Can You Smell Mouse Pee? | Facts and Removal Methods

Regardless of species, mice can enter your house or car. Before you notice their presence, they have already pooped and peed. While mice poop can easily be seen, mouse pee is not.

It contains amino acids, making it sometimes invisible using ordinary light. This makes mouse urine more challenging to get rid of.

Can you smell mouse pee? You can smell mouse pee even if you don’t see it. It has a very distinctive foul odor and will leave a stain on walls, carpets, fabrics, and wood. Smelling mice urine strongly suggests that you have lots of mice inside your house. The stronger the smell, the more difficult it is to remove.

Unlike humans, mice defecate and urinate wherever, whenever they want. Cleaning mouse pee varies, depending on the infected area and how long the urine has been there.

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn various techniques in getting rid of mouse pee in cars, wood, fabrics, shoes, and others.

What Does Mouse Pee Smell Like?

What Does Mouse Pee Smell Like

Mouse pee smells like a rotten fish or a rotten egg. This unique stinky smell of mouse urine is due to the huge presence of trimethylamine (TMA), an organic, colorless compound that is used in manufacturing ammonium compounds and insect attractants. This is also the reason why mouse urine smells like ammonia.

Does Mouse Urine Smell Like Human Urine?

Mouse urine has a stronger smell than human urine. This is because mice urine contains the ammonia-like compound, TMA, while fresh human urine doesn’t.

In addition, female mice pee and sweat contain pheromones, a chemical substance that female mice use to attract their male counterparts.

Male mice are known to use their urine to announce their health and reproductive status, declare their dominance, and mark their territory.

Interestingly, a study concluded that male mouse urine also contains a protein called darcin. However, mice touch their noses to the urine before they can detect it correctly. 

Does Mouse Pee Smell Like Cat Pee?

Mouse pee almost smells like cat pee because both of them have a distinct ammonia smell. Cats and mice can easily identify the urine smell of each other, while humans will have a hard time telling the difference.

Interestingly, an adult mouse that has been exposed to cat urine at an early age may no longer avoid it.

Does Mouse Urine Smell Go Away?

Does Mouse Urine Smell Go Away

Mouse urine smell will still go away, but only if action is taken. Although no official study has been made to know how long the foul smell will last, it may stay longer if the action to get rid of mice will be delayed.

Unfortunately, the urine scent may still be there even after a severe mice infestation has been removed. 

Can Mouse Pee Make You Sick?

Can Mouse Pee Make You Sick

Mouse pee can make you sick. This is because mice (especially deer mice) contain a virus that can cause Hantavirus, which was recognized in 1993.

This disease has several different strains, which include the respiratory disease, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) that can be found in the United States.

Considered rare but deadly, HPS can be transmitted to humans via direct contact with infected mice droppings, urine, saliva, and nests.

HPS transmission can also be through inhaling mice pee, poop, and saliva, especially in confined spaces. House mouse (Mus musculus) has not yet been found to be a carrier of this disease.

Signs of Mice in Your Home

Signs of Mice in Your Home

Seeing a single mouse in your home may not mean anything. This is not enough to conclude that there are more of them hiding somewhere or he is alone.

The key here is to investigate further, especially in areas you rarely check. Below are some clear signs that you have lots of mice inside your house:

1. Mouse Sounds

Mice make scratching sounds while they crawl or climb within the walls. Aside from that, they squeak as part of communicating with each other, especially when they find food. Male mice vocalize “courtship songs” to attract females. Mice also produce high-pitched ultrasonic sounds that humans cannot hear.

2. Very Foul Odor

Mice are very good at hiding, but they cannot hide the foul smell of their droppings and urine. Trace where that smell is coming from. It could be from your attic, ceilings, within the walls, etc. Since mice are most active at night, do your searching when darkness comes. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight with you. 

3. Mice Droppings

If the smell is very strong, you are likely to see some mice poop. Mouse feces are usually black, depending on their diet. Mice droppings are 1/8-1/4 inches long and have narrow ends. Mice don’t poop on piles but rather spread them everywhere. Fresh mice poop are shiny, while the old ones are somehow gray.

4. Mice Urine

As mentioned above, mice urine has an ammonia-like smell. It can be colorless, yellowish-white, or light brown. If a mouse has been eating vegetables recently, its urine color may be orange or light red, which can be mistaken for blood. Mice pee stains are usually not visible to the naked eye, but the smell is very obvious.

