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Laundry Room Smells Like Dead Animal (Reasons & Solutions)

Laundry Room Smells Like Dead Animal (Reasons & Solutions)

Perhaps you’ve just noticed an unsettling smell in your laundry room, or maybe you’ve been dealing with it for a while. It’s so unpleasant that the only thing that seems to come to mind is a dead animal. But whatever the source, you’ve had enough and want to get rid of it once and for all. That triggers the question – what could be why your laundry smells like a dead animal?

We’ve several explanations for why your laundry room might stink of a dead animal. It could be an actual critter corpse hidden away somewhere, a smell from lint build-up, or even chemicals used around the house. Any of these could be the reason for that putrid smell, so take time and find out before taking action.

We all find the smell of a dead animal incredibly unpleasant. So, when you notice this stench in your laundry room, it’s natural to feel horrified and want to get rid of it as soon as possible. And herein, we’ll help you identify the source and solution. We’ll also provide you with other helpful information on the subject.

Reasons Why My Laundry Room Smells Like a Dead Animal

Whenever you notice an unpleasant smell, the first thing you should do is identify the source. You really can’t point out one thing as the reason behind your current problem. We have several potential causes of the unwanted smell in your laundry.

Here are some reasons your laundry room might stink of a dead animal:

1. There’s an Actual Critter Corpse in the Room

The first likely source of the smell is an actual dead animal hidden in the laundry room. Critters like rats, mice, and snakes can find their way into homes through small cracks and crevices. And while the laundry may not make their favorite list of places to hang out, it can be where they end up dying.

Once you notice a dead-animal-like smell in your laundry room, you should search immediately. If the odor comes from a dead animal, it can only get worse over time, and that could even lead to health hazards.

So, try and follow your nose to the source of the smell. If you can’t find anything, look in all the nooks and crannies, checking behind and under appliances and furniture. And, of course, don’t forget to check on vent pipes and ductwork, as these can also be potential dying spots. Anywhere a small animal could squeeze through, check it out.

If you still can’t find the source of the smell after all this, then it’s likely that you aren’t dealing with what the smell suggests. So, check the other causes on our list.

2. Lint Build-up in the Screen And Vent

Lint is small pieces of fabric that come off our clothes when we wash or dry them. And while it’s not harmful, lint can cause severe problems if not dealt with properly. One such problem is lint build-up, which likely occurs in the dryer.

Every time you run a load of laundry, lint gets left behind on the screen. The lint accumulates with time, some even getting carried into the vent, where they can pile up and block it if left unchecked for extended periods.

Now, when the vent becomes obstructed, any steam emanating from the dryer has nowhere to go. So, it ends up reverting to water. A mixture of water, lint, and heat is what’s likely causing that rank smell in your laundry room.

In most cases, lint will produce a musty smell. However, this smell can become stronger in some situations and take on a dead-animal quality. If this is the case in your laundry room, you likely have lint build-up in the screen or the vent.

3. Chemicals

We have lots of chemicals we use at home. From cleaning agents to air fresheners to pesticides, these chemicals are often a necessity we can’t do without. And while most of these chemicals don’t have a bad smell, the problem arises when they get drawn into the dryer.

You see, when all the chemical smells in your house mix, and the concoction finds its way into the dryer, it can react with moisture and heat in this appliance, often resulting in an unpleasant smell that’s easy to mistake for a dead animal.

Hence, if you’ve searched high and low for the source of this smell but can’t seem to find an animal corpse, checked the lint screen and vent but found no blockages, then it’s likely that chemicals are to blame. Take time and check whether there are any open containers of chemicals in your laundry room.

It may look far-fetched that the smell could come from these chemicals. However, it’s entirely possible, especially if you use a lot of them in your home. The compounds that make these chemicals often interact when they mix, and that’s what’s probably causing the smell in your laundry room.

4. Hard Water

Hard water is the last but not the least possible cause of that foul smell in your laundry room. Actually, if you’re using water, there’s a good chance that your washing machine and dryer are filled with mineral deposits.

The problem majorly arises with the dryer since the activity within this appliance may make these chemical deposits have a sulfur-like smell that’s often mistaken for a dead animal. So, if you’ve checked everything else on our list but can’t find the source of the smell, then your dryer will likely have too many mineral deposits.


