How to Get Rid of Dead Rat Smell

Have you recently noticed a “dead rat” sort of smell coming from somewhere within your home? Or, perhaps you know exactly where it’s coming from and simply are having a hard time getting rid of the odor.

Either way, there are simple measures that you can take that will teach you how to get rid of “dead rat” smell. 

So, buckle your safety belts, how to get rid of dead rat smell 101, here we come!

What Does A Dead Rat Smell Like?

To be clear, a rat doesn’t smell foul by nature. Once it dies, however, its body starts begins to rapidly rot and decay. This releases foul smelling chemicals which can stink up your whole house.

If you’ve been trapping rats, perhaps one got away, wounded, and died in the walls. Or, if you’re using poison bait, several rats could have met the same potential fate, in the walls, crawlspaces, or foundations of your home.

The smell won’t take too long to appear, once a rat dies and begins to rot. Chemical gases begin to leak out, such as methane gas, sulfur dioxide, and other pungent-smelling chemicals.

That said, if your home happens to feature a ventilation system, you’ll be just fine while you track down the dead rodents causing the big stink. The odorous scent will be vented outside. 

On the flip side, you’re in for some trouble if your home is not properly ventilated. Not only will the foul smell stick around longer, but, It’s likely to get stronger and stronger until you deal with the source of the smell (the dead rat itself).

3 Easy Steps For Getting Rid Of “Dead Rat” Smell

If you’ve never been in the position before, learning the steps regarding how to get rid of that dead rat smell plaguing your home is straightforward and easy to learn. Let’s have a look at the details of each step below. 

Step 1 – Locate The Source Of The “Dead Rat” Smell

The first step to coming up with a solution to the dead rat smell is to find out the location of the dead rat’s body. You can’t get to the root of the issue, let alone solve it, if you don’t have any idea where the rodent corpse is? In fact, you may be surprised to find that there are more than one dead rats causing the smell (especially if you used bait or poison).

At any rate, step one is to find the body. You can start by looking for the decaying body in any areas where you’ve seen the rats. For example, if you’ve noticed scratch marks, or greasy stains on the floor, droppings, or other signs of rats, begin by having a closer look.

Here are a few great places to start your search:

Kitchen and Bathroom

Kitchen cabinets are dark and contain large quantities of various food, which makes them great sources of sustenance. Likewise, bathrooms with leaky pipes are a main source of water for rats, inside the walls and floors. Check the walls for entryways, cracks, and crevices. Examine countertops, cabinets, and floors for signs of rat traffic.

Under and Behind Appliances

Because people are also not likely to bother them there, rats tend to hide underneath and behind large appliances such as your washer and dryer, fridge, and waterheater. So why not take a minute of your time to look there first? If you’ve been setting out poison bait, or notice blood on a trap but no rat, there may well be a corpse hiding there.

Crawl Spaces and Attics

Attics are often safe from rats, aside from roof rats. Basements, on the other hand, are often dark, damp, and largely undisturbed for long periods of time. This makes for perfect living conditions for rats (they like it quiet). Be sure to check crawl spaces as well. You’re more than likely going to need a flashlight for this job.


Corners are often overlooked by people, which makes them one of the favorite routes for rats. Double check all the corners in your home for signs of rats, as well as cracks, crevices, and entryways into walls and floors. Also, pull out tables, sofa, chairs, or other furniture and appliances that may be against the wall or in corners for long periods of time and check there as well.

Step 2 – Dispose Of Dead Rat (Or Other Rodent) And Clean Up

Once you spotted the dead rat’s (or other rodent) body, be sure to grab a pair of gloves and a couple of trash bags before moving it. When you’ve donned the proper equipment, now It’s time to take the rodent corpse outside and throw it away. 

You can double bag the body and place it in an outside garbage can, or you can even bury it if you prefer. Either way, the rodent will be out of the house and the source of the odor with it. That said, once you have removed the dead pest, you are going to need to clean up the area you found it.

A basic disinfectant spray, or mixture of water and chlorine bleach, will do just fine. Spray the area down, mop it up or wipe it clean with towels, and call it a day.

Natural Cleaners for Cleaning Up After Dead Rats

If you prefer to keep things green, you can always try using one of the following natural cleaners when tidying up after a dead rodent.

  • Baking soda
  • is known to disinfect and remove stains, so, if there is blood involved, make sure to use some.
  • Hydrogen peroxide has strong oxidizing properties that destroy most toxins and germs.
  • White vinegar or acetic acid can work wonders as a powerful disinfectant and deodorizer.
  • Lemon is terrific as a cleaning agent, disinfectant, and deodorizer. 
  • Olive oil can kill strands of bacteria, even when many conventional antibiotics can’t. 

Step 3 – Properly Clear Out (Or Cover Up) The Dead Rat Smell

All things considered, even after you’ve successfully disposed of the rodent and cleaned the area where you found it, you may still experience a bit of that dead rat smell. If the above natural cleaners (in addition to store-bought disinfectant) didn’t do the trick in getting rid of the dead rat smell completely, here are a few follow up tactics you can try.

Fan It Out

Using at least one traditional fan (or as many as you like) direct the airflow either to or from the location you clean the rodent’s corpse, and out a window or door. Allow the air to flow for as long as necessary. If you used anything aside from simple disinfectant, little more than a fan should be needed to finish getting rid of the dead rat smell for good. 

Odor-absorbing Bags

These products are simple to use. Just leave them on places where you found the dead rat’s body and you’re all set. Although it’s not a bad idea, there’s no need for you to place these bags directly at the foul odor’s source. A better idea is this: Simply hang them somewhere around the room, close the door, and leave them be.

Odor-absorbing Sprays

Another simple to use product that helps to get rid of dead rat smell. As their name suggests, you can use them by spraying away the foul odor. They work especially good in addition to bags and/or a fan or two ventilating the odor. Use the spray directly after cleaning, and again after fanning the aera out or applying odor-absorbing bags.

Air ionizers

One last tactic is to employ an air ionizer against the smell. You can even load them up with scents of your own, or, simply set them to clean and purify the air. Using an odor-absorbing spray and fan in addition to an air ionizer would surely cure most homes of their dead rat odor.

Conclusions on Dead Rat Smell

Getting rid of the dead rat smell inside your home is not only doable, it’s pretty simple once you locate the source of the odor and get rid of it! The rest is all clean up work and ventilation. 

If you don’t have a couple of hours to dedicate to the process, you may, however, want to consider calling in a professional to get the job done for you.