You’ve just cleaned up after a mouse infestation, but you can’t seem to get rid of that strong, musty, rotting smell that insists on lingering around. Chances are that 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 create this bad smell. Luckily, there are some ways to get rid of that smell – or at least to make it a little more bearable.
Eliminating the Smell of Dead Mouse
Getting rid of that dead mouse smell isn’t impossible, but it can be difficult. Here’s the best way to do so effectively.
1. Locate the source of the smell
Want to know how to find a dead mouse? The first thing you need to do is locate the source of the smell.
This isn’t always easy. Start by using your nose to narrow down where the smell is strongest. Look for dried mouse droppings, urine, and any unusual stains or spots. These are clues that can point you in the right direction.
Decaying mice attract insects, especially flies. If you suddenly notice flies congregating in one area, there’s probably a dead mouse nearby.
2. Dispose of the carcass
If you’re lucky, you’ll quickly locate the body. Use gloves and additional protective equipment to remove it. Double up on sealed plastic bags for disposal. After you’ve disposed of the dead mouse, be very careful and wash your hands thoroughly.
3. Disinfect the area
Put on clean gloves. Then, prepare a mixture with 1 part bleach for every 9 parts water. Spray the solution all over the area where you found the mouse, making sure to treat any droppings, urine, stains, or spots that you see as well.
Allow the solution to soak for about 5 minutes then use paper towels to wipe up the area. Be careful when disposing of these materials. Double bag them in plastic bags and seal them tightly before disposal. Then wash your hands thoroughly.
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. This means that even though you’ll be able to smell one, you probably won’t be able to find it.
If you think there’s a dead mouse in the wall, you have a few options.
First, you can call a professional that will attempt to locate the carcass. This can be costly and inconvenient. It usually involves boring holes in your walls 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.
Do you want to know how long a dead mouse can smell for? This depends on how big the mouse is as well as how hot and humid your home is.
On average, it takes about 3 weeks for a mouse to decompose completely, 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 after disinfecting, there are some things you can try. Some are pretty simple while others take a little more time.
There are some simple items you probably already have at home that can help eliminate that dead mouse smell.
- Cross ventilate: Open all the windows in the room to let in as much fresh air as possible. Then, use fans to cross ventilate. If you set them up effectively, one should bring in fresh air while the other blows out the stale air.
- Use vinegar and water: Mix a solution with equal parts vinegar and water, then spray it in the affected area. Not only does vinegar deodorize, but it also disinfects, which can help eliminate odors more quickly.
- Get rid of lingering odors: If you haven’t been able to locate the dead mouse, you could have a long wait until the smell goes away 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. They form a chemical bond with positively-charged particles that cause the odor. Once they bond, the molecules fall to the ground and will then get swept up with the vacuum when you clean.
- Use a high-quality odor neutralizer: An air freshener might mask the smell for a little while. But, odor neutralizers actually work to remove smells from the air, which makes them a better dead mouse odor eliminator. These sprays are hydrophobic, meaning that they repel water. The particles that make up bad smells are also hydrophobic. Hydrophobic things like to stick together, so the spray molecules form a ring and the odor molecules get stuck. The odors aren’t eliminated but they are trapped, so they no longer circulate through the air.
- Use a heavy-duty solid odor absorber: These products work using the same principles as sprays. The only difference is that you can place them exactly where you need to 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. If this happens, you can place an odor absorber at the closest vent or right next to the wall.
Prevention is the Best Medicine
- Eliminate any food sources that can attract mice. This means that you should keep all dry pet food in sealed containers and make sure that your garbage cans have secure lids.
- Fill any holes in your foundation, eaves, and vents to stop 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 caught them all.
If you do notice the smell of a dead mouse, don’t panic! Stay calm and get to work. The sooner you start eliminating the smell, the sooner you’ll be able to relax and breathe easy.