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dead rat smell in house

20 years ago

we had an awful smell in our house and figured it was mold from a leaky water pipe that broke.(which happened a month before) The odor was getting worse and worse. we couldn't find any leaks but the stench was filling up our hallway so we couldn't find the source of the smell until it got so rancid and unbearable. we figured that it was some place in our front bathroom. inside our bathroom towel closet seem to be the strongest stench. we had our house termite treated years before and had the pest control operator install inspection ports in the wall. I opened that port up and shined the flashlight inside. I can't describe the strong stench in my face even with a handkerchief over my nose and mouth. but there he was, a toasted rat that died from my rat poison I set in the attic. he had at least a 5" tail. I got him out and disposed of him, but the stench was still there. I got a can of big d odor control fogger and set it in the return A/C duct behind my central air condition filter with the A/C unit off. We left the house for an hour or so to run errands. When we came back and opened the door I was greeted with the pleasant smell of big d. the rat smell was gone and we got our lives back to normal.

Comments (35)

  • Zanzie
    20 years ago

    Ick! We've never had a dead rat, but a couple of times we've had mice die in ducts. Unfortunately, we couldn't reach them so we just lived with the odor until it died down. I can't imagine the smell from a larger critter - ughhhhhh.

  • dan4985
    20 years ago

    How long has it been? The smell should be gone in about 7-10 days. That's one of the reason traps are better. You know where the body is when you get them.

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  • twelvepole
    20 years ago

    According to forum posts, it takes about 6 weeks for the smell of a dead animal inside the walls of your home to dissipate.

  • anjalid
    15 years ago

    We have a similar problem in one of our closets....dead rat smell for almost a month now, we've emptied the closet and checked the attic, no body found... so we think it's in the walls. I've tried everything and the smell won't go. I am going to try one of those odor bombs.
    But can it also be harmful to health? Should I disinfect the closet, any suggestions on products to use?

  • texanjana
    14 years ago

    We had that once in our attic, and I promise it lasts more than any 10 days! A month is more like it. There is a product called Odorcide that you can buy online to spray after you remove the carcass (if you can find it), but if it is in the wall you just have to wait for it to dissipate. We had the attic rodent-proofed after that.

  • bmgladish_hotmail_com
    13 years ago

    WOW....I am in complete shock at these postings, as I thought I was all alone on this topic!! We live on an island where the rats are a serious problem, we could hear them in the roof and walls, basically everywhere except in the home itself!! I decided to act before a critter actually made its way in, I went and bought some of them rat pellets from the hardware store, and put a large amount outside behind our home. There was a water source close by, which I was told was the correct thing to do! The pellets were dissapearing very quickly, which I was happy about! About a week ago I noticed a very awful coming from my daughters room, at the end of our hall, I complained to my hubby, but he couldn't smell it, he thought because I was pregnant I was over-reacting! Well, a couple days ago the door had been shut for a couple hours, and when I opened it, basically I got a slap in the face by the odour, I literally could not help but to vomit! After the hubby investigated and found a dead rat in the electrical box, I knew it would not be the end of our problem. Tthe smell is gone from that area now, but, just today I could smell it again in another bedroom! This time I know it is coming from the roof, as that is where I believe the nest was. Clearly the rats brought them pellets back to the babies and they have all perished up there...BUT...WHAT NOW?? We are not aboout to go ripping our roof apart, but the smell is clearly going to get worse! I'm glad they died from the poison, even if in the roof because at least they never got in the home!! But if anyone can tell me how to get rid of this smell, I will forever be grateful! I am hoping there is something I can buy locally instead of over the internet if possible...also, the smell does last for longer than a week, as I noticed it getting worse with the first one we found! Sorry for the long post, just wanted to make things as clear as possible...

  • teena72
    13 years ago


  • western_pa_luann
    13 years ago

    teena 72 - the posts above answer both your questions. Give them a read.

    And typing all caps on the internet is a no-no....

  • cluppins
    13 years ago

    I have this problem every year with my field stone foundation. I no longer use poison because the mice die in the wall; the smell goes away in 4 weeks. Use the wooded traps that snap their little necks or a mouse cube that captures the mice alive; you let them go free in the woods. They are cute, and I feel awful killing them, but they can do costly damage to my home.

