Getting Rid of Dead Mouse Smell

Getting Rid of Dead Mouse Smell

Have a dead mouse smell drifting through your home? This secret is sure to clear the air so you can breathe freely again. You’re dealing with a hideous stench that’s pervasive nature you can’t seem to escape no matter where you run. Don’t worry! It’s not a hopeless cause. Follow these simple steps to get rid of the smell for good.

What does a dead mouse smell like?

I’m glad you asked. The best way to describe it is a very strong musty smell, pervasive in nature. When you get closer to it, the scent is very sharp and seems to pierce your nose. If you smell it once, you’ll never forget it. It’s a very distinctive odor, and you’ll just know it when you have it.

If the stench is in your home, you’re probably considering getting a hotel room and praying that the smell fades away like a distant memory. If the mouse smell is in your car, you’re probably thinking of driving it into a river or off a cliff just to get rid of it. I can’t say that I blame you, but there is hope.

How long is this going to last?!

It’s bad enough you have to try to get rid of mice, now you have to deal with this?! The good news is that it’s not permanent. The bad news is “it depends.” It could take anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks, sometimes even a month or more. It all depends on the environmental conditions – humidity, temperature, light – they all play a factor. The smell won’t diminish until the source is gone or once the mouse has dried out and fully decayed.

How do you get rid of the dead mouse smell?

No doubt you have tried just about everything you can think of to get rid of the smell. How many scented candles have you burned? Probably have bags of potpourri sprinkled throughout your home too… I hate to say it, but this just isn’t going to work. This will merely mask the smell of the dead mouse, and probably do a pretty poor job of it. This is a pungent smell that will pierce through any half-hearted attempts to veil it. If you’re looking to get rid of the odor permanently, read on.

First you have to get rid of the dead rodent that is causing the smell. Yes, I know – I’m master of the obvious. It’s common sense, but it has to be said. For as long as the mouse is rotting or decaying, it will emit the foul odor that is invading your nostrils. Simple as that. That’s only the first step though. Due to the pungent smell, it’s likely that even after removing the decaying rodent, there will be remnants of the overpowering, musty smell in the air. For that you need to purchase an odor eliminator (not just a scent or perfume to mask the smell). If you eliminate the source, one application of the right product should do the trick permanently (or at least until you kill another mouse and it ends up rotting close to home).

If you can’t find the dead mouse, you’re going to have to wait it out. Unfortunately this can take weeks or months. Luckily there is a product that can dissolve the odor, not just mask it. That’s important, so I’m going to say it again. You do not want a cover up or perfume – you need an odor eliminator. The difference is that an odor eliminator will chemically bond with the smell and neutralize it in air, whereas a perfume only mixes with the rodent odor and attempts to mask it by overpowering it. That doesn’t last. You need to neutralize it.

There are many odor eliminators out there, but the one that I recommend is Fresh Wave Continuous Release Odor Neutralizing Gel. This stuff gets out the worst of smells, no matter what the source. It is specifically designed to attack odors naturally and prevent the source’s ability to produce the offensive smell in the first place. If you read the Amazon Reviews, the results of the product speak for itself.

From one of our own readers:

I just bought some Fresh Wave Crystals… IT WORKS!! There’s a dead mouse SOMEWHERE under my refrigerator and I can’t find it after pulling it out and everything. Within 10 minutes, the smell was greatly reduced!! AWESOME PRODUCT!!

It all boils down to this… find and remove the source of the dead mouse smell. Apply odor eliminator. If you can’t find the source of the rodent odor, apply odor eliminator regularly until the mouse completely decomposes and no longer emits the smell. To learn more about Fresh Wave, click here.

Good Luck!

47 Responses

  1. Anonymous May 22, 2010 / 2:47 pm

    i have a dead hamster in my dash id would cost 1000$ to get it out so how can i get rid of the smell

    • Anonymous August 8, 2010 / 8:22 pm

      I really hope your kid wasn’t playing with a hamster in your car and now it’s dead.
      That would be so sad.
      But seriously… A hamster?
      I’m not even going to help you.

    • grandpa April 24, 2013 / 6:03 pm

      Fresh wave Continuous release Odor neutralizing gel.

