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Matthew and The Mice

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  • Matthew and The Mice

    No, this isn't a fairy tale, 'though he probably wishes it was!

    Matthew Burnette said in his "My New Stude" thread that his "new" 1958 Commander has mouse/rat smell. This is a tough problem. I thought it deserved a separate topic so forum readers would notice it, instead of being lost in that discussion of his nice '58.

    How about it, Forum Members? 'Most everyone has encountered an old car with extreme mouse/rodent odor. What solutions have you tried? Any successful?

    I've had marginal success with the following:

    1. Remove the seats from the car and clean them as best as possible. Place them in strong, direct sunlight for as long as you can.

    2. Place several open containers (bowls, etc) of lemon-scent ammonia on the floor of the car. Close the windows and let the car sit in direct sunlight, getting as hot as possible, for several days.

    3. Clean everything in sight. Empty defroster and heater ducts and the glove compartment of any remains. Throw away those heater/defroster tubes and buy new. Ditto the glove box carboard if it's available for the car in question.

    4. Finally, when reassembled, place several ReNuZit Super Odor Eater / Super Odor Killer air fresheners, UPC 19800 03659, under the replaced seats and anywhere else you can.

    5. If they've been in the headliner, you almost always just plain have to replace it.

    "All the above" certainly isn't the last word on this topic. Hopefully, other members will post other remedies, too. BP
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

  • #2
    I've had good luck with a product called "Natures Miracle". Its an enzyme base spray which you can use on fabric and other surfaces. It actually has enzymes which attack and neutralize the proteins in the areas of high concentration.
    If smell is the only concern, then I use a bowls of charcoal briquettes left under both seats. 4 bowls in a larger car. Left for a week or two tends to leave a car odorless. The charcoal absorbs the odors rather well.



    • #3
      Oust brand odor spray works well and pet stores that handle rodents have many rodent urine deodorizers. Baking Soda in the carpet and then vacuum it out before liquid carpet cleaning.


      _________1966 Avanti II RQA 0088______________________1963 Avanti R2 63R3152_______________Rabid Snail Racing
      Often in error, never in doubt

      ____1966 Avanti II RQA 0088_______________1963 Avanti R2 63R3152____________


      • #4
        Agree with everything Bob said , however the smell will remain in the surface rust as well as the fabric,when replaceing the head liner, and any other time metal surfaces are exposed I paint the entire surface with por-15, This does seal any odors that would reoccur , esspecially in humid areas, as you are in.


        • #5
          Thanks for the post, BP.

          The car's headliner will most likely have to be removed, as it's fell down in the back and I don't know if it'll be possible to re-install it. The carperting is still there, but again, will most likely need replacing anyways. Door panels are OK, and the seats will need new stuffing and recovering. Oh, and there is no surface rust.

          So, maybe doing all of that will take care of most of the smell.

          Sal, are you talking about regular old charcoal as used in a grille, or...?

          I'll try the Oust. Has anyone used Febreeze with good results?

          Matthew Burnette
          Hazlehurst, GA


          • #6
            I would definitely replace the soft trim where possible (headliner and carpet) and pull the seats to check for damage. Having overseen repairs on some minor flood damaged vehicle, I would also suggest ozone.

            While living in Detroit, I used a place that specialized in fire and water extraction. They cleaned items damaged by smoke (clothes, furniture, etc.) and items damaged by water (again furniture, clothing, etc.). Part of the clean up usually included using their ozone both (about the size of a small garage). Leaving a car in their usually nuetralized any odors. Keep in mind that this was only on vehicles where the water did not reach the dash panel (and the major electrical).

            I would pull the headliner and carpet. I would pull the seats. I would search out a facility that does this kind of work. They should also be able to spray the seats and the undersides with an antibacterial spray to kill and bacteria. Again, this is just a suggestion, and not every area has a facility like this. In Georgia, I would think Atlanta, Macon, Savannah, or Athens may have these types of places. Typically, this would cost around $250.

            Tom - Mulberry, FL

            1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2125.60)

            Tom - Bradenton, FL

            1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
            1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD


            • #7
              Remove the headliner, carpet, seats, and interior panels. If the windlace is good, leave it be.

              Cover the dash with heavy plastic, taped on, and pressure-wash the whole interior from the underside of the roof, on down. Make sure you direct a good blast down the windshield pillars and rear pillars, to flush the mouse debris down and out.

              Let the car dry a few days in the sunshine, then paint the inside of the roof with Rustoleum, or just good primer. I wouldn't use expensive paint like POR-15 for this job. You can paint inside the pillars by thinning the paint well, and using one of those siphon-type "engine washing" guns to blow it into the pillars. (definitely a time to be wearing disposable coveralls, eye protection, and respirator!). Make sure the dash is well-protected, again.