  • alan_2009
    13 years ago

    About 4 weeks ago we heard rats in our attic. We got the pest control out and they put down poison which was taken. A few days later we noticed a dreadful rancid smell in our bedroom which the pest control chap confirmed was dead vermin. We live in a bungalow which has water underneath in the winter which goes in the summer. We do not have any vermin in the house itself. The smell is coming from under the floorboards or in the wall cavity, which makes it impossible to access the dead rats.
    The smell was so bad that we had to move out. We are now back at home but the smell is still coming and going. We are absolutely desperate! How much longer will it take for the smell to disappear and can anyone suggest a product which will get rid of the bacteria from the smell. I am concerned mostly by the health issues of sleeping in this room. Will the bacteria be gone when the smell disappears?
    Any advice or suggestions will be most appreciated.

  • asinc_swbell_net
    11 years ago

    A week and a half ago, my husband noticed a bad smell in our living room. The next day we noticed it was worse. We finally decided it was coming from the area of our sofa. I got on hands and knees and peered under, but could see nothing. There was a box under one end of the sofa. When I raised up a bit and reached under to remove the box, I instead got a handful of dead rat !
    It was about 7 inches long not counting it's tail. It was intact, but thank goodness, dead. After letting out a couple of screams that brought my husband running, I grabbed a handful of paper towels, grabbed him up, stuck him in a Wal Mart bag and placed him in the outside trash bag. I used Resolve Carpet cleaner and Spot Shot cleaner to clean the area where he was. Then, sprayed some very effective citrus fragrance directly on the spot and area. The smell is less, but is STILL there !!! Tomorrow I'm going out to shop for the big guns. May have to treat the underside of the sofa as well. Very icky and interferring experience. I want my odorless life back !!!

  • bradd_larson_yahoo_com
    11 years ago

    To: Debbie and anyone else who needs to get rid of smell with direct access to the location of the dead animal.

    Get works.

    Any advice on what I should do if I caught a mouse on a sticky trap but then the mouse ran off... trap and all... just gone. I heard the mouse stuck on the trap, so I checked it out and sure enough, I had a small mouse stuck to a sticky trap. It was late and I had been in bed so I figured I would get rid of it in the morning. Morning came and the mouse and trap were gone. Could it have gone far? Will it die? Will it be able to free itself from the trap when the trap gets hung up on something? I dont know what to expect but I am worried about that smell again.

  • michael_oram3_ntlworl_com
    11 years ago

    I had rats under floorboards a couple of years ago, luckily we caught it in a trap. Unfortunately we had another, this one has died somewhere, and boy does it stink, the stench lasted really bad for about 5 days, and I mean bad. You nearly heaved, could not have anyone in house, the smell got better but it is now three weeks later and you can still smell it. It gets worse when wind blows through air bricks, so eventually it will go but it will take at least 6 weeks or so. You might also find flys as well,as the body decomposes and maggots develop, flys will hatch. Nice subject don't you think!

  • platinumhuman_yahoo_com
    11 years ago

    Can anyone help me how to get rid of dead animal smell? I do not know what kind of animal is dead. is it mouse or else. Do you guys have any suggesting which odor i can use to get rid of dead smell. It's been for like 10days and counting. Really getting worse.

  • matt_ppp_com
    11 years ago

    There's a dead rat/mouse smell in our electrical box area inside the house. I can see, and have cleaned up, the mouse droppings but I don't see any mouse. It's likely hidden behind insulation, etc. Any ideas other than tearing down the wall to find it?

  • alannovember_gmail_com
    11 years ago

    As far as the smell coming from behind the wall, nothing you can do except tear up the wall if you know where the dead animal is. Our exterminator gave us a good talking to about putting the dry poison pellets in the attic. Rats or mice eat the poison, and it makes them thirsty which once they drink any liquid they die, and usually fall down between the walls. The best devices to use in an attic to catch rats and mice are either 'sticky traps' or the old fashioned trap that kills them by breaking their necks. The only problem with the spring trap is that some rodents are tricky enough that they can eat the bait right off the trap and never set it off.

  • surdahl_telus_net
    11 years ago

    Oh has been over 6 weeks of horrible smell in my studio in the basement, it is in the ceiling...I know it is a dead rat. My husband denied he could smell it, he obviously has no sense of smell as it was making ME gag. He finally set rat traps out side and caught 2 but what am I to do with the dreadful smell still lingering in my house. Will a dehumidifier work? My husband refuses to take any part of the ceiling down.

