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Hot Rods Smelly barn find help

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by willystruck, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. willystruck
    Joined: Aug 17, 2014
    Posts: 26

    from Grove, Ok

    Found a solid 47 Chevy coupe parked in a barn not too far from home. Price hasn't been decided upon yet, BUT. It's been parked for 2 - 3 years and mice have been using it for a residence. No obvious damage but the telltale smell of mouse piss is very apparent. The interior has been redone sometime in the recent past and it would be a shame to have it all re done.
    Question: Is there a way to neutralize the smell after cleaning out any nests and obvious turds in the car?

    Attached Files:

  2. Tony
    Joined: Dec 3, 2002
    Posts: 7,350


    Nice for your question, i hope someone has a better answer than this.
    I bought a 63 impala that had become a rodent home for a number of years.
    11 dead inside alone..
    That car smelled horrible and the only thing that cleared it up was gutting it and starting over.
    Not only did i toss all the interior, i washed all the sheet metal once it was removed, then sprayed lysol...after that i painted the whole damn inside then finally installed a new interior.
    Not a damn thing i did removed it until all that.

    It got better with cleaning, air fresheners etc etc but never left and when it was hot out was freakin bad!

    Best of luck!
    smoked1 likes this.
  3. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,323


    lots of threads on this topic, try google
    and coffee grounds
    volvobrynk likes this.
  4. Gallon of Premium and a road flare.
    jeffd1988, braydenh, smoked1 and 6 others like this.
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  5. williebill
    Joined: Mar 1, 2004
    Posts: 2,582


    Doubt you can save the interior. That's where the smell lives. Gut it, and start over.
    smoked1 likes this.
  6. patterg2003
    Joined: Sep 21, 2014
    Posts: 604


    Mice are bad. They carry Hantavirus and all sorts of illness. A boy locally got really ill and the illness was carried by mice. It was traced back to mice had urinated on the tops of pop cans likely in storage somewhere. My wife now wipes off the top of every can. We have never had a mouse or seen one here.
    A pet store may have a chemical that removes urine odor. One solution for pet urine was to rub salt into the carpet, work it with a cloth and dry it. Salt is a disinfectant as well. Ammonia in urine is a strong chemical that goes straight to the nose. It will be hard to saturate & flush enough liquids through the seat padding & foam to flush out all the odour. If the seat springs are rusted then the odour will always be there. Could try stripping the upholstery off a seat & have the fabric dry cleaned. If the fabric is good then could paint the springs & then renew the padding material. That may help to salvage the fabric surfaces. If the fabric falls apart with the cleaning then it was finished anyways.
    Urine & moistures will promote mold that can be foul as well.

    We went on fly in fishing trips annually for 12 years or so. The first thing we did was set up the mouse traps and killing lanes to eliminate them in the first day or 2. We washed all the dishes, cookware and silverware as a precaution . We knew they went through the cupboards when no one was taking care them. They are dirty little critters.

    It will be a challenge getting that smell out.

    all the best.
  7. flux capacitor
    Joined: Sep 18, 2014
    Posts: 665

    flux capacitor

    Pitch the fabric , big bowls of baking soda with chopped up apples. Works well for smoke & wet dog odors. Prob help with mouse stink too. That baking soda is neat stuff for odors. Won't cost much to try, I've had great luck in past with the combo. Flux
  8. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,883


    Yep, strip the interior, neutralize the sheetmetal, paint heavily. Strip the seats to frames, sandblast paint heavily. Be sure to pull the headliner, all door cards etc and see what's behind them, again neutralize and paint.

    Good idea on dry cleaning the seat covers, that would be the only thing I'd consider trying to save.
    patterg2003 likes this.
  10. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,339

    from texas

    Respirators are not traditional !!!!!!!! BUT WEAR ONE !!!! Also glove up!
    volvobrynk likes this.
  11. Commish
    Joined: Jan 9, 2010
    Posts: 379

    from NW Ok

    Find one of the air cleaners that cleans the air by creating ozone, Alpine used to be one brand. Put it inside the car and turn it up to high and run it a few days. Only downside I can think of is it is hard on anything rubber.
  12. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,791

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    Dip the car in Febreze!
    prewarcars4me likes this.
  13. White vinegar helps immensely, but isn't guaranteed to completely remove the odor. :(
    volvobrynk likes this.
  14. chances are good that the critters have been up in the headliner building nests. Have never seen a vehicle that did not have nests there packed with foam and fabric from the interior and other outside areas. The last 50 Buick I did had so much contamination in the spring fabric holding the springs together that I sprayed them with kerosene and burned them! Then blasted and painted, only way to get rid of the smell of the urine. Good luck with the project but be prepared to do some heavy interior rebuild.
  15. 1pickup
    Joined: Feb 20, 2011
    Posts: 915


    don't forget the firewall insulation. they love that too, & it's easy to overlook it
  16. 56premiere
    Joined: Mar 8, 2011
    Posts: 1,445

    from oregon

    I am not sure if the ozone machine works on mouse smells but it should. It will harm all rubber that isn't protected. Other than that everyone is right about what youll have to do. Don't pay too much for the car without thinking of the costs in time and materials.
  17. sololobo
    Joined: Aug 23, 2006
    Posts: 8,120


    I also know a person that contracted serious illness by not wearing a proper safety gear. To bad you need to remove the interior but that is the only way. Congrats on a cool coupe.
    volvobrynk likes this.
  18. It hurts but the best thing to do smell & health wise is to strip all the material,padding and carpet and start over...HRP
  19. hotroddonnie
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 244


    Unless you strip the car you'll never totally get rid of the smell. Adding deodorant to your sweaty stinky armpits may work for a bit......till she gets real close.
  20. Katuna
    Joined: Feb 25, 2005
    Posts: 1,813

    from Clovis,Ca.

