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Oct 10, 2012 05:50 PM

Embarrassing stove contamination

Okay, this is embarrassing, but maybe you can provide some opinions. I went through a period when I suddenly had mice, probably coming from an excavation next door. I later had the nervous feeling that at one point they may have been inhabiting my oven. I couldn't really see for sure, but I feel like the whole thing has been irreparably contaminated, that there are nooks and crannies in the stove interior that can't possibly ever be cleaned. I know we don't put food directly on the oven itself, but it just feels like a mouse-fog.

Do you agree? This is a big deal, because I don't forsee being able to get a new one in the immediate future.

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  1. I get feild mice about this time of the year when the weather starts to cool down. they get into the drawer under the oven. I just don't keep anything in ther until a super hard freeze, just mouse traps. Just fire up your oven to 500* for 1/2 an hour or so, should sanitize it just fine, I can't see them getting in there if the oven door seals up OK. You'll be fine and it's nothing to be embarrassed about.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mrbigshotno.1

      We had a similar problem. The mice were coming up from the crawl space throught the floor where the gas line came up and had taken up residence in the drawer under the stove and the cabinet next to it. The cats took care of most of the problem, but to me the huge issue was the mouse droppings in the cabinet. As for the stove, the mice never got into oven itself and I'm entirely comfortable with running the self-cleaning cycle as a way of "decontaminating' it.

      We only discovered the source of the problem when we redid the kitchen and pulled out the stove. We haven't had a problem since.

    2. Can you afford to have someone come in/examine where they're entering and have them seal your house?
      It's not embarrassing when it happens the first time but it IS when you allow it to continue.
      Anything/everything can be cleaned in one way or another. I know someone who had the entire stove removed from the kitchen, taken outside the house and professionally cleaned until it was like brand new, and reinstalled.

      10 Replies
      1. re: latindancer

        Bah! We live in an old house in the country and there is simply NO WAY to seal the house up or exterminate it to the point of never having mice again. They WILL get in somewhere, no matter what. I am not embarassed. I just deal with it. Traps, traps, and more traps. And then cleaning. Everything edible on mouse-level is in metal or glass. It's just a fact of life. We won't do poison because we have three (useless) cats who would be poisoned if they ate a poisoned mouse and a dog who will happily consume mouse bait if he ever found it.

        1. re: Nyleve

          Bah! :).

          I also live in a very old, old house....completely sealed with no mice or any other kind of rodent,
          Professionals are out there who do the work, guaranteed. Just depends on how much the owner wants to spend and how important it is to them.

          1. re: latindancer

            Not all "old" houses are the same. In my old house, there really is no way to completely seal it, or so the professionals tell me. Every fall when the critters start coming in and I ask, ready to spend as much as necessary, they laugh and look at my almost-300-year-old cellar and laugh some more.

            1. re: julesrules

              Peanut butter. They love the stuff. And we use humane traps and drive them far, far away for release.

              1. re: mojoeater

                Hawaiian mice must be a different breed. they will eat a cardboard pizza box to get the last bits of grease, but leave a half a peanut butter sandwich sitting on a plate.

                1. re: KaimukiMan

                  Nutella. They can't resist the chocolate/nut combo.

                  As for sealing the house, maybe it can be done. But you're right - it would be a monumental job and we can't afford it. Traps and nutella, however, I can afford.

                  1. re: Nyleve

                    Ooh that's a good tip - and an excuse to buy nutella!
                    I just added PB, which has worked in the past with moderate success. Someone had suggested raw bacon because they have to pull at it and can't just sneak a lick without setting off the trap (we've had mice who steal the cheese), but they didn't seem to care for it.

              2. re: julesrules

                Heath bars have worked best for me. I discovered the mice's love of Heath bars one Halloween. They got into the candy but didn't touch anything but the Heath bars.

              3. re: Nyleve

                I hear you on the old house and useless cat. We have a cottage and during the last infestation, the cat brought a live mouse up into bed. Fun times.......

                I grew up in the country and mice were are part of life. We continue to seal holes as we find them and we haven't seen evidence in a year or so but I am always on the watch.

            2. To be practical about it, if they are mice in your oven, you will hear them, especially at night. We had a couple mice in our walls one year and they were quite loud scampering around at night. If they were in your house in general, why do you think you are focusing on the oven? Did you actually see any in there or is your mind running away with your thoughts?

              1. I wouldn't worry about sanitation--fire your oven up and the heat will destroy any pathogens. But do get that mouse problem under control--my mousies tore insulation out of the oven and stuffed it into the vent--dangerous situation.