  2. Anonymous June 28, 2010 / 12:56 am

    Where can I buy fresh wave and I mean a store- I can’t wait for it to be shipped. Anyone know?

  3. Anonymous July 21, 2010 / 2:26 am

    thanks this really helped!!

  4. Anonymous September 3, 2010 / 9:39 pm

    I had a dead mouse in my heat/ac system and had to take it to the Ford dealer to have the dash taken out and the system cleaned and deodorized by them. It cost about $400.00 to have them do this but I still have some odor left, minor compared to the original odor. I took it to them for two reasons, I did everything I could do and they were then responsible for getting my truck back together right and have everything working. Spending the money is a tough choice, but it you are going to keep the vehicle I think it is worth it.

  5. Anonymous November 11, 2010 / 4:16 pm

    After you get rid of the mouse, clean the infected area and your home with ajax. It cleans and kills the smell. The best product I have found to work was Air Wick Neutralizer. Use the areosol spray or the stick ups.

  6. Anonymous December 4, 2010 / 6:52 pm

    Is there any health risk involved in inhaling the dead mice odor long time?

    • Anonymous December 7, 2010 / 3:50 am

      Is dead mouse smell a health risk? The smell itself is not going to be harmful to you. The important thing is to make sure that it’s actually a dead mouse you’re smelling. It may be something more serious like sewer gas leaking from a nearby bathroom or septic tank. This could pose as a serious health risk.

      A dead mouse or a dead rat should only smell for a few weeks. If it persists much longer beyond that, you’re either dealing with a larger animal, or something other than a dead mouse (or perhaps a bunch of dead mice). If that’s the case, you should really investigate further.

      As I’m sure you’re aware, having mice in your home can pose a serious health risk as they are carriers of various diseases and their feces is not something you want to find in your food. Despite that, the smell of their decaying carcass, however unpleasant it may be, won’t hurt you.

      Good luck with your problem. If the scent is something you can’t tolerate, an effective odor neutralizer like the one mentioned in this article is a good way to provide some relief to get you through those few weeks. Whatever you do just don’t try to mask the smell with other “scents” as this will just nauseate you more. Nothing like the smell of over powering potpourri mixed together with the pungent odor of rotting flesh.

      Hope this helps!

  7. Anonymous December 14, 2010 / 4:56 am

    I tried coal in my son’s closet. The mouse died inbetween the wall of the bathroom and closet. The coal did not cut it. he chose a vanilla scented airwick. It works for him, but like you said, not pleasant. After the 6 weeks it did die down. Now there is another one! In a wooden cupboard filled with towels in the basement. I will try whatever you have suggested. My first step, empty the cupboard into garage or outside. even if it is 0 degrees out. Then the cupboard to the garage. Do I ajax it next before the neutralizer?

    • Jim December 28, 2010 / 1:19 am

      When it comes to completely eliminating the dead mouse smell, you definitely need to thoroughly clean any affected areas. You’re going to want to clean it first. If you can thoroughly clean the affected items, that will help to stop the odor at the source. Ideally you don’t want the odor to be there in the first place (then there’s no need to eliminate what isn’t there).

      You’ll probably have some lingering odors, even after a thorough cleaning, so that’s when the odor eliminator comes in. Odor eliminators are also helpful in circumstances where it’s hard to reach the source (a dead mouse in the wall, for example).

  8. Anonymous December 28, 2010 / 1:11 am

    In a span of over a month or so I detected a faint, foul lingering odor coming from around or within the interior our 2009 double-cab 4×4 truck. At first, I thought maybe I ran over some road kill, but I found nothing under my wheel wells, or that is was related to my A/C unit backing up, I used my sense of smell to locate the strongest smelling area of the odor & it led me to the air vent duct(s) underneath my passenger side seat. By the way, at this point the stench was pretty much unbearable & if I didn’t take care of it soon I was going to lose it. I finally decided to seek help with the dealership service dept. with my dillemma & after describing my obvious problem, they stuck their heads into my interior & confimed it was something dead. Later that morning, I received a phone call with the following details: They had located the source-removed (2) trapped dead mice in our air vent ducts.They used industrial “Ozium” for the stench which was a great improvement , but recommended I continue using it, because the odor was still present. Now I’m concerned with the air quality & if it poses any serious health risks & hazards. I’m still traumatized by this whole experience. By the way, I found out its common & that I was lucky there was no damage to the wiring. My advice is- if you can’t do it yourself, bring it in to the shop A.S.A.P. Also, they recommended I place “Bounce” fabric softener sheets under the seats & rugs to help out.

