This May Be the Point At Which I Move Out

A couple of months ago, we had a mouse problem.  It turned into a saga of epic proportions (or, at least, Snoopy-vs-The-Red-Baron proportions).  Before it was all over, there were numerous (unsuccessful) traps, over-turned furniture, a heart-rending speech about animal cruelty from the six-year-old neighbor girl, and a few late nights in which I nearly fell asleep sitting next to the fridge, broom in hand. 

The drama was heightened by the realization that we had not a mouse, but a family of mice.

Well, of course.

All across this country, the family unit is imploding upon itself in a vast case of moral decay, but WE get mice with a stubborn devotion to family values. 

The whole thing ended (I thought) just before Christmas.  The last mouse met his fate in a trap next to my fridge, while I, a previously humane soul, danced around my kitchen with glee.  Our rodent friends seem to have left me with a touch of crazy.

It turns out that's not the only thing they left.

When I started noticing a strange, midlew-ish smell in my laundry room, I began looking around for the culprit.  I couldn't find a thing, but the smell got worse.  And then worse.  Finally, a friend with experience in these matters (bless her heart) stopped by yesterday, took one whiff, and said, "I hate to tell you this, but you have a dead mouse."


We sniffed and searched and found that the smell is strongest just on either side of the wall that connects my kitchen to my laundry room.  We looked and looked for a logical entrance to the wall, but we couldn't find one, leading us to assume that (Yum! Enjoy your breakfast!) the mouse must have died actually IN the wall.  My friend told me that an open can of coffee grounds will help absorb the bad smell, but guess what one of my least favorite smells is?  Yep.  Coffee.  And now that I've smelled it mingled with dead mouse (Yum! Enjoy your breakfast!), I may never be able to step foot in a coffee shop again.

It is an occupational hazard of motherhood that you leave behind the diaper days with a wickedly strong sensitivity to smell.  As a result, I'm going a little crazy, resisting the urge to completely torch my laundry room (which I may yet do, considering I'm burning so many candles in there it looks like a Tibetan monastery). 

This is where I'm hoping the vast, random wealth of information on the Internet will come in handy.  I've done some Googling on the subject, and I'm hearing a wide range of suggestions and warnings.  Some people say the smell sticks around for months; others say it's gone in a few days.  If you have any knowledge or experience on the subject, I would be forever indebted to you for your best advice.  (And if you want to remain anonymous as you admit your experience in dealing with rotting animal flesh–Yum! Enjoy your breakfast!–I completely understand.)

132 thoughts on “This May Be the Point At Which I Move Out

  1. Shae says:

    We had a mouse die inside our furnace unit outside a couple of years ago. We called the heating and air company and they found the little critter and removed its dead body right away. The smell had completely engulfed our house by then. The heating and air guy had some kind of stuff…can’t remember if it was liquid or powder that he used and it took the smell away within a half hour. I can’t remember any more than that…but he said heating and air people have the mouse problem often and they keep this stuff around to get the smell out quickly.

  2. Swank Girl says:

    I just recently had the smell of a dead mouse in my house. You’re right, it is disgusting and it doesn’t just stay in the immediate area of where the mouse has died, it filters into the rest of the house. Ours died in the wall too (in the basement, but it STUNK upstairs!), so there was nothing we could do. This happened about a week ago and now the smell is more or less gone. So I would just say wait it out.
    We found that the best thing to mask the smell was one of those oil burners that they sell at the Body Shop or Bath and Body Works. Our favourite smells to mask the odour were the Satsuma (orange scent) or Sweet Pea (which surprisingly my husband is a huge fan of – he even owns the body wash). If you have one of these oil burners or know someone who does, get that thing lit and burn some oil! I think the smell of the oil filters faster through the house and it made a huge difference for us and for any guests who were coming over.
    In fact, we didn’t tell any friends about our rotting mouse problem and just burned the oil, and they commented on how great the house smelled and didn’t mention the smell of rotting flesh at all!

  3. Sheila p. says:

    I have recently started reading Boomama and so when I saw site on her Idol article I had to check you out. And it is odd the first thing I read is about a mouse problem and I feel your pain, I to just battled the little devils. I had them getting in my stove and I had traps everywhere. I use the sticky traps. We have a kitten but she isnt “mouse trained” yet. all she did was get stuck in a trap herself.. I killed about 4 and haven’t seen any in a week or so, so I am PRAYING they are all gone. I hate them more than anything I can think of. I have had them die too, and although the smell is awful I know they are dead… I love idol so I will be reading your blog. Funny…

  4. Doodlerah says:

    You might try setting an open bag of charcole next to the wall. It also absorbs oders. As does kitty litter unless you have a cat and well, your stink could be masked by another smell! I used Decon for a mouse problem a few years back and we had the same wall issue. The smell lasted months in my mind. I have an overly crazy sence of smell though. You might consider going into the wall to remove said critter. Yes, I know that sucks! Also, I don’t use Decon anymore!

  5. Michelle says:

    Been there. We get a mouse a season (and hopefully, we’ve had ours for the winter). I spend a few nights upstairs, away from the kitchen, until the trap with tempting raw bacon does its job. The dead one in the basement (only) smelled for about a week. They’re small…just bake a lot of brownies and take them to church Sunday morning to let everyone know how much you appreciate them! That’ll help the odor in the meantime.

  6. Melanie says:

    I have no advice, but I can tell you what smells worse – a dead *rabbit* in the crawl space under your house. Fortunately, I was a kid and didn’t have to deal with it, my dad did. Unfortunately, it was MY rabbit. 😦
    You have my sympathy!

  7. Rebecca says:

    We had something die in the wall in our master bathroom. We had to move into our guest bedroom for over a month. The exterminator said it was that or tear a whole in the wall(and still maybe not find it). So there is a little mouse skeleton remaining in my wall today.

  8. Jane @ What About Mom says:

    No help to offer, but this reminds me of a wicked prank our “fellowship” brothers played on us when I was a freshman in college. My 5 roommates and I noticed a smell after the boys’ last visit. A smell which got worse and worse.
    We finally took the plastic grill below the refrigerator off and found a decaying potato and an open can of tuna fish. Probably not as bad as a mouse, but plenty bad enough.

  9. Stacy says:

    In my experience the smell starts to dissipate in about a week. We had the same problem once. One thing that helps a bit is to take some dryer sheets and tape them loosely over half of a heating vent. When the air comes on the smell from the dryer sheets comes too.

