How to Eliminate Dead Rat Smell from Your Home

mouse inside the ventilation system of a house

During winter, it’s common to find rodents, such as mice and rats, hiding in nooks and crannies of residential houses. These animals don’t hibernate and, therefore, have to find a warm place to survive the cold months. That place, often, meant a home.

Rodents are dangerous because they don’t just hide. They can bring all sorts of disease-causing viruses and bacteria with them. If they come into contact with your food, you can catch some of these diseases yourself. They often urinate and defecate around their nests, leaving behind bacteria that can make you ill.

The scariest thing about rodents is that they chew on things to keep their teeth healthy, which leads them to gnaw on wires. A rat chewing on a wire in your house could cause a fire.

Moreover, when these little creatures die, they leave behind decomposing bodies that can cause strong odors in the structure of your home. It’s disgusting, and it’s frustrating.

You can clean up after dead rodents, but you need to know how. Not only do the odors cause discomfort, but they also could pose health risks.

Where is the Smell Coming From?

The most important thing in ridding your home of a dead rodent smell is to find the rat.  If you don’t, any effort you make won’t be enough. You can dig through insulation, look for chewed wiring and clean up droppings in every corner of your house for months and still not get rid of the problem.

The main issue with rodent smells is that they often come from inside walls. The only way to do a thorough job of finding the source of the smell is to take off some siding and look behind it. If you don’t want to get this serious, try a few more methods before taking this step.

Rodents may also hide in ducts. Check if you need furnace duct cleaning in case of a pest infestation, especially during winter.

What to Do With the Dead Animal

Once you find the dead animal, you have a few options.  Pick it up by wearing gloves and putting it in a plastic bag so there is no direct contact with your skin. Or, you can scoop it up using a shovel and place the whole thing in a plastic bag. This step may not be necessary if the animal is very small.

Throw the bag away in a sealed trash can, preferably outside your house. Make sure you put it in a dumpster that only people you know have access to so another person doesn’t get a whiff of it.

Take care not to touch the animal if you don’t have to. Bacteria will be on the body, and you don’t want it anywhere near your skin or mouth.

How to Clean Up After Dead Rodents
2 mouse on an obscured part of the house

Once you find the dead rat smell, you first need to take off the insulation that surrounds it so you can clean up properly. Wear gloves and pull down carefully.

Vacuum up the area thoroughly; vacuum cleaners that have a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter are preferable because they can trap small particles that spread the bacteria. If you don’t have one of these, get some masking tape and place it over the area where you are vacuuming so you don’t pull dust into another room when you turn it on.

Wipe down all surfaces that you can, including walls, floors, and ceilings. Use a household cleaner that has bleach in it because it will kill dangerous bacteria. Don’t mix bleach with ammonia, however, because the fumes are poisonous when mixed together.

You might have to do this process multiple times before the smell goes away completely. If an odor persists, it’s likely that there is more than one in your house or in surrounding areas. Try getting a professional to help you determine if there are wild animals inside your walls or attic spaces.

It’s also important to ventilate your home. Open your windows and turn on fans to circulate the air. This will help get rid of any unwanted odors in your home.

In addition, go ahead and use air fresheners, scented candles, or aroma diffusers to help cover up the remaining smells.

By now, you should know how to locate where dead rodent smells are coming from and clean up after them. While this may be an unpleasant task, it’s necessary for your health and safety. Now that you know how to rid of the dead rat smell from your home, you can finally sleep better at night!

Share this on

Scroll to Top