    • Jim December 28, 2010 / 1:25 am

      I’ve also heard of using a “Bounce” fabric softener sheet (or pick your favorite brand). I’m not a huge fan of this method though because I don’t think it works very well. It may help a little, but if you find yourself up against a strong smell, the dryer sheet method just won’t cut it. At that point you’ll want a powerful odor eliminator like the Fresh Wave Continuous Release Odor Neutralizing Gel.

      The other problem is that the dryer sheet smell will sometimes just mix with the dead mouse smell. At that point you’re smelling a flowery mix of dead mice! Not so pleasant after all. :)

      You do offer up some good advice about your dead mice in cars. If you can’t take care of it yourself, definitely take it to a dealer. Depending on where the mouse died it can be pretty expensive though… especially if they have to disassemble a big part of the car to find it. This could be helpful though because while they’re in there, they could inspect for possible damage caused by the rodents (chewed wires, etc…). You might not notice the problem right away, but it could be troublesome in the future as the wires fray under normal wear and tear conditions.

  9. Anonymous December 31, 2010 / 3:46 pm

    where can i buy this product

    • Jim January 6, 2011 / 1:39 am

      The link was posted up in the original article, please see above. I haven’t seen it in retail stores, so your best bet is to purchase it online. Good luck with your mouse issues!

  10. dale22295 January 24, 2011 / 2:00 pm

    i had a large mouse infestation in my house i put down poison and now there all dead in walls under floor boards etc ive hunted them but cant find them,every room in my house stinks,i have 3 plugins in every room,but its just not cutting it ,its making me sick im literally retching ,the worse rooms hit are my daughters and the kitchen its that bad its triggering headaches ,please help me before i loose it x

    • Jim January 25, 2011 / 1:14 am

      dale22295,

      I’m sorry to hear about your dead mouse smell. I’m glad you posted this comment here for the benefit of all the readers passing by. This is a good time to reiterate for the other readers, I highly advise against using poison to get rid of mice. While it is effective in killing mice, the end result is that you have no control over where the mice die and this is the end result.

      So right now, you have a few options, and I hate to say it, but I don’t think you’re going to like any of them.

      1) You can wait it out. Depending on environmental conditions, the smell will begin to fade as the mice fully decompose. This usually takes a few weeks, sometimes longer. It depends on humidity, temperature, and a variety of other factors. It’s going to really stink (no pun intended) if it’s in your ventilation system and the air is getting circulated throughout your home.

      2) Don’t bother with the plugins because you’re just throwing your money away. You really need an odor eliminator. The one on this web page, Fresh Wave Continuous Release Odor Neutralizing Gel, comes highly recommended for this sort of problem. In your case, I would recommend getting the 4 pack of 16 oz. containers so you can place each one strategically throughout your home. What this has over the plugins is that it actually ELIMINATES smell. It doesn’t try to MASK it (like the plugins). With a widespread problem that you describe, it may not be 100% effective, but I’m certain it will greatly improve your current living situation. Buy it today, get expedited shipping, do what you have to do. I haven’t seen it in stores, so I couldn’t send you anywhere to pick it up. Just order it and when it arrives, it will help.

      3) The last thing you can do to improve your situation is to find the source and get rid of it. It sounds like you’ve identified where the smell is the strongest. You’re not going to like it, but you could start ripping out your drywall to find the dead mouse and remove it. It’s obviously not preferred, but it’s definitely an option. I’ve talked to people who’ve done this before. Sometimes they’re lucky and find it right away… sometimes they’ve torn up a whole wall and still didn’t find it. It could be hit or miss (an expensive “miss” at that).

      4) The good news is that the smell alone is not a health risk (the mice itself may carry diseases, but the smell of their decomposing bodies won’t). However, if it’s triggering headaches or other ill effects, it may be wise to find a hotel or stay with close family or friends until the smell blows over. While it’s definitely less than ideal, you may find this alternative to be the best while the smell is the worst.

