How to Get Rid of Attic Smell


If you have been noticing an unpleasant smell coming from your attic, you may be wondering what you can do to eliminate it. Not only is a bad odor from the attic unpleasant, but it can also indicate a more significant problem, such as mold growth, rodent infestations, or water damage. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to get rid of the bad smell from your attic and prevent it from returning.

Identifying the Cause of the Bad Smell

Before you can effectively eliminate the foul smell coming from your attic, you must identify the source of the odor. Here are the three most common causes of bad odors in the attic:

Checking for Dead Animals and Rodents

One of the most common reasons for a bad smell in the attic is a dead animal or rodent. This can be an unpleasant and challenging problem to deal with, but it is crucial to remove the animal as soon as possible to prevent further damage and the spread of disease. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Start by locating the dead animal. You can usually follow your nose to find the source of the odor. If you are having trouble locating the animal, try using a flashlight to search for it.
  2. Put on gloves and protective clothing to avoid touching the animal or coming into contact with any potentially harmful bacteria or viruses.
  3. Once you have located the animal, carefully remove it and place it in a garbage bag.
  4. Clean the area thoroughly with a disinfectant to kill any bacteria or viruses that may be present.

Inspecting for Mold and Mildew

Another common reason for a bad smell in the attic is mold and mildew growth. This can occur due to high humidity levels, leaks, or inadequate ventilation. Here’s how to identify and eliminate mold and mildew in your attic:

  1. Look for signs of mold and mildew growth, such as discoloration, musty odors, or water stains.
  2. Use a moisture meter to check for high humidity levels.
  3. Identify and fix any leaks or ventilation problems in your attic.
  4. Use a mold and mildew cleaner to eliminate the growth and prevent it from returning.

Detecting if There are Leaks and Moisture Problems

Finally, another common reason for bad odors in the attic is water damage. This can occur due to leaks or moisture problems. Here’s how to detect and fix leaks and moisture problems in your attic:

  1. Look for signs of water damage, such as water stains, dampness, or mold growth.
  2. Identify and fix any leaks or water entry points in your attic, such as damaged roofing or flashing.
  3. Improve ventilation and airflow in your attic to reduce humidity levels.

Cleaning the Attic

Once you have identified the cause of the bad odor in your attic, it’s time to start cleaning. Here are the steps you should follow:

Clearing Out Debris and Clutter

Start by clearing out any debris or clutter in your attic. This will make it easier to access the areas that need to be cleaned and will also help to improve ventilation and airflow.

  1. Remove any items that are no longer needed or are beyond repair.
  2. Sort through any items you want to keep, and store them in plastic bins or containers.
  3. Dispose of any items that are beyond repair or have no further use.

Vacuuming and Sweeping the Attic

Next, vacuum and sweep the attic thoroughly to remove any dust, debris, or dead insects.

  1. Use a high-powered vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris from the attic.
  2. Pay close attention to corners and edges, as these areas tend to accumulate dust and debris.
  3. Use a broom or brush to sweep any remaining dust or debris out of the attic.

Washing and Disinfecting the Attic

After vacuuming and sweeping, it’s time to wash and disinfect the attic to eliminate any remaining odors or bacteria.

  1. Mix a solution of water and a mild detergent, such as dish soap or laundry detergent.
  2. Use a mop or sponge to wash down the attic walls and floor.
  3. Rinse the walls and floor with clean water.
  4. Use a disinfectant spray to kill any remaining bacteria or viruses.

Deodorizing the Attic

Finally, deodorize the attic to eliminate any lingering odors.

  1. Use a commercial deodorizing spray or make your own by mixing water and white vinegar in equal parts.
  2. Spray the solution generously throughout the attic. Do not overspray as you do not want to get anything fully wet.
  3. Leave the solution to dry naturally.

Preventing Future Odors

Once you have eliminated the bad odor from your attic, it’s important to take steps to prevent it from returning. Here are some tips:

Regular Maintenance and Inspection

Perform regular inspections of your attic to detect any signs of water damage, mold growth, or rodent infestations. Fix any issues immediately to prevent them from becoming more significant problems.

Proper Ventilation

Ensure that your attic has proper ventilation to reduce humidity levels and prevent mold and mildew growth. Consider installing an attic fan or adding vents if necessary.


Proper insulation can help to prevent temperature fluctuations, reduce energy costs, and prevent moisture buildup in your attic. Ensure that your attic is adequately insulated, and add more insulation if necessary.

Final Thoughts on Attic Smell

A bad odor coming from your attic can be an unpleasant and concerning problem. However, with the steps outlined in this guide, you can effectively identify the cause of the odor, clean and disinfect your attic, and prevent it from returning. By performing regular maintenance and inspections and ensuring proper ventilation and insulation, you can keep your attic smelling fresh and clean for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions About Attic Smell

Can I use bleach to clean my attic?

It’s not recommended to use bleach to clean your attic as it can be harmful to your health and can damage your attic materials.

How can I prevent rodents from entering my attic?

To prevent rodents from entering your attic, ensure that all entry points are sealed, and store any food items in sealed containers.

How can I improve ventilation in my attic?

You can improve ventilation in your attic by installing vents, adding an attic fan, or ensuring that your attic insulation is not blocking airflow.

How often should I inspect my attic for water damage or mold growth?

You should inspect your attic at least once a year for any signs of water damage, mold growth, or rodent infestations.

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