A Dead Rat In My Bathroom for SEVEN Months!

fairequeenMay 20, 2002

Hi everyone. Please help me if you can. I have a HUGE smelly problem! ... Last October (2001) I got tired of hearing rats eating away at the wood inside my floors and walls. I tried rat traps over and over again, but I could never catch any of them. They just kept eating away. I decided to get rid of them with decon rat posion. It really got rid of their sounds, but they are apparently still here!!

We've had one of our bathrooms sealed up for seven months! Everytime we open it the smell is horrifying. I've cleaned the bathroom out with all sorts of disinfectants and I've aired it out relentlessly, but nothing helps. The smell was so overwhelming at one point that we covered a section of our floor with bed comforters to keep the smell down. The smell went from being in 2 and a half rooms to just being in the small bathroom. Sometimes we can smell it coming through the air vents - but there are NO rats in the vents! I removed one LARGE rat from under the floor. It was in the insulation, but I can't find anymore and my husband and I have torn out a HUGE chunk of the insulation. We've searched the vents and under the cabinets and under the bathtub. It has to be smushed up in a small crack under the floor.

I can't believe that it's been stinking for this long. I have been too embarrassed to call a pest control company and I'm not sure that they would even take care of anything like this. They can get expensive, too. I need help! Please, does anyone know what I can do? Are rats supposed to stink for this LONG? I'm desperate!

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A dead rat should have decomposed long ago. I'm not sure, but thought there was something in Decon that sort of mummified the body so it wouldn't stink when dead. You might want to check for a leak in the stink pipe (it allows toilet odors to escape) or a leak in the toilet seal - the wax ring that molds the stool to top of discharge pipe.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2002 at 11:57PM
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The smell may not be a dead rat at all. If you have not been using this bathroom, it could be a build up of sewer gases. Try putting some baking soda in your toilet, sink drain, shower drain, etc. Flush your toilet a few times, let the water run in the sink and shower for a good 15 minutes, and see if this doesn't help.

Not using this bathroom could be the problem.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2002 at 11:31AM
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Fairequeen, I could have written this same post as yours last year! Yes, dead rats killed with Dcon DO SMELL!! I did this last summer in our garage, and our bath that backs up to it smelled like yours. I was ready to pull off the sheetrock and find it. My son in law investigated, and found the "critter" behind our hot water tank in the garage. It had been dead for 2-3 weeks. Like the other posters, I agree, it should not smell after the length of time yours has.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2002 at 11:40AM
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One rat would not smell that long. Maybe there are more than one that keep coming and dieing.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2002 at 7:27AM
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The dead animal smell should have dissipated after about 6 weeks. The smell is probably from a dry sewer trap. Run water into the drain to see if it will eliminate the problem.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2002 at 12:50AM
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Hello everyone. Thanks for trying to help. :)

I opened up the bathroom for about a week. I poured baking soda down the drains, clorox, etc... I tried to air the bathroom out and keep the door open at all times. The bathroom was in complete working order again, but it kept stinking! The smell would seem to almost go away during the first day or two and then the nights were horrific. The smell was back and as bad as ever. The last couple of day's that the door was open, the smell was horrible during the day also.

If this isn't a rat or a rat PACK.... I don't know what it is. It couldn't be paint or any sewage leaks. We don't have any stopped up pipes or anything of the like. This is so strange! I don't know what else to do. :(

    Bookmark   May 27, 2002 at 5:58PM
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I know it would be costly but a plumber might be able to discover the problem even tho it seems everything is in good working order.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2002 at 12:52AM
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Had a thought on your problem today. I hope you have it figured out by now, but here's a possibility in case you haven't. Do you have anything nailed or screwed into the wall in the room or in an adjoining room that could have punctured a stink pipe? I don't know if those are really called stink pipes, but I mean the pipe that goes up from sinks, drains, toilets and vents through the roof.

My electricians and plumbers are here today working on the remodel and the electrician said the pipe for the sink is running straight up where he would be installing the vanity light. We have to move where the light goes to avoid having him screw it into the pvc stink pipe. He related that this has happened to others and the home owners will all the time be getting a wiff of odor from that pipe. He says they go nuts trying to figure out what to clean to get rid of the smell.

So that's when I remembered reading your post.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2002 at 5:36PM
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A ruptured stack vent might be the problem. It may be that simple.
Rats live and breath decay and bacteria. They love to be surrounded by it. Garbage bins, dark places that food is deposited and decays. I doubt you have these conditions. Look to plumbing as a solution
I recently had a friend complain of terrible smells from the upper bath. They could not get to sleep some nights. To make a long story short we found the tub overflow piped on the sewer side of the trap. Everytime anything was flushed down any drain in the place sewer gases went strait into the bathroom through the tub overflow.
We found the problem by tapeing plastic bags around or over drains in the bathroom. Then flushed the toilet and watched to see if the bag(s) filled with gas.
Any new plumbing done lately?
If a vent line were plugged it would also manifest itself with drainage problems.
I hope you have solved it already.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2002 at 11:37PM
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One thing that hasn't been asked...

Does it smell like dead body, or does it smell like a septic system?

I've never gotten a dead body smell from a sewer gas leak.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2002 at 2:00AM
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Hello everyone and thanks for your suggestions.
It isn't a plumbing problem, at least not an obvious one. The pipes are all fine and we haven't had any backing up or drainage problems.

The smell is pretty much just as strong as in the beginning. It smells like a dead rat. Nothing strange or tinted about the smell - just a DEAD RAT.

The smell started the exact time that we had a rat problem. We killed them with decon (HUGE MISTAKE) and removed one of them. The horrid smell has been present since then. It's very embarrassing!