      Don’t lose hope though. I’m sorry you learned about this problem the hard way. The good news is that it will go away… eventually. Unfortunately, your options for now are limited. I’m sorry you and your family are going through this and I wish you the best.

      Hopefully what I’ve said helps. It may be little consolation, but you’re not alone in this problem. Many people are plagued by the same dead mouse smell that you are.

      Good luck!

  11. Anonymous March 11, 2011 / 11:36 pm

    I just bought some Fresh Wave Crystals from a local store in Texas. IT WORKS!! There’s a dead mouse SOMEWHERE under my refrigerator and I can’t find it after pulling it out and everything. Within 10 minutes, the smell was greatly reduced!! AWESOME PRODUCT!!

  12. Anonymous March 13, 2011 / 3:35 am

    I poisoned a mouse and it died in the wall and left a big smell for about a week and then went away. Not the end of the world. As a country type of girl, i am quite amused about people being so concerned about killing such a disease carrying vermin and going so far as trapping and releasing. I have another one trapped right now and it is making squeaky noisy or else its a bunch of babies. Poured some poison into where they are hiding, should take care of the little bastards soon, then i can fish them out. :)

  13. luke March 27, 2011 / 4:54 am

    A mouse crawled up my leg while i was playing a video game. Obviously i freaked out and slapped it off my leg, apparently with significant force because it hit the wall and fell to the ground and started writhing around. I tried to keep an eye on it so it couldn’t escape and go die somewhere out of sight but i looked away for a moment and it was gone. Its about a week later and i have a horrible smell coming from near my refrigerator, it took me a moment but as the smell hit my nostrils i realized it was definitely a dead mouse. a smell i remembered well but hoped to never smell again. I immediately moved my fridge and stove looking for it but I’ve had no luck It’s gotten worse over the past day so I’m going to buy some odor eliminator tomorrow.

  14. Anonymous April 22, 2011 / 9:38 am

    I have a dead mouse inside of my stove and we can’t seem to find where exactly it is,I no for sure it’s a dead mouse cause it’s the same smell from when we found one in back of our fridge. my question is, if we can’t remove the dead mouse, will it be okay to still cook and bake with my stove? Im scared it might be harmfull.

    • Jim April 26, 2011 / 3:25 pm

      Anonymous -

      The smell of the dead mouse, in and of itself, will not be harmful to you or any food that you cook in the stove. The real risk that may exist is if the mouse is near the heating coils or the pilot… it could potentially be a fire hazard if the mouse starts getting cooked. Also, the smell of burning flesh may get absorbed by the food, which will be less than pleasant.

      Also, the fact of having a mouse near your food is a health risk. If the mouse isn’t near the food though, you should be ok.

      Again, the smell won’t kill you, but it’s something you definitely want to take care of. Can you cook with it in there, and get away with it? Probably… is it a good idea, maybe, maybe not… The best advice I can offer is to try to find the mouse and properly dispose of it. Otherwise you’ll have to proceed at your own risk.

  15. Anonymous June 2, 2011 / 4:34 am

    I have mice in my house its so discussing and I tried putting mice trap but they keep coming back and I don’t know what to do

  16. CMom August 3, 2011 / 9:25 pm

    2 years ago we found mice droppings in our fireplace, got some exterminator to check it out, and they had us seal holes around the exterior of our house to keep them from coming into the fireplace. It worked well enough, no more scratching sounds coming from the fireplace, but the stench is still there! On hot summer days, we could smell it even if it’s been two years. How could that be? I don’t think there are new ones coming in – I no longer see any droppings. Does it take that long for mice or possibly a bigger rodent to decompose in closed quarters? Looking for them and taking them out would cost $1000 and we just don’t have money for that right now… help!

  17. Anonymous August 21, 2011 / 12:58 am

    I have a dead mouse somewhere in my ac venting. It seems to go away, but if I turn the ac off as soon as the temp in the house reaches about 82 degrees the smell comes back with a vengance. Is the ac keeping this mouse from decomposing? I never turn it below 78 degrees!

    I HATE this smell, unfortunately the smell is worse in the duct that comes out right over the dinner table!

