Q Is there any way to get rid of the smell of an old mouse nest?

A One of the first clues of a mouse infestation is the stink of urine. The odor is persistent, pervasive and obnoxious. It also may linger even after you clean up the nest area (more about that later).

In a structure, try odor removal products such as Nature's Miracle or Odorzout's Pet All Surface Granules, found at hardware and pet stores. Atmosklear, a pump spray fragrance-free odor eliminator, also may work. Check for it at your local co-op or Ace Hardware store.

In a vehicle, you can try the treatments above or have the car treated with an ozone machine. Fire restoration companies do this work. Check yellow-page directories.

Cleaning up the nest

When cleaning up after mice, the Health Department recommends wearing rubber or plastic gloves.

• Spray dead rodents, rodent nests, droppings or other items that have been contaminated by rodents with a general household disinfectant. Soak the material thoroughly and place in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and dispose of it by burying in a 2- to 3-foot-deep hole or by burning.

• After removing contaminated debris, mop floors with a solution of water, detergent and disinfectant. Carpets can be effectively disinfected with household disinfectants or by commercial-grade steam cleaning or shampooing. DO NOT vacuum or sweep dry surfaces before mopping.

• Disinfect countertops, cabinets, drawers and other durable surfaces by washing them with a solution of detergent, water and disinfectant.

• Launder potentially contaminated bedding and clothing with hot water and detergent. Machine-dry laundry on a high setting or hang to dry in the sun.

• Wash gloved hands in a general household disinfectant and then in soap and water. Then wash hands thoroughly with soap and water again, after removing gloves.

This will protect you from hanta virus. It's an uncommon but serious respiratory illness that is transmitted to humans who come in contact with infected rodents, usually in rural settings. People are most likely exposed when dried material contaminated by rodent excrement is disturbed and inhaled as dust particles or directly introduced into broken skin or by ingesting contaminated food or water.

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