  10. T with Honey says:

    I wonder if you could use a stud finder to locate the body, open the wall just at that spot to remove the carcass and then patch the wall. With my pregnant nose on ultra high sensitivity levels I’d have to give it a try.
    Of course that would require the skill to do such house surgery and then the time to repair the wall. It would be a tough call on which I’d rather live with for the next 6 months, the smell or the hole in the wall.

  11. Christi says:

    Ugggh. My hubby swears up and down that a dead mouse will not smell up the house. I say he is wrong.
    Moving seems like a viable option to me. I thought about it when we had our mouse problem. Fortunately they were in the garage and not in the house.
    We did have one die in the house, about a week before we were going out of town. On a day I was supposed to be doing laundry and packing, I was dragging the washer and dryer out from their holes to remove the corpse. It was not a fun day. I still get queasy thinking about it.

  12. Michelle says:

    We had a mouse problem. One died in my son’s ceiling. Great. Another in a wall somewhere. Yuck. According to the exterminators we finally hired, the smell reaches it’s peak at 13 days from death. It gets worse until then then better after that. It did go away by about two weeks later. Good luck!

  13. Kathy says:

    Been there, smelled that! I had something die under a hardwood floor in a house we were trying to sell. The house didn’t sell. Imagine that.
    If it is just a mouse the smell goes away quickly, just be patient. Since you’ve seen other mice, you are probably safe. I think what we had under the floor was probably a squirrel. That takes a while.
    One quick suggestion…don’t burn your favorite candle scents or those smells could be ruined for you forever!

  14. Kelly says:

    I’m pretty sure I started twittering around this time, because I remember your daily updates on The War of the Mouse.
    I have no suggestions, just wanted to say I’m sorry and maybe this is a good excuse to procrastinate on the laundry.

  15. Brenda says:

    I would suggest moving out of your house for about a week. . .seriously though, there is just not much you can do, the best you can hope for is to mask it.

  16. Rebecca says:

    I don’t know if this will work on dead rodent smell, but the best thing I have found to get rid of really stubborn odors is to get a plate and put a good amount of baking soda on it, and then squeeze half a lemon onto it and leave it out where the smell is. It doesn’t add a smell to the room, just takes away what smell is there.

  17. Megan says:

    Ooo, I almost can’t read this. We worked at a youth camp for many years. The housing for full-time staff was in an area we lovingly referred to as “the ghetto” – a group of n.a.s.t.y trailers.
    The first summer we lived in a trailer I had a 15 month old and was pregnant with #2. I turned on the oven one night and… you guessed it. A mouse had died under the oven.
    Combine the powerful stench you are experiencing with an actually pregnant body and you have a sense of what I was in for that summer.
    I’m not sure I ever turned that oven on again. Ever. And we lived there for two more summers.

  18. Bree says:

    The lovely scent to which my husband fondly refers to as “Rat Funk”. He used to do Pest Control. When he gets home, I’ll ask him if he has any suggestions for you.

  19. lizzykristine @ Uplifted Eyes says:

    Growing up we had several mice die in our walls and decompose. It was a regular thing. Finally a maintenance man or someone shared this trick with us.
    Fill a glass with water, and drape a damp washrag smeared with mentholatum over the top. Just place the glass out of sight somewhere in the stinkiest room. As long as the washrag is damp and has menthol on it, it will keep absorbing the odors.
    It doesn’t sound very promising, but the first whiff my parents get of dead mouse, out comes the mentholatum. It really does absorb the smell without creating a smell of its own.
    I blogged about this trick once, and it remains my most googled post, ever. The fact that most of my visitors come on account of a dead mouse probably says something about me, but take heart that apparently you’re not alone with the dead-mouse-smell. πŸ™‚

  20. Carey says:

    Been there, done that. I had a creature die inside the wall behind my coat closet. Luckily, we could only really smell it if we opened the coat closet. (Luckier still, we live in Florida where we don’t have much need for a coat closet). In an attempt to avoid hacking a hole in the wall to get it out, we just stopped opening the door, except to check occasionally to see if “Yep! Still stinks!”. It took probably three months to dissipate. I feel for ya…

  21. Rhondalue says:

    Holy Canoli…I’d tell hubby you’re outta there till he figures out a way to get rid of it/the smell—his choice.
    Until then stay with a friend. And leave any naughty kids at the house to smell the dead rodent funk till you come home. They deserve it (or maybe that’s just *my* kids) lol

  22. prasti says:

    aaah! and gross! i’m sorry i can’t offer any suggestions other than what’s already been provided.
    we had a mouse experience in our house, but fortunately it was just one (at least i think so, but that dead mouse smell is DEFINITELY noticeable). we did set out another trap just in case, but there has been no further evidence of any more mice.

  23. Robyn (3girlsmom) says:

    Um, yeah. We found 15….yes, FIFTEEN dead mice over a period of several months in the walls of our basement. We did, however, have a drop ceiling in there (which is where their gross, smelly selves liked to scurry) so getting them out wasn’t a problem. There were a couple, though, that we couldn’t get out, so we poured a heap o’ kitty litter down into the wall from the ceiling and the smell was gone. I can’t imagine that the smell could linger for a long time – the beastly thing has to decay & turn to bones soon, dontcha think? I wouldn’t at all be ashamed of cutting a hole in the wall, getting the mouse out, and patching the wall. Actually, I would totally have someone ELSE do it, but you get my drift. I even blogged about it….go read….
    Hope this ends well for ya. I can totally feel your pain…

  24. RLR says:

    I have no suggestions, but I sure hope it’s gone more quickly than the ‘skunk funk’ was when the mommy-van crushed one of those critters about a year ago…. (I included a link to my post about it below – enjoy your breakfast!) I am surely the only person who has been through a car wash when it was snowing – and I did it twice. We also changed the passenger compartment air filter and used quite a lot of Ozium and Febreeze. In the end, it just took some time. Good luck!

  25. Bailey's Leaf says:

    I lived in a 100 year old house when I was a child. Occasionally, a wayward mouse would come in to warm up. He would get cozy. He would then eat the mouse bits that were left out for him and invariably die somewhere that he couldn’t be reached.
    Yes, it does stink. It stinks a bad stink. Monestary, coffee house or not, you will remain with a tinge of dead mouse for a few days. We’re happy to report not weeks. Maybe a week tops.
    In the meantime, have you anything against Vicks up your nose? I mean, your sinus’ would benefit too!
    Good luck. Be careful not to burn the joint down in hopes to rid the smell. I would say an ozone generator would help, but they are expensive and let’s face it– there is still a dead corpse in your house. It’s only going to help so much.

