How To Get Rid of Rats and Prevent Them From Coming Back!

Sick of rats turning your place into their playground and wrecking stuff? You’ve got company. These uninvited guests are a real headache, chewing through a whopping $19 billion in the US every single year. But hey, there’s hope! We’re gonna show you the ropes on kicking rats to the curb for good. From spotting the signs of these sneaky squatters to picking the best traps, whipping up some natural rat-scare potions, and safely using rat poison, we’ve got it all covered. Ready to show those rats the exit? Let’s get the ball rolling and send those critters packing!

Key Takeaways On How To Get Rid Of Rats

  1. Identify rat infestations through common signs such as droppings, gnaw marks and sounds/odors.
  2. Utilize professional intervention to seal access points, properly manage waste and maintain the yard.
  3. Monitor regularly & adjust strategies based on effectiveness of current methods for long term success in controlling rats.

Identifying Rat Infestations

Early detection of a rat infestation mitigates significant damage and potential health risks to both humans and domestic animals. Rats, including roof rats and Norway rats, are social creatures and tend to live in packs. Therefore, signs of their presence can be observed in the form of droppings, gnaw marks, and sounds or odors.

We’ll delve into these signs more thoroughly to assist you in determining whether you have a rat problem.

Identifying Rat Infestations


Rat droppings are a definitive indication of an infestation and necessitate prompt action, especially when accompanied by the presence of dead rats. These small, dark droppings can be found in areas where rats frequent, such as near food sources and along their travel routes.

Don’t forget to spot active rat entry points such as grease marks, runways, and urine stains when setting rat bait. Secure these entry points with steel wool, caulk, or other materials to prevent conditions that attract rats.

Gnaw Marks

Gnaw marks are telltale signs of rat presence and can indicate potential damage caused by rodents, including roof rats. Rats are capable of gnawing through softer concrete, aluminum, wood, and plastic. They can inflict significant damage on property by gnawing through electrical cords, furniture, paper, and storage containers.

Early detection of these gnaw marks can enable you to manage the infestation before it escalates.

Sounds and Odors

Audible scurrying and a musky odor may be indicative of a rat infestation. The presence of urine and oils produced by rats in their fur can lead to a strong, ammonia-like smell in enclosed spaces. If you hear scratching or scurrying noises in your walls, ceiling, or floorboards, or notice an unpleasant odor, it’s likely that rats have found their way into your home.

In addition to these signs, be aware of scents that may draw rats to your yard, such as:

  1. pet waste
  2. pet food
  3. garbage containers
  4. barbecue grills
  5. bird feeders
  6. unharvested fruit and nuts from plants.

How To Get Rid Of Rats In Your Home

Armed with the knowledge of identifying a rat infestation, it’s time to confront and eliminate these unwelcome pests. To effectively eliminate rats from your home, you’ll need to focus on three main areas: sealing access points, managing waste appropriately, and maintaining your yard.

Tackling these areas will foster a less appealing environment for rats, leading to a reduction in their presence within your home.

Sealing Access Points

One of the most effective ways to deter rats from entering your home is to prevent rats from gaining access. Start by inspecting vents, drains, appliance lines, and other potential access points to identify any gaps or holes where rats may be entering. Seal these entry points with materials such as wire wool, metal kick plates, cement, and caulk.

Continually check these sealed areas to confirm they stay intact and rat-proof.

Sealing Access Points

In my testing, I’ve also seen some good results by using smells that rats hate such as essential oils.

Proper Waste Management

Proper waste management is key to cutting off food sources for rats. Ensure that trash cans are securely closed at all times. Dispose of garbage and food waste in sealed containers, and clean up any food spills promptly.

Avoid leaving pet food out in the open, as this can also attract rats to your home. By practicing proper waste management, you can reduce the chances of rats finding a food source in your home.

Yard Maintenance

Keeping your yard clean and in good condition is pivotal in stopping rats from infiltrating your home. Regularly remove fallen leaves, clear away any junk piles, and trim trees away from your roof to prevent roof rats from gaining access.