    Years ago I had a situation at work that I had to find a solution for.

    I had gotten a service call for the hospital in Santa Maria. The call was that a cat had gotten inside of a new air handler unit and pissed everywhere. Wasn't sure how that was our (the manufactures) problem but, whatever. When I got there I found out the whole problem. The unit had just been installed and when they were unloading it they heard a cat crying. They opened up the panels and there was this poor cat that had been stuck in there, presumably all the way from the east coast. It was on the local news and everything. You would have thought I was the Anti-Christ since I was the factory rep.

    Anyway, you can imagine the smell. This was on a hospital unit so there could be no trace when finished. I had no idea what to use. One of the construction guys suggested a spray that they use in horse barns. I went to a local tack store and asked them what to use. I wish I could remember what it was called but it was a pump spray bottle. I saturated the inside of that section of the unit where the cat was and lo and behold, it friggin worked! Absolutely NO odor. Completely eliminated. I cleaned all traces of urine and crap first but otherwise that's all it took.

    I don't know if the spray eliminates any potential virus issues or not. Don't remember but it sure as hell got rid of the smell.
  21. A friend has a '55 Victoria h.t. mildly customized. It suffers from the same problem. Acute mouse urine stink.
    It's overpowering. So bad that I don't have words in my vocabulary to describe it.
    At a cruise night last summer I stopped by the right side to dig the dated 80's upholstery work and had to back away a few yards immediately from the overpowering stench.
    Its like telling your friend he has rotten teeth and bad breath. It's embarrassing.
  22. If you took it to a detail shop they would take the seats out and wash them from the back side with strong detergent.
    An old used car lot trick if they are vinyl seats was ammonia to get ride of old smells and restore the new car smell.
    One thing that my mom used to do when she bought a barn/ junkyard car that I was required to get running for her was moth balls, under the seats while I was working on it, they would seem to neutralize most smells and the moth ball smell went away after a while. I think that the key ingredient in moth balls was/is naphthalene I am sure that the fumes ate up the other stuff and unless you breath the vapor on a regular basis I don't think it will kill you right away. Although for a disclaimer she did die of lung cancer and never smoked tobacco. :D
  23. piker
    Joined: Aug 18, 2007
    Posts: 207


    A friend of mine once told me to talk to a funeral home. They might be able to tell you about some chemicals. As far as upholstery once mice check in the smell doesn't want to check out! Id offer less because of the odor!
  24. LOL I'd offer less because of the odor even if I knew that I could get the odor out. :D
  25. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,784

    from California

  26. patterg2003
    Joined: Sep 21, 2014
    Posts: 604


    A follow up thought is that the odor may have another component to compliment rodent urine & feces. Urine has urea and ammonia both are components of fertilizer that will feed molds. I fought with mold in one room against the basement wall. We wore our PPE & washed it down with a bleach solution to make the black go away followed up later with a thorough wetting down with a Borax solution. One cup of Borax to a gallon of water kills mold and if the Borax is not rinsed out it & allowed to dry it prevents the mold from returning. Gave it a couple days, then rewet and demo'd the affected wall. Borax is also used to give a clean smell.

    This is to add to the snopes with the one rodent illness listed to show there are several that are unpleasant. Never heard of urine being toxic but those little buggers carry some nasty illness that do not affect them. It was mice that spread the bubonic plague that wiped out large European populations in medieval times.

    I agree with the previous comment on discounting the car based on the upholstery condition.

    I have been involved with mold & asbestos remediation in industry so I would recommend that you use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Use goggles, a quality half mask or full mask respirator, tyvek throw away coveralls and gauntlet gloves that you can pull the sleeves over the cuffs. When finished, strip down in a safe area taking the mask off last. Dispose of the tyveks and wash the gloves, eye protection, boots & an isopropyl alcohol wipe on the mask inside & out to disinfect. With asbestos, the crew exit the sealed off contaminated area through a shower to wash off any fibers and the coveralls disposed of immediately. The largest asbestos removal was removing a 100 tons with a big crew. The asbestos was buried in an asbestos containment under 400 tons of clay. The insulator used up 35000 pairs of coveralls because they wore double tyveks. It has been a while but I believe serious mold is treated in a similar manner way including disposing of coveralls as they leave the area. Each company have their own safety procedures that usually exceed the govt std.s.

    This may seem extreme but if a person is working in in a car that is heavily rodent contaminated then the car should be treated as a serious bio hazard and wear full PPE. If you strip the car down then do it outside away from people, full PPE & remove the interior into strong contractor garbage bags.
    That would be the standard used in industry where they care about the safety of their employees.

    It would be a shame to get a life threatening illness from a hobby that you enjoy or give it to someone in your family. I have organized and managed work all my working life. I care about the crews & contractors that work for me as they are all just like me working to enjoy life with their families.

    It is the courage to care about someones safety & in return the courage to receive the message graciously. That is how I promote safety with the guys.
    This is not a lecture but just reaching out to help you stay safe & so we can enjoy your thread on your newest project(s).
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
  27. I would be sure to soak it in cider...........then you can start worrying about the Chevy
    SJ13 likes this.
  28. Price it like you will have to replace the whole interior down to bare metal.
  29. willystruck
    Joined: Aug 17, 2014
    Posts: 26

    from Grove, Ok

    Thanks everyone! The offer price has gone down with every post I've read.
  30. GeezersP15
    Joined: Dec 4, 2011
    Posts: 538

    from N.E. PA

    I agree with Piker about checking with a funeral home. A friend of mine is a funeral director, and I got a can of deodorizer from him that was amazing. I don't recall the brand name, but I'd bet that most funeral homes have the stuff. I don't know if it is effective against bacteria/germs/etc. carried by the mice, but it's worth checking out.

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