  26. Howdy says:

    Having had a dead mouse you know that smell… forever! check to make sure it’s not in the dryer vent hose – your laundry will smell really bad everytime you run the dryer!
    If it’s not in the dryer vent then the quickest way is to remove the drywall – remove the mouse and fix the wall.
    Otherwise it may take a couple weeks for the mouse to ‘dry out’ and quit smelling… but when it gets humid he might start stinking again…
    Good Luck – I don’t envy you a bit.

  27. Linda Sue says:

    I think a hole in the wall – then patch (oh yes leave some activated charcoal inside the wall to absorb odors – maybe along with tiny warning signs – The Funk ‘ll get you too – yeah you mouse – stay outta my house. I’d be retching along with you – that dead thang smell is rugged. We have a beloved household pet who is ill and her smells are helping me with my diet resolve for this year. Best wishes in dealing with the dead thing –

  28. Steph says:

    Well the smell will go away in about a week depending on how warm you keep your house. The warmer it is the quicker it goes away. If your house is around 85 degrees it will only smell for about 2 days then it’s gone. If you keep your house more around 60 it will stay for about 4-5 days. I remember cranking the heat on just to get the smell to go away quicker. As for the smell right now, charcoal like from a grill broken into pieces (put in ziplock bag and break with a hammer) and then put that into a can on either side of the wall with baking soda mixed in with it. The candles are only covering the smell you need something to absorb it. Between that and the heat you can get rid of the smell before bedtime, you will need to open a few windows to get the full effect of the smell out though.
    We use to get mice in our house also. The best solution to the mice problem… a few pet rats! Rats will kill mice in a heartbeat they are awesome pets for my 4 year old as they don’t bite like hamsters and they love people. My 4 year old walks around with his rats on his shoulders all the time. From the moment we got the rats the mice have left the building!

  29. Queen B says:

    Ok. This is gross, but we had mice once and they had taken up residence in my washing machine. Like, under the place with all the buttons (I’m sure that has a name…). Sick.

  30. Karen {simply a musing blog} says:

    What is UP with all the mice? For the first time in years (our cat died recently, so this might be the reason why) we have (gulp!) field mice coming into our house! I’ve drop-kicked two across the room on accident, my husband caught one with his bare hands and we have had three caught in glue traps. I’m afraid there are more. sigh.
    Of course none of this answers your question about what to do about the smell. I’m simply commiserating with you. Or maybe I’m complaining. sorry.
    You might try this solution – don’t know if it will work, since you can’t get the mouse out, but it’s worth a try?

  31. Cheryl says:

    I have in the past “run over” a mouse with a refrigerator and last year here at work a mouse died in the ceiling above my assistant managers desk. Yes, hilarity ensued…lol.

  32. mombrud says:

    I had a rat die in the wall in my house in Guatemala. It had built a nest. It stunk so bad! Fortunately, it was a cement block house and we literally torched the nest. I wouldn’t recommend this approach in your house.

  33. ruth ann says:

    I say count your blessings – it could be a much larger rodent!! Like say, a squirrel or a possum. I’m not speaking from experience or anything. I once had a friend who had a problem like that. *wink, wink*

  34. Taylor at Household Management 101 says:

    We live very close to corn fields, so we have had mice problems in the past. When they cut down the corn the mice no longer have a steady supply of food and it is getting cold so guess where they come?
    I knew our entire neighborhood had a problem with mice, not just us, when I first discovered the mice, when I saw one running across the road in broad daylight.
    Since then we have taken to keeping all the food in our pantry in plastic containers, year round, to keep the mice from finding our home so inviting. No food, less (or hopefully no) mice. (We have not had another problem with mice, that we know of, since we have permanently boxed up our food).
    I know what you mean about all of a sudden wanting to KILL, KILL, KILL mice, when previously I would have considered myself to be much more sensitive to an animal’s life.
    My experience — we only found one dead mouse inside our house. The others were kind enough to go outside to die. The smell does go away quickly, but we also were able to take it out of the house because it was not inside a wall.
    Good luck to you. I still consider the “rat invasion” as I called it (they weren’t really rats, but they were, to me, gross!) one of my worst household experiences.
    One funny thing, we did have lots of mice in our laundry room, I assume because the dryer kept the room nice and warm and it was close to the pantry. I have no idea why, but for about two years after the rat invasion I would periodically find hard kernals of corn (like it was dried, not cooked corn like I feed the kids) inside our washing machine after washing a load. My only theory is that they somehow used a part of my washing machine to keep their stash of corn from the fields. I have no idea if that is right, but I can’t figure out any other explanation.

  35. CM says:

    my husband recently pulled out a dead mouse from an elderly lady’s wall. Yes, he cut open the wall where the smell was coming from.
    I dont recommend this unless you never want to eat rice again. If it were my wall, I’d wait until it rots away to bones. Again, unless you never want to eat rice again.

  36. Photoqueen says:

    Before we were married, my husband lived in a really old apartment. And it got a funk that we were pretty sure came from a dead animal below his hardwood floors. I burned so many cinnamon candles at that place that for years I couldn’t handle anything smelling like them. It’s not that the dead animal smell stayed with me; it’s more that I was conditioned to shudder and cringe at the first hint of red Glade wax.

  37. Becky Jo says:

    Ummm, I got nothing for you except, EEEEEEWWWWWWW!
    And, thanks for sharing. We did have a dead mouse in our fountain in the backyard a couple of years ago … in July. A dead mouse which hubby promptly threw away … in the garage … in July. And, the next day Hubby and little dead, bloated mousey took a detour to the dump! Stink-o-rama!
    And, yeah, EEEEEWWWWWW

  38. Laura says:

    I grew up ona farm so mice were a regular reality of life (infact it wasn’t until my teen years did i realize the suburban life didn’t involve so many mice! boy was I jealous!)
    The mice die n the walls unfortunately. often by being shocked or just plain stuck for a while. it’s a nasty thing… but not much you can do about it but tear apart your walls in search of it (I wouldn’t recommend) or wait it out.
    now is a good time to plan some outings! (my best advise) secondly if at all possible LEAVE THE WINDOWS OPEN! yes it will increase you heating/electricity bills… but it will get rid of the smell a lot quicker. winegar absorbs smells as well. but honestly since the smell is coming from INSIDE the wall it’s just going to stink for a bit. like getting sand in your clothes at the beach, or wet from the rain – it’s one of those annoying things about life. in a few weeks it’ll be a distant memory.
    (and I don’t envy you b/c BOY DO THEY STINK!)