    I rent this place and the landlord’s attitude seems to be “that sucks for you!” grrrr…. I am going to try the odor eliminator because I can’t take this smell anymore.

  18. Anonymous September 6, 2011 / 6:37 pm

    hiya could someone explain to me what the smell of a dead mouse is…i have a cupboard under my stairs and had a problem with mice in ie..i got pest control to come out ans they led some poison down but never came out to check again if the mouse was dead. there is a horrific musty smell coming from the cupboardbut im not sure if its a dead mouse or if its jus the smell of an old musty cupboard. it over powers my hall and people do comment on it when they come in to the house. its so embarressing. iv also just noticed some more mouse droppings bedside a wardrobe in a room that was recently decorated. why does this mouse keep coming back into my house and how can i prevent it? i dont know what its living on because there is never any food left around. its ruining my life and im petrified my three year old will catch something from it…what can i do??

    • Jim September 10, 2011 / 2:19 am

      Anonymous -

      After reading the first line of your comment, “What does a dead mouse smell like?” I was about to answer that it has a very strong musty smell, that’s very pungent in nature. It’s so pervasive that it pierces through any other smell in the air.

      Then I continued reading and you described it as a “…horrific musty smell…[that] over powers my hall…” I hate to say it, but you hit the nail on the head. That is exactly what a dead mouse smells like.

      Obviously the best solution is to find the dead mouse and get rid of it. If you can get to it, that’s great, problem solved. If it’s dead behind cupboards or in the walls, then that’s a bigger problem. You can tear out the walls and cupboards in search of it, or you can wait it out and try to neutralize the smell in the mean time. For neutralizing the smell, I highly recommend the Fresh Wave Continuous Release Odor Neutralizing Gel. It not only works, it works well. Other visitors to this site have used it and reported back successful results. Try it and see if helps.

      << why does this mouse keep coming back into my house and how can i prevent it? >>

      That’s not the same mouse. That would be a new mouse, or maybe several new mice. It’s not uncommon for mice to start heading into your home at this time of the year. They are trying to find shelter and food, especially with the fall and winter seasons quickly approaching. You need to act swiftly. It’s best to deal with them as they come in so as not to let the problem worsen.

      To prevent mice from coming back, you need to seal the holes in which they entered. Mice are nimble creatures and can squeeze through a hole the size of your pinkie finger. Then of course, you need to kill the mice that you already have. I have compiled a lot of good tips for getting rid of mice, right here on this site. Please take a look and see which approach is right for you.

      If you have any more questions, you can always be in touch through the comment system.

      Best of luck with your mouse problem!

  19. Anonymous September 17, 2011 / 8:15 am

    It’s Fall, cold weather started 2 days ago. Yesterday found a mouse with eyes closed just “chillin” in the corner of a carpeted room…..caught it and transported it …it was loagy, like in a stupor. with eyes closed.

    The next day I found another mouse dead with legs up in the air on my kitchen floor.

    What would cause these mice to die. We had some ant poison canisters out, and a little of the material in the metal canisters might have gotten out…..would that kill the mice ?

    Will ask the neighbors if they have poison out. We have dogs, so keep water out for them all the time.

    I have also been feeling a little sick over the past two days. Could natural gas leak be killing the mice ? Have a big old house and 2 dogs. Dogs don’t appear to be sick, but mice are smaller, possibly affected first ??

    Am concerned about what is killing these mice. Anyone have any ideas ??

    • Jim September 17, 2011 / 5:35 pm

      If you believe you have a natural gas leak, then you should call your utility company immediately. A natural gas leak is an extremely dangerous situation that should be dealt with immediately.

      I’m not sure if ant poison would kill a mouse, nor do I know in what quantity they would need to consume it. The chemical used in most ant poisons (Borax) is not the same as used in most mouse poisons (pindone, diphacinone, diphenadione, chlorphacinone, choleecaciferol). Again that’s not to say ant poison wouldn’t do it, it’s just to say that the active ingredients are very different.

      It could be neighbors poisoning them, so definitely follow up with them. Mice don’t die immediately from poison, so it is plausible that a mouse could eat poison at a neighbor’s house, walk to yours, and then die.

