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Help! Awful smell in the house....

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Okay, I've posted about my neighbours cat's spraying and the smell occasionally seeping through the walls. But this is different.

Just a few days ago the house started to smell really bad. Sort-of a combo of urine (not cat), poo and rot. I changed the garbage, cleaned the litterbox, made sure the fridge didn't having anything rotting in it. No use.

I'm pretty convinced that an animal like a mouse has died somewhere and I can't find it!!!!! Fred did catch a mouse the other day, so it is possible that another could be lurking.

I'm so worried that the dead creature is either under the floor boards or in the wall. I can't afford to rip up my kitchen looking for it. Another fear is that a family of mice is living under the floor and the smell is wafting up. But I don't remember mice nests smelling THIS bad.

Anyone have any suggestions? Has anyone had a dead animal behind their walls and how long did it take for the smell to go away?
post #2 of 18
well if its in the walls will depend on how big the citter is.
3 or 4 days max i would think for small one.
post #3 of 18
Have you tried spraying Lysol or something to minimize the smell and kill any "germs" that might be around that area? I'm not sure what else you could do without actually pinpointing the source. Bleach is also effective at eliminating odors, but it can bleach out any colors, etc. So I would use caution if using bleach.
post #4 of 18
Have you checked behind the appliances? My mom had one die near the refrigerator motor and really stank.
post #5 of 18
I've had more than one critter crawl under my old house and die there. It can take up to 30 days for the smell to dissipate. Go to a fish store and buy a large jar of activated charcoal that they use in fish tank filters. Locate the spot where it smells the strongest and leave the jar there with the lid open.

If you get to a hole near the place where it died, pouring the activated charcoal thru the hole and try to hit the carcass - it will act as a descicant and dry it up quickly. It's the rotting flesh that gives off the intense smell.

If you know its between the walls, you might be able to remove the baseboard, drill a hole in the wall and insert the charcoal thru that hole. We had a mouse that fell down the walls from the attic once and we crawled into the attic and poured a whole box into the space on top of it. We then opened up a box of charcoal in the room next to that wall to eliminate the smell in that room. The smell vanished almost immediately.

Other than that, get a strong air purifier and keep it on full power until the smell is gone. My purifiers have eliminated skunk smells overnight when they sprayed under the house.

Air sprays only vaguely cover up the smell and as soon as it settles, the smell will return. You have to get something that runs nonstop if the charcoal won't work for you.

Good luck - been in your shoes and its not pleasant!!
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred&Nermal View Post
Okay, I've posted about my neighbours cat's spraying and the smell occasionally seeping through the walls. But this is different.

Just a few days ago the house started to smell really bad. Sort-of a combo of urine (not cat), poo and rot. I changed the garbage, cleaned the litterbox, made sure the fridge didn't having anything rotting in it. No use.

I'm pretty convinced that an animal like a mouse has died somewhere and I can't find it!!!!! Fred did catch a mouse the other day, so it is possible that another could be lurking.

I'm so worried that the dead creature is either under the floor boards or in the wall. I can't afford to rip up my kitchen looking for it. Another fear is that a family of mice is living under the floor and the smell is wafting up. But I don't remember mice nests smelling THIS bad.

Anyone have any suggestions? Has anyone had a dead animal behind their walls and how long did it take for the smell to go away?
Is it a sickeningly sweet smell?

Last year I noticed that Abby had a sickenly sweet smell to her. It wasn't offensive, but it was not pleasant either. I thought it was something she got into, or heaven forbid that one of my perfumes had gone rancid.

For days I tried to figure it out. I finally tracked it to the corner of the dining room where her food is. There was an odour coming from the corner, where there was no furniture at all. I tried taping up the electrical socket, but that didn't work. I scrubbed the walls and floor with bleach, and that didn't work either.

My fridge sits on the otherside of the wall, so I moved that out and scrubbed the fridge down outside and did the walls and the floor. I emptied the drain pan under the fridge (self defrosting fridge), but that didn't help either. I ended up taking everything out of the freezer and fridge and scouring that too, but still that smell was in that corner.

I know what a decomposing body smells like and I was convinced that something died inside the wall, but the caretaker said she couldn't smell it and the agency wouldn't do anything.

I bought all kinds of air fresheners and put a box of baking soda in the area plus a mint scented industrial air fresher which smelled worse than the "dead thing" smell.

Finally the weather cooled off and so did the smell. But it smelled for weeks, and was really noticable when I first entered my apartment each day.

I'm still convinced that something died between the walls.

I haven't seen any mice here in the 11 years that I've been here. However the smell started not long after the new neighbours moved in next door. Their bedroom is on the otherside of the wall where I noticed the smell, so I don't know if the smell was from their apartment or not.

The good news is that if it's a mouse, the decomposition will eventually end and dry up and the smell will go away. However it could be weeks or months before that happens.
post #7 of 18
Oh ugh. I don't think there is anything that smells worse than rotting rat . We had one to get under the floor of the sink cabinet- twice (one in the kitchen, one in the bathroom) in our old trailer. I ripped up the floor of the cabinet to get it out, and then caulked around the pipes so no more could get in. Ugh. I would rather smell sewer, I think (sorry, probably TMI! )
post #8 of 18
Oh wow. I used to work at an RV park, and our office was in a trailer. One summer something died under the trailer. I swear I couldn't even eat my lunch there the smell was so bad. I hate to tell you that it lasted for weeks. Of course it was probably a pack rat or a raccoon - something fairly large. I moved offices, and I understand that now there's a TNR colony of feral cats over there, they've had no stinky problems since!
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for all your help and support on this. Just reading your stories made me feel better.

I was filled with anxiety about it today. I had an issue with squirrels last year that proved to be very difficult to solve as I had to deal with a my attached neighbours. Plus the money involved in safely and humanly removing them. Then i have the on-going occassional cat pee issue (you may remember my post about Fred saying "mom, I smell cat pee").

Plus I have a tenant who sits there complaining about it all the time and blaming the litter boxes (they are freshly cleaned). It's hard to do something when you don't know where the smell is coming from!

Anyway, tomorrow my BF is coming over (he's actually moving in in May and tenant is moving out). We are going to pull the bottom 'skirts' off all the lower counters and maybe pull out the fridge, to see if we can find something. I can't bring myself to pull up the gorgeous floor boards. If it's underneath, then I'll just have to wait it out with an air cleaner and charcoal.

At least it is warm here so we can open the window and air it out.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duchess15 View Post
Have you tried spraying Lysol or something to minimize the smell and kill any "germs" that might be around that area? I'm not sure what else you could do without actually pinpointing the source. Bleach is also effective at eliminating odors, but it can bleach out any colors, etc. So I would use caution if using bleach.
Just an FYI lysol is very toxic to kitties..soI wouldnt use it around my babies..for sure.



Hope the stinky problem gets solved soon!
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScamperFarms View Post
Just an FYI lysol is very toxic to kitties..soI wouldnt use it around my babies..for sure.
Hope the stinky problem gets solved soon!
I use lysol twice a month to quickly spray down the garbage bin in the kitchen. They aren't usually around when I do this. Is that bad?
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Okay, I think I found the source. I have a crawl space (well not even) under the kitchen floor. It's basically impossible to get to. It's boarded up, but we may try to take down the boards to investigate tommorrow. Unfortunately there's a bunch of insulation and dirt there, so I can only go about 3 or 4' in. Yuck.

I'm quite certain something has died down there as I sniffed the smell when I got close to the boards. It seems to be worse when the furnace is on as the vent ducts seem to make the smell circulate, especially down by the crawl space.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Here is the crawl space
post #14 of 18
I have nothing to add to everyones suggestions except good luck to you in getting to it in the crawl space...
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
I think I may buy a bag of that fish charcol, put it in netting and throw the netting back in there and hope the animal rots soon!!!!!
post #16 of 18
If you go into the crawlspace, please cover every square inch of yourself first, including eyes. In addition to the creepycrawly things you naturally dread, there might also be toxic molds... and if there is a dead animal there, it may have died of something that's still communicable...

Yecch! Maybe you'd rather call an exterminator to do this for you!
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
The smell seems to be lessening. It's almost gone. I'm assuming it was a mouse.
post #18 of 18
i work in my family's business, and something died in the wall of my aunts office. It was a sickenly sweet smell, and lasted well over a month. We never figured out what it was, but it must have been big!
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