Be mindful of areas that may be prone to rat infestations due to overgrowth, such as:

  1. piles of wood
  2. brush
  3. debris
  4. compost piles
  5. dense shrubbery
  6. ground covers
  7. ivy

By keeping your yard tidy and free of potential hiding spots, you can deter rats from making a home on your property.

Choosing the Right Rat Traps

Trapping forms a significant part of rat control, and selecting an appropriate rat trap and the best bait for your rat traps for your circumstances can be game-changing. There are several types of rat traps available, including snap traps, electronic rat traps, and live catch traps. Each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to understand how they work and which one is best suited for your needs.

Snap traps are the most common type of rat trap and are relatively inexpensive. They are easy to use.

Snap Traps

Snap traps are a popular and effective method for capturing and eliminating rats. They use a quick trigger system to snap shut and capture the rodent once it has been lured onto the trap.

While snap traps are easy to set up and highly effective, they can pose a danger to children and pets who may accidentally trigger the trap. When using snap traps, follow these safety precautions:

  1. Place them in areas inaccessible to children and pets.
  2. Check the traps regularly to ensure they are functioning properly.
  3. Remove any trapped rodents promptly.

By following these guidelines, you can safely and effectively use snap traps to control rodents.

Electronic Rat Traps

Electronic rat traps provide a humane and efficient solution for rat control. These battery-powered traps deliver a high-voltage shock to kill rats instantly upon entering the trap.

While electronic traps are effective, it’s essential to ensure the batteries are working before use. Place electronic traps in areas where rats are likely to travel, such as along walls or near food sources, and check them periodically to ensure proper functioning and to remove any trapped rodents.

Electronic Rat Traps

Live Catch Traps

Live catch traps offer a humane solution for capturing and relocating rats without causing harm. These traps are designed to capture the rat alive, allowing for its safe relocation away from your property. To use live catch traps, bait them with food such as peanut butter or cheese, and place them in areas where rats are likely to travel.

Check the traps regularly, and once a rat is caught, transport the trap to a safe location away from your residence to release the rat. Keep in mind that live catch traps require more frequent monitoring and can be labor-intensive compared to other trap options.

Natural Deterrents and Repellents

If you prefer a more natural approach to rat control, there are several natural deterrents and repellents that can help keep rats away. Essential oils, plants, and spices can be used to create an environment that is uninviting to rats.

We’ll delve into these natural solutions more thoroughly.

Essential Oils

Essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, and citronella can be used as natural deterrents for rats. The strong scent of these oils is unpleasant to rats and can help keep them at bay.

To use essential oils:

  1. Mix a few drops with water in a spray bottle.
  2. Spray the solution around your home’s entry points and areas where rats are likely to travel.
  3. Reapply the essential oil solution as needed to maintain its effectiveness.


Plant mint, garlic, and bay leaves in your yard and around your home’s perimeter can help deter rats from your property. These plants produce strong scents that rats find unpleasant, creating a natural barrier that can discourage them from entering your home.

Additionally, other plants such as basil, lavender, lemongrass, lemon thyme, rosemary, catnip, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and citronella grass can be used to keep rats and other pests away.


Spices like cayenne pepper, black pepper, and mustard powder are also effective in repelling rats. Sprinkle these spices in areas where rats are likely to enter your home, such as near doorways, windows, and vents. The strong smell of the spices will repel the rodents and prevent them from entering your home.

Remember to reapply the spices as needed to maintain their effectiveness.

Safe Use of Rodenticides

Although rodenticides can successfully eradicate rat infestations, they pose risks for humans, pets, and wildlife. Understanding these risks and responsible use of rodenticides is paramount.

This section will delve into the risks and benefits of rodenticides, safe application practices, and the appropriate time to engage a professional pest control service.

