Need animal removal in your hometown? We service over 500 USA locations! Click here to hire us in your town and check prices - updated for year 2020.
If you have a bad smell in the house, there's a chance it could be a dead animal causing the odor. Wild animals live in buildings all the time. Common culprits include mice, rats, squirrels, opossums, and raccoons. Heck, sometimes even house cats die in the attic or walls. Most of the wild animals inhabit the attic space, or live in walls, or under the house. They'd rather die inside the house than outside, and when they do die, they rot and decompose and get covered with maggots, and the smell in the home is absolutely terrible.
It's my job, or the job of any qualified nuisance wildlife operator, to find and remove the dead animal. The bad odor in the building will not go away until the animal is removed. In my many years as a wildlife removal specialist, I have gotten very good at locating the carcasses within the architecture, and in cutting open anything I need to in order to get to the body and extract it. Most of the time, cutting isn't necessary. I can simply crawl in the attic or under the house and find the deceased critter. But if it's died in a wall, or under floorboards or something, then I need to cut a hole. If you want to hire a professional like me to remove your dead animal in your house, click on my nationwide list of 100's of professional wildlife removal guys serving all 50 states.
If it's not a dead animal causing the odor in the house, what could it be? I've seen several other sources of bad odor, including leftover food that was left out to thaw (usually meat), or the drippings in the refrigerator pan, often after a power outage, or even a couple of cases of really bad mold growth. But 99% of the time, it's a dead animal. And if you've had a rodent problem and left out poison, then I guarantee you that you've got dead rats or mice in the attic or walls, and they stink to high heavens.
If you have a dead animal under the house, I simply put on a biohazard suit, a dust mask and a headlamp, and I crawl under there and bag the animal. Problem solved!
Once I remove the dead animal(s), I mop up any bodily fluids and maggots, I remove any soiled insulation, and I spray down the area with a special enzyme-based cleaner that destroys biohazard waste. The removal of the dead carcass is 90% of the problem, of course, and if you let the house air out after that, (opening windows helps) the odor will be gone very quickly. If you don't remove the dead animal, the horrible stink will remain in your house until the animal completely decomposes and gets eaten by maggots, and the whole process will take a little more than a week with a small animal like a mouse or rat, and over a month with a big animal like a raccoon or opossum. I do recommend that you have the animal removed. The bad smell will go away within an hour.
For more information about dead animal removal from various areas, read the below articles.
Dead Animal Removal
Dead Animal in Chimney
Dead Animal in Wall
Dead Animal in Attic
Dead Animal in Duct or Vent
My name is David, and I am an expert on dead critter carcass extraction from homes and buildings. If you have a deceased animal in your house, I can remove it. If you don't live near me, click on my home page, and I have listed hundreds of wildlife removal companies who specialize in dead wildlife body removal, odor control, waste removal, and deodorization.
Dead Animal Email Sent to Me: Hi - I have come upon your site and I think you serve the Fort Worth, TX area. If I am wrong, then never mind and have a great day! However, I need some help if you are local. I'm fairly certain that some animal has crawled under my house and died. The stench is awful and I did notice my dogs sniffing at the crawl space under my house a few days prior to the noticeable smell. I had some work done recently and I think the crawl space was left partially open. I have since closed it off but the smell remains. Anyway, I wanted to know what you would charge to remove the carcass.
My response: Hmm, could be a possum, raccoon, or cat. I can't help you, because I live in Orlando. My friend in Fort Worth can help you. I don't know his prices, but it's worth it to get a dead animal out from under the house. If you don't do it, the bad stench will last for a very long time, over a month, usually.
Finding a dead animal inside your home can be one of the most traumatizing things that can happen, but the reality is that in many cases even after it is removed the smell can remain for quite some time afterward. The pungent odor of decaying flesh is one that is not only unpleasant, but if the animal was getting in to the property through a hole in the outside, then its possible that the smell can also attract other animals. This is why that when you have removed the carcass, spending time deodorizing your home not only makes it more pleasant, but is also worth doing for other reasons too.
Cleaning The Area Where You Found The Carcass
This is one of the most important things you can do after removing the carcass, as when the animal is decaying some of the fluids from the body will have seeped into the floor and the wall around the area. Removing as much of this as possible, depending on the location and the accessibility to clean can help to reduce the smell that will remain after the dead animal is removed.