              Paint the floor, and any other areas that show a little rust.

              Pressure washing will get rid of MOST of the mouse pee smell, and a coat of paint will help seal up any that remains.

              Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
              Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands


              • #8
                I have to agree with pretty much everyone on this, depending on the severity of the issue...... From the looks of it, I think you might want to start with Bob's or Gord's idea on this one.

                55 Commander

                55 Commander Regal Coupe
                XA Bat (The Roadwarrior)
                KARR (Knightrider)
                Eleanor (ORIGINAL Gone in 60 Seconds)

                Mad Max Car\'s \"Hero Car Ranch\"; Seattle, Wa.


                • #9
                  One other word of warning is to wear hand and face protection while removing any rodent feces. They are known to spread hantavirus disease which can be deadly!!




                  • #10
                    I cannot stress enough, wear a protective air filter when you are working with mouse poop. Mice in North America carry a virus called Hanta (or janta) that can kill you or damage your lungs permanently. Easy to avoid, just get those felt filters that have an elastic strap that goes around your head. Especially if you are blowing it out with compressed air.


                    • #11
                      Thanks everyone for the advice. It'll make the whole 'cleaning' project go much easier! [8D]

                      Carpet and headliner will be pulled out and thrown away, I think I'll paint the rust free floors. Not all Studes had the option of floors. I'll have a local guy recover the seats, he's about as good as they get. And if I can score some NOS door panels, I'll be set. [^]

                      Matthew Burnette
                      Hazlehurst, GA


                      • #12
                        Gord's and Sal's methods are right on. It's a lot of work, but you'll have to pull the seats and pull off the seat covers. That has to be done. You know they were in there and the springs should be cleaned and painted, or that smell will be in there no matter how much the rest is washed out. Power washing out that interior & using a fan with the sun will dry it out nicely, but stuff like Febreeze is basically just perfume that will not last. Any first date in that baby will know the difference between mouse pee mixed with air freshener and a good cleaning. It hopefully just needs to be done once. Make sure the mice still do not have a condo hiding in there somewhere, too. Hey, it could be and mouse odor.
                        The headliner and the seats are really the hardest, time consuming you can't even brag to a date that you spent a whole week on interior renovation for mouse pee. But...that's what we are here for. We're easily impressed! Good luck.


                        • #13
                          This will do the trick just don't know how many budgets it will fit. As a deer hunter I'm always concerned with scent and how to eliminate it. There are carbon inbedded clothing available(charcoal suits) and it has been proven that coconut carbons do the best job, I don't know where you locate coconut carbon/brickuets. What has been the hot ticket to odor elimination in the past couple of years is machines called "ozonator", if you do a google search you can find quite a few. Their origin is in the space program, long term close confines and no place to pack a bunch of They are also used in fire and water restoration companies.

                          I've seen the results of this odor elimination system and it works! Put one of these things inside a car and in an hour or so smells would be gone. If $300.00 is in the budget this could save many hours of work and possibly a second attempt to rid the car of stink.

                          It is an addiction!
                          It is an addiction!


                          • #14
                            Many thanks, everyone! [8D] Got plenty of good ideas to think about. [^]

                            Matthew Burnette
                            Hazlehurst, GA
                            '58 Commander
                            '59 Pickup
                            '63 Daytona


                            • #15
                              I'd have to disagree about the ozone machines. My detailer bought two different ones, and I have yet to see one do anything. He puts it in on a Friday afternoon and leaves it till Monday. The car smells fine for about 10 minutes, and the odor's back. He keeps hoping one time they'll do something permanent, but they just have not.

                              I redid two "croakers" over the years- cars in which deceased people were... *eventually* discovered. I would screw up my courage, drink a beer, smear Vicks Vapo-Rub under my nose, and pull the entire interior- door and roof insulators, dash, everything. I'd toss everything, and scrub the inside completely with water and bleach, then Pine-Sol. I let it sit a few days with all doors and windows open. Then I sprayed rubberized undercoating wherever possible, then replaced everything with parts from another wreck. It was a lot of work, but the cars were dirt-cheap with no other damage (except for the Caravan with the slug hole through the roof above the driver's seat) and this seemed to solve the odors permanently.

                              While yours isn't as severe, my experience is that any animal-based smell will permanently stay with the car unless EVERY soft item is dealt with. You can do some and have varying degrees of success; maybe you'll get to a place you can live with it. Good luck!

                              Robert (Bob) Andrews Owner- Studebakeracres- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
                              Parish, central NY 13131

                              "Some people live for the rules, I live for exceptions"- 311

                              "Do they all not, by mere virtue of having survived as relics of a bygone era, amass a level of respect perhaps not accorded to them when they were new?"