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How to Get Rid of Rat Urine Smell (5 Proven Methods)

There are several ways to remove the smell of rat urine. The most effective is to use solutions that contain enzymes that neutralize odors. If you do not have this at hand, you can use chlorine, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide. 

Rats prefer not to be seen by humans and stay hidden. 

That’s why it is also unlikely to find marks or rat urine in your living space. You are more likely to find them in your basement or attic if you have an infestation.

These locations are normally not ventilated, allowing the urine smell to accumulate and become pungent.

In this article, you will find out if rat urine smells, how to get rid of the smell, what chemicals to use, and much more.

How to Get Rid of Rat Urine Smell

You can use enzymatic solutions, chlorine, or hydrogen peroxide to remove the smell of rat urine. Wear protective equipment (goggles, gloves, and a mask) as rat urine can transmit various pathogens that make humans sick. It is best to call specialized personnel to get rid of the smell and the rats.

If you smell a lot of ammonia in the house, you probably have a rat infestation. They urinate everywhere, and it has a pungent smell. 

Before you start investigating to find the source of the odor, make sure you equip yourself with the following:

  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • A mask

Rat urine is potentially dangerous to humans and other animals, so it is best to protect yourself. You can also use a disposable gown to protect your clothes.

If you have skin lesions, cover them with your clothes or with a bandage.

There are two main steps you need to take when removing rat urine:

  1. Clean up the urine and droppings.
  2. Clean and disinfect the area.

1. Clean up the Urine and Droppings

Clean up the Urine and Droppings

When you start cleaning droppings and urine, keep in mind not to disturb the dust. It can contain infected particles and make you sick.

Here’s how to clean up rat urine and dropping effectively:

  1. Use one part chlorine to ten parts water and spray the areas with rat urine and feces. Follow the instructions on the label when using commercial disinfectants.[1]
  2. Leave the mixture on for five minutes (for chlorine) or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Use paper towels or old rags to wipe urine and collect droppings.
  4. Dispose of the waste in your trash and not in the toilet or other water sources to avoid contamination.

2. Cleaning and Disinfecting the Area

Cleaning and Disinfecting the Area

Cleaning and disinfecting the area where you found rat urine and feces is the second step of this operation.

You can use the following substances or solutions to do this:

  1. Enzyme solutions
  2. Bleach
  3. Baking soda
  4. Vinegar
  5. Hydrogen peroxide

1. Enzyme Solutions

Enzymatic solutions are the most effective products when it comes to getting rid of the smell of rat urine. They neutralize the smelly compounds in the urine.

How to use enzymatic solutions against rat urine smell:

  • Spray over pre-cleaned areas or other surfaces where you think rats passed.
  • Allow the product to take effect according to the manufacturer’s label. Most products have an action time of 2-3 hours.
  • Wipe the product after the waiting time expires.

For furniture or upholstery, enzymatic products can not completely remove the odor, but you can spray them several times for increased efficiency.

2. Bleach

If you do not have enzymatic solutions or other substances at hand, you can apply chlorine on the cleaned areas.

How to use bleach against rat urine smell:

  • Use the same dilution of chlorine and water (1:10) and spray the surfaces.
  • You can leave it on for more than five minutes, and then wipe off the excess.

3. Baking Soda

Baking soda is famous for neutralizing unwanted odors. If you have nothing else at hand, you can try to get rid of the rat urine smell by sprinkling the area with it.

This method is more effective when the urine is fresh (wet), but you can try it on dry urine. Leave the baking soda on for as long as possible and then clean thoroughly.

You can also put baking soda in containers and leave them in the smelly area to absorb odor. Change them every 1-2 days.

4. Vinegar

Vinegar reacts with ammonia in rat urine, neutralizing its odor.

How to use vinegar to remove the smell of rat urine:

  • Apply vinegar over the affected area. 
  • You can rinse it with water if you can’t stand the pungent smell of vinegar.

5. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide can also work against rat urine smell. It comes in two forms: medical and technical. 

The medical one is found in pharmacies and is less concentrated than the technical one, containing only 3% hydrogen peroxide. 

The technical one is not sold to people because it is very concentrated and belongs to the category of explosive precursors.

How to use hydrogen peroxide to remove the smell of rat urine:

  • Spray or apply 3% hydrogen peroxide over the affected areas. Allow drying.
  • Do not apply to upholstery or textiles as it can discolor them.

Does Rat Pee Smell?

Yes, rats’ pee smells like ammonia. The odor is so strong that you can feel it, especially in areas where air does not circulate. Urine traces help rats guide themselves and mark their territory. The strong smell of ammonia is a sign that you have an infestation going on.

In many cases of rat infestation, you will smell a strong odor similar to ammonia and see traces of urine and feces. 