5. Gnaw Marks

Mice leave gnaw marks on their pathways, suggesting that they have been there multiple times going back and forth. Mice don’t only gnaw to chew food but also to create an entrance and to keep their teeth sharp. Depending on the species, mice gnaw marks are usually clean-cut holes and are about one inch in diameter.

6. Mouse Nest

Mouse nests inside a house are usually made from finely shredded paper, wood chips, or scrap materials. Since baby mice (also called pups) are mostly born in nests, their mother builds them in warm areas and near their food source. The sight of a mouse nest without a pup does not necessarily mean that mice are gone.

How to Remove Mouse Pee Stains?

Removing mouse pee stains mainly depends on where they are since some areas or items are very sensitive to chemicals. But again, such stains may look invisible, especially if the mouse urine has been there for a long time. Using a UV light such as UV Stain Detective LED Blacklight can help you find it easily.

After cleaning the area, the best way to remove the stain of mouse pee (or any animal pee) is an enzymatic cleaner. Most enzymatic cleaners, such as Simple Solution Pet Stain and Odor Enzymatic Cleaner, come in spray and can be safely used in carpets, clothing, mattresses, upholstery, and other materials.

What Gets Rid of Mouse Pee Smell?

Since the mouse pee smell sticks on the surface for a long time, it cannot be removed by using a vacuum cleaner or broom only.

Instead, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends spraying bleach solution, which is 10 parts water and 1 part bleach. Aside from cleaning, bleach is also a good disinfectant.

How to Get Rid of Mouse Pee Smell in a Car?

Getting rid of a very foul smell inside a car may need some time since cars are usually closed when in use. This means that there should not be a slight smell left.

In most cases, you may not be able to use your car for a while after cleaning it. Here are some tips on how to remove the mouse pee smell from a car:

  • Before doing anything, wear latex or rubber gloves and a mask.
  • If the smell is coming from the seats, you may need to remove them, including the cotton inside.
  • Spray bleach solution on the infected area and place them under the sun the whole day.
  • Search inside your car if a mouse is hiding and get rid of it.
  • Clean the floor mating with soapy water with bleach.
  • Remove everything from your car that you can remove and clean thoroughly.
  • Spray vinegar solution around your car’s interior. Allow it to sit in for about 5 minutes before wiping them with a clean cloth.
  • Afterward, you might also want to vacuum every corner of your car.
  • After using the ozone generator, open all the doors and put an electric fan facing your car so air can circulate.

How to Get Rid of Mouse Pee Smell in Basements?

Since basements are bigger than cars, you might find it harder to find where exactly the mice pee smell is coming from. Besides, the foul odor may already get stuck in the walls and all the things inside. To help you, here are some ways to get rid of a mouse urine smell in your basement for good:

  • Wear vinyl or latex gloves and a nose mask, especially if the smell is too strong.
  • If possible, remove all the things inside and clean them with bleach solution.
  • Open the door and ventilate the area for at least 30 minutes.
  • Clean the wall and floor with a mixture of soap, vinegar, and water. If the foul smell is not gone within a few hours, use a bleach solution.

How to Get Rid of Mouse Pee Smell in Wood?

Removing the smell of mouse pee on wooden surfaces can be a bit challenging, especially if it is on your wall, floor, or furniture. Mice may pee on the same spot frequently but can also be on different spots. Mice urine also may or may not leave stains or marks. Here are some ways to get rid of the mouse pee smell in wood:

  • Wear protective gloves and a mask before anything else.
  • Prepare cleaning materials such as bleach, vinegar, detergent, water, clean cloth, or paper towels. Take note that baking soda may damage some types of wood.
  • Open all the doors and windows and ventilate the area to let fresh air enter your house.
  • If possible, remove the infected furniture from the house.
  • To avoid further spread of mouse pee, don’t rub the surface. Instead, spray on the infected area and press it hard using a clean cloth to absorb the urine.
  • Do this repeatedly until the urine stain is gone.
  • In some cases, mouse pee causes discoloration on wood. This means that you may have a repaint or put varnish again on the infected areas. 

How to Get Mouse Pee Smell Out of Carpet?

