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How To Get Rid of Rat Smell In Your Home

Updated on: November 9, 2020

The musky, pungent smell of rats is one of the first things that alert homeowners to the fact that they may have a rat infestation. Aside from their natural body odor, rats tend to make a mess with their urine and droppings. 

There is also the unmistakable stench of a dead rat, one of the worst smells you can have in your home. 

So how do you get rid of rat odors in your home? Whether you’re dealing with urine, droppings, or a rat corpse, the first step is to find the source of the smell. Next, you have to put on some protective gear, disinfect the area, then find something to absorb or mask the unpleasant scent. 

Identifying Rodent Odors In Your House

When unpleasant, rat and mice smells start to fill the air in your home, you have to look for the source. It’s difficult to find and eliminate the rat itself while it’s moving around but there are other things you can clean up after including: 

  • Droppings: It’s easiest to spot rat droppings because you may see tiny dark pellets of feces everywhere. Rat droppings are usually found in large piles. When fresh, the color is dark and the droppings are shiny. Older droppings are usually greyish and dusty. Each dropping is around the size and shape of an olive. While rat feces does have a smell, it’s not as noticeable as rat urine. 
  • Urine: Rat urine smells a lot like the urine of other animals because it’s made of urea and water too. When the urea breaks down, nitrogen is released and forms ammonia, producing the same smell as any household pet. The difference with rat urine is that when it dries, the calcium in the urine forms chalky crystals. Cat urine is similar but most household cats go in a litter box or outside so if you see urine crystals around, you may have a rat infestation on your hands. 
  • Corpse: A decomposing rat corpse is the easiest to smell but the most difficult source to find because rats tend to hide in dark spaces when they die. Methane, sulfur dioxide, hydrocarbons and other chemicals break down the tissues of the rat’s body, emitting a strong, repulsive smell. This odor will persist in your house until the rat’s body dries up or you remove the body yourself. 

4 Easy Steps To Get Rid of Any Rodent Smell 

Whatever unpleasant smell rats and mice are leaving in your home, there are four steps you can take to keep everything smelling fresh and clean:

Step 1: Find the source of the odor.

When looking for the source of the odor, you can follow the smell with your nose but it also helps to check cramped spaces that rats like to lurk in: your garage, the attic, air vents, holes in the wall, and so on. Eliminating the source prevents it from lingering and getting stronger over time. Once you find this area, open the doors and windows to ventilate the room for half an hour before cleaning. 

Step 2: Put on your protective gear.

Rodents like rats and mice carry a lot of diseases in their bodies, even in what they excrete. You need to protect yourself from these viruses by avoiding touching or inhaling anything directly. Wearing rubber gloves, a face mask, and even goggles can help you when handling contaminated substances. 

Use paper towels and a ziplock bag to collect and dispose of the urine, droppings, or dead animal. Be sure to throw out the gloves, mask, and other cleaning tools. Don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly or take a hot shower to disinfect yourself. 

Step 3: Disinfect and neutralize the odor. 

If possible, expose any stains to sunlight as this can kill bacteria and neutralize odors. Disinfect the area with rubbing alcohol or a deodorizing solution. You can mix 1.5 cups of bleach with one gallon of water to sanitize and deodorize your space. 

Step 4: Use other substances to mask or absorb the smell. 

Many household products can be used to get rid of unpleasant smells. Air fresheners, oil diffusers, and candles are great at masking bad odors. If you don’t have these, you can simply leave a bowl full of baking soda, vinegar, charcoal, or coffee grinds to absorb the smell. 

You can also create a baking soda paste with water or vinegar to apply to the affected surfaces. Pour the baking soda solution, smear it on the surface, then wait overnight before wiping it out with a wet cloth. If the smell persists, you can re-apply the mixture and repeat the process. 

Keep Your House Clean With PermaKill Exterminating 

Preventive measures like cleaning your house and sealing off entrances can help address rodent control problems. However, your best bet is still to hire a pest control service for a long-term solution. 

PermaKill Exterminating has been operating in the New Jersey area for over 30 years. We are highly experienced in dealing with all types of pests and can find a solution that fits your unique needs. Schedule an inspection with us today. 

Read more: 4 Ways To Get Rid of House Mouse Nest


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