                1. Used to have a summer cottage that was closed up for the winter every fall. The mice just loved all those empty cottages. The linen closet was a fav for birthing and the oven and stove the other place they left their traces.
                  When we opened up in the spring, first thing was to open all the windows, turn oven to high and go out for a long bike ride. This was also to clear the house of the smell of mothballs which we used liberally but doubtful that they did much but add another bad smell. To this day I still can recognize (and gag over) the smell of roasted mouse dropping.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: ElsieB

                    It happens.

                    We have a small vacation chalet up in the Alps, that has been in the family for generations.
                    Mice and other vermin get into anything they can when hungry.

                    I would agree with the CH members above that you pull the appliances out, clean them and then examine them, PRIMARILY for safety reasons. Even 220-240 v power will not prevent mice, etc. from eating the insulation off wiring, and in and around gas feed lines.The consequential damage caused by vermin is not limited to droppings, urine & Hanta virus, and containated food and grains, but also electrocution and fire.

                    I would enlist the help of an exterminator with traps, if needbe. But look for the points of entry, block them up, as well as inspecting for any potential safety problems. A HEPA vacumn, masks, gloves and an inexpensive disinfectant spray application like Isopropyl (Alcohol) 70-90 % would solve any concerns over mice and droppings around an oven.

                    I hope this is helpful.

                    1. re: SWISSAIRE

                      "I would enlist the help of an exterminator with traps, if needbe."

                      It's fascinating....there are people, I know, who have more money than brains. They could, if wanted, seal their house (100 plus years in this area) but they're used to living with rodents and see no reason to change their problem....although they don't think of it as a problem. They've been told, by exterminators in my area, who take care of many of the homes including mine, that their lack of concern causes problems for their neighbors. A house under renovation next door will bring thousands of cockroaches and vermin to the houses around them and they could care less. If everyone hired an exterminator to maintain a home free of these things the population would certainly be kept at bay. Keep the outside perimeter of a home well stocked with poison, encased in a container especially made for it, and the critters are dead before they enter the house and hire a specialist to, as you say, 'block up the points of entry'.

                      1. re: SWISSAIRE

                        Wow, "..a small vacation chalet up in the Alps." This sounds a lot more glamorous than a hunting shack in northern Minnesota. Our 'shack' is now more of a cabin in the woods but I still regard every flat surface to have been trod upon by mice. I learned that mice continually dribble urine to leave a trail to find their way back to wherever they came from. (Winston Churchill: “Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.”) Anyway, I have learned to scrub every flat surface upon arriving at our cabin and just assume that a mouse has been there before.

                        1. re: John E.


                          I share your assumption regarding any property unoccupied for a period of time.

                          Yes, mice do leave a trail as do other vermin. A simple black light will reveal that.

                          Our rule is to assume it is there, and clean and scrub it when we arrive (floors, walls, cabinets), keep it clean while there, and clean and scrub it before we depart. If food supplies are removed, there is not much to worry about, but we continue the cleaning routine each time.

                          To answer Latindancer above: There is another reason to identify and block pathways for mice. Other vermin such as rats and even bigger animals will find, use, and "improve" on holes and home entryways, if left alone.

                          In Europe we have very strict rules and regulations regarding use of insecticides, baits, and poisons, even out in the woods, or up in the mountain meadows. In fact in many city or village areas you cannot drive, or use the laundry softening towelettes as many do commonly in North America. If one contacts and contracts with an exterminator, there is a closed-loop document path for anyone locally to access, especially the poisons used, the amount, duration, and where applied. The well-meaning intent is to try and limit the use of chemicals, by the property owner or residents assuming the prime responsibility of keeping the property clean. I'm sure you would agree with that premise.

                          If they do, it limits or mitigates the problem. If not then as you say, it is a different ball game.

                          1. re: SWISSAIRE

                            "I'm sure you would agree with that premise."

                            Here's what I know and do. I hire an exterminator who places housed poison (nothing can get to it unless it's a mouse/rat) as the hole they enter is approx. 2 inches in diameter. I have several placed on the ground outside the house on the perimeter. The rodent smells the poison and eats it. My house is sealed, completely, and the population of these rodents has greatly diminished. When I had cats who lived indoor/outdoors their pheromones deterred the rodents. Now that I don't have cats I must keep them at bay another way. We have strict guidelines, regarding the use of chemicals where I live, but keeping rodents away from my property is my prime concern.

                            1. re: SWISSAIRE

                              My dad used to tell stories how when he was a kid during the depression, his dad used to kill the rat population but did not use poison either. My dad grew up just outside Minneapolis and although it is now considered a 1st ring suburb now, back then it was pretty wide open. They had a barn, with livestock and animal feed, thus the rats. My grandfather would put out bowls of 50/50 sugar and dry plaster. The rats would eat the mixture and then it would turn into a rock in their gut. It sounds a bit gruesome, but effective. (And no chemicals either).