      If you eliminate the obvious causes, and you still think it may be something in your home causing the death of these mice, it may be worth a home inspection. Older homes don’t generally meet the building codes of today, so perhaps some chemical or other toxic substance is present in your walls.

      Keep searching for the solution, and if you come up with answers, please come back and share. Perhaps other readers will have had similar experiences and be able to help out.

      Sorry I don’t have a better answer, but I wish you the best of luck in getting to the bottom of it.

      Good Luck!

  20. Anonymous September 20, 2011 / 5:43 am

    As no good deed goes unpunished, I helped a friend move some old computer gear from his garage to the recycling center. The next day I saw a mouse in my car! I bought traps and a glue boards and put them in the trunk and back seat whenever I parked but no luck. The little bugger even chewed up some receipts and a road atlas in my trunk. The last straw was finding his droppings on my seat! After a week of parking in 95°weather, though, the damned thing elected to die somewhere in my vehicle. My brand new Taurus smells worse than a crime scene. I have used all sorts of stuff. I will try the products above.
    BTW the Ford dealership tech told me it would be a minimum of $200 to START, plus an additional fee per hour after plus any parts that might be replaced. Screw that! If it were a 10 year old hooptie, I would junk it, but this is a new car. The smell is horrible. I feel like I am driving the Coroner’s pick-up van!
    Thanks for the great information!

  21. Sylvia November 2, 2011 / 2:05 am

    We have a very stubborn odour in our basement. As I come down our stairs the smell seems to linger at ceiling level. The basement walls are made out of styrafoam ( Blue Max system) with cement throughout the middle. We had a couple of mouse nests on the top of our wall system. They were in the pink insulation on the top of a ledge with wood and a vapour barrier. Nests and insulation were removed ,ledges have been washed over and over again and the smell won’t go away. I don’t smell it in that area but there were mouse droppings all through the ledges. At cetain parts of the basement and certain times of the day its is extremly strong and other times I can hardly smell it. How do I get rid of the smell if I can’t pin point where its coming from. Wondered if it was in the heating/cooling ducts coming into the basement but no smell coming from then when you feel the air coming through. Why does the smell come and go and why can’t we determine from where???? It had been almost 2 years and we still cant get rid of the smell. Can’t find the area its coming from. What can I do?????

    • Jim November 2, 2011 / 10:10 pm

      Sylvia -

      Since this has been going on for 2 years, I’m hesitant to say that it’s the result of a dead mouse. Typically that type of smell only last for a few weeks, at most maybe a month or so (unless there is something back there that causes the smell to come back, i.e. more mice, etc…). That being said, are you sure you’re completely mouse free? Mice returning is something you’d probably notice pretty easily, so barring that…

      Is there any chance there is mold behind the walls? Being in the basement, I wouldn’t put it outside the realm of possibilities. I’m not sure if moisture is a problem for you, but mold would definitely put off an odor. It would also put off the characteristic “whiffs” that are sometimes strong and sometimes not.

      Unfortunately, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to help you pin this one down. What I do know is that a single dead mouse (or even a couple dead mice) will not smell for years. A couple months, maybe… but definitely not for a couple years. I think the source of the odor may be something else.

      Since you’re talking about a basement, my initial instinct is mold. Before you sound all the alarms though, it may be beneficial to keep a log of when you think the smell is stronger than others. Maybe then you can correlate that with something else, such as the weather, indoor / outdoor temperatures, certain appliances, running water, air movement (though you said that didn’t make a difference), etc… If you can correlate the smell to something, that would help you address the source of the problem.

      You could use an odor eliminator as I suggest in this article, but that’s only a short term solution … since this is a more long term problem, you really do need to pinpoint the source. The odor eliminator might be a good thing to use to mitigate the smell (if you have company over, for example), but I would not rely on it as the final solution. You really need to isolate the source.

      I hope this helps, and feel free to stop back if you have more questions or to let us know how it turns out.

