Getting Rid of Dead Rat Smell Easily: 5 Proven Measures

Suppose it stinks in your house….

You know for sure (or you might have even seen with your own eyes) or you just think that there’s a dead rat or mouse somewhere. Perhaps you have already used the poisonous rat baits, which slowly kill those rodents…

We’ve got two pieces of news for you.

The first piece is bad news. If there’s at least a single mouse at your place, that means that somewhere there is its nest and more mice are to come. It’s too naïve to believe that a lonely mouse has got lost at your house by accident, because mice and rats are not individual animals – they come in colonies.

Being group animals like most rodents, they are able to flood your house and your backyard just in a few months. Rats give birth 8-10 times per year and each time a female rat is able to bear 8-10 rat pups. This means that you’ll have to get rid of all the other rats as well - read our article about the ways of getting rid of rats in the house.

The solution to your problem has two stages, which are interconnected:

  1. You have to neutralize the smell of a corpse.
  2. You have to get rid of other colony members so that the problem of dead rat smell doesn’t come up again.

The good news is that it is possible to get rid of dead rat smell.

It is difficult to do so, especially if you don’t know for sure where the smelly corpse is located (in the wall or between the floors) and you can only feel the odor.

Did you know that the smell given off by the rodent’s body when it swells and exudes fluid can spread up to 300 meters away from the corpse? That’s why it is quite difficult to locate the rotting body. Moreover, the odor won’t go away entirely until the corpse is mummified or decomposed to the skeleton. This is why we shall take different measures which complement each other to do this job.

5 Best Measures to Help Get Rid Of Dead Rat Smell

Let’s start with the most primitive way, which uses things that are always at your disposal. Use ground coffee (fresh or used but dry) until you have bought a special rodenticide. Ground coffee is a quality odor absorber and can be placed in different parts of your house in order to get rid of the unpleasant mouse smell. This is an emergency method and thus, ground coffee may be put in various locations, such as in the air conditioning vents, in the basement, inside the racks or cabinets. This is not the most effective means of fighting the smell, but it will be useful for the time being until you buy some more powerful remedies.

Absorbents: Using the Odor Removing Bags

Absorbents are helpful when you know exactly where the rodent’s corpse is but for some reason you can’t actually remove the body from there. For example, when it is situated in the pipes, inside the walls or in the chimney. According to the customer reviews, these are the places where mice and rats (and sometimes even squirrels and birds) die quite often. customers have tried many methods of solving the problem of dead rat odor, but most of them are far from being effective. One of the ways which received lots of positive feedback is using Earth Care Odor Removing Bags. These bags are simple to use - there’s no need to place them directly at the source of the odor, instead you can hang it above the crawl space and lock the room. The odor will begin to decrease in the first few hours and will be gone completely within the following few days or within a week at most. The manufacturers recommend using one bag for ~$13.75 for smaller rooms and 2 bags for larger rooms, since one bag covers only 100 square feet.

Earth Care Odor Removing Bag
Earth Care Odor Removing Bag

Use the Earth Care Odor Remover Bag to remove dead rodent odors, urine and feces odors, skunk odors, musty mildew odors, trash room odors, and cigarette smoke. Earth Care Bags do not have to come into contact with the odor causing agent.


Recommendations to use charcoal as an absorbent are found on many web sites, as apparently it will liquidate the nasty smell of a dead rat. However, we’ve examined charcoal and discovered that this is not exactly the case. One of the users even commented that being inspired by such advice he first bought a small pack of coal and then even a whole sack of it, but even this measure didn’t help him get rid of the terrible rat odor in his house.

Nevertheless, other than having a positive effect on human body (this is true for the activated carbon), charcoal may truly help eliminate certain smells, such as cigarette, shoes, gym bags, cars and fridges odors, etc. That’s why many charcoal deodorizer bags have appeared on the market such as Natural Bamboo Charcoal Deodorizer Bag (~$9.99). But these bags can’t remove dead rat odor though.

Natural Bamboo Charcoal Deodorizer Bag

Air Ionizers Vs Dead Rat Smell

Air ionizers may be used as supplementary measure when eliminating the horrible smell of dead rodents.

