Dead mouse smell for 5 months...or gas leak?


Old 11-01-17, 09:04 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Dead mouse smell for 5 months...or gas leak?

Anyone with any ideas or advice, I will be forever grateful to you because this smell has brought me to the edge of insanity!!!

5 months ago we discovered mice in our kitchen. Orkin sealed every hole/crack both inside and outside our house and set snap-traps inside to catch the remaining mice. After a few weeks they stopped showing up entirely except for one that got into the back of our oven and died. Orkin came to look, they did some extra spray-foam sealing around the gas line that leads into the wall, but they wonít take apart appliances so we called a trusted handyman who we have used many times before, and who is familiar with our house and he came the next morning.

Handyman took the back off the oven, removed the dead mouse, bleached everything, put the back on the oven and left. We ran the ovenís self-cleaning mode and everything was fine, no mouse, no smell (yet).

The next morning we opened our bedroom door and were hit with an overpowering smell of what we assumed was gas. Handyman came, checked the entire oven, tested with water and dish soap on the gas line, and there was absolutely no gas leak. We opened the windows, the smell dissipated, and we thought it was a fluke. Then the smell came back, and never went away.

The smell is overpoweringly bad. It doesnít smell quite like kitchen gas to me. Itís worse, a bit more pungent but less chemical-ey. Itís coming from the general area of the oven and the cabinets near the oven, but that could mean itís the wall behind the oven too.

We had Orkin come again and they said it smelled like dead mice but would go away in 2 weeks. After several months, we finally got the fire department to come test for gas and they found absolutely nothing, not a single hit on their gas meter.

I feel like we have tried everything and I just donít know what to do! I donít know if mice are somehow silently getting into my walls but not all the way into the house, and then theyíre dying one after another? Or if thereís some other type of gas leak that for some reason isnít showing up on the fire departmentís meter?

Itís an odd coincidence that it all started the day after our oven was taken apart, and that we havenít seen or heard one single mouse in the walls, but I just donít know what to do or what to try.

Any help is very much appreciated, I feel like I canít take it anymore!!
Old 11-01-17, 09:36 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 60,820
Received 1,330 Votes on 1,229 Posts
Welcome to the forums.

It doesn't sound like mice are getting into the wall. It sounds like they may have been closed in there when Orkin sealed the holes up.
Old 11-02-17, 04:56 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hi Pete,

i would agree except itís been 5 months now; wouldnít they all be dead? Thereís no source of food or water in the walls.

Old 11-02-17, 05:04 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 47,832
Received 361 Votes on 318 Posts
I've experienced rotting mice a time or three but the odor was always gone in a week or two. Unless mice are getting in and dying I also don't understand how the odor can continue.
Old 11-02-17, 05:17 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 10,524
Received 37 Votes on 34 Posts
Not all gas test meters read the same. After that length of time I also doubt it is dead mice. I would call the gas company as they probably do more testing and their meters are calibrated more often and they have a strong interest in any leaks.

If all fails there should be an air quality company that can test to identify what is causing the smell.

Until a gas leak is ruled out this is in the urgent category.

Old 11-02-17, 05:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: North East Kingdom of Vermont
Posts: 2,533
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
I had an distinct organic odor for a few months a couple years ago on the 1st floor of my 1832 farmhouse.

Despite our searching for the origin, we never found the cause, and it went away.,

A few months later, I went to add distilled water to our iron located in our "Closet Room" (a 4th bedroom on the 2nd floor dedicated to clothes storage and wardrobe maintenance), and I found the gallon of distilled water EMPTY !

It's not our habit to leave empty containers around, we replace them. Upon examining the 1 gallon distilled water jug, I found that it had never been opened, but had a tiny hole in the bottom, and the contents had completely dissipated, one drop at a time, and probably ran down into the floor joist area between the 1st floor ceiling and the 2nd floor an area that we know contains remnants of nearly 200 years of rodent activity, and the dripping distilled water must have temporarily re-hydrated some of that material. causing an odor to be exuded.

There is no stain on the sheet rocked ceiling directly below the area where the empty jug was located.

I don't want to think about it; but someday in the future, a human being doing some futuristic remodel will get to the bottom of it; but I think you need a source of moisture to create these organic odors or OR air movement to pick up and carry molecular particles to your nasal passages and olfactory receptors. There is little air movement in between the floor joists.

With no leaking water jug, I have returned to odor free.
Old 11-02-17, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MI
Posts: 2,634
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
My gas leak detector is more sensitive than my nose so if the gas company says there's no leak I would tend to trust them.
The rotten egg smell added to natural gas is pretty distinctive & different from decaying rodent smell.

I like the idea of an air quality test to positively identify the source of the smell--if such a thing is available.

I wouldn't hesitate to cut a wide section off the bottom of the wall behind the stove. It's cheap & easy to repair & is hidden if your patching talents are lacking.

Do you have an exhaust hood over the stove? Another path to the outside that can be an entrance to rodents, or a source of moisture.
Old 11-02-17, 05:09 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,838
Received 37 Votes on 34 Posts
Youíve been very thorough LWA and that is all helpful info to know. Dead mice odor doesnít last that long but larger animal will. Also Guys suggestion about an exhaust vent/duct is a good one if you have that. Bird nests, etc.

Otherwise my suggestion is to check any drains that may not have water in the trap anymore, or an unused dishwasher that has stagnant water in it yet. Also, garbage disposals sometimes get odors from trapped material on underside of rubber. What about a trash compactor? Iíve seen them overflow before.

Keep us posted.
Old 11-06-17, 08:45 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hi Everyone, I appreciate all of your ideas and feedback.

Since my last post, we shut off all the gas to our house for 24 hours and ran our attic fan to fully clear the air. The smell immediately came back as soon as we shut off the fan and closed the windows, so I think we have determined it is not gas.

We don't have a garbage disposal, and our dishwasher is brand new (less than 1 month old) and when it was installed, I told the appliance installation person about our smell and he actually checked our water line and pipes for me and found nothing. He smelled it, too.

I think we must have mice that are somehow getting into the walls, but not into the rest of the house. I don't hear anything in the walls, though, and back when we had the active infestation, I could hear them scratching in the wall behind our oven, so I would be surprised if they were in there again but making no sound.

@Vermont - I'm really interested in your story about the water leak. We also live in a very old house (built pre-Revolutionary war!) and I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were old rodent carcasses deep within our walls somewhere, however I don't see any sign of a leak or a water source. I will mention it to our handyman and to Orkin next time they come, though.

The smell waxes and wanes in its intensity, but has never fully gone away. At this point I find it hard to believe it could still be the same mice we "trapped" in the walls 5 months ago when Orkin sealed everything up with spray foam. All I can think is that they are somehow continuing to get into our walls from the outside of the house, and then can't get back out.

Thank you again for all of your help, everyone.

Old 10-31-19, 10:13 AM
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 1
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
any updates? urgent

Hi Lauren,

did you figure out what was the problem. We have a similar issue and it's driving us crazy. your help would be appreciated.

Old 10-31-19, 01:29 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 24,433
Received 749 Votes on 688 Posts
Dead mice usually only smell for a week or two with summer temperatures. If you have had a rotten smell for months I would look for a leak if you have gas lines in your home. For more help, start a new thread.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: