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How to Get Rid of a Dead Animal Smell in the Wall

Michelle Miley

Eliminate the smell of a dead animal inside your wall with these tips and tricks. Removing the animal is best, but eliminating the smell may be possible.

The best way to eliminate the smell of a dead animal inside your wall is to find the animal and remove it. If you can't find the offending animal or don't want to cut into your walls, you'll have to do what you can to keep the odor contained and cover it up as much as possible. It typically takes up to two weeks for the smell to fade, but it can take longer for larger animals like raccoons. You'll want to do whatever you can to mask the odor until then.

Check Everywhere

Verify the dead animal is in your walls and not somewhere that you can easily remove it. Thoroughly check your attic and rafters, moving insulation if necessary to ensure that the body isn't laying where you can reach it. Check basements, crawl spaces and areas under your house if it has a raised foundation. Sometimes an animal presumed to be inside the wall is actually hidden somewhere else and can be easily removed.

Tip

You can usually follow your nose to the carcass, as the odor gets stronger the closer you get to it. But sometimes the odor is more powerful in places where there is no air flow, even if the body is not located in that area. Keep this in mind when looking for the dead animal.

Seal Cracks and Holes

Once you've pinpointed the smell inside your wall, fill in any nearby cracks or holes in it. A dog trained to hunt can help you locate where the animal met its demise. Check the area for flies as they can lead you to the carcass location. By sealing any cracks or holes in the wall, it keeps the smell contained and flies from reproducing in the remains. It also traps flies inside the wall if reproduction has already begun.

Inject a Cleanser

If you think you've found the source of the problem but can't get to it, drill a hole on both sides of the wall about one foot above the floor. Spray a deodorizer, odor neutralizer or enzymatic cleaner into the wall before sealing it again. This option allows you to treat the source of the problem directly, but creates a much smaller hole in the wall than what is necessary to remove the body.

Circulate the Air

Increase the air circulation in the room to make the smell less overpowering. Open a window on one side of the room and set a reversible fan in or near it to exhaust the air in the room outside. Place another fan in a window on the opposite side of the room to bring fresh air inside. This can pull large amounts of air through the room and help with the smell. You can also buy or rent a portable air filtration system from your local hardware store or rental yard. The filter traps the smell and makes the air more pleasant until the smell fades completely.

Call a Pro

When the smell is too overwhelming and nothing you try works, call a professional to deal with the problem. Most pest control companies can send someone out or recommend a local contractor who finds and remove animal carcasses. This option is potentially costly, but effective, and is the only sure way to get rid of the smell immediately. As of 2015, expect to pay $150 to $250 for the animal removal and the additional costs for patching walls, if necessary.

Warning

Dead mice, rats, squirrels, raccoons and other animals can carry diseases. Wear gloves and a respirator if you do find and handle a dead animal. Shower immediately after handling the animal and wash the clothes you wore right away.