Mouse-Stained Wood

I’m currently building a post and beam house that will be finished inside with cedar trim. Unfortunately, one of my boxes of cedar trim housed a family of mice for a few months and they urinated on several pieces of the cedar trim. Do you have any ideas how I could clean this? It stained the wood as well as the bad smell. Of course they picked the most expensive box of trim.

Rob Johnstone:¬†We hate meeses to pieces! Nasty little problem you’ve gotten tangled up in. I am no expert on the discoloration, but think sanding would probably do the trick. As for getting rid of the smell of urine … here I claim some expertise. I have three dogs and a cat at home. There is a product available at pet stores called Natures Miracle. It is an enzyme based cleaner that works … well, if not miracles, the next best thing.

Michael Dresdner: Remove the stain, as much as will come out, with oxalic acid or woodbleach, and seal in the odor with Zinsser SealCoat or dewaxed shellac.

“The most likely cause of the stain is the ammonia in urine, which colors any wood that contains tannin, including cedar. There is no guarantee that the stain will come out, but oxalic acid is a good first attempt. If that doesn’t work, you can resort to wood bleach, which will probably remove the stain, but will de-color the wood as well, forcing you to stain it to match the other pieces. Sealing the wood with Zinsser SealCoat, or any shellac, for that matter, will lock in the odor.

Posted in: