How to Dispose of a Dead Rat and Get Rid of the Smell

dead rat on a floor

Welcome to the grim and nauseating episode of “CSI: Rodent Edition!” So, you’ve unwittingly become the star of your very own crime scene drama, complete with a not-so-cooperative dead rat and an aroma that could make a skunk turn up its nose. Learn how to dispose of a dead rat and get rid of the smell.

Before you hit the panic button, stay calm and arm yourself with gloves, a splash of bleach, and some odor-removing sponges. Your home will emerge victorious from the rat-astrophe. And you’ll transform this unpleasant episode into a comedy that even your nostrils will applaud. 

Read our article to learn more about how to dispose of a dead rat and its smell. 

How to Dispose of a Dead Rat

Dead rat in your living room, kitchen, or car? Let’s dispose of this little invader in a few simple yet crucial steps.

Step 1: Locate the Dead Rat’s Body

The first step is to locate the dead rat’s remains. Your nose will be your dead rat detector and guide. The aroma from the rat’s final resting place is like an invisible breadcrumb trail: pungent, unpleasant, and impossible to ignore. 

Follow your nose on this less-than-nice situation, and let the odor lead you to the crime scene. Brace yourself; it’s not just a stench; it’s a declaration of rodent departure. Once you’ve zeroed in on the source, it’s time to roll up those sleeves and proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Wear Protective Gear

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Before you leap into action, remember this golden rule: don’t go into battle without armor. Handling a carcass is not for the faint-hearted, and protective gear is necessary.

  • Plastic gloves: Wear a heavy-duty pair of gloves, the kind that can handle germs and any surprises the rat may have left behind.
  • Face mask: The dead rat smell is a tricky business. Even with a mask on, you can smell it. It’s like trying to tame a skunk with a scented candle. So, use your best mask; N95 masks are a go. 
  • Goggles: Wear them just in case. The last thing you need is a surprise splash of who-knows-what during the disposal.

Even with this defensive ensemble, the dead rat odor might still be a punch in the face. Remember: extreme caution is vital. Proximity to the pest is not just a battle of the senses; it’s a potential breeding ground for diseases.

Step 3: Dispose of the Body

  • Thoroughly wet the dead rat with a disinfectant or a 1:10 chlorine solution (1.5 cups of bleach mixed with 1 gallon of water). This is essential to avoid any uninvited germs.
  • Grab a sturdy bag (because we’re dealing with serious business here). If you have to dispose of a dead rodent in a trap, take the rat out by lifting the spring-loaded metal bar and letting the dead animal fall into a plastic bag or throw the entire trap with the dead rodent into the bag.
  • Toss all remaining rat materials in the same bag: nests, droppings, or food. Seal the bag tight, but don’t squish the air out. The rat might be history, but its germs could still be partying. Double up by putting the full bag into another bag and seal it up.
  • Toss the double-bagged rat bundle into a covered trash bin outside your house.

Note: If you reuse the trap, dip it in a disinfectant or 1:10 chlorine solution and rinse well.

Step 4: Clean the Area

Follow these steps to disinfect the area where the dead rat was:

  • Use a disinfectant or a 1:10 chlorine solution (1.5 cups of household bleach in 1 gallon of water). Spray until it’s thoroughly soaked.
  • Let it soak for 5 minutes. 
  • Use a disposable cloth to wipe down the area where you found the dead rat. 
  • Before removing your gloves, wash them with soap and water or give a little spritz with the disinfectant or bleach solution. 
  • Remove the gloves and toss them in the trash. Seal the trash and take it outside your home.
  • Clean your hands with soap and water.

Removing Dead Rats in Your Backyard

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If you stumble upon a deceased rat in your backyard, exercise caution and follow the same disposal steps we’ve explained earlier. Extra vigilance is key, as the outdoor scent of the dead rodent could attract rats

Keep a watchful eye on your yard, especially if you have an uncovered swimming pool; rats might take a dip uninvited. If you discover a deceased rat in your pool, don’t take chances. Call in the professionals to conduct a thorough cleanup, avoiding any potential health concerns.

