6 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Rats

black rat
Photo by Shashank Kumawat on

The roof rat and Norway rat are the most common rat pests in the U.S. They will invite themselves into your home and camp there.

These rodents not only damage your property, but they are a health risk to humans and pets. This is why you need to get rid of rats fast and ensure they do not return.


To succeed, you need to understand what factors attract rodents into your home. Once you do, you can effectively get rid of them.

What Attracts Rats Into Your Home

It would be best to find what entices rats into your home so that you do not find yourself with a bunch of newcomers every few months. Rats primarily come to your home looking for food, shelter, and water. These rodents will be attracted by smells from pet food, barbeque grills, garbage containers, pet waste, and unharvested/fallen fruits and nuts.

Regarding shelter, rats love to take cover in an overgrown and stationary area. Suitable habitats for mice and rats include debris, wood, compost piles, and dense shrubbery. Water sources like leaky faucets, water bowls for pets, irrigation lines, and swimming pools attract rats.

Let us look at practical ways to get rid of rats.

How to Get Rid of Rats

soft focus of mice through walls
Photo by David Bartus on

1.     Inspect Your Home and Seal the Gaps

Conduct home inspection, inside and out, to find where the rats are coming from. Pay attention to obvious access points like the spaces in the foundation, damaged drains, or gaps and cracks in your garage.

Once you find these entry gaps, seal them with cement, wire wool, metal kick plates, or caulk for long-lasting results. Remember that any gap where your two fingers fit is enough for a rat to squeeze in.

Hiring a pest control expert is best if you cannot trace how these rodents are entering your home. They will analyze your home and find potential causes.

2.     Clean the Clutter

Rats prefer to take shelter in dark, hidden areas. This is why you must remove all debris piles, compost piles, wood, and ground covers around your home.

Clean pipes and drains regularly. Declutter your home, too, and reduce the number of furniture and equipment on your walls.

3.     Eliminate Food Sources

You do not want to welcome rats into your home by providing food sources. Therefore, store dry food in sealed containers and trash in closed bins. Additionally, clean up any spills and do not leave food sitting on your counters.

4.     Use Repellent Odors

pepper pod on powder of ground spices
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

There are three types of rat repellant odors: natural, chemical, and predator.

Natural Odors

Natural odors such as peppermint oil, chili powder, eucalyptus, and citronella have been found to get rid of rats.

·       Peppermint Oil

Apply a few drops of peppermint oil to a cotton ball. Place the cotton balls in rat-infested areas; if you are looking for a long-term solution, plant peppermints around your home.

·       Chili Powder

Sprinkle the powder where there are signs of rat activity daily. Chili powder irritates the rat’s nasal passage when inhaled and will keep the rodent away.

·       Eucalyptus

It has a milder scent than peppermint oil but is still effective. To keep rodents at bay, dilute the eucalyptus solution in 5%, 10%, or 20% concentrations.

·       Citronella

Citronella repels both rats and mice. Rats exposed to citronella oil experience reduced appetite and weight loss. This is why they avoid areas sprayed with it.

Chemical Smells

Ammonia, bleach, and mothballs can also help you get rid of rats.

·       Ammonia

It mimics the scent given off by cats and other predators. To make an ammonia repellant solution, take two cups of ammonia, two spoons of detergent, and 6.5 oz. of water and mix. Place the solution where rats pass through.

·       Bleach

Apart from cleaning your home, bleach can also keep rats away. Dilute it with water and place it in a rat-infested area. You can also use bleach to disinfect areas with rat urine and droppings.

·       Mothballs

These are balls made of naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. They are intended to kill moths, larvae, and eggs and keep rats and mice away. Mothballs are not a safe solution for homes with kids and pets because their scent lingers long after the rats are gone.

Predator Smell

Rats will keep away from areas with predator smells like a cat, raccoon, or ferret. Owning a cat or ferret will surely decrease the number of rodents in your home.

5.     Set Rat Traps

close up shot of a small mouse escaping from a trap
Photo by ‫צור אייזקס‬‎ on

There are different types of effective rat traps. But you must consider their pros and cons to choose your best solution. Examples of rat traps include:

·       Traditional Snap Trap

This trap is still effective to date. You can lure the rat or mouse into the bait using hazelnut or peanut butter. Cotton balls, yarn, and dental floss will come in handy during the cold months. This is because rats focus on building nests during the cold seasons and look for these building materials.

·       Bait Boxes

These can effectively lure in rats so you can feed them poison. The poison has a pleasant smell, and when ingested, rats die from internal hemorrhages, liver, kidney, or heart failure. One disadvantage of using bait boxes is that rats die in inaccessible places, and you may have to face their decaying smell. It would be best to set these traps outdoors to prevent this.

·       Glue Traps

They are inhumane and, at times, ineffective. Glue traps are boards, strips, or trays made with synthetic or natural glue. The glue traps the rodent, which may take days to die from dehydration and pain. Other times, the rat may break free.

·       Electronic Rat Trap

It is the most effective rat trap today. It lures the rodent in with food, and once it steps onto the metal plate, it is immediately electrocuted. The death is nearly instant, which is more humane than snap, glue, and poisonous traps.

·       Live Catch Trap

If you want to get rid of the rats without killing them, use a live catch rat trap. It is the recommendable approach if you have kids and pets. The trap implements the rat’s natural curiosity to investigate and then captures it.  When you find a captured rat, free it 300 feet from your home or anywhere it can cause harm.

6.     Call an Expert

You can hire professional pest control services to help you get rid of rats. Rat populations increase rapidly. A single rat can give birth to more than 1500 babies a year – that’s right!

So, if you notice rat droppings, greasy tracks, or presence, call an experienced technician. They will help you inspect rat activity and give you a range of safe treatments, tested solutions, and pest prevention advice.


grey mouse carrying food
Photo by Monique Laats on

Do not let a rat or mouse terrorize your home. These rodents are destructive and are a health risk to you and your family.

Fortunately, you can get rid of rats. If you have kids and pets in your home, it would be best to avoid chemicals and poisons. Instead, use live bait traps, natural and predator odors, or call a professional pest control service.

Please let us know if you have tried any method shared above in the comment section and how it turned out. You can also share this piece with friends experiencing rat infestation.

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