I can't imagine how it could be plumbing or anything like that, since it started at the exact time of the rat infestation. It just doesn't make sense.

Thanks again and please let me know if anyone thinks of anything else.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2002 at 10:23PM
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Years ago I lived on a farm and we had mice that would always creatively find ways to get in our house in the winter. After putting out poison, they would end up dead in places we couldn't locate. The smell was very distinct - like no other bad odor. Using my imagination... I can still smell it.
I put out saucers of ammonia FOR SEVERAL WEEKS. I would change the ammonia every couple of days. It helped more than anything to absorb the odor.

This won't solve the source of the odor, but it might make it more bearable.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2002 at 10:41AM
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How about getting an ozone generator or a charcoal air filter to put in there? At least till you find the problem. It only treats the symptom but at least your house would stop stinking.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2002 at 1:38PM
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Fairyqueen, I am desparate too! Being a first-time home owner is just turning out to be hell. I bought a house last year and ever since I moved in, I started hearing something scratching in the walls. It was just the noise that scared me and my tenants. When the noise started to get loud, my tenants in the basement found a hole under the sink in the laundry room. I placed traps and caught 3 rats, 2 small ones and a huge one.

I kept hearing noises even though I installed some ultrasonic devices in the wall were they were crawling up. After the third rat that we caught, the other rats in the wall were too smart and did not come around the traps. I hired a pest control guy who came and garanteed that the rats will come out to die outside, but unfortunately the rats (don't know how many) die inside.

I'm still sorry to have used the poison. 6 months have gone by, there is still an odour on top the the bathroom in the basement.

My tenants left when the smell in their bathroom was horrible, I got maggots coming from the corners of the bathroom and a horrible smell that came through the airconditioner vents.

I had no tenants for 2 months and used all kind of desinfectants to clean the bathroom, but the smell comes from inside the wall. I'm thinking to tear the ceiling in the bathroom and put new insulation and new drywall.

The smell kind of went away a couple of months ago and there is new people living there, but they say they kind of smell some odour around the bathroom.

I have put some moth balls in one of the cabinets in the kitchen in the first floor just a couple of weeks ago, the noise and scratching went away for a week. As we got our first snow, I heard them again yesterday and today. But I think I have discovered where the hole is. It the chimney that goes from the top of the roof to the furnace right to the basement.

I think big amounts of moth balls scare off the stupid rats, but not for long periods. Tonite I'm loading the cabinets in the kitchen with moth balls and I have a contruction guy coming tomorrow to repair the chimney. Hopefully that'll be the end of it. but I hope the all the rats come out before we seal the chimney hole. If you got someone solution as of now, PLEASE, but PLEASE let me know. I'm desparate too.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2002 at 9:08PM
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I moved into an apartment where the previous tenants had used rat poison. I had a horrible stink (dead body smell) coming from the floor of my closet for about 8 months. I don't believe this was new mice eating and dying, because I took the rat poison tray out of the closet as soon as I moved in. However, the stink persisted long past the time the mouse/rat should have turned into dust. The smell did eventually go away, but like I said, it took about 8-9 months. In the meantime, I put a lot of stick-ups and air fresheners in the closet and held my breath whenever I opened the door.

Sorry I don't have any better advice for you. All I know is that I will never, never use poisons again for a pest problem!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2002 at 4:14PM
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mdcalle, while the construction guy is there, have him do a check of the entire house and look for holes where they are coming in. He will probably find other places besides the chimney and he can block those too.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2002 at 9:07AM
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mdcalle, the aroma emitted from mothballs is very toxic. I would recommend using activated charcoal (available in pet stores) to absorb the odors while you rid yourself of this awful problem (my sympathies!).

    Bookmark   November 7, 2002 at 7:37PM
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Found this message on http://www.forwardlook.net/mail-archive/msg15053.html

If it works, it would be a good alternative to moth balls.

I once read, and actually retained, the contents of an magazine article that suggested a person should use Bounce dryer sheets. I guess the mice and company can't stand them and the smell left behind is a whole lot more pleasant than moth balls.
Dan C
Spanaway, WA

    Bookmark   January 28, 2003 at 3:47PM
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We live in a drouble wide and we live on a farm and we were have mouse all winter long execpt for this year my husband put mothe balls under the tr.and i did'nt smell the moth balls and this winter we have'nt had any mouse and i have'nt seen any sign of them.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2003 at 10:29AM
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Speaking from experience, you'll most likely smell the mothballs the first day it hits 90° this summer.

And when they melt, they no longer smell like mothballs. They smell like rotten eggs.

Hope you only used a few, and didn't use the whole box.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2003 at 1:33PM
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Fast forward ahead to 2014, we are now having the same blasted problem. My husband has read ALL of these and to our knowledge he can not find an answer in the plumbing, short of tearing out every wall and the bathtub. Our smell seems to be coming out of the wall heater. My husband it using foam insulation around the heater to isolate it from the rest of the wall. I hope that is ok, he seems to thing so. Did anyone ever find a sure proof way. We went to the link that lasershow posted and it is not found. in fact all of you might be gone. HELP

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 2:32PM
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snowflake, this seems to be the messageboard at lasershow's link:
Probably not much help, I'm afraid.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 4:44PM
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Not all of us are gone. In 2002 I was Canuckguy, wow I know it doesn't help your problem but I can't remember much from 12 years ago but for some reason I remember this thread. Probably because I can smell it through my touch screen tablet that is the size of a small dinner plate and my old PC was humongous.

The dead demons are back, sorry to hear this. Science can make a super computer that weighs a few ounces that I have in front of me but we still can't make a better mousetrap.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 8:25PM
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