  39. Jewel says:

    I have experience, unfortunately. Don’t know if you used bait to kill it or not, but I didn’t because I didn’t want it to die where I couldn’t reach it. “It” was about 11 of them. I kept setting traps and stick papers until two months after the last one caught. I wanted to be sure they were gone. So if anyone finds “a mouse”, you can be sure you have mice, rather than the one you spotted, like ten or more, especially in the winter.
    Do you know how “it” came in? Best look into that and try and seal it. I found the best way to eliminate them is to trap them. Forget about the sticky papers – they are GROSS. The mice get trapped on it; you have to deal with a mad live mouse. Due to the fact that it takes forever for them to die, sometimes they work themselves off the paper, and get away WITHOUT THEIR LEGS … GROSS! Seeing this almost did me in!
    I do use the bait that kills in the unattached garages. There I don’t care it they go off and die. By the time I find them, the smell will have been gone.
    The smell – you just have to wait it out. Mask it with any strong but pleasant odor.
    This probably not your last mouse, use traps out of the way of other animals. Peanut butter worked well as bait.
    I contemplated moving but stayed and won.

  40. Lauri says:

    while I can’t solve your mouse story, I have a worse story to make you feel better. When we first purchased our home it had a musty wet fur smell. I immediately steam cleaned the carpets that looked new. The smell remained and intensified. I was going crazy. The carpets were pristine but this wet mildewy fur smell persisted. it smelled like a wet dirty dog, but not death exactly. Then fly’s appeared…. in winter. First one, then ten, the hundreds. I was thinking we were in the Amityville house of horror. We called our exterminator friend and he said they must be coming from something organic. Long story short, we had a family of dead squirrels in our chimney/fireplace and the flies were coming through the heated vents in the brick.
    We had mouse issues too… I think we are done with that thank goodness

  41. Britany says:

    Yeah, been there, done (doing) that. In our last house, we had one die in the attic beneath the insulation. I called my mom in a panic because my husband was considering tearing through the sheet rock for fear it would harm the drywall. My mom and dad live on a farm and she got a real kick out of that one. She told me to leave it alone and in a couple of days, the smell would disappear. It did, the house sold and no one’s any the wiser. My in-laws had a similar thing happen with squirrels and they poured this white chalky stuff down into the wall from the attic. We couldn’t do that in our home but you might see if you can get to the wall from up there. The chalky stuff was lime or limestone or something like that. I’m not sure but I can ask them – it took the smell away pretty fast.

  42. Missy says:

    There is a substance, endorsed by the queen of clean, petsmart sells it, for odor removal, it’s odorzout it’s great for every smell i’ve thrown at it so far, cat litter, cigarette smoke, smelly floors, foot funk.
    Hope you find an answer among all of these, we don’t usually have a problem with mice, We used to, but never had one in the wall… The dogs usually take care of the problem (Jack Russel and Rat Terrier, they team up on the little suckers) and now 3 cats that come in and hunt.

  43. se7en says:

    Oh good grief I have to comment again… no advice, just empathy.
    We had mice just after hood #4 was born… imagine mid-winter, freezing cold (no heating – this is Africa you just freeze) and me with a two day old scrubbing every single plate, implement etc numerous times a day… we now keep all our food in sealed plastic tubs – everything… there are few morsels available…
    And regarding the smell, I recently blogged exactly this, if you are keen:

  44. Susan says:

    I’ve had this problem too….glad to hear I’m not the only one. Our little “friend” chose to die somewhere in the vicinity of the intake vent for our air conditioner/heater. Which means that when the air went into that vent, it was drawn through the smell of rotting stink before being distributed to the rest of the house. We turned off the a/c, and I used painters tape to tape a trash bag over the vent to hold in the stink. We kept the windows open and burned candles. This has happened to us twice…once in summer, once in winter. I live in Florida, so the winter incident wasn’t so bad, but the one in the summer was horrible. It took a couple of weeks for the smell to finally leave, and I still can’t burn those candles. The smell of Yankee Candle Sage and Citrus still just smells like rat to me.

  45. Lydia says:

    We have had 3 (count ’em, 3!) mice die in the same spot in the wall between our hall closet and the main bathroom. It was one per year for the first 3 years living in our house. It smelled terribly, so I feel your pain. The smell went away in a week or two, but I kept the doors to both rooms closed as often as possible (the smell was worse in the closet) and I also put a huge container of potpourri in the closet to help with the smell. I would hate to see what it looks like inside that wall now, almost 4 years later. We now keep fresh glueboards in the attic at all times. I won’t even say the total number of mice that have been caught up there. All I will say is that I’m thankful that only 1 has actually found its way inside our house. I’m ok with the attic, but do hate the smell once they die up there. Good luck and I hope the smell goes away soon!

  46. Melissa says:

    I don’t have a solution for DEAD mice, but to scare away living mice…
    We live out in the country where the mice are plentiful and decided to take up residence in MY NEW CAR. No clue how they got in there. My hubby read to put dryer sheets throughout the car. One in the console, one in the glovebox… you get the idea… IT WORKED. Haven’t had a mouse in there since!!



  48. sandy says:

    Well, I can tell you the answer to your problem! You need to borrow our dog – seriously! Do you want me to send him out on the next flight? Please take good care of him (Haggis McStitch) πŸ™‚ He’s gotten quie a few in our home.

  49. Mom of 7 says:

    We have a mouse problem too. Thankfully we have a cat that loves to mouse hunt, however when it got overly bad we resorted to poison. The problem was one had died in the basement. I don’t remember a smell but this little dead sucker came with gnats! thousands of them a day. Once I’d kill all of the gnats, or thought I did, another wave of gnats showed up. It wasn’t until about a month later of mind numbing frustration over the amount of gnats and feeling completely unclean and like a horrible mother, that we finally found the dead mouse covered in gnats.
    As soon as we got rid of the mouse the gnats went with it.
    I also remember growing up having some animal die in the basement wall. It stunk to horribly but thankfully it didn’t permeate through the house. But then again I was at school most of the day too.
    Now a days there are furnace air fresheners you can buy at places like Home Depot. Just hang them on your furnace filter and whenever the heater or AC kicks on the air freshener fills the entire house.

