Like most species of rodents, house mice can live for a long time with the right amounts of food, water, and shelter. On average, house mice live for around one to two years. They can cause a lot of trouble when they’re alive, but they might be more troublesome once they die – if only because of the smell.
So how do you get rid of the smell of a dead mouse? The first thing you need to do is to remove the body, then sanitize the area. While the odor might be something relatively harmless, leaving a dead mouse on your property can quickly turn into a more serious problem.
It’s impossible to mistake the smell of a dead mouse. Most people that have smelled a dead mouse report an “odorous, sulfur-like rotting odor”, primarily because of methane, ammonia, and other gases from decomposing tissue. The smell lingers and permeates past walling and insulation, which makes any dead mouse in the house an immediate concern.
To remove the smell, there are three steps that you need to follow:
Locating a dead mouse can be tricky, especially if you’re unaware that you have a mouse infestation in your home. You can generally isolate the smell in one distinct room in your house, though exactly where the dead mouse is can prove difficult to pin down. Here are some areas you should check first:
If you can’t find the body of the mouse or the odor seems to be coming from everywhere, then it might be inside your walls, pipes, or ventilation. In these cases, some dismantling is unavoidable unless the body is near an access point so you can fish it out.
Once you’ve identified where the body is, you need to remove and dispose of it. One thing to remember is that aside from being smelly, the body of a dead mouse is highly infectious. Careful handling is necessary to keep yourself safe during disposal.
Here are the steps you should follow:
Alternatively, you can dig a hole about one to two feet deep to bury the mouse instead. However, this requires you to remove the body from a trap (if it died because it was captured by one) or making sure that there are no animals around the burial area (because they usually dig up bodies to eat). You can expect the mouse to decompose in about ten weeks.
If the body has been decomposing long enough, it may be infested with flies and maggots. In this situation, there’s no choice but to wrap the body to make sure that no larva spills out while during disposal. You don’t have to worry about the exact disposal methods for dead mice – they’re no different from throwing away rotten meat – but throw them in the proper waste disposal bin. Alternatively, you can place it in a box and have the garbage collector dispose of it as they see fit.
It’s crucial to clean and disinfect the area, even if the mouse hasn’t been dead for long. Mice are already carriers of disease and other pests, but a dead mouse is more harmful since it can invite scavengers (organisms that feed on dead things) which can bring even more diseases to your home.
There’s also the concern that the mouse could’ve died near your food storage, which can put your food at the risk of becoming contaminated by germs and bacteria. This is also why it’s so important to remove the body of a dead mouse as soon as you smell it, so you can prevent other pests from coming in and possibly eating your food.
Remember to differentiate cleaning from disinfecting. Cleaning refers to physically removing the body and germs from the area using soap and detergent. Disinfecting is usually done after cleaning and is an extra layer of protection that you can use to further reduce the likelihood of any germs and bacteria that remain after cleaning. You can disinfect with bleach and water, or generous amounts of medical disinfectant. Disinfecting may also help remove the odor.
Sometimes, removing a dead mouse may need more work than just removing the body and cleaning the area. If you can’t find where the smell is coming from, you’ll need the help of a professional to identify and remove the body.
At Pinnacle Pest control, we specialize in dealing with rodent infestations and clean up while implementing preventive measures to make mice less likely to come back. For more information about our services and our service areas, visit our webpage today.
Learn more: Do Rodent Smoke Bombs Work?