      • Sylvia November 3, 2011 / 5:52 am

        Thanks for the response.
        The house is 14 years old. Don`t think its mold. We have a dehumidifier and we have central air. As I mentioned the Blue Max Walls in the basement offer excellent insualtion.
        This smell is very much like you described how a dead mouse would smell.
        I suggested to my husband just the other day that we should keep a log of the things you suggested. So thanks for the support on that.
        We have been going though the basement to try to isolate the problem. We have had some mild temp. and have noticed that every afternoon the furnace comes on after being idle for several hours as the house starts to cool down. The smell seems to be at its worse at that time. The smell is very strong in areas underneath the ducts/registers however when we try to smell the ducts/registers where the heat is coming out it does not seen to smell bad therfore confusing us even more. Would it be possible it would be in the air ducts???
        We live in a rual area in Napanee, Ont. Canada and mice are seen climbing up our walls outside in the summer. Therefore I think and kinda hope its a mouse and not mold because it will be easier to solve our problem in the long run. We are currently going through everything and looking everywhere to try and find the source. I think you may be right we must have an ongoing mouse problem.
        I will let you know if we are able to solve our problem.
        Thanks again!

        • Jim November 3, 2011 / 9:12 pm

          Sylvia -

          It’s not outside the realm of possibilities for a mouse to be in the air ducts. If they can find a hole small enough to get in, I wouldn’t put it past them. If it was alive though, you would likely hear the “scratching in the walls” sound because you should hear their feet clanking against the metal air duct.

          Do you know anyone that owns a snake camera (or endoscope)? They’re expensive to buy, but that could give you a better look at what’s going on inside your air ducts. Best way to figure it out is to lay eyes on it…

          Keep us posted… other readers may be scratching their heads about a similar situation, even if it’s not a mouse.

          Best of luck!

  22. Anonymous November 14, 2011 / 10:04 pm

    I’ve have mouse problems, I live in an upper duplex. I got fed up and called the landlord who hired a lazy exterminator who put glue traps and poison. Now I’ve have a stench coming from the front door staircase hallway that steeps through the rest of the place. It (one or more mice) could be dead in the walls, not sure where just more smelly in the staircase hallway. Some days it’s hardly noticeable other days it’s horrible. I open the windows every day but the smell still lingers. I don’t know what to do anymore it’s been 2 weeks. It smells like a mixture of a hamster cage, something sweet and slightly skunk like. What should I do? Help I’m desperate!

    • Jim November 15, 2011 / 12:52 am

      Anonymous -

      The best way to get rid of the dead mouse smell is to get rid of the dead mouse. If you can’t get rid of the dead mouse, your best bet is to either wait out the smell (it won’t last forever) or try the odor eliminator. The odor eliminator I recommend is Fresh Wave because it seems to work well and people have reported good results.

      If you don’t want to try the Fresh Wave, you can try another odor eliminator, but you have to make sure that it is a true odor eliminator. Some products claim to get rid of the smell, but they tend to be strong perfumes that try to mask it. This stuff is designed to chemically bond with the smell and neutralize it in the air. This is important. Eliminate, don’t mask.

      If you leave a jar of that in the staircase area you describe, I think it should do a pretty good job of taking care of your smell until the mouse fully decomposes.

      Hope this helps…

  23. Anonymous November 16, 2011 / 4:03 pm

    Thanks for the advice. I looked up Fresh Wave and it’s pretty pricey, plus I’d have to wait for shipping. So I’m going to try an odor eliminator available in stores, maybe something with charcoal or the baking soda and cat litter mixture in a previous post. I read the smell can last weeks or months, not sure how many mice could be in the walls. Now that the weather is colder it may take longer… Never use poison, you’ll regret it!

  24. Anonymous November 18, 2011 / 6:00 am

    P.S. I might have to get Fresh Wave, store bought odor eliminators work so so, I bought one with charcoal I may need something stronger. Also I’ve notice on colder days now that it’s November (we’ve been having a warmer than usual Fall) that the smell gets worse. Does this mean it’s going to take longer for the dead mouse to decompose?

    • Jim November 19, 2011 / 1:25 am

      Environmental conditions will definitely play a factor in how long it takes for the mouse to decompose. Hopefully you’ve had dinner before you read this, but it’s kind of like food… if you put it in the fridge, it’ll stay fresh for a while, but eventually it goes bad, it just takes longer than if you leave it out on the kitchen counter at room temperature.

