If you’ve just cleaned up after a mouse infestation but can’t manage to get rid of the strong, musty rotting smell that’s lingering around, chances are you have a dead mouse somewhere in your home.
What does a dead mouse smell like? As mice decompose, they give off a mix of sulfur dioxide and methane along with some other gases that combine to make this bad smell. Luckily, there are some ways to get rid of it or at least make it a little more bearable.
Eliminating Dead Mouse Smell
Getting rid of dead mouse smell isn’t impossible but it can be difficult. Here’s the best way to get it done effectively.
1. Locate the source of the smell.
Wondering how to find a dead mouse? The first thing you need to do is locate the source of the smell. It isn’t always easy. Start by using your nose to narrow down where the smell is strongest. Look for dried up mouse droppings, urine, or any unusual stains or spots as clues to point you in the right direction.
Decaying mice attract insects, especially flies. If you suddenly notice flies congregating in one area, it’s likely there’s a dead mouse nearby.
2. Dispose of the carcass.
If you’re lucky, you’ll quickly locate the body. Use gloves and other protective equipment to remove it and double up on sealed plastic bags for disposal. After you’ve disposed of it, be very careful to thoroughly wash your hands.
3. Disinfect the area.
Put on clean gloves then prepare a mix of 1 part bleach, 9 parts water. Spray the solution all over the area where you found the mouse making sure to cover any droppings, urine, stains, or spots that you see.
Allow the solution to soak for about 5 minutes then use paper towels to wipe up the area. Be careful when disposing of the materials. Double bag them in plastic bags and seal tightly before disposing of them. Then, thoroughly wash your hands.
What if I Can’t Find the Dead Mouse?
Unfortunately, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to find the dead body. Mice like to spend most of their time hiding in walls and crawl spaces so, although you’ll be able to smell it, you probably won’t be able to find the source.
If you think there’s a dead mouse in the wall, you have a few options. First, you can call in a professional who will attempt to locate the carcass. This can be costly and inconvenient and usually involves boring holes in the wall until the dead mouse is located. Then, the mouse is removed, the area is cleaned, and the hole is patched and repainted.
The other option is to wait until the smell dissipates on its own. How long does a dead mouse smell? It depends on how big the mouse is as well as the heat and humidity in your home. On average, it takes about 3 weeks for a mouse to completely decompose but the smell can linger for another week or so.
What Are Some Effective Dead Mouse Odor Eliminators?
If you can’t find the source of the smell or if it seems to be hanging around for a while after disinfecting, there are some things you can try. Some of them are pretty simple while others take a little more time.
There are some simple things you probably already have at home that can help eliminate dead mouse smell.
- Cross-ventilate. Open all the windows in the room to let in as much fresh air as possible. Then, use box fans to cross-ventilate. If set up effectively, one should bring in fresh air while the other blows out stale air.
- Vinegar and water. Mix a solution of half vinegar, half water and spray it in the affected area. Not only does vinegar deodorize, but it also disinfects which can help eliminate odors faster.
- Get rid of lingering odors. If you haven’t been able to locate the dead mouse, you could have a long wait in your hands until the smell goes away permanently on its own. One way to help lessen the smell is to place bowls of vinegar or baking soda as close to the source of the odor as possible.
What Products Can I Buy
There are also some great products you can buy that will help get the odor out of the air a little faster.
- Use an air ionizer. Air ionizers use electrically charged molecules to remove particles, microbes, and odors from the air. Ionized particles are negatively charged and form a chemical bond with positively charged particles causing the odors. Once they bond, the molecules fall to the ground and get swept up with the vacuum when you clean.
- Spray a high-quality odor neutralizer. While an air freshener might mask the smell for a little while, odor neutralizers actually work to rid them from the air which makes them a good dead mouse odor eliminator. These sprays are hydrophobic which means they repel water. The particles that make up bad smells are also hydrophobic and hydrophobic things like to stick together. The spray molecules form a ring and the odor molecules get stuck. While the odors are not eliminated, they are trapped so they’re no longer circulating through the air.
- Place a heavy-duty solid odor absorber. These products work under the same principle as a spray. The only differences are you can place them exactly where you need them and they work continuously. This is a good choice if you know that the smell is coming from the wall but you can’t quite get to the source. Place an odor absorber at the closest vent or right next to the wall.
Prevention Really is the Best Medicine
The best way to keep your home free of dead mouse smells is to prevent mice from getting in in the first place. There are some easy things you can do to keep your home mouse-free.
- Eliminate any food sources that can attract them. For example, keep all dry dog and cat food in a sealed container and make sure your garbage cans have secure lids.
- Fill any holes in your foundation, eaves, and vents to prevent mice from being able to get in.
- Be diligent. If you see any droppings or notice small holes in food boxes in the pantry, set traps until you’re sure you’ve gotten them all.
If you do notice the smell of a dead mouse, don’t panic! Stay calm and get to work. The sooner you get started eliminating the smell, the sooner you’ll be able to relax and breathe easy.