Dead Animal Smell
Dead Rodent Smell
Clients often call me and tell me they have they think is a dead animal smell. Often times, this smell is very strong, lasts a day or so, then goes away and comes back again a week later.
Decomposing Animal In House
A dead animal smell can take weeks to dissipate and disappear. The dead animal can take weeks to months to decompose, depending on its size.
Probably the biggest problem is that many animals will crawl into small spaces to die, making the carcass very difficult to find. A foul smell and flies are usually the only clues you get, so knowing the kind of places animals will try to hide is a skill generally developed with experience.
Locating The Animal
If you’re handy and have the stomach, you can try this yourself, but a pro will locate and remove it, or, if need be, cut a small, precise hole in the wall for retrieval.
The first thing you need to do is locate the animal. Sometimes looking for a point of entry helps. Common areas to check are:
On older homes, the walls are often balloon framed, which means the wall-studs basically run from the basement to the attic, giving an animal a lot of places to move around. Many times you can look down these cavities from the attic.
What To Do If You Find the Animal
If you do locate a small dead animal like a mouse, put on gloves, place it in a sealed plastic bag, and dispose of it in the trash. If you don’t know what the animal is or if it’s big, call in a professional.
Be sure to remove any soiled insulation and wash the area with a special enzyme-based cleaner that destroys biohazard waste (BioShieldcq, for example).
Waiting It Out
If you’re unable to locate the animal and don’t call in a professional, you can just wait it out. Ionic air cleaners have been used with some positive results, as have enzymatic candles designed to remove pet odors. Area sprays will probably just add another odor rather than lessen the bad one.
If your home is in a humid location, you should consider the use of a dehumidifier. Odors tend to be stronger in high humidity and heat.
If it were me, I’d hire a professional.