  50. boysmum2 says:

    I’m sorry, I am still thinking about the smell of coffee and how it turns my stomach, I can’t even start to think about the smell of dead mice!
    We had a mouse problem but my husband caught it in a trap. Quick hit with a shovel and all was solved.
    No ideas on the smell removal part although if you burn all the candles everyone is thinking about and make all those brownies, then maybe I will smell your house from down under in NZ! Good luck, thinking of you.

  51. Laura@heavenlyhomemakers says:

    Not that it’s a lot of comfort in the here and now…but the smell does go away in a couple of days. Bet you’re wondering how I know that? Way too much mousy experience. 😦
    AND, it’s funny that you posted this TODAY because I thought we had rid ourselves of the COLONY of mice who LOVED our home the best…but just TODAY again I saw EVIDENCE. I HATE seeing evidence.
    Hey, at least when I smell a dead one I can be happy (sick happiness as it is) that it is dead and not around to leave EVIDENCE anymore.

  52. lola says:

    I’m a pro at this stuff; I live in the country where mice try to rule every roost. First, run to WalMart and get some OdorCide. It’s usually on the bottom shelf below all the Glade stuff. Pass up the Glade and reach for OdorCide. Much cheaper and much better.
    On your way home, get yourself a couple of outdoor cats. I’m telling you, this is the best way to control the mice in your house. We used to pay an exterminator tons of money every month to control them; he never did. Then we got 2 cats, and the only time we’ve had a mouse in the house since we’ve had them is when a painter left a door open. I promise you, they work. Besides, they’re fun! Your kid will love them! Just don’t feed ’em too much so they’re hungry enough to go a’hunting.
    Spray the OdorCide around the offending area. It’s unscented so it doesn’t create a new yucky smell. In about a week the smell will have dissipated.

  53. Toniette says:

    When I was growing up our old farm house had mice. We put out poison, and a week later our house smelled *so* rank. We managed to pull out 10 mouse carcasses, plus a rat. And the smell remained from the ones that died in the wall. Thankfully, it was mostly the basement, and the smell was gone in a few days.

  54. Heather says:

    Am sorry about the wretched smell. It will go away — eventually. I would say in the future though — if you used bait before — to use sticky traps instead. We get mice regularly so I keep a steady supply of sticky traps (made mouse and rat size). And put them in areas you think the lil buggers will stumble across them. You would think with 9 cats we wouldn’t have a problem with mice – but we do.

  55. Amy @ Finer Things says:

    Is it bad for me to say I WISH I smelled a dead mouse in my kitchen, because that would be SO MUCH BETTER than HEARING one drag things around?!? Hmmm… it was popcorn. I guess he got it under the stove. He’s still on the loose. IIICCCKKK!

  56. Kelly S.s says:

    Oh I feel your pain. We live in the country…and we always get visitors every winter…I HATE the sticky traps. One time a poor little mouse got his back legs stuck on it, but his front legs were free,so he was scooting along like a was so sad…I felt bad for the little guy. I like POISON or traps that snap them in half…they are nicer! πŸ™‚
    Hope you find answers, I’m watching and hoping to learn too.

  57. Lisa @ The Owl's Nest says:

    I’ve had this problem too, as previous comments have said, it’s part of life in the country (especially in farmland!). A couple of things to consider and remember for next year(s).
    Check underneath and inside your washer and dryer. When I say inside I don’t mean inside the washer/dryer parts, where you put clothes, but you or your husband take off the panels and look inside around where the wash and drying bins are…you might find your mouse. Speaking from experience!
    Also, when it comes to poison bait for mice, don’t be afraid of it. Normally a dying mouse will get to the deepest darkest place it can find…it knows it’s at a handicap and wants a place to die that’s inaccessible to predators (you!). HOWEVER, when you use poison, the main ingredient is a blood thinner which will dehydrate (and hemmorage internally) the rodent AND FAST. What the mice do in THIS case is to seek water which will bring them right out into the open. So as a matter of fact, you have a better chance finding the mouse who dies of poison than you do finding one that just dies or goes off to die after pulling itself from an unsuccessful trap or glue. Also, if the poisoned mouse does happen to die in a place you can’t reach despite all odds, there is still hope. The fact is that poisoned mice (due to all the dehydrating factors) dry up much faster than mice left to the normal decomposition rates…that means the stinky smell time goes down considerably.
    Sorry if it’s TMI, but you asked lol…and hopefully it will help you or someone else.

  58. Lucrecia says:

    I wish I had some great advice, but thank the good Lord I’ve not had this problem. But that sense of smell thing? THAT I have! My husband swears I smell things before they even happen. Good Luck!

  59. Kim says:

    No ideas for the smell but an idea for the future (if you have the problem again) Use a poison that has high levels of vitamin k here in Canada it is called “Rat Tak”. They will eat it up and then when they have had enough two maybe three days they will go to sleep in thier little homes and not wake up and they do not smell. (really) The vitamin k drys them out so there is nothing left to leave a smell.
    Hope this helps.

  60. Kimberly/Mom in the City says:

    It’s gross. It’s disgusting. It happened to us (dead mouse in the wall) in our NYC apartment. To my dismay, we just had to “wait it out”/stay out of that room as much as possible until the smell went away. (It took a few weeks.)
    THAT memory is one (of the several) reasons that we’re moving this summer! (Did I mention that I’m super-sensitive to smells?!)

  61. Tootie says:

    Oh my goodness! I have nothing to offer you in the way of suggestions or tips. My only mice-related knowledge come from Mickey and Minnie. (In other words, I’ve got nada.)
    On a positive note, your mice struggles make for a very humorous blog post!

  62. Kansas Mom says:

    Well, we currently have a dead mouse somewhere in the vents and plan to just leave it there. Last time it happened, we heard (and felt) a bigger animal break into our crawlspace and thump around for a while. The smell was pretty much gone after that.
    Of course, I don’t really recommend that plan as my husband than had to go into the crawlspace to make sure said animal wasn’t still around and then repair the damage to the house so no other “larger” animal could get in.

