Male mice can be affectionate, interactive, and extremely entertaining pets. Unfortunately, male mice get a bad rap, partly because of their stronger smell. An unneutered male mouse is bound to scent-mark his enclosure, which can create a smell that many people find overpowering.
Luckily, there are some tricks and techniques you can use to reduce this smell and enjoy your relationship with your male mouse more.
1. Spot-Clean Daily
First, it’s important to spot-clean the enclosure every day. This means removing visibly soiled bedding and droppings and wiping down toys and surfaces. One of the most important things to clean every day (if not multiple times a day) is your mouse’s wheel. This gets soiled very quickly and can contribute a lot to the smell of your mouse’s cage or tank.
Use a vinegar-water solution or a pet-safe cage cleaner to safely remove odors from the wheel, toys, and surfaces in the enclosure.
2. Fully Clean Less Often
It may seem counterintuitive, but another way to reduce your male mouse’s smell is by cleaning out his enclosure less frequently. When you fully replace your mouse’s bedding, your male mouse will feel an increased need to scent-mark, leading to more smell.
We recommend cleaning out the enclosure fully once per week. When you do replace the bedding, include a handful of your mouse’s old bedding or his nesting so that some of his smell transfers over. This can help your mouse feel less of a need to scent-mark his territory.
Learn more: Mouse Cage Size: What Size Cage Do Mice Need?
3. Invest in an Air Purifier
Air purifiers can get expensive, but they’re one of the best ways to tackle tough pet smells of any variety. Shop for an air purifier that’s big enough for the room where your mouse lives, and try to invest in a high-quality air purifier.
Don’t use an air purifier that uses UV light to eliminate odors, or make sure that this feature is turned off at all times. UV light air purification produces a small amount of ozone, which is toxic for small pets.
Tip: We use this GermGuardian purifier with the UV setting turned off at all times.
4. Air the Room Out Carefully
Unsurprisingly, letting in fresh air is one of the best ways to get rid of unpleasant smells. However, this has to be done carefully when you have a mouse in the room.
Mice require a stable temperature, so it’s a good idea to keep a thermometer near your mouse’s enclosure and close the window if it gets too chilly. Never leave the window open near your mouse for an extended period of time unsupervised.
5. Limit or Treat Wood Items
One of the causes of increased male mouse smell is wooden items in the enclosure. Wood absorbs and retains odors and liquids like urine, so it quickly becomes smelly with male mouse scent-marking.
If you can, provide plastic and ceramic hides instead. You can also treat wooden items with a pet-safe sealant like Plasti-Kote. However, your mice will likely chew through this over time.
You can regularly boil or bake wooden items to decrease built-up smells, as well.
Learn more: Best Mouse Cages (US and UK)
6. Use Odor Neutralizers
Using odor neutralizers that absorb smells, like baking soda or charcoal, can help with male mouse odor. Never place powdered products like baking soda inside your mouse’s enclosure, and always keep the product’s packaging properly intact to avoid having the powder circulate in the air.
What Not to Do to Eliminate Male Mouse Smell
There are some measures that some mouse owners take to eliminate smells that are actually harmful to your pet. These include the following:
- Placing a layer of baking soda underneath your mouse’s bedding. Mice are burrowers, so your mouse will end up burrowing down to the baking soda at the bottom. Powders like this can be extremely detrimental to a mouse’s delicate respiratory system.
- Using scented candles or incense. Scented candles and incense emit smoke and fumes into the air, which can also harm your mouse’s respiratory system.
- Spraying air freshener. Again, this is harmful to a mouse’s respiratory system, even if the spray is natural or unscented.
Learn more: Controversial Topic: Can Male Mice Live Alone?
Dealing with Male Mouse Odor
For many people, dealing with a male mouse’s unique smell is worth it for the unique experience they offer. Male mice are known to be more affectionate and open to human interaction than females.
But if you can’t cope with the smell of your male mouse, you may want to look into neutering your pet. Doing so causes the near elimination of scent-marking and the distinct smell. It also means you can introduce your male mouse to one or more females and have them live together, which can be beneficial for your male.