Airing The Location
If the animal was found in a fairly open location that can be accessed easily by moving furniture or opening doors, then airing the location as much as possible will allow the smell to dissipate. This isn't always possible, but can help, particularly when you have an animal that has died behind a cupboard or other area that can be aired well.
Using An Enzymatic Wash
Although cleaning surfaces can be helpful in deodorizing the house, if the smell is very strong, then there are cleaning products known as enzymatic washing products which will help to remove the particles left on the walls and floor causing the smell. Bleach can also work in these areas, but if it did die somewhere with paint or soft furnishings, try these products on a small hidden area before you use it throughout the area in case it affects the material.
Alone, an air freshener will not usually remove the smell of a dead animal, even those that claim to neutralize odors. However, having cleaned the area and given it as much air as possible, you may still need a few air fresheners to make the air palatable as the last of the smell fades away.
There are plenty of reasons why your home might smell bad, but there’s a very good chance that an unexpected and unpleasant smell was the result of a wild animal that has managed to creep into your home and set up their home there.
Animals need to eat. They'll often stash food, and when they do this, it won’t be long before the food goes bad, starts to rot, and then smells. Raccoons can tear open garbage bags and trash cans, desperate to get to the goodies inside, and other scavengers are no better.
Of course, mold is another reason why your home could smell bad, and this mold could be a result of wild animals, once again. Raccoons and foxes are two creatures that use latrine areas to go to the bathroom. These are specific areas that they use just for bathroom business, and nothing else. It helps them to keep their food and waste matter separate. Who’d have thought wild critters could be so hygienic?
This is not a good thing when it is inside the home, of course. Raccoons regularly set up shop in attics, and these attics can then contain latrine areas. Regularly peeing and pooping in these places will lead to large areas of moisture and damp, when, in turn, will lead to mold. This smells bad and can have a very negative impact on the health of those who live in the same building. Mold is something that should be investigated immediately.
Another reason why wild animals could leave your home smelling bad is because they often die inside it. If you have used poison to combat a rodent problem, for example, there’s a good chance the poison will have killed at least one of the animals. That animal will have died somewhere in your home, because it'll do what all animals do when they don't feel well -- they go to bed and take a nap. Except this rodent won’t wake up from its nap. It'll stay there, in its nest, decomposing, attracting flies and maggots, and potentially even becoming a meal for another scavenger. After a while, however, the decomposing corpse will start to kick up an almighty stench. It won't smell like roses in your home, that's for sure!
One of the most unpleasant situations that many people will encounter is when they find a bad odor within their home, but in the first instance it won't always be obvious where the odor is coming from. Trying to remove the smell is possible once you know what is causing the smell, but there are often several things that can actually be causing the smell. Here are a few common causes of bad odors within the home.
This can happen in several places, although one of the most common is if the garbage can hasn't been emptied, or the sacks have been ripped open by inquisitive animals. In some cases, a faulty waste disposal unit can also lead to a rather potent stench spreading throughout the home. In most cases, taking out the garbage and cleaning the can will help, while you may have to get a specialist out to deal with a broken waste disposal unit.
Although most people will not notice, many homes throughout the country will have pest animals such as mice and rats, and in some cases these will die within the property and can cause a significant stink. It is also worth noting that using poisons to deal with pest animals will increase your chances of an animal dying within your property, as there is no truth to the myth that rats and other poisoned animals will try to find a source of water as they are dying.
Faulty Cleaning Appliances
From washing machines to dishwashers, there are all kinds of different appliances within the home that remove the substances that cause smells in your home, and when they go wrong they can often be the source of a bad smell. While in some cases there may be a certain capsule or container that needs to be emptied, in other cases you may need an expert to repair the appliance.
Deodorizing Your Home
The key thing to remember is that you need to remove the source of the smell first, and then you can work to remove the lingering odor. Try to clean and disinfect any areas where smelly fluids may have been, and using an enzyme wash can work if you had a problem with a dead animal. There are aerosol and solid air fresheners that you can use, while plug based scents and scented candles can also help once you have removed the source of the odor.
Go back to the Wildlife Removal home page.