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Molly Maid
A wall in a home with a whimsical sticker of a mouse laying on it's back

I Think There’s a Dead Mouse in My Wall

Note: The content of this blog is a little … gross.

The dead mouse smell is barely noticeable at first, then impossible to ignore – and it’s coming from a source you cannot find or figure out.


At first you’re in a state of denial. The thought of animals decomposing behind your drywall is upsetting.

But while your options are limited and the situation is extremely unpleasant, don’t panic. The good news is that you won’t have to live with the smell of decomposition forever, and you don’t have to tear apart your wall or floors or ceiling or put the house up for sale.

But below are some tips so you can avoid that.

Typically, a dead rodent – mouse, rat, squirrel or other – will emit a foul odor for a week to a couple weeks. The severity and longevity of the smell depend on several factors:

  • Size of the little guy
  • The temperature of his final resting place
  • The humidity of same
  • Accessibility to decomposers

Masking the Smell

While nature takes its course – the smell will get worse before it gets better, gradually improve, then disappear. A lot of homeowners deploy a room deodorizer to mask the offending scent, although sometimes air freshener scent blends poorly with the decomposition smell, making it (unbelievably) worse. An even more successful tactic is to place dry coffee grounds in the area. Coffee grounds are not only pleasant and powerfully aromatic, they are also odor-absorbing. Other options homeowners report working on that dead mouse smell are charcoal deodorizer bags, Odor Remover Bags by earthcare products, pet odor enzymatic sprays and, if you’re willing to spend some money, air ionizer machines.

Preventing the Smell

Then call a “critter control” service. They can, at the very least, lower the odds of a repeat corpse by inspecting your home’s exterior to find entry points and seal them up (often with metal mesh). If they or an exterminator find a whole nest of mice, say, living in your attic space or ceiling, please keep in mind the harmful effects poisons could have on you and especially small children. Another point to consider is that poisoned critters may die inside walls where you cannot locate them.

For these reasons, we recommend searching for a local pest control company that advertises its use of nontoxic methods or less-toxic chemicals. This article provides some tips on how to locate and work with an environmentally aware pest control company and how to keep your beautiful home healthy for you and your family. It reports the following:

“According to the EPA, an estimated 45-million pounds of pesticides are used annually in homes and gardens in the United States, with sales totaling more than $2 billion annually. The Center of Disease Control (CDC) reports that 90 percent of us here in the US have a mixture of up to 43 pesticides in our bodies. Many of these chemicals have been linked to health problems such as cancer, birth defects, reproductive health problems and neurological problems.

We’re very, very sorry there’s a dead animal in your wall, making a part of your home a temporary “no-go” zone. But it happens. Hopefully, one or a combination of the above-mentioned odor absorption tricks works. Exclusion – sealing entry points – is by far the best pest control. The locations where pipes and wires enter the home are common culprits.

Remember, no matter how rancid and strong the odor, this, too, shall pass and soon everything will be smelling back-to-normal again. Although Molly Maid doesn’t specialize in critter control, we do know a thing or two about clean, fresh-smelling homes. If your home smells “not so great” without help from some poor varmint degrading in your wall, then talk to your local Molly Maid or call(800) 654-9647 about setting up a flexible house cleaning plan that can help freshen your home!