  63. Erica@Butterfly Kisses & 5 Minutes for Mom says:

    We have had a horrible mouse problem this winter. They were even upstairs, which our exterminator told us doesn’t happen unless you are overrun. EEEEK (literally)
    We had them put bait traps down, and they have since cleared out, but now I am terrified that soon I will smell something not too pleasant. Oh gee. I’ll have to read over all of your comments for suggestions in case that happens.

  64. sillydoodah says:

    We had a rat (which totally counts as three or four mice) die in our behind our coat closet. (Hello, welcome to our home of death. May I take your coat?) The pest control guy could not retrieve the body, so, he gave us some odor absorbtion stuff to place in the closet, and I believe he stuck some more inside the wall. It still took some time for the smell to dissipate, but presumably it was less time than it would have taken sans “stuff.” I do not recall the name of the product, but I’m sure your local pest control guy would.

  65. LeAnna says:

    Just be glad the weather is cold…it’s an awful thing to have a dead mouse in the summer.
    Have you looked into those electric rodent deterrents? You plug it into the wall and it emits a high pitch frequency that apparently mice and other small rodents can’t stand. My husband has a friend with a huge shop building (he lives above it) and it had mice so bad until he tried them. He said they worked like a charm and he hasn’t had mice in years. Wish I knew what they were called, but I’m pretty sure Tractor Supply and the like carries them. Might be worth a shot!
    We solved our mice problem by building a chicken coop in the back yard. Now they all went to live under it! πŸ˜›

  66. Jeannette says:

    No advice, but I had to laugh about your comparison to a Tibetan monastery, because while they may look pretty with all the lights, the fuel for the lights is made of fermented yak butter- not a nice smell. Perhaps not quite on the level of decaying mouse, but B&BW would be a better olfactory route to go πŸ™‚

  67. mkw says:

    We live on the edge of town, next to a field. Every couple years, during harvest, a mouse finds its way inside. I know the smell all too well. My experience is that the smell is gone in a week. (I leave with the kids and visit my parents.) The clean part of me wants to rip out the wall and get that yucky little carcass out. Now, we have a cat. . . (The clean part of me has strong opinions about that too.) So, we’ll see how the autumn-ickey-mouse-saga transpires. In regard to the odor, try dissolving baking soda in a crock pot of water. (I threw in a handful of cloves too.) This helped absorb a week-long episode of sick cat odor. Maybe it will help with the mouse. . . . good luck. On a funny note, our four-year-old kept telling people we had a dead rat in the house. I had to quickly correct her story and people would still look mortified. OK. This is rural Iowa. You can not tell me these people haven’t had their share of bats, mice, etc. . . !

  68. Grateful for Grace says:

    Oh, you’re giving me flashbacks.
    I *know* the smell you speak of.
    I don’t know how long it lasted because I got the deceased vermin out as soon as I started to smell it.
    It’s happened more than once. That’s life when you live in the country.

  69. Becky says:

    I know the mouse is traumatic and all BUT YOU DON”T LIKE THE SMELL OF COFFEE! I may no longer be able to read your blog. Ok I will push past our differences but WOW, shocking! It is one of my fav smells in the world.

  70. Rachel says:

    My parents bought me a piano from a smoker when I was a child, and in about 24 hours after bringing it home, the whole house smelled like a cigarette.
    They opened a bag of charcoal near the piano, and it sucked the smell in.
    I don’t know if it would work with mice, but it sure would be a cheap fix!

  71. linda says:

    My experience was it took months to go away but actually it never went away. Every so often I’d get a whiff and it would gag me.

  72. Superchikk says:

    We once worked at a church in Florida that was infested with sewer rats. As big as squirrels, they were. One of them died in the ceiling of my husband’s office. It was nasty. It stunk up the entire building.
    I saw on TV recently where activated charcoal (like you use in a fish tank) is better at absorbing odors than baking soda. I started using it in my diaper pail and it does really seem to help. You might give it a shot – it’s pretty cheap.

  73. Judith says:

    A few years back, our church organist was complaining about something smelling just awful when she sat down to play. Her hubby thought she was having olfactory hallucinations! Till he cleaned the floor under the foot pedals and found the mouse skeleton! One dead church mouse!
    Took 2 weeks and the smell was gone though, so hang in there. Charcoal, or baking soda, or balled-up newspaper — all replaced every couple of days — should help.

  74. Lori says:

    There are lots of comments here…and I’m a little too sleepy to read through all of them. Oh dear! So sorry to hear of the mice madnessβ€Ό The only suggestion I have, it’s not a good one. But I’m certain it works. A guy I know was manager at a dollar store and they had a dead mouse problem – fortunately this guy was a dealer in those pricey (like $500 pricey) air purification machines. Those will take every single smell out of your home…candles and all! If you knew someone that had one, and could borrow it that would do the trick! Our church had a problem last year where there was a very highly offensive odor lingering in the building and it took them a long time to find the source. Ended up it was a cat that somehow got up in the attic and died! Oh it was terrible! Not sure how they got rid of that smell, but probably the same way, with one of those air purifiers. Good luck!!

  75. patois says:

    No knowledge of how to rid said dead mouse, but definitely experience in having such a dead creature in the walls. All I can say is, the smell eventually went away, and I didn’t have to disclose “dead rodents in walls” when selling the house.

  76. Barb says:

    We had the problem a good many years ago. A field mouse got into our attic and fell between the master bath walls and died. The smell was terrible. Someone told us about Odor Control Granules. And they work. We just put out a few granules in the bathroom and before long the smell was completely gone! It’s been so long I can’t even remember where we bought them. The name on the label is Susan Products, though.

  77. franticallysimple says:

    When I was a kid we had a ‘possum die under our house. This area of the crawlspace was completely inaccessible to an adult – and each of us children refused, even when offered $50 to go under and fetch it out. After a couple of weeks, when no one could stand it anymore, my dad took a chainsaw to the floor and cut his way down to the rotten little bugger.
    Good times.
    Why am I feeling all warm and nostalgic all of the sudden?

  78. Elizabeth says:

    Sounds like you need a realtor, tee-hee. No, really, the one I live with crawled through the basement wall into the dirt-covered crawl space to find our stink, and yep, it was a dead mouse. Get rid of the body:)

  79. Margie says:

    The commenter that said wear Vicks under your nose is a good suggestion. People, such as policemen and paramedics, use this method when they have to deal with deseased ones.

