Are you noticing a rather foul smell coming from somewhere around your home?  More than just a trash bin that needs to be cleaned?   It very well may be a dead mouse that’s causing that smell. 

If the cause of the odor is a dead mouse, you’ll need to get rid of it quickly and clean up anything that’s left around. It’s always best to tidy up around your house and get rid of anything that could attract mice, especially food droppings.

It’s important to understand that a mouse corpse is dangerous as it can carry numerous germs and diseases – the same goes for any dead animal. Not only that, other rodents and insects can come across the dead mouse and pick up the same diseases. In this guide, we’ll teach you step by step on how to get rid of a dead mouse smell around your home.

The most common cause of a mouse dying inside your home is due to mouse control efforts — a trap you forgot about, or poison that successful killed the mouse but in a concealed spot.  In some cases, the rodent might have gotten in to a place that it could not get out of — a pipe, or a drain, with no food source, and subsequently died.

There are a few things you can do to take care of this problem.

6 Steps for Eliminating the Dead Mouse Smell

Identify the Cause of the Smell

Even if you think you’re dealing with a mouse here, it’s best to identify exactly what is causing the smell so you know what you’re dealing with. A dead mouse smell is extremely foul and rancid. It can smell a lot worse than a spray from a skunk. So, if the smell is that bad to the point that you’re gagging and unable to bear it, you’re probably dealing with a dead mouse. 

Other small rodents can get in to your house and cause the same smell.  We once had a chipmunk burrow into our dryer vent from the outside.  It got to a point where it could not get out, and died there.  But it is most likely that if you think you smell a dead mouse, it is in fact a mouse.  They get in to home quite commonly.

In rare cases, large, dead bugs can mimic the smell of a dead rodent, but most bugs don’t have the ability to give off such a pungent smell.

Forget about masking the stench of the decaying mouse, it’ll only get worse over time until it completely decomposes. Using something like an air freshener will help deal with the smell for the time being, but realize that you have to get rid of it.

Locate the Mouse

The next step is to find the location of the dead mouse so you can dispose of it. This step can be very tricky even if the odor is strong. To locate the dead mouse, do the following:

  • Recall your mouse control efforts.  Did you put some mouse poison out down being your washing machine several months ago?  Did you set a mousetrap out in the summer and then forget about it?  Commonly, a dead mouse smell is coming from a mouse that you actually exterminated but then forgot about, especially if you did not get the mouse right away.
  • Look for tracings. Mouse tracing can be difficult to find, so you’ll need to look carefully. Move closer to where the smell is coming from and look for tiny streaks or paw prints along the trimmings of your wall edges. You should also check for these around your kitchen countertop or any room that stores food. If you look close enough, you may be able to spot mouse dropping which are typically found in small clusters.  A mouse dropping resembles a small, black piece of rice, and there is rarely just one.
  • Keep an eye out for insects. Wherever there’s a rotting animal, it’s bound to attract insects. If you start to see flies, maggots and other insects around your home, you’re probably close to the corpse. Check around the area for mouse tracings as well.
  • Determine if the mouse is inside your wall, floor or rafter. If it appears that the smell is coming from inside your walls, rafters or even floors, the situation just got tricker. Although some may suggest enduring the foul odor of the mouse until the smell dissipates on its own – which may take a couple of weeks as the body decomposes, we still recommend disposing of it immediately for reasons that were mentioned earlier.  If you are able to access the inside of your walls somehow (look for unfinished spaces, or access points around dryers or other vents / appliances), and can do it safely, try that.  A pricey option is to call a professional to break and then rebuild your walls once the mouse has been disposed. The other option is to somehow get to where the dead mouse is, but if you can’t, you may have to call a professional. Do not attempt to break or remove anything in your home like gas lines, electricity sources, or water lines, if you don’t know what you are doing, always consult with a professional.

Dispose of the Mouse, Wearing Safety Gear

If you’ve made it to this step, it’s assumed that you were able to locate the dead mouse and are able to make contact with the corpse.

Before going to remove the dead mouse, grab a pair of safety gloves (preferably disposable ones), a broom or small shovel, a long sleeve shirt and even pants for that matter.

Take special care of your nose and mouth, because in rare cases mice and their droppings can cause airborne illnesses.  Wear a mask.  It is best to wear an industrial-style mask like an N95 or one that other construction personnel might wear.  The point here is less about protecting others from your droplets, but rather you don’t want to inhale dust from the mouse area.

If there are insects, droppings and anything else around the dead mouse, you’ll want to get rid of them as well. Broom everything into a plastic bag and tightly seal the bag. Do not breathe in excess air from the plastic bag as you can still contract bacteria and germs that were found in the area. Throw the plastic bag in a garbage bag and take it outside. Keep your safety gear on for now as you’ll need them for the next step.

Disinfect the Area

While wearing your safety gear from the previous step, especially your mask, it’s time to disinfect the area. Use a suitable disinfectant spray, clean cloths and anything else you need to thoroughly clean the area.

First, spray everything down with water or disinfectant, and let that sit for a few minutes.  Why?  This will make what would have been dust from mouse droppings wet, and you can then wipe them up with disposable rages or paper towels.  Some of the viruses in mouse and rat poop comes from the airborne dust of the droppings, so wetting the droppings down can make everything easier and safer to clean up.

You should then thoroughly scrub down everything that’s around so that no other rodents and insects are attracted to the area. This includes sanitizing and polishing surfaces, deodorizing carpets, etc.  409 or bleach can work, if the surface is safe for something like that.  Throw out anything that isn’t reusable and thoroughly wash your hands and clothes after you are done disinfecting the area. 

Ventilate Your Home

Even after the dead mouse has been disposed, the foul smell may still linger on for a little while longer. Feel free to use anything such as a disinfectant spray or air freshener that’ll help mask the smell, but don’t panic if the smell doesn’t go away for the first one or two weeks.

To help get rid of the dead mouse smell faster from your home, you need to ventilate it. If you don’t ventilate your home, the smell will continue to linger longer than you’d expect. Here are some ways to ventilate your home and to get rid of the smell quickly.

  • Open your doors and windows around the area to bring in fresh air that will get your house smelling nice again.
  • Turn on your ventilation system and fans to directly push the odor outside.
  • Use an odor remover with carbon activated filters to get rid of the odor.
  • Set air purifiers in the area the dead mouse was found.

Prevent Future Mice From Getting in

The final step is to prevent another dead mouse case from happening so you never have to deal with this again. Use your common sense to prevent rodents and insects from getting into your home.

  • Clean up any food or drinks that have dropped thoroughly.
  • Store your food in smell-proof containers such as glass jars and metal canisters and place them in hard-to-reach areas.
  • Set up traps around your home and periodically check them for catches.
  • Stake out your garbage regularly.
  • Seal any cracks and holes around your home where rodents can enter.

For more details, we did an entire piece on getting rid of mice.  Check it out.


We recommend that you do your own research on how to prevent rodents from entering your home as there are many things to look out for.  But we know that getting rid of a mouse smell will not only make your home more pleasant to be in, it will also make it safer for your health.

We hope you found this guide helpful on finally getting rid of that foul dead mouse smell. Best of luck!


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