  • DesertLeap
    11 years ago

    We had a dead rat smell in out house and searched our attic for the smell. It turns out it was coming from an upstairs toilet we rarely used, so all the water evaporated out of it causing sewer gases to enter the house and get sucked into the AC intake vent.

    A friend had a similar experience with a dry sump pump in his basement. So check your toilets, sinks and tubs.

  • roua_live_yahoo_com
    11 years ago

    Hello! I am writing this and and I'm totally freaked out
    It's now 2:37 AM and it's still smell bad. Two hours ago I was sitting in my room then I sensed a bad smell and it got worse and strong that I threw up. I looked all over the room I couldn't find any thing. The bad smell was only in my room. I woke up my family and told them and now we are sleeping dawn stairs on floor. I searched on google and the first article said YOUR HOUSE MIGHT BE HAUNTED..UNEXPECTED BAD SMELL IS A SIGN FOR GHOST IN YOUR HOUSE. I got really scared and I'm still not sure what is this bad smell. Can somebody help me please?? What do I do I'm scared :(

  • Fitz26
    11 years ago

    Big mistake, I used the pellets outdoors - they ate them and died. Came home yesterday and there were a few flies and nasty smell.
    Can't find the source of smell and I don't own the property.

    What do I do?
    Will the odor make me ill until I can solve the problem?

  • nancybell1121_yahoo_com
    10 years ago

    Well first of all.....DO NOT use poison pellets! I have learned my lesson on that. I was so frustrated hearing the little verments having a party in my kitchen wall that I put one down & now we have a really bad bad stinky smell from behind the dishwasher which connects to the sink(water). So I guess I have to just wait it out? The smell is awfull not sure I can last that long.

  • aaronsprincess2010_yahoo_com
    10 years ago

    What if you can't find the rodent? I noticed the other day that mine and my fiance's bedroom had a really bad odor. I figured at first that it was probably from not letting the room air out. But is started getting worse. Well I started cleaning the whole room trying to figure out what this smell was when it hit me. My cat had toyed with a mouse a good 5 days before and probably injured the mouse. So I start to move furniture and I noticed the smell is around our dresser. I have checked all the drawers, even pulled them out. I noticed bits and pieces of the padding from under our carpet was pulled around a small area. I pulled the dresser from the wall and sure enough, a mouse had been there and the odor was extreme where this hole is. I have poked my finger in the hole to feel for it. I have felt around in the carpet to see if maybe the little fellow crawled into the carpet and died. But I cannot find the dead mouse. I need help because the smell is causing me to get physically ill.

  • toxcrusadr
    10 years ago

    You are going to have to find that mouse even if it involves cutting a hole in the floor or wall.

    Are you 100% sure it is not up in the dresser somewhere? they can wedge themselves into small spaces.

    Also, check any electrical outlets nearby. Just take the cover off and check inside without poking your fingers in while the power's on!

    Then, is there a hole in the floor or just through the carpet? If the hole goes through the subfloor you should probably cut out a square foot of carpet around the hole (you can cut two sides and peel it back away from the wall, leaving it attached on the fourth side if you plan to put it back). Then you would have to cut the subfloor with a saw and see what is in there. I am assuming here that your basement (if you have one) ceiling is drywall not suspended ceiling - that would make it so much easier.

  • lsnow234
    10 years ago

    I have have had to deal with a dead rat odor in my house two times now. I called an exterminator and he said for me to get some "oil or wintergreen" to help with the smell. It really made it so much more bearable. I poured the oil in a little bowl on cotton ball. hope this helps!! Think I am going to get traps and not risk them going into my walls to die.

  • camphappy
    10 years ago

    We have had roof rats off and on in our attic. The key is to find out how they are getting in your home. I've been told by vector control that if your thumb can fit through a hole in you home, so can a rat. Look closely at the base of your home and where the roof meets the exterior walls. Also trim back any trees that hang over your home or ivy that climbs up the walls. Roof rats love to climb and can jump well too.

