A dead mouse can leave a certain malodorous stench in the house that can stay for a while if left untreated.
Sometimes, this is inevitable, but when that happens, you have to know which cleaners to use, how to dispose of the dead mouse carcass, or when to hire a pro.
Keep reading this basic guide to know what you should do if there’s a dead mouse in your home.
What does a dead mouse smell like?
The scent of a dead mouse is pungent like rotten cabbage. It’s a result of a mix of hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia, and pyruvic acid.
The smell will gradually get worse and stronger due to chemical changes occurring in the mouse’s body. In time, the unpleasant, sharp smell will dissipate on its own.
How long does a dead mouse smell last?
A dead mouse smell typically lasts for 1 to 3 weeks.
How long will it take to remove a dead mouse smell?
Depending on your chosen deodorizing method and whether you’ve disposed of the rodent’s body, it can take about a few days to a week on average to remove a dead mouse smell.
How do I locate a dead mouse?
To locate a dead mouse, you have to be observant and aware of your surroundings.
Look around for visual and olfactory clues of the dead mouse.
Among them are tiny pawprints; chewed wires, boxes, or food packages; fecal matter; acrid urine smell; and unusual streaks on walls or other surfaces.
Being small creatures, mice have tons of hiding places, some of which are under sofas, in closets, attics, trash bins, and hard-to-access places like crevices, walls, under floorboards, and even in air vents.
How do I remove dead mouse smell from the house?
Removing dead mouse smell consists of three stages: mouse body disposal, odor removal, and prevention.
- Find and dispose of the mouse’s body
- Clean and disinfect the area
- Spray with a natural cleaner
- Open the windows and doors
- Seal holes and cracks around the house
Disposing of the Mouse Carcass
First, find and dispose of the mouse’s carcass. Follow the steps below to dispose of the dead mouse’s body properly:
How do I dispose of the dead mouse?
1. Wear a face mask and rubber gloves
Don’t handle a live or dead mouse directly with your bare hands since they harbor different bacteria and diseases.
Furthermore, handling a mouse can worsen a person’s allergies and/or asthma, especially if they make contact with the mouse’s urine or waste matter.
2. Seal the mouse in a bag
Next, carefully pick up the mouse’s body with your gloved hand, put it in a plastic bag, and then secure it with a zipper (if it has one) or tie.
3. Throw the bag in the garbage bin outside
Do not flush the dead mouse in the toilet. Instead, throw it away in the garbage bin outside to keep it from contaminating the home.
What do I do after I dispose of the dead mouse?
After disposing of a dead mouse, you’ll have to treat, clean, and disinfect the affected area. Then open the doors and windows to encourage air ventilation, which helps to remove the remaining carcass stench.
To hasten the process of expelling the foul scent from your home, you can also switch on the fan or your ventilation system.
Masking the Smell
If the dead body of the mouse hasn’t been found yet, what you can do at the moment is mask or neutralize its scent.
For this, you can spray a deodorizer directly where the stench is. Or you can soak a cotton ball in a deodorizing liquid and stuff the cotton into cracks on the floor or the baseboard and into holes in the wall.
What are various deodorizers that treat dead mouse smell?
You can use one of these commercial and natural deodorizers to treat dead mouse smell:
You can mask the rotten stench of a dead mouse with an air or car freshener. It can cover up the unpleasant smell for a short time.
However, some people feel sick with the combined scent of the air freshener and the fetid smell from the mouse.
You can also diffuse essential oil into the air using a diffuser. There are plenty of scents available like lavender, peppermint, bergamot, rose, chamomile, and more.
Besides covering up dead mouse stench, each of them brings different health benefits, such as stress reduction.
Be aware, though, that some people don’t like the fragrance of certain essential oils or have asthma or allergies that can be triggered when inhaling the aroma.
Scented candles contain natural or artificial fragrances or both. You can light a scented candle in the area where the mouse has died to rid the area of the pungent smell temporarily.
But, for safety reasons, you have to be careful where you use the scented candle. Don’t use it near curtains, wood, or other items that can catch flame.
Dry Coffee Grounds
Dry coffee grounds work as a natural deodorizer, absorbing and removing the dead-mouse smell in the air.
That’s because the caffeine in them contains nitrogen, which eliminates many kinds of unpleasant odors, one of which is the sulfuric or rotten egg smell from a decaying animal body.