Not all carpets are the same, so never use harsh chemicals in removing mouse pee from them. Note also that it is easier to clean carpets with fresh urine than with dried ones. This is because the urine will soak beneath the carpet as time goes by. Here are the correct ways to get rid of mice pee smell in carpets:

  • If the mouse urine stain is still fresh, place newspaper or paper towels on top of the wet area to absorb the urine. Do this repeatedly until the area is dry.
  • Avoid using vinegar or any strong chemical that can damage your carpet.
  • Also, avoid using steam cleaners for carpets. Instead of removing the stain and odor, the heat coming from the steamer will permanently bond the protein of the urine to the carpet fibers.
  • You may also contact the carpet manufacturer to know which type of cleaner you can safely use.

How to Get Mouse Pee Smell Out of Mattress?

Removing mouse pee smell from mattresses is easy since they are not usually sensitive to chemicals. If you are using your mattress regularly, you may easily notice the smell of urine. However, the cleaning method will depend on the type of your mattress. Here are some tips on how to clean a mattress with mouse pee:

1. Remove the bedding and wash it.

Remove your bedding at once, including blankets and pillows. Throw all the washable items in your washing machine. If possible, give the task to a household member so you can start cleaning the mattress before the urine turns dry. If there is foam under your mattress, removing the urine will be more difficult. 

2. Blot the infected area on the mattress.

Wear rubber or vinyl gloves and a mask, and blot the infected area with paper towels or a clean cloth. Don’t rub the area to avoid the moisture going deeper into the fabric. To allow airflow with the room, open all the windows and doors and place an electric fan near you. If necessary, use a UV light to locate the stain.

3. Clean your mattress.

Soak your mattress with a white vinegar solution, which can easily remove fresh urine smell and stain. For stronger smells, sprinkle some baking soda on the infected area and wait until it turns dry. For better results, use 3% Essential Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide. Test it first to avoid damage to your mattress. 

4. Vacuum your mattress.

In most cases, you may need to let the baking soda sit or hydrogen peroxide on your mattress overnight. Once the area is completely dry, vacuum it. Vacuuming your mattress will not eliminate the smell or stain but instead will remove urine particles absorbed by the baking soda. If necessary, repeat the entire process.

How to Clean Mouse Pee From Fabric?

The biggest challenge in mouse pee removal in fabrics, especially in clothes is that the smell will stick on your skin if not properly removed. No matter how many times you wash them with common detergent powder, the stinky smell will remain. Therefore, here are the best ways to clean mouse pee from fabrics:

  • Whether the urine is wet or dry, don’t forget to wear protective gloves.
  • Soak the fabric in distilled white vinegar and water so that the stain can easily be removed. The longer you soak them, the better.
  • If the fabric or clothes can tolerate hot water, use it with vinegar or detergents with enzymes.
  • Wash the fabric repeatedly, if necessary.

How to Get Mouse Pee Out of Dresser Drawers?

Removing mouse pee smell from dresser drawers can be very challenging since they are very likely to have been used by mice as nests. This is not impossible, especially if the drawers are not being used or checked frequently. Since most of them are made of wood, cleaning them is somehow similar to cleaning the furniture.

  • As usual, open the doors and windows and ventilate the area. Also, wear a mask and protective gloves.
  • If the dresser drawers have clothes, remove them and wash them immediately.
  • Soak each drawer with a vinegar solution or bleach solution for about 15 minutes. 
  • Let the drawers dry under direct sunlight for 6-8 hours.
  • For wooden drawers, you might want to apply varnish on them.
  • If you will not use the drawers for a long time, put some mothballs inside and return them to the dresser.

How to Get Mouse Pee Off Plastic?

Plastic is one of the easiest materials to clean simply because most of them don’t absorb moisture. This means that the age of the urine smell is not a huge factor when removing them. Therefore, applying soapy water, vinegar, baking soda, or bleach on the infected area can easily remove mouse urine smell and stain.

How to Get Mouse Pee Smell Out of Shoes?

Just like plastic, shoes are also very easy to clean when it comes to mouse pee. For both rubber shoes and leather shoes, you can use baking soda or vinegar. Then, place them under the sun for about 4 hours. To further eliminate the foul smell, you may use Arm & Hammer Odor Defense Shoe Refresher Spray.


So far, the best way to eliminate mouse pee is to prevent mice from entering your car and house. You should also check your walls, cabinets, attic, garage, and basement regularly, and repair cracks and crevices as soon as possible. You should also inspect and clean your car thoroughly before and after using it.

List of Sources

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)

Cleaning Up After Rodents

Rodent Diagnostic Testing