In most cases, the manufacturers assure that their ionizers are able to function properly in rooms up to 3,500 square feet. This is a huge space – and realistically speaking you have to understand that no single ionizer can cover such area, but it may be useful when trying to remove the dead rat smell. On average air ionizers cost $64 - $200.

In addition, they purify the air in the room – removing not only such allergens as pet dander, pollen, mold and dust, but also various unpleasant odor. These units also kill germs, viruses, bacteria and other microbes. Thus, if you use an air ionizers such as GermGuardian Air Cleaning System, a decomposing corpse of a mouse will cause much less harm that it could have potentially caused. It costs ~$99.99 Check the current price

GermGuardian AC4825, 3-in-1 Air Cleaning SystemThe first three measures described may be called half-measures, and so we have discovered some more effective means of fighting the smell… Fortunately, we haven’t had any dead rats at our place, because we started using an electronic repellent the moment we saw a first rat appear and after using it, the rat has disappeared. That is why, as you understand, we haven’t encountered any dead rats.

But in order to collect some useful information for you, we have asked some specialists who deal with the putrid smells, chemistry and biology for advice.


Professional Measures: Acetic Acid, Chlorine and Formalin

Acetic acid (and other products containing it), chlorine and formalin are considered to be professional disinfectants. These are the most effective products for getting rid of putrid smell, as our pathologist pal has confirmed. It is acetic acid or formaldehyde which neutralize putrid smell, be it a smell of a human or an animal decay. We do not advise you to use such chemicals at home due to their toxicity and high risk of burning hazard. Acetic acid is available through on starting at $12.

 Food Grade Glacial Acetic Acid Vinegar Weed KillerIf you have decided to try it anyway, be warned that you have to be extremely careful – as acetic acid is a concentrated chemical which leads to serious burns when in contact with the skin or mucous membranes, and its vapors can have an irritating effect. That’s why you should be extra cautious, wear special rubber gloves and a respirator for working with chemical compounds.

This method is quite complicated, that is why we have found another proven product recommended by a biology professor.

Odor Eliminator: An Effective Bio-Method

We have asked our neighbor (who is a biology professor) what the most effective way of getting rid of a putrid smell is. She revealed that there are products which help fight against the smell of cat urine and remove not only the odor of cat, dog or mouse urine, but also any other organic smells. And dead rat smell is just one of such organic smells. (By the way, she even mentioned an interesting detail – that cat urine odor eliminators may even help against smelly feet.)

Try a non-toxic bio-enzymatic spray odor eliminator, such as Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator by Rocco&Roxie.

Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator

First, it is child and pet safe. The manufacturer claims that this spray will help remove organic stains from urine, feces, vomit and others, as well as organic smells. Judging by the customer reviews, this products works well with dead birds and toads, and so it must be useful against rats. It will also come handy in case if you have a cat or a dog (especially a kitten or a puppy) which may pee or poop right on the carpet while you’re out at work.

This best seller has over 2000 reviews and its customer rating is 4.5 stars out of 5. Given its practical use and versatility, this product is offered at a moderate price of only ~$19.97 Check the current price

Getting rid of the putrid smell though is not enough. After it your main task is to make sure that this situation never ever repeats again.

That’s why we’re going to move on to the second part of our guide and discuss how to not let any more rats in your house and what exact steps should be taken.

You can banish the rats differently, but we’ll give you a couple of general pieces of advice:

1. Use electronic rat traps. They will take some time to work, since the rodents are often initially careful about new objects in sight – but such units are rather effective even if you have many rats. One set of batteries will last long enough to trap a few dozen rats or mice

2. Electronic repellents are more effective for those who want nothing to do with the dead animals. The ultrasound, which scares the mice and the rats utterly, will make these rodents flee your house and you won’t accidentally bump into a rat corpse and you cat won’t bring it to you and put it on your pillow as a gift.

So, we strongly recommend you to get rid of the putrid smell with the help of Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator and use an electronic rodent repellent at the same time.