According to a study performed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), activated charcoal can significantly reduce strong odors coming from blisters.
Because a dead mouse also emits a strong and foul odor like blisters, activated charcoal can be used to trap and remove this scent along with other air pollutants.
Activated charcoal can be bought in commercial stores and home supply centers. To use it, seal a piece of activated charcoal in a breathable fabric or mesh bag, and place it on or near the smelly area.
Dead Animal Deodorizers
Commercial dead animal deodorizers are specially formulated to tackle the strong, unwanted odor from dead animals. They can come in liquid or powder form.
Some dead animal deodorizers merely cover the odor, and some cover and neutralize it. The latter of which is recommended for dealing with the foul dead mouse smell.
An example of a good liquid animal smell deodorizer is the Angry Orange Pet Odor Eliminator, as it directly tackles foul smells from the source with its refreshing citrus scent.
And for a powder deodorizer, The Bodhi Dog Dog Odor Carpet Powder can be a good option, as it is a safe and organic product.
Air Purifier with an Activated Carbon Filter
Powerful and easy to use, an air purifying machine with an activated carbon filter can remove various odors including that of a dead mouse.
Activated carbon traps and holds air molecules on its surface in a process known as adsorption. As a result, the noxious smell cannot escape from the air purifier’s filter.
What household items can remove dead mouse smell?
Apart from the deodorizers listed in the previous section, you can use the following natural cleaners to remove dead mouse smell at home:
Given its strong scent, vinegar can neutralize the strong rotten odor coming from a mouse’s carcass.
For this, simply pour vinegar into several cups or small pails or basins, put them around the areas of the house with the foul smell, and open the windows for fresh air to circulate.
And in a few days, the animal carcass and vinegar scents will have completely gone away.
2) Baking Soda
Baking soda is a natural cleaning ingredient and deodorizer that can be used for tackling grime, stains, fungi, and all kinds of unpleasant odors.
Moreover, it is easily available at home. In fact, almost all homes have baking soda because it is frequently used in cooking baked goods.
To make a rodent stench removal solution with baking soda, mix baking soda with equal parts of water in a spray bottle, and spritz the solution around the area.
Bleach can eliminate many strong odors including foul dead rodent stench.
To create a bleach cleaner, combine 1 part bleach with 10 parts water in a container; apply it on the dead animal’s spot; leave it for 10 to 15 minutes; and then rinse it afterward.
But one has to wear protective gear and be careful when mixing or applying bleach. It can cause a burning sensation if it accidentally splashes onto the skin and eyes.
Also, combined with other cleaners or chemicals, bleach will emit life-threatening gas fumes.
Preventing Dead Mouse Smell
You can easily prevent decaying mouse smell in the future by keeping mice out of the house. Here are some tips and suggestions for that:
Store food properly
Don’t just leave open bags or containers of food on the countertop or table because the mouse can destroy and feast on them.
Close food-safe plastic containers, and tape or secure junk food or biscuit packaging with a rubber band after eating.
Besides sealing the food, keep them out of reach from mice and other small critters. For example, put candies, chocolates, and other snacks in mouse-proof jars or boxes, inside the cabinet, or in the fridge.
Keep the kitchen or pantry clean
Containing plenty of food, kitchens and pantries attract mice at night when no one is around. In order to keep your kitchen and pantry mouse-free, follow these tips below:
- Discard or donate old food
- Regularly clean the shelves
- Remove unneeded things
Seal the trash can properly
Your trash can should have a lid so that mice can’t easily crawl and forage in it.
Throw away the garbage every night, and tie the garbage bag tightly before carrying it outside to prevent a mess on the floor. Then clean and disinfect the trash can bin.
Also, get rid of old junk and torn packaging items because mice can make them into a nest and multiply there fairly quickly.
Repair holes and cracks throughout the house
Mice can squeeze themselves and enter the house through tiny holes and cracks.
Find holes and cracks, and fill them with caulk or foam. Tip: use a door sweeper to cover the flat open space under a door.
Also, get your roof or gutters inspected every year for holes because mice can easily scurry in through them from the outside.
Mice also make nests in warm, cluttered, and undisturbed spaces like cramped storage spaces, unused furniture, insulated areas behind the wall, and at the bottom of kitchen cabinets. Make sure to clean and de-clutter the spaces regularly.