If your home smells like this cleaning product, you may have mice in your stove

Having a mouse in your home is more than a nuisance – it can also present a health and safety hazard. This is especially true when rodents congregate in your kitchen and contaminate your food and water sources by making them their own.

Mice often spread bacteria and viral diseases by leaving litter on your countertops, in closets, and in appliances. In particular, they are known to nest behind refrigerators or even in ovens.

However, since mice are usually experts at keeping themselves out of sight, you may not notice a problem until you have a full blown infestation. Fortunately, there is one thing that might alert you to the presence of mice in your stove – and contradictingly, this sign of infestation doesn’t smell dissimilar to an ordinary detergent. Read on to find out what smell suggests you have mice and what you can do to get your kitchen back.

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While some people use ammonia to clean their stoves, others notice the smell in the kitchen appliance for an entirely different reason. If the pungent aroma occurs when you turn up the oven, it most likely means that you have a mouse problem inside.

“The presence of mice can give off an ammonia-like odor, which is a very strong urine odor. This is particularly noticeable in enclosed spaces such as closets or stoves.” Nancy Trojan, PhD, a certified entomologist at Ehrlich Pest Control, tells Best Life.

Matthew Mills, COO and president of green pest maker Med-X, added that mice are attracted to ovens for their insulation. “They like to nest in the insulation, and what’s worse, they take the insulation out of the oven and nest it in the walls,” he notes.

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Full side view of a small brown house mouse in a kitchen cabinet with food in the background.Landshark1 / Shutterstock

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mice in the home can increase the risk of developing serious illness. Most commonly, mice are known to spread hantaviruses, a group of viruses that can cause fever, muscle pain, and fatigue. “After a few days [hantavirus patients] will find it difficult to breathe. Sometimes people have headaches, dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, “explains the CDC.

According to the health authority, hantavirus is most commonly spread “when rodent urine and feces containing hantavirus are blown into the air. People can also become infected if they touch mouse or rat urine, feces or nesting material containing the virus”. and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth, “explains the CDC.

In addition, mice are known to spread a number of other diseases, including Lassa fever, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, plague, and more. It is important not to have direct contact with their excrement and to avoid breathing near urine and feces.

Gloved hand cleaning ovenShutterstock / Iurii Stepanov

While clearing your home of mouse feces and urine is important for your safety, doing so can actually put you at the highest risk of disease. For this reason, the CDC advises that serious precautions be taken when cleaning up after mice. They recommend spraying the infected areas with a mixture of water and bleach and then leaving it on for five minutes. While wearing rubber gloves, wipe up urine and feces with a paper towel, then spray the area again with disinfectant. Finally, take off and sanitize your gloves if you plan to reuse them in the future, and wash your hands thoroughly.

The CDC warns against sweeping or vacuuming urine, feces, or nests from mice. “As a result, virus particles get into the air, where they can be inhaled,” says the organization. Consider wearing a mask when cleaning enclosed areas, including your oven.

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a cat looking at cat food in a plastic containerShutterstock

The best way to avoid getting sick from mice is to keep them out of your home in the first place. However, keeping your home mouse-free can be especially challenging this time of year, says Troyano. “Mice are adaptable and tirelessly looking for food, warmth and shelter – and your home can meet all of their basic needs. In the fall and winter, these needs become more acute, hence their desire to get in. ”Trojan explains.

In addition to setting traps to contain a serious infestation, experts also recommend making your home – and especially your kitchen – less hospitable to rodents. You can do this by keeping your counters and cabinets free of accessible sources of food. This means that food is stored in glass, plastic or metal containers with tight lids. Lock your garbage cans and put your pet’s food and water bowls away at night. And of course you should clean your oven and stove regularly to remove excess food from the appliance.

Eliminating entry points can also reduce the risk of mice around the house. “Put brush strips on the underside of the doors to prevent entry, repair damaged roofing, and use wire mesh to seal gaps, whether old pipe holes are sealed and ventilation openings with fine galvanized wire mesh – especially if they are damaged,” suggests Trojan.

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