Safe Use of Rodenticides

Risks and Benefits

Rodenticides can be a useful tool in efficiently eliminating rat populations. However, they can also pose a risk to humans, pets, and wildlife if not used correctly.

Additionally, they may be costly and require multiple applications. When considering the use of rodenticides, it’s essential to weigh the potential risks and benefits and explore alternative rat control methods if necessary.

That being said, because rats can have many babies during a single litter, in severe infestations, rodenticides might be needed to keep up with the size of the infestation.

Safe Application

When utilizing rodenticides, it’s important to read and adhere to the label instructions diligently. This includes wearing protective apparel, using the product in an area with ample ventilation, and disposing of the product in an appropriate manner.

Always ensure that rodenticides are placed out of reach of children and pets, and consider using bait stations, which are protective boxes designed to contain poison and prevent accidental access.

When to Call a Professional

If you find that rodenticides are not effective in addressing your rat infestation or if the infestation is severe, it’s advisable to enlist the services of a professional pest control company. Professionals have the expertise and equipment to:

  1. Identify the access points of rats
  2. Locate their nesting and food storage areas
  3. Extract them from your walls while minimizing additional damage to your home

Additionally, they can help to identify the underlying cause of the infestation and implement strategies to prevent re-occurrence.

Monitoring and Ongoing Prevention

Sustaining a rat-free home involves constant monitoring and execution of ongoing preventive measures. Regular inspections, preventive measures, and periodic strategy adjustments are key to ensuring long-term success in rat control.

This section will delve into these strategies more thoroughly.

Regular Inspections

Regular inspections play a key role in early identification and management of rat infestations. It’s recommended to inspect your home at least once a month. During these inspections, look for signs of rat activity such as droppings, gnaw marks, and sounds or odors.

If you detect any of these signs, take immediate action to address the infestation and prevent further damage.

Preventive Measures

Beyond regular inspections, preventive measures aid in keeping rats from infiltrating your home. As discussed earlier, sealing entry points and practicing proper waste management are crucial in keeping rats at bay.

Additionally, maintain your yard by removing potential hiding spots and food sources for rats, such as piles of wood, brush, debris, and unharvested fruits or nuts from plants.

How To Get Rid of Rats and Prevent Them From Coming Back

Adjusting Strategies

Rat control is a continuous process, requiring regular strategy adjustments to guarantee long-term success. Monitor the effectiveness of your rat control methods and make necessary adjustments to keep your home rat-free. Understanding rat behavior can play a crucial role in this process.

If you find that your current strategies are not working, consider exploring alternative methods or seeking professional assistance to address the issue effectively.

Final Thoughts On How To Get Rid of Rats

In conclusion, addressing rat infestations is crucial for maintaining a healthy and safe living environment. By identifying rat infestations early, choosing the right rat traps, using natural deterrents and repellents, and employing safe rodenticide usage, you can effectively control and eradicate rats from your home. Remember, it’s essential to monitor and implement ongoing prevention measures to ensure long-term success in keeping rats at bay. Now it’s time to take action and reclaim your home from these pesky rodents!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get rid of rats fast?

The most effective way to get rid of rats fast is to use a combination of pest control, removing food sources, setting snap traps, and using baits and poisons.

Additionally, cleaning up the yard, inspecting vents, attracting natural predators, and using dry ice and electronic rat traps can help in getting rid of rats quickly.

What will make rats go away?

Rats can be repelled using strong scents, such as peppermint, chili pepper, eucalyptus, citronella and sagebrush essential oils, as well as chemical smells like ammonia and bleach.

What are the signs of a rat infestation?

Signs of a rat infestation include droppings, gnaw marks, sounds of scurrying, and musky odors.

These signs can be found in areas where rats are likely to hide, such as attics, basements, and crawl spaces. If you suspect a rat infestation, it is important to take action quickly to prevent further damage.

What types of rat traps are available for use?

Rat traps come in many varieties, including snap traps, electronic rat traps, and live catch traps.

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