  80. Bree says:

    Ok….I asked my husband and he said that if you could smell it through the wall then it is more likely a rat. And that it will gradually get better, he said more then a month. He also wants me to add that it will smell until “the carcass is mostly consumed by maggots.”
    I must say at this point I am SO GLAD he doesn’t do pest control any more! Way too many stories and sometimes visual aids….yes, he would bring some home with him. Good Gracious, GROSS!

  81. just another day in paradise says:

    I am deathly afraid of mice and can, therefore, smell their decaying carcasses for miles. (I grew up in a really old farmhouse in the country–we were constantly battling the plague-carrying beasts.) The smell will most likely get worse before it gets better but will be gone within a week or two.

  82. Nancy says:

    Get a small bag of charcoal – without starter fluid infused and crack it open in your laundry room or where the smell is the worst-this should help to absorb the odor – this is also good for a moldy/mildew smell.

  83. World's Greatest Mommy says:

    Oh Shannon, I’m sorry.
    We had the same thing happen in a rental, and the landlord didn’t want to open up the drywall and remove it. We lived with it for a few months before it went away. Candles, air freshener, eating out all the time…
    If I had it to do over again, I’d have paid someone to open up the wall, remove it, and repair the wall. I hated evening being in the kitchen, and I would unexpectedly catch a whiff of the scent every now and then.
    I too had thought we’d caught all of them. (We did catch a family of 7 mice, with glue traps.) But one must have died when the others were all gone.
    Best of luck!

  84. Kristi says:

    Try placing an open container of vanilla extract in the area. It also is good at absorbing odors and has a pleasant smell itself.

  85. Lynnet says:

    Mice are the worst! We *sheepish grin* raise mice (they’re confined in a tank) to feed our snake, and we’ve learned some terrible things. They can have up to 14 babies in a litter, they get pregnant immediately after having babies, and they don’t care who they mate with. Get the daddy! They are stinky creatures with horrible hygiene. We’ve had two episodes of wild mice dying in our walls. Was the most horrible thing, especially in the kitchen! Lots of luck!

  86. Anonymous says:

    When I was growing up, we had a mouse in the dryer vent hose – it came in from the outside in cold weather and expired. I will never forget that odor for as long as I live. Good luck!

  87. Mrs. S says:

    We just had a mouse the other day. I prayed so hard that it would die in a trap that night, and PRAISE THE LORD it did! I was so happy I too danced around the house! LOL! We have had a mouse die in the wall. I know that disgusting smell so well I can tell others when they too have a dead mouse on the premises. Ours did not last months, maybe a week? I love the smell of coffee, but I am pretty sure NOTHING would smell good mixed in with the smell of decay!

  88. Julie Stiles Mills says:

    With my dad, it was a squirrel. It got into the attic, fell down between some walls, got stuck and died. Behind the pantry wall in the kitchen, right in the middle of the house.
    He cut the drywall open, removed the squirrel and patched it.

  89. Julie Stiles Mills says:

    With my dad, it was a squirrel. It got into the attic, fell down between some walls, got stuck and died. Behind the pantry wall in the kitchen, right in the middle of the house.
    He cut the drywall open, removed the squirrel and patched it.

  90. CousinJ says:

    Shannon, I feel your pain. When we lived in Shreveport some sort of rodent got in the wall behind the OVEN of all places. The Terminex man sad he couldn’t get to it so we’d just have to wait it out till the thing decayed enough for the smell to disappear. Gee thanks………..

  91. Sarah the secret blower says:

    well, one critter in our country abode mets its fate while crawling around inside the top of our electric oven…
    I started detectin’ that somethin wuzznt quite right and I flipped the top of my oven up to find the little varmint
    caught in mid air with two little mits making target with the electical do-hickies, if not for the grossness,
    it was downright comical…
    needless to say, I let my hubbie come home and dispose of him proper…

  92. Heather says:

    I wish I didn’t know about this – but unfortunately I do. We have ahd the dead-mouse-in-the-wall experience. It does go away. Eventually.
    My husband is kind enough to try to not tell me about the critters and just handle it.
    I LOATHE the boogers- but I am very thankful to have mice every few years versus infestations of bugs!
    I prefer larger, hairier vermin. I don’t know- I am wierd!

  93. lynn @ queenofthecastlerecipes says:

    Well it looks like LOTS of other readers have had the same experience. Ours was when an electrician came to do some rewiring, cut into the wall and extracted a mouse skeleton or two that had been there probably long before we moved in. I’m glad he got it out, and once the wall was repaired and repainted, there was no sign anything was ever remiss. So if your hubby is handy at all, you might think about slicing that sucker open (the wall, not the mouse :o) and getting it out of there. Best of luck!

  94. Mommy, the Human Napkin says:

    Oh, how I feel your pain. We’ve had mice die in the walls, in the floor vents, under the fridge, in the dryer vent hose. Yeah, not much will take the stink away. I’ve used Febreze with good results, though, and some candles, and the baking soda trick. Although I’ve never heard of that mentholatum trick mentioned above, so I’ll try that, too. What’s almost as bad as dead mouse stink is mouse-nest-in-the-insulation-on-top-of-my-stove stink. Open windows and spray some odor eliminator around.
    We live in the middle of fields out in the country, so mice are inevitable for us. The best way I’ve found to keep them from dying where I can’t reach is to kill them fast when I see them. No mercy. I use a BB gun and we set traps at night (not sticky traps, the “snap their necks” kind), but I’ve also resorted to bludgeoning and stomping. I hate mice. I also try to deter them from making nests in the house by keeping the closet floors free of anything they can chew up or anything they can climb easily. This means I only use Rubbermaid or hard plastic containers. I started doing this after I found a nest of newborn mice in a cardboard box full of my childhood mementos, which they had used to make the nest. Ick. I make sure there aren’t any clothes hanging close to the floor. Trying to keep them under control seems to help keep the population down, but I still find their droppings sometimes in out-of-the-way places, like behind the washing machine. I have a whole category on my blog dedicated to the critters.
    We now have a cat that stays inside at night, which helps, too. I’d choose having to clean the litter box over dead mouse stink any day.