How to Get Rid of a Dead Rat Smell

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After removing the dead rat, check out these steps to eliminate that lingering dead rat smell in your house. Pick your favorite odor-eliminating strategy or unleash the full arsenal to tackle the stink in a tag-team effort!

Step 1: Air Your Home

Ah, the lingering smell of a dead rat is not exactly the home fragrance you had in mind. Step one to eliminate the stinkiness is to open your windows and let the fresh air flood in. Give your home a much-needed breath of relief. 

Step 2: Clean the Area With Vinegar 

Create a solution of white vinegar and water, then wipe down the affected area. The acid in vinegar helps neutralize odors.

Step 3: Select an Odor Absorber

There are different types of odor absorbers and neutralizers. Choose the one you like: 

Rat Sorb Odor Eliminator

Rat Sorb is a powerful odor-neutralizer:

  • Grab some cotton balls, soak them in Rat Sorb, and apply them where the stench is at its worst. 
  • Use gloves just to be cautious.
  • Watch out for stains, though: Rat Sorb can leave its mark. 
  • Keep applying until the smell is gone.

Odor Removing Sponge

The odor-removing sponge is a quick and effective solution for banishing the stench of a dead rat. This product acts as an odor absorbent, swiftly tackling unpleasant smells. Simply place the sponge in the area where the odor is most potent and let it work. 

Baking Soda

vinegar with baking soda
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Baking soda is known for absorbing and neutralizing odors. It is considered a natural way to get rid of the bad smell. Follow these steps:

  • Sprinkle baking soda liberally in the affected area. 
  • Allow it to sit overnight.
  • Vacuum the area. 

Coffee Grounds

Place bowls of fresh coffee grounds around the house. Coffee is a powerful natural deodorizer that can help mask and absorb unpleasant smells.

Activated Charcoal 

Activated charcoal absorbs and neutralizes odors. Place it in bowls around the affected area or in the corners of the room to help freshen the air.

What Does a Dead Rat Smell Like? 

The dead rat smell is a memory you won’t be quick to shake off. It’s a nasty concoction of chemicals like sulfur dioxide and methane, giving you a whiff of repulsion that can be sickening. 

The odor of a dead rat can trigger headaches, nausea, and vomiting. 

How Much Does a Rodent Exterminator Cost?

Hiring a professional rodent exterminator costs between $245 and $430. This includes inspection, effective pest removal, and the sealing of entry points.

FAQ About Rats

How long does it take for a rat to decompose and smell?

After three to five days of the rat’s death, the odor will turn your space into a veritable stink zone. On average, it takes 2 to 3 weeks for a rat to decompose. But even after the rat has left the building, its lingering scent overstays, sticking around for about two more weeks. 

Is peanut butter a good bait for rat traps?

Peanut butter is a go-to, universally appealing bait for rat traps, while alternatives like chocolate or dried fruits can also be effective in luring these rodents. Experiment to find what works best for you to catch rats like a pro.

Which are bigger norway rats or roof rats?

Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus), also known as brown rats or sewer rats, are larger than roof rats (Rattus rattus).

Can rats enter my car?

Yes, rats can enter your car. They seek shelter or nesting spots in vehicles.

What is a rat wall?

The rat wall is a layer of concrete or other durable material that extends below ground level, creating a barrier that rodents cannot easily penetrate. 

What is a rat slab?

A rat slab is a slim layer of concrete poured over the soil floor of your crawl space. This barrier protects against rodents, preventing them from burrowing into your crawl space from the exterior of the foundation wall.

Hire a Pro to Keep Rats Away

You tackle the stink, the ickiness, and all the ‘eww’ factors of a dead rat and its lingering odor. However, if new rats have decided to play hide-and-seek within your walls, or if the entire scenario feels like a bit too much to handle, relax. When the odor becomes a mystery, or the task seems overwhelming, it’s time to call a pest control professional

Professionals have the tools, knowledge, and stomach for the job, ensuring that your home becomes a rat-free sanctuary once again without you having to face the grisly details.

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Cecilia Acevedo

Cecilia is a writer focused on keeping homes clean and healthy. When not exposing the secrets of home invaders, she digs into the latest pest news, offering practical tips to kick them out. Join Cecilia for straightforward information and advice on dealing with pesky intruders.