How to Get Rid of Dead Rat Smell (for Good) Fast?

If you find a rat in your home, then chances are there is a nest close by and it is likely there are more rats visiting your home. There are only so many options open to you. No one wants rats in their home. You can only do so much to deter rats, but once they have found a source of food and warmth, they will come back again and again, and depending on the age and construction of your house, they will likely find a way in.

Traps work, but they can only catch so many rats at once. Your best option is to use poison. This kills rats quickly and also gets to the root of the problem. Rat poisons are getting better; the best poisons act extremely quickly. If you position your bait traps far from where they enter, they will not have time to get to safety before the poison kicks in.

Of course, this is not always the case. A rat might eat only a little of the poison, or they may be too big to be affected quickly. You may find that a rat or multiple rats die far from the poison. They may make it back inside a wall, into an attic, a basement, or another part of your home. They will start to decompose if they are not found. Even in a trap, they can start to smell quickly. You may not even know about a dead rat until you smell it. That is where your problems can begin.

What Does a Dead Rat Smell Like?

Dead Rat

You can expect a dead rat to smell bad. Any rodent which is left dead for some time till begin to smell. Over time, the body will decompose, giving out a putrid mix of chemicals which is offensive to everyone. Sulphur dioxide and methane are the two main culprits. If you can imagine what those two chemicals smell like, then you can imagine what a dead rat smells like. If you cannot imagine, then just know that it smells like death.

Rats are large rodents. They take a long time to decompose. This only means that the smell will be around for longer, and will get stronger over time. It may take weeks for the body to decompose, and during that time, the smell will be putrid. Even after the body has dried out, the smell may remain. The first thing to do in your battle against this smell is to find the dead rat and dispose of it.

How to Find a Dead Rat

Dead Rat

The first thing you can do is to locate where the smell is coming from. You may get lucky and find the dead rat under some furniture or in a dark corner. If the rat has had time to run away, you may find that it is under the floorboards or in a wall. Use your nose (sorry, there is no other way), and follow the scent.

The other way to help locate the dead rat or confirm your suspicions is to look for small pests. Are there flies around an area of your house? Do you notice any beetles or maggots? Many small insects are attracted to rotting corpses. If you see any convening in a certain area, then the body is likely close.

You may also find stains on ceiling tiles or on walls. When a rat dies, fluid will seep out and can stain. You can also follow the nose of your pet. They may be barking or meowing at a wall or floorboard. If you do not want to look for it, or if it is in an area that you do not want to deal with, then you can always call in the professionals. You may have to remove a floorboard or piece of wall to get at it, but it is better than having the smell in your house.

Don’t Forget to Dispose a Dead Rat

Once you have located the dead rat, it is time to dispose of it. By taking care of the body, you will get rid of the main source of the smell. If you catch it early enough, this may be enough, but chances are some of the smell will be contained in the area, and there will be more work for you to do.

Make sure to use gloves; you do not want to come into direct contact with the rat. If the smell is overpowering, you can also use a face mask to cover your mouth and nose. Place the rat in a bag, and then place that bag in a second bag. Seal the bag and dispose of the body in the garbage.

Once you have disposed of the rat, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands, and the ventilate the area well. Open windows and run fans where you can. This is the first step in getting rid of the smell. Again, if you have caught the rat early, this may take care of the smell completely. If the rat has had some time to decompose, then move onto the next steps to get rid of the smell.

How to Eliminate Dead Rat Smell Effectively?

1  Absorbents


If you can use something to absorb the smell and contain it, then you will be free of the smell. If the smell is not too bad, then you may not want to shell out on an expensive product. If you are a coffee drinker, then you could opt to use ground coffee. You can use fresh ground coffee or used ground coffee (as long as it is dry). Sprinkle the coffee on the area where the odor is coming from and allow it to sit there for a few days. If the smell was light, then it should take it away.

The other absorbent you can use is onion. Slice an onion into 1/2 inch slices and place them around the area of the odor. Leave the onion slices overnight. When using coffee grounds or onion slices, you should keep the area ventilated for a few days after and use an air freshener.