How To Get Away With the Dead Animal Smell in My Laundry Room

How to get away with the smell depends on what’s causing it. That’s why you have to take time and find out what’s causing the unpleasant odor. Otherwise, the smell may keep lingering for weeks, months, and even longer until you get to the root cause.

Assuming that you’ve already pinpointed the source of the smell, below are some tips you can use to get rid of it.

1. Remove the Carcass

If there’s an animal carcass in your laundry room, removing it is the obvious way to get rid of the smell. It isn’t the most interesting of chores, but you’ve no option. Actually, any delay could make the problem worse.


1.    Put on some gloves, preferably latex gloves.

2.    Using a shovel or other tool, lift the carcass and place it in a plastic bag.

3.    Tightly seal the bag and dispose of it in the trash can.

4. Clean up any mess the animal may have left behind using a disinfectant.

The essence of having gloves is to protect you from getting infected. You don’t know what sort of diseases the animal may be carrying. Perhaps it was suffering from one of the zoonotic illnesses. Also, try as much as possible not to touch anything else in the room with the gloves on.

2. Clean The Lint Screen/Vent

If all the odor is coming from the lint screen or vent, you need to clean it as soon as possible. It’s a simple process that shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.


1.    Unplug your dryer

2.    Remove the lint screen

3.    Use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to suck out all the lint from this screen.

4.    Repeat the same on the vent. You can use a brush attachment to dislodge any lint.

5.    Use a deodorizer to eliminate any lingering smells.

3. Use White Vinegar

White vinegar is a powerful cleaning agent that you can use to eliminate the bad smell in your laundry room. It will help remove any foul odor that may be coming from your washing machine, dryer, or even the laundry room itself.


1.    Mix one part of white vinegar with two parts of water

2.    Pour the solution into a clean spray bottle.

3.    Use this solution to clean every surface in your laundry room.

4. Leave the room to dry completely before using any of the appliances.

If the foul smell comes from the dryer, you can dampen the towels with white vinegar and run the dryer with the towels in there. It will remove any odor that may be coming from the dyer.

Is There a Dead Animal in my Dryer Vent?

There could be a dead animal in your dryer vent, but it’s not the only possible cause of that foul smell. If your search for an animal corpse doesn’t yield any results, it’s likely the smell comes from something else.

And as we’ve said, sometimes the cause can be so subtle, like hard water deposits, that you may not even think to look for it. So, ensure that you check out each of the possible causes on our list if your search rules out an animal carcass.

Will the Dead Animal Smell Eventually Go Away?

Once you remove the cause, the dead animal smell will begin to dissipate on its own. However, depending on how bad the problem was, it could take a few days or even weeks for the smell to go away completely.

If you aren’t patient enough to tolerate the sickening smell for that long, then you can use one of the odor-removal methods. That could mean bringing things like baking soda and vinegar into the equation.

Each of these two household chemicals is known for their ability to absorb bad smells. So, if you’re tired of that nauseating smell, sprinkle some baking soda around the affected area. You could also put vinegar-soaked rags around the room to help with the smell.

Remember that you’ll need to put up with the smell of vinegar for a while. But, it will eventually go away, leaving you with a fresh-smelling laundry room.

When Should You Call Professional Help?

You should call professional help if the problem is out of your control. If you can’t find the source of the smell, then it may be time to call in the big guns. The same goes for if you can’t get rid of the smell on your own. Professionals have the tools and experience to deal with even the most stubborn smells.

Sometimes it’s possible to get to your wit’s end when dealing with a bad smell. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. They’ll analyze the situation and offer the best solution.

Of course, that will cost you a few more bucks than handling the problem on your own. But, it may be worth it if it means getting rid of that horrible smell for good.

Final Thoughts

A foul smell can be a nuisance, especially if it comes from your laundry room. It can make doing laundry a real chore and make your whole house smell bad. Fortunately, you can do a few things to get rid of the problem. We’ve listed some of the most effective methods above. Use our guide to pinpoint the cause of the problem. Then, you can deploy the appropriate measures to help settle the issue.