      Hopefully it doesn’t freeze on you because as it thaws and re-freezes you’ll have phases of bad smell!

      People have reported Fresh Wave working well for them… it should definitely help your situation.

      Good luck!

  25. Mark November 22, 2011 / 2:50 am

    I’m wondering if a dog could be trained to pinpoint the location of a dead rodent within an inaccessible area (or maybe a ferret would be better).

  26. Gabby's Mark November 23, 2011 / 11:06 pm

    We have a dead mouse somewhere around a corner of our kitchen. Per your suggestion, we placed a 16oz jar of Fresh Wave at the most noxious location and it started to work immediately. Great stuff. I wonder how it works.

  27. Anonymous December 3, 2011 / 3:46 pm

    I just had guests for Thanksgiving, and after they all left the bathroom started to smell bad. I though my guests might have splashed water from the tub and that was the smell, or that one of the sinks in the bathroom had dried out and the smell was sewer gas. I tried everything and finally traced the smell to the linen closet in the bathroom, which shares a wall with the tub/shower. Luckily all I had to do was take out all the screws and the lower part of the wall came off to access the tub plumbing. Two dead mice, and there is insulation or something under the tub and in that area, the droppings and urine are awful. I sprayed the woolite oxy pet stuff, I had that for my dogs. I have used Fresh Wave in the past and it works. How long will the smell last due to the moisture? And does the dead mouse smell soak into the walls and other surfaces were they died? Do I need to spray the inside of the walls? Will that get moldy if I do? Thanks!

    • Jim December 3, 2011 / 3:52 pm

      It’s hard to give an exact estimate as it will depend on environmental conditions. The fact that you were able to actually locate and physically remove the dead mice puts you weeks ahead of most folks whose homes suffer from the smell. There may be some absorption, especially due to the moisture, but it shouldn’t last long. If you use the Fresh Wave, especially in a small area such as a bathroom, the smell will probably be gone before the product runs out.

      There’s always a chance of moisture in your wall turning moldy. You’ll want to make sure the area is thoroughly dried out. I don’t think you need to do anything special by spraying out the inside of the wall. Since you’ve eliminated the source of the smell, which is the decaying ouse, once the area dries out naturally, you should be in pretty good shape. The Fresh Wave will simply eliminate the odor in the mean time.

      Glad to hear you were able to eliminate the source, and take care of the problem. Good Luck!

  28. Anonymous February 6, 2012 / 2:09 am

    Had rats in my house so I put rat poison outside, then the smell started.i found one rat outside and one in my basement. I got rid of them but I still have a smell. I didn’t find anymore but they must be somewhere. Where do you put the deorderizer if you don’t know where the smell is coming from.?

    • Jim February 7, 2012 / 3:11 am

      Anonymous -

      The odor eliminator will be most effective if it is placed where the odor is the strongest. Try identifying the place where you believe the odor is strongest, if you turn a corner and it “strikes” you most there, that could help isolate the area that needs it most.

      If you’re trying something like the Fresh Wave that I mentioned in the article, you might do well to split it up into several smaller containers and intersperse it in and around the affected areas. That will cause the product to be consumed more quickly, but it may do a better job at covering a larger area.

      Hope this helps!

  29. Anonymous August 31, 2012 / 2:36 pm

    I am in the midst of renovating my kitchen. The contractor took out walls and the ceiling yesterday and found dead mice and droppings. We have put out traps and have caught mice over the years in the trap but have never felt we had an infestation. He said he has found about 50 dead mice, no live ones. I have not seen droppings in my kitchen in close to a year. Every piece of food I have is sealed in tupperware containers, all my grains, sugars, cereals everything is sealed. Could this number of mice come in and just starve to death in my insulation and walls? I do live rural.

    My questions:
    What can cause them to die and just stay in the insulation?
    How old could these carcasses be in the insulation?
    There was no smell until he pulled everything out, then wham we have a smell which we are working on eliminating with bleach until I can find the fresh wave you recommend.

    thanks for any light you can shed on these mysteries.

  30. grandpa April 24, 2013 / 6:10 pm

    I think there was a nest there for years And it got so crowded up there that the mice quit nesting there. someone may have poison them years ago and they crawled up there and died.

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