Unlike droppings, urine is harder to notice when it dries, although it leaves a chalky stain. You will feel the pungent smell though.

A single rat does not produce enough urine for the smell to be strong, but several rats can. 

When you sense an ammonia-like strong odor, especially in the attic or basement, you are probably facing an infestation, having several rats in your house and not just one or two.

Does Rat Pee Smell

The Composition of Rat Urine

Rat urine is similar in composition to other animals’. The main components of urine are water and urea.

Urea has a high nitrogen content. It decomposes into ammonia when it comes into contact with the oxygen in the air. The strong smell of rat urine comes from this decomposition.

Rats’ urine also contains supersaturated levels of calcium and magnesium, which help form microcrystalline precipitates[2]

In other words, the urine of rats leaves a chalky residue when it dries.

Rat urine[3] also contains the following substances:

  • Oxalate
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Sulfate
  • Citrate
  • Phosphate
  • Carbonate

Does Rat Poop Smell?

Rat feces initially smell of ammonia, but smell rotted as they age. One problem with rat feces is that their strong odor attracts flies and other insects.

If you find rat feces, it is best not to touch it as it can be infected with various bacteria, parasites, or viruses. These can lead to serious illness, and even death.[4]

Does Rat Poop Smell

Why Do Rats Urinate Everywhere?

Rats leave a trail of urine wherever they go. They do this to mark their territory, expose their sexual availability, or guide other rats. Rats’ urine tells other individuals about their sex, age, colony, and reproductive status.

Rats always leave a trail of urine. The urine contains information about the individual:

  • Sex
  • Age
  • Sexual status (if in heat or pregnant for females)
  • Colony status (alpha, beta, or subordinate)

They also leave this trail to mark their territory.

You can use UV light if you think you have a rat infestation. This is how rats detect traces of urine from other individuals. They have a natural ability to see ultraviolet light.[5]

Related: When Do Rats Come Out?

Is Rat Urine Harmful To People?

Yes, rat urine can be harmful to people. Sometimes rats’ urine is infected with bacteria or viruses that can be transmitted to people, causing illness.

Apart from the fact that rat urine has a pungent odor and leaves stains, it can also be harmful to people. 

Rats’ urine can be infected with viruses or bacteria. The most common diseases rats transmit to humans through their urine (and other bodily fluids) are:

  • Weil’s disease
  • Hantavirus disease
Is Rat Urine Harmful To People

Weil’s Disease

Weil’s disease is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted through the urine of rats or cattle. It is also called leptospirosis. 

The causing agent is the bacteria Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae, L. canicola, or L. Pomona.[6]

Rats eliminate the bacteria in the environment through their urine, which infects the soil, water, and food. People get sick when they come in contact with contaminated water.

Leptospires enter the body in the following ways:

  • Skin
  • Nasal mucosa
  • Ocular mucosa

When the bacteria reaches the body, these infectious agents enter the bloodstream. They multiply in the blood and eventually reach the organs.

The hot and humid months of the year facilitate the transmission of this bacterium. During this period, the bacteria have a good environment for development and survival.

This infection most often occurs in tropical and subtropical environments. Weil’s disease is one of the most widespread infections from animals to humans worldwide.

Leptospirosis symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Eye inflammation
  • Heart and renal failure
  • Meningitis
  • Jaundice
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Hantavirus disease

Hantavirus disease is a severe and rare viral infection. The causing agent is a Hantavirus, which is spread[8] to humans in the following ways:

  • Inhalation of aerosols with urine, secretions, or infected saliva particles.
  • Urine or other biological matter inoculation into the conjunctival, nasal, or buccal mucosa.
  • Urine inoculation of urine into skin lesions.
  • Through bites (less common).

The disease manifests clinically in two primary forms:

  1. Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS). This is endemic in Europe and Russia.
  2. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). This is endemic in Argentina, as well as in other countries in North and South America.

The symptoms are similar to the flu. The disease quickly becomes severe, affecting other organs. In most cases, it causes death.


Does a Dead Rat Smell Like Urine?

Yes, a dead rat can smell like urine, more precisely ammonia. As time passes by, it will smell rotten or earthy.

How Bad Does Rat Pee Smell?

Rats’ urine has a strong, pungent smell of ammonia. The urine of these rodents contains nitrogen. The nitrogen in the presence of oxygen in the air is converted into ammonia, which is released into the environment.

What Color Is Rat Urine?

The color of urine in rats can be colorless, yellowish-white, or light brown. If the rat has urinary tract infections, tumors, or other health problems, the urine can turn green or reddish (with blood).

About Iulia Mihai (DVM)

Dr. Iulia is a certified veterinarian with more than 10 years of experience in the field. With extensive knowledge of diet, care, and medication, she helps Misfit Animals provide readers with accurate knowledge on technical topics.

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