How Long Does a Dead Rat Smell Last?

How long does a dead rat smell for?

Dead rats can start to smell within 24 hours and the smell can last for several weeks. To minimize the smell, the body should be removed and disposed of as soon as possible.

The smell of a dead rat can last for several weeks depending on the temperature, humidity, and airflow in the area. If the area is sealed, the smell can linger for months. There are several methods to get rid of the smell, such as using a commercial deodorizer, or using a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda. Additionally, cleaning the area with a bleach solution or steam cleaning can help to reduce the smell.

Smell of a Dead Rat

Anyone who has ever had the misfortune to smell a dead rat knows just how bad the smell is. As rats decay, their internal gasses are released. These gases mix with the byproducts of microorganisms feeding on the body as it decomposes. The result is a potent stench that persists for a long time, even after you’ve removed the dead rat. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to both clear the smell away faster and make it more bearable while it’s still present.

Dead Rat Smell

The first thing to do is locate and remove the dead rat. The dead body will continue to release more gases throughout the decomposition process. It takes around three weeks for a rat to decompose; no one wants to be dealing with the smell for that long if they can avoid it. Unfortunately, rats have a habit of dying in the most awkward places. If you have used rat poison to get rid of rats in your home, you might have dead rats in your walls or attic. However, modern rat poisons speed up the decomposition process, making it easier to wait for the smell to dissipate. If the rat has died in a wall cavity, getting to it can involve tearing the entire wall apart.

Assuming that you can access the dead rat, you should remove it and clean the area as best you can using a strong disinfectant. If the surface is carpeted, steam cleaning will help. If that’s not possible, you might have to remove the carpet.

How long does it take for a rat to decompose and stop smelling

The decomposition of a rat will depend on a number of factors, such as the temperature and humidity of the environment, the size of the rat, and the presence of other animals or insects that may consume the carcass. Generally, it will take a rat between 1-3 months to decompose, with the smell dissipating after the initial stages of decomposition. However, in warmer climates, the decomposition process can be quicker and the smell may dissipate in a matter of days. 

Decomposition process of a rat

The decomposition process of a rat involves various stages. During the first stage, the body of the rat will start to bloat as the bacteria and enzymes begin to break down the tissue. This stage can last for up to a week and during this time, the rat will start to give off an unpleasant smell as the gas is released.

In the second stage, the rat will start to mummify as the fluids are released and the skin starts to dry out. This process can take up to a month and the smell will become less noticeable. 

During the final stage, the rat will become a skeleton as the remaining tissue is broken down by the bacteria and insects. This process can take up to 3 months and the smell will eventually disappear.

What does a dead rat smell like

A dead rat has a very unpleasant and pungent smell that is often described as a mix of sulphur, ammonia, and rotting flesh. It can be particularly strong in enclosed spaces, such as cupboards or attics, where the scent of the dead rat may linger for days. 

The smell of a dead rat is often worse than the smell of a decomposing animal of similar size because rats typically feed on garbage and other unpleasant food sources. As the rat decomposes, the bacteria that break down the body produce a mix of sulphur compounds and ammonia. This, in combination with the decaying flesh and the rat’s natural musky scent, creates the foul odour associated with a dead rat. In some cases, the smell of a dead rat can linger for days or weeks, especially in enclosed spaces like cupboards, attics, and crawl spaces.

Removing Rat Smell

After removing the source of the smell, if you’re able, keeping your windows open and maintaining a constant flow of air will help clear the smell away as quickly as possible. Essential oils and incense can help to cover the smell up while you’re waiting for it to clear. Unfortunately, there’s no instant solution. But left untreated, the smell can linger for 4-5 weeks. If you can’t do anything but wait because you can’t get to the rat to remove it, keep your windows open and try to cover the smell.

How to get rid of dead rat smell

The best way to get rid of dead rat smell is to locate and remove the source of the smell, which is the dead rat. If the rat is in an inaccessible area, such as a wall or ceiling, you will need to call in a professional to remove it. Once the dead rat is removed, you can then take steps to disinfect and deodorise the area. This may involve cleaning and scrubbing the area, using a bleach solution and vinegar mixture to kill any remaining bacteria, and using odour neutralizers or air fresheners. Finally, you can use an ozone generator to help eliminate any remaining odours.

Rats in Garden

Rats are unwelcome guests in any garden, and proper pest control measures should be taken to ensure that their presence is minimised.

If you’re having issues with rats in your garden, this article on “Rats in Garden: How to Get Rid of Them” provides helpful tips and advice on how to effectively rid your garden of these pests.

Our rat pest control experts are experienced in providing effective treatments for rat infestations, including the use of specialised traps and bait to eliminate the pests from your property.

More about Rats

Answering the question of how long rat poison takes to work can be a complicated one, as it depends on the type of poison used, the amount that has been ingested, and the size of the rat. To ensure the best possible results, it is important to speak to a professional pest control expert to understand the best options available and how long it will take for the poison to work.


If you are looking for advice on how to get rid of rats under floorboards, the best course of action is to hire a professional exterminator to inspect your home and create a customised plan to eliminate the rats. For long-term prevention, it is important to inspect and seal any potential entry points, such as cracks in the foundation, in order to stop rats from entering your home in the future.


Answering the question of “How long does a dead rat smell for?” can be complicated, as it can depend on a variety of factors such as the environment, temperature, and the size of the rat. However, it is generally accepted that the smell of a dead rat can linger for several weeks, and in some cases, even months. Professional pest control experts can provide more detailed and reliable advice on how to properly and effectively remove the smell of a dead rat.


According to experts in the UK, the cost of having a rat exterminator can vary greatly depending on the size of the infestation and the type of service needed. However, in general, it is estimated that the average cost of a rat extermination service in the UK is between £100 and £450, with some exterminators offering additional services at an additional cost. It is important to remember that the cost of rat extermination services may vary depending on the size and severity of the infestation, so it is always recommended to get a professional assessment of the situation before committing to a service.

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