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The stench of a dead animal can linger for long after the animal itself has gone, although a good "airing-out" of the property can go a long way to helping you get rid of the smell. You will want to open every single window in the house, even when they are not on the same level as the one on which the animal died. Depending on where this animal has died, you may find that the smell gets worse as you turn on certain units in your home, such as air conditioning or heating. This is why you will need to flush out your entire home, getting rid of the bad, smelly air and replacing it with good, fresh, wholesome-smelling air.
If you don't remove the animal, the smell will just get worse and worse. It will die down, one day, but that day could be years down the line, and each room of your house will just smell worse and worse with each day that passes.
If you do remove the animal, you may still find that the smell seems to get worse before it gets better, but with appropriate and thorough cleaning, you should find that it doesn't stick around for too long.
In order to speed this process along (and we're going to assume that you have already removed the carcass in question), there are a few things that you can do, alongside leaving all the windows and doors open.
If there is any material left behind that the animal might have come into contact with, remove it. Wear gloves as you do this, and also consider wearing a breathing mask and eye protection too. Place the material in a bag that is clearly labelled (write on it with paint if necessary), and remember to add all the stuff you use — gloves, etc., in there to dispose of safely too.
This material could be vast. In the attic, it could mean the entire attic insulation area, and even some of your personal belongings. If the animal is a bat, you will need to be very careful how you clean up the guano, or bat droppings. These are well known to spread around a disease spore that causes histoplasmosis when it is dried up and swept around, so that's a job best left to a vacuum cleaner. Sweeping is no good for here.
If the animal has died lower down in the house, you will need to make sure that you have removed the animal, as well as any nesting material, and you will also need to ensure that there aren't any other dead animals scattered around too. In the case of a raccoon, it's very rarely just the one animal. It will almost always be a mother with her young. If you have found the dead mother, there's a good chance that the babies will still be in a nest somewhere, and if you don't find them, they will also die. And then you'll just need to find them and dispose of them alter on, when that smell gets bad too.
Only once all matter has been removed can you then go ahead and start cleaning, and we would highly recommend using a very strong biological enzyme cleaner to start with. You can work with disinfectants and bleach products later on, but right now, you need to make sure that you have broken down all potentially dangerous or hazardous biological matter that the dead animal will have left behind.
Anything that you can't clean, or can't be sure you have cleaned enough, will need to be disposed of and replaced. This isn't the time to throw caution to the wind.
A thorough cleaning process will help the stench of a dead animal to go away quicker, as can regular sprays with air freshener. Of course, the best approach is always to make sure that an animal can't get in to die anyway …
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does dead animal removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of dead animals - my main dead animal removal info guide.
Example dead animal removal photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Dead animal job blog - learn from great examples of dead animal jobs I've done.