When it comes to unpleasant smells, few things can compare to the stench of dried rat urine. The ammoniac scent is overwhelming, and it seems to linger in the air long after the source of the odor has been removed.
Dried rat urine isn’t hard to spot. From a distance, it looks like a small brown or yellowish stain on the floor or other surfaces. Up close, you can see that the stain is made up of tiny crystals.
These crystals are actually uric acid, which is a waste product that is produced when rats metabolize protein. Uric acid is soluble in water, so it’s not surprising that it would leave behind a residue when the urine evaporates.
The smell of dried rat urine is so strong because uric acid is a volatile compound. This means that it easily evaporates and diffuses into the air, which is why the odor seems to linger. Aside from its foul-smelling odor, rat’s urine may also transmit and carry diseases.
What Makes Up a Rat’s Urine?
Generally speaking, rat’s urine smells similarly to other animal’s urine, and even those of humans. It contains urea and water, as well as other waste products like uric acid. Urea is made up of nitrogen and carbon, and it’s what gives urine its characteristic ammonia-like smell.
This is probably one of the major reasons why the smell of dried rat urine is so overpowering. When the water in urine evaporates, all that’s left behind is a concentrated mixture of urea and other waste products.
Additionally, it also contains calcium, which is one of the reasons why rat’s urine may leave a chalky-like residue behind. Calcium is a white, insoluble compound, so it doesn’t dissolve in water and may be left behind as the urine dries up.
Common Dangers of Dried Rat Urine
If you think finding a dead rat is bad, just wait until you see what comes out of their bodies when they’re alive.
While a rat’s urine may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a rodent infestation, it’s actually one of the most dangerous things about having rats in your home.
Here are five gross things about rat pee or urine that will make you never want to come in contact with it again.
It’s Loaded with Bacteria
Rat urine is teeming with bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella. In fact, multiple studies have shown that their waste is known to be carriers of various diseases such as leptospirosis and tularemia.
These diseases are sometimes fatal, so it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with coming in contact with rat urine.
Hantavirus is another disease that’s commonly associated with rodents, targeting the respiratory system. It’s a serious illness that can cause severe respiratory distress. Sadly, there’s no found cure for this. Treatments and medications are given to patients to alleviate the symptoms, but the virus often proves to be too much for the body to handle.
It Can Lead to Allergies and Respiratory Problems
Aside from the various diseases that rat urine can transmit, it can also cause allergies and respiratory problems. The proteins found in their urine can trigger asthma attacks in people who are sensitive to them. Inhaling dust that’s contaminated with rat urine can also lead to a condition called farmer’s lung, which is a type of hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
Wearing rubber gloves and a mask protects you not just from the bacteria in the urine, but also from the harmful particles that may be released into the air when you clean up their mess.
Rat urine is actually quite acidic, and it can eat through a lot of different materials. This is why you often see holes or stains on clothing, furniture, and other surfaces where rats have urinated.
The acidity of their urine can also damage your skin, so it’s important to wear gloves when cleaning up after them.
You Might Not Even Know You’re Standing in It
One of the most dangerous things about rat urine is that it’s often invisible, so you might not even know you’re standing in it. Clear surfaces like glass and metal provide a reflection that makes it easy to spot, but on surfaces like concrete, wood, and carpet, it’s often invisible.
With that being said, if you see droppings around your home, it’s safe to assume that there’s urine in the area as well. It’s best to err on the side of caution and assume that any surface in your home could be contaminated with rat urine.
Carefully clean any areas where you suspect there might be rat urine, and wash your hands thoroughly after coming in contact with any surfaces that may have been contaminated.
Common Areas Where Rat Urine Can Be Found Inside Your Home
Where could be the rat smell coming from? Learning all the dangers of rat urine should be enough to make you want to get rid of any rodents in your home as soon as possible, but sometimes it’s not that easy to find where they’re hiding.
Rat urine can actually be found in a few different places inside your home. Here are just a few of the most common areas:
In and Out Your Trash Cans
When rats infest a home, one of their first orders of business is finding a food source. Unfortunately, for homeowners, rats will pretty much eat anything – including garbage. So, if you’ve started to notice rats rummaging through your trash cans or knocking them over in search of food, there’s a good chance their urine could be in there too.
On or Around Food Storage Containers
Rats will often try to get into food storage containers in search of something to eat. And, when they do, they often leave behind urine stains and an unpleasant odor. If you’ve noticed a rat problem in your home, be sure to check all of your food storage containers for evidence of rats.
On Your Floors and Furniture
Rats will often urinate on floors and furniture as they travel through your home in search of food or a place to nest. If you’ve started to notice an increase in the number of urine stains in your home, it’s a good indication that you have a rat problem.
Underneath Your Sink
The humidity and darkness underneath your sink make it the perfect place for rats to nest. And, since rats will urinate wherever they go, there’s a good chance their urine is lurking beneath your sink.
In Your Attic or Crawl Space
Rats often take up residence in attics and crawl spaces because they offer a safe place to nest and plenty of hiding places. If you’ve started to notice rats in your home, be sure to check these areas for evidence of their urine.
Rat pee has the same composition of human or other animal urine. When dried, it looks like a white or light yellow powder and has a very strong ammonia smell.
Depending on the size of rat that’s inside your home, its size can range from one-half to three-eighths of an inch.
Leaving off urine to dry will create a pungent smell. The best way to remove the urine is by using gloves, bleach, and water.
It’s also important to remember that rats will often urinate wherever they travel in your home. With that being said, seeing a few urine stains around your home is a flag that you may have a rat problem.
If you do, make sure that you take action and try to address the rat problem as soon as you can – before it gets even worse.