  95. Rachel Boldman says:

    LOL–we dealt with a very similar problem, except that involved a giant RAT…and we moved. I, of course, blogged about it:
    check it out!
    I really really really hope that your dead mouse problem remedies itself, somehow. I don’t have any suggestions though because, like I said, we had to move. Maybe you could call an exterminator and he can get it out for you? ewwww just thinking about it makes me feel all yucky. prayers for you!

  96. Renee says:

    Ok, I haven’t checked blogs for a couple of days, so when I read about your “mouse” problem today, I just about fell off my chair laughing! (Thank goodness it was past breakfast time!!) I think this is grounds for moving!! And then reading the comments section. . . it set me off again. I’m wiping away tears as I am typing. Horrid experience, but You have my total sympathy. I HATE mice! Grew up on a farm, saw them waaaaayyyyy too often. Nasty little creatures. Good luck and I hope the smell fades quickly!!

  97. Stacey says:

    The same thing happened to me. Thankfully the smell did go away quickly. Found out why we had mice. One of the cats was brining them in and being some sort of animal rights activist – he wasn’t killing them. We caught him a couple of times hauling live mice into the garage.

  98. Shoebee says:

    Just got done dealing with this same issue last week. It takes 1-2 weeks to for the smell to go completely away, but in the mean time….yuck. Getting yourself a container or fish tank charcoal and opening it up and leaving it in the room that offends can help (charcoal is a great odor asorber), also, getting a bottle of peppermint oil and putting some drops of the oil on a cotton ball and then placing the cotton ball nearby will help mask the odor. I use this trick in the hospital when someone has a terrible wound (rotting flesh) and you can actually walk in the room without gagging. (Terrible to say, but some people have such bad wounds that they smell worse than rotting mouse…wounds that are nothing more that rotting flesh…). After doing this, families have even thanked the staff for the odor control measures.
    You could even place the peppermint oil on the furnace filter to easily spread the nice peppermint smell throughout the house.

  99. Brandi says:

    Once I heard a mouse scratching in my wall. It sounded frantic, trying to get out. And it did get out. It chewed a hole in the wall.
    I still haven’t patched it.

  100. Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates says:

    We had a family of rats in our attic. We had heard not to use poison or we would end up with dead rodent smell, which apparently signals other rodents in the area that this is a good place to live. Hubby decided to save $ by becoming an exterminator and set up traps himself in the attic and kept removing. We killed 7 (blech) and now they are all gone. Also found the spot where they were getting in off of the roof, so we can block it.
    I have never experienced that smell, but really hope that it goes away quickly! Don’t you need to take a 2-week vacation to a sunny spot somewhere??

  101. jennifer says:

    For future prevention of mouse stink…there is some poison called “Just one bite” (you can get at Southern Ag in Tulsa) that is supposed to make them decay in such a way that they won’t stink. If you have a crawl space, just throw some under there occaisionaly and you can keep the nasty critters from every entering your house.

  102. Miriam says:

    I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.
    Walt Disney
    Not sure if that is a help… but I’ll be praying for the air to clear. We have only ever had bats, though one did catch fire once. (It was his own fault for hanging out in our chimney, which is exactly what my aunt was shrieking as he flew off like a beacon in the night.)

  103. happyvalleygirl says:

    I can sympathize! We had a horrendous smell that seemed to be coming from our wall too, only it was worse than dead mouse smell. I even had to cancel my piano lessons for two weeks because it went throughout the whole house!
    Just as I raised the sledge hammer to put a hole in the drywall, it hit a pair of snow pants hanging in the closet and the smell got real strong. Came to find out that a chipmunk had crawled into a pair of snow pants left laying on the garage floor and died. And as I was excerising my motherly duties, I picked them up, brought them into the basement and hung them up!!
    So maybe you could lay some snow pants around and see what happens!

  104. Mrs. Fun says:

    OHNO! that story is like my worst nightmare.
    we had a mouse/rat that chewed through our dishwasher hose and a hose on my then minivan. that sucker met his match Chistmas eve..that was the best gift ever, lol.

  105. Carrie says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry. At the camp where I work, we have a lot of mice & this happens in our buildings occasionally. The smell should be gone in about a week or two, i would guess. I have no advice. We usually just have to let it smell until it’s gone.
    This summer something was smelling above one of our staffer’s rooms & it ended up being a dead rat in the insulation between the ceiling & the upstairs floor. Thankfully this was discovered while I was NOT present!

  106. Jules says:

    Don’t know if I’m too late, but there is something called odor absorbing gel. It’s a small tub/jar with a solid gel. It actually absorbs odors. They use them when there’s water damage in basements and it will literally absorb the musty, water-damage smell.
    Just Google “odor absorbing gel”. There are a number of brands and I’m sure you can find them at any hardware store.

  107. Maria M says:

    Baking soda works well in absorbing odors. I can sympathize because I had a family of mice that I use to see everywhere (kitchen, behind the TV, etc..).
    We called the exterminator to take care of them. He informed me that they usually start hiding in your home in September when the weather gets cold. I hope they don’t return ever. Yuk! and Yuk.

  108. Shelley@Thrifty Gal says:

    EWWWWW! What a terrible problem! I did not have this happen in my home but at a former place of employment. They never did anything about it and it got worse and worse. Then I had to quit that job because we moved. Sorry, no happy ending to that story πŸ™‚ Hope the smell disappates soon!

  109. WhiteStone says:

    Growing up in the 1950s/60s our country home was regularly infested with mice. Traps worked sometimes. Poison worked best. With poison the critters do sometimes die in inaccessible places. Be assured the odor will eventually disappear. Patience. Fortitude. Read up on mouse-proofing your home.

  110. Simply Sandy says:

    We had the same thing happen once, and my husband finally took the switch plate off the light switch, and there he was. That dumb mouse had electrocuted himself in our light switch. It was very yucky, but at least we were able to get rid of the terrible smell. Might not hurt to check the electrical outlets!

  111. Jenn says:

    We had this problem when we moved into our new house. There had to be hoards of them – I could hear them skittering up and down the walls. We set out bait, mostly because the critter guy pointed out that for every mouse we caught, 15 were sneaking by saying “LOSER” and snickering.
    Needless to say, we had a nest of babies die in the basement ceiling. And we have a finished basement.
    The solution? Charcoal.
    Get a small bag of grill charcoal, and either pour some in a bag (or do what hubby did, said Screw it, opened the bag, and left it in the middle of the furnace room.
    It WILL absorb the odors.
    It will pass. But it does suck. Hang in there!

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