These methods are not the most effective, so for strong odors, it will not do much, but it is a cheap option, and you could use it while you go out to purchase a more effective solution.

2  Odor removing bags

Odor removing bags are a better soliton to the odor, and they do not need to be placed directly where the corpse was (making them great for when you cannot get to the body). If you can get to the body and dispose of it, then place the odor removing bag where the body was or hang it above. If you know where the body is, but cannot get to it, then hang it close to the source. This is great if you do not know where the body is exactly, but know where the smell is. If you have removed the body, then leave the bag for up to a week to eliminate the odor. If the body is still there, then you will want to hang to for longer, and you might even want to switch the bag out after a few weeks.

There are many odor removing bags out there, and the more natural ones use charcoal to remove the odor. The added benefit of using an odor removing bag is that it will eliminate other smells too. Be careful to check the product you buy. If the bag does not say that it will eliminate the odor of dead animals, then you may want to pass on it. Use your best judgment, when you suspect that the bag will. Compare the odors it will eliminate to the odor of a dead rat and choose based on what you believe will work.

3  Air ionizers

Air ionizer

Air ionizers can take care of a large area. The further the smell from the ionizer, the less effective it will be, but if you are able to place an ionizer by the smell, then it will do a great job in taking care of it. The only downside is that they can be pricey; they will set you back more than odor removing bags. The upside of using an ionizer is that they also filter and purify the air in a room. They are great for killing germs and bacteria and filtering out microbes. If the body has been decomposing for a long time, an ionizer will filter any harmful bacteria and viruses from the air.

4  Chemicals

Acetic acid, chlorine, and formalin are the chemicals which are used by professionals to remove odors. They can be harmful to your skin, and be hazardous due to the toxicity and flammability. If you do want to use them yourself, then you should take precautions. Make sure the area is as well ventilated as it can be. Use thick gloves and cover your arms. Use a ventilator and eye protection. If the above methods have not worked and you do not want to use harsh chemicals, then you can also use 30% vinegar to remove the odor.

Your other option is to find a rat killer product which is used to get rid of other pet smells, such as urine. Find the product with the most power and spray it on the affected area. You can find non-toxic pet stain and odor eliminators in pet stores.

What to Do If You Cannot Find the Carcass or Remove the Smell

Rat carcass

If you cannot find the dead body, then you can do one of two things. Your first option is to ignore it and deal with the smell. The smell may linger for a long time, but once the body has dried out, the smell will start to disappear. There are downsides to this. You have to live with a dead rat skeleton in your house. The other downside is that the dead body may attract other pests. These pests will actually get rid of the smell sooner, as they will dispose of most of the body. You may need to call pest control once they are done to get rid of the pests when they are done with the dead rat.

Your second option is to call an expert to come in and locate the dead rat. They have special equipment which will allow them to find the rat easier than you will. They also have the knowledge and skill to extract the rat once it is found. If you are calling in an expert to dispose of the rat, then it makes sense (financially) to have them deal with the smell too.


Getting rid of rats should be a top priority in your home. No one wants to have rats in their home. Getting rid of them can be a process and needs some investment, both financially and with your time. The investment is well worth the outcome, but as we have discussed, the outcome is only the beginning of phase two. Phase one is taking care of the rats. Phase two is taking care of the bodies and the smells.

If you are lucky, then you will not have to worry about finding bodies. You can dispose of the bodies you see, and then air out a room to get rid of the smell. If you are not so lucky, then you will have some work to do.

Getting rid of dead rat smell is a job which you can source out to a professional. It will cost you, but they will get the job done for you and leave you feeling satisfied. You can also take care of this part yourself. We have discussed locating and disposing of a dead rat. You have also read how easy it is to get rid of the bad smell, with only a little effort.

If you have poisoned the rats and are okay with disposing of the bodies, then you are probably going to choose to take care of the smell yourself. With a little time and some dedicated products, you can have your house smelling great again.

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