbing up the wheels, so you can also place traps around the wheels to catch them.

Another method you can try is using scent deterrents. Scent deterrents can make your car smell good to you but unappealing to mice. Some scents that mice don’t like include peppermint oil, cedarwood, and cayenne pepper.



Clearing up mice smells from your car may take some hard work, but it’s absolutely necessary due to health concerns. You can try some DIY methods to remove the smell, but if they don’t work, it’s best to get your car detailed or professionally cleaned.

Make sure to also clean and organize the area where you park your car to the best of your abilities. This can help immensely with reducing the chances of mice entering or re-entering your car.

Featured Image Credit: Hans, Pixabay

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