    To give you some idea of the damage they can do to your home, we had a rat jump off the top of a kitchen cabinet (there was a small hole where the cabinet and ceiling met). Before we knew he was even loose in the house, he nibbled through our washing machine hoses and dishwasher hoses. We immediately set a trap and caught the little guy. Several days later my son asked why water was dripping from the downstairs ceiling. I looked up and saw water stains covering the entire ceiling. The kitchen is right above this lower room but the dishwasher leak had been caught immediately. I ran upstairs, pulled the refrigerator away from the cabinets and sure enough there were several punctures in the ice maker line, spraying a steady mist into the drywall behind. To make a long story short, our hardwood floor and cabinets in the kitchen had to be removed and two rooms downstairs were entirely gutted. Fortunately for insurance we are having some fresh paint and new flooring put in. Our kitchen is still torn up as we decide how to best remodel it.

  • dreamgarden
    10 years ago

    We had a problem with mice. We didn't want to use snap or sticky traps so we started out using the humane traps and taking them to a field to let them loose.

    Got tired of that so we got an electronic zapper. It works for mice and/or rats.

    Electrocutes them to death! Two AA batteries will kill up to 50 mice.

    The instructions recommend using dried dog snacks instead of cheese or peanut butter so you don't dampen the metal plate that shocks and sends them into the hearafter. Mice love them!

    A little light flashes to let you know when there's a critter in it. Now we lay their unpoisoned small bodies near a rock in the backyard so other rodent eating animals get a free meal. They are always gone by the time we put new ones there.

    A link that might be useful:

  • cvtxmama
    10 years ago

    We had a horrible smell in the mudroom of our country home for years. I repeatedly told DH it was something dead, or sewer gas, or just something wrong and unfixable. Finally I was cleaning it out, and decided that the plastic containers of cleansers, detergent, etc., in the window looked really ugly and needed to be thrown out. When I grabbed the container of fire ant poison that was in the window I got a good whiff. Yes--it was the culprit.

  • dulceamor
    9 years ago

    So like ever since we had pest control done in our whole house, then a carpet wash, both in summer 2011 a part of my closet is stinking. The smell also has gotten into our bonus room closet which is like closest to my closet, and like is probably just separated by walls. I tried cleaning the wall area with vinegar, and then also bleach and for both I didn't add water at all. I even put baking soda on the corners of the carpet where the walls are. The smell did go away in 2011 I think after I tried vinegar water solution n other stuff , and didn't come back till now, 2013 in summer. So I don't know what it is!! Please help!!!!!!!

  • xBaruz
    8 years ago

    I've encountered the same problem days ago, but I made the smell go away in two days. The trick is old, but gold. Cut onion into many slides, and put it in a plastic can with cold water. Place the can next to the place where the smell is coming from. I will not give you more than 3 days for the smell to disappear.

    Caution: do not spray the area, because it will make it worst. Also, do not open the fan/ac because it will only help spread the smell.


    Patricius Baruz

  • dulceamor
    8 years ago

    Thanks for the idea! Actually somehow the smell finally left a couple of days after I first posted this issue on this website but it came back again a few days ago and stayed for 2 days and it's gone again! I didn't do anything either! Which is amazing!

  • patty_cakes
    8 years ago

    Those sneaky critters seem to find a way in! When I lived in a condo several years ago, one got into the attic thru the eves. Seems once they're in they don't remember how to get out. They should carry a piece of bread or a cookie......... or get seri! lol

  • hunkydorhie
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    hello, we have rats in our house and have had the exterminator in yesterday to lay out 22 traps. we have heard them running along the rafters in the attic and in our wall/floor vents. the rats scratch at the vents to get out, so i really hope the traps take care of this issue soon. the traps were laid out last night and this morning we woke up to a faint skunk smell. can anyone who has experienced the "dead rat" smell offer a description of what type of odor it smells like? i don't know if we have a dead rat in the walls already and how soon the smell arises after the rat dies. thank you in advance!

  • ascorsonelli
    6 years ago

    Sickly-sweet, Hunkydorhie. Once you've smelt it, you won't forget.

  • v3758
    5 years ago

    we had a dead critter in the walls of our house, and didn't know where exactly the carcass was, but the smell was terrible. We used these odor absorbing bags ( and the smell was gone in a few hours. The trick is to buy enough of them according to the room size; the bigger the room, the more you need, and the more you get, the faster the smell disappears. These bags do not need to come in contact with the carcass, so no need to rip the walls open to remove the dead critters! this was a real life saver...

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