How to Remove a Dead Odor

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Things You'll Need

  • HEPA air mask

  • Rubber gloves

  • Trash bag

  • Deodorant or air freshener

  • Cleaning brush

  • Vinegar, bleach or detergent solution

  • Activated charcoal or silica gel air filter

  • Odor neutralizer

Dead rats or other rodents can carry disease and cause unpleasant odors.

Dead animals harbor disease and other dangers. Fortunately nature has equipped us with a strong aversion to their smell. If you suspect a dead animal decomposing causes a foul-smelling odor in your home, take action immediately to eliminate the smell and its source. As time passes you may get used to the smell, but the carcass will continue to harbor diseases and attract insects and rodents that spread those diseases to you and your family.


Step 1

Find the source of the odor. A decomposing animal carcass may not necessarily cause the odor. Urine or feces deposited by wildlife and rodents release a stench similar to that of a dead animal. Look for a sudden gathering of flies or other insects and use your nose to find out where the stench is the strongest to locate the body.


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If your search leads you to a wall or other cavity within your home that you cannot enter easily, call an animal disposal service to help your remove the body.

Step 2

Remove the carcass. Put on a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) mask and a pair of heavy-duty rubber gloves. If you live in a city or any non-rural setting, put the body in a plastic bag, seal the bag with a tight knot so that no air escapes and place the bag in a trash can outside of your house. Cover the trash can securely. If you live in a rural setting, take the body to an isolated spot at least 100 yards away from any standing water and leave it there.


Step 3

Spray deodorant or air freshener in the areas affected by the smell. Deodorants and air fresheners mask the foul stench temporarily and allow you to work more easily in the affected areas to remove the odor.

Step 4

Scrub the area where you found the carcass using a brush and either vinegar, bleach or a strong solution of detergent. Scrubbing the area kills the germs that produce the odor and helps dissuade insects from remaining at the site.


Step 5

Increase airflow to the affected areas. Open windows on opposite ends of the room where the carcass was found. Improving airflow helps remove any lingering odor from the room.

Step 6

Purchase and install a specialized air filter. The most effective filters at removing odor-carrying particles from the air contain activated charcoal or silica gel.


Step 7

Spray an odor neutralizer on the floor where you found the carcass and in air in the areas most strongly affected by the odor. Odor neutralizers break down the organic compounds released by animal carcasses that carry the foul-smelling odors to your nose.


If you have persistent problems with rodents in your home, install traps around your home or call an exterminator.


Never handle an animal carcass with your bare hands or with your mouth uncovered. Always wear a face mask and rubber gloves.



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