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What's the Best Home Remedy to Get Rid of Rats?

Updated on: October 23, 2020

When pests like rats invade your home, it can be hard to get rid of them. Worse, rats pose an inherent risk to the health and safety of your family. Rats are known to transmit diseases, contaminate food, and gnaw through objects inside your house such as electrical wires. If you have spotted rat droppings or heard critters scurrying around, then it’s time to take care of your rat infestation problem

So what are the best home remedies to get rid of rats and mice? Many blogs on the internet swear on natural remedies such as peppermint oil, hot pepper flakes, and other alternatives. However, the results of these methods are not consistently effective. The most effective home remedies to get rid of rats are actually a combination of methods: sanitation, inspection, exclusion, baiting, and trapping. 

The Best Home Remedies To Get Rid of Rats

If you’re planning to get rid of rats by yourself, the home remedies you need are a combination of techniques. Keeping your house clean, figuring out where the rats are hiding, sealing off possible entrances, and learning how to bait and trap rodents are the steps you need to follow in order to protect your home. 


Rats love mess. They like nothing more than to find tight spaces and hidey holes to camp out and eat food in. The smartest thing to do is to keep your house free of clutter and to keep your food locked up in sealed containers, rather than bags or sacks. Your garbage can lids should be tightly closed as well. 

If you have pets, avoid leaving their half-full food and water bowls out at night. Rats can supply most of their water needs from moisty food, but it’s still safer to hide possible water sources from them. 

Rodents, mice and other pests appreciate the crumbs you leave behind and make nests out of your clutter. When your house is free of these, rats will find other places to live. They are also naturally suspicious, so they will steer clear if they notice changes in your environment.


Once you’ve cleaned up, it’s time to track down where the rats are living in your home. Mice and rats are nocturnal animals so they’re mostly active at night. Even though they won’t be caught during the day, you can spot signs of their presence including their droppings, noises in the dark, nests in hidden areas, evidence of gnawed wires or wood, burrows around the yard, and smudge marks along the walls of your house. Identifying their location allows you to set up traps and bait easily. 


House mice and rats can fit through the cracks in your wall. One of the easiest preventative measures (and cure) for this problem is to seal off all visible cracks and crevices. You can also check drainage points as rats tend to climb into bathrooms and laundry rooms from the sewers. When you seal off these entrances, you prevent them from entering your home. Keep in mind that rats tend to be easier than mice to keep out, as rats are much larger and won’t be able to fit in as many spaces.


Baits for rats and mice can either be baits used in traps or those that can poison rats without trapping them. For rat traps, you can use bait like peanut butter, fruits, vegetables, cereals, or meat and place the traps near rat holes. Note that it may take some time before the rats approach the bait. 

You can also set up bait stations that rats can enter and consume rodenticide. These bait stations are ideal as they protect the bait from being accidentally ingested by young children or pets. One of the most popular lures for rats is a mixture of cocoa powder and plaster of paris. 

The smell of chocolate powder attracts rats, prompting them to eat the plaster of paris with cocoa powder. The plaster of paris will poison them as it combines with the water and fluids in their body, hardening their gastrointestinal tracts. 


If the rat population inside your house is small enough, trapping can yield quick results. It also provides an alternative to people who don’t want to place rodenticides or if you prefer to dispose of dead rats immediately. Place traps where rat signs have been sighted and other out-of-the way areas. Some traps to consider include:

  • Snap traps: Wooden or plastic traps are inexpensive remedies to get rid of rats. Be sure to use rat traps rather than small mouse traps, which are unlikely to kill or hold rodents.
  • Live traps: Live traps allow rodents to get in but not get out. When the rat enters the hole, the mechanism snaps it closed on the other side. Once the rodent is captured, it must either be humanely killed or released where it won’t reenter the home and cause harm to others. 
  • Glue boards: You can try glue boards and sticky traps, but they may not be effective against large rodents - which can pull themselves loose from the glue or drag the board around its body.

Debunking Myths About Natural Rat Remedies

There are a lot of DIY home remedies to get rid of rats floating around the internet that claim to work - and they do, but not frequently. You might be wasting time trying out natural deterrents while the rats and mice are busy multiplying. Even if you do manage to hold them back, it may not be a permanent solution that prevents them from reentering your home. That leaves us the question: which of the DIY home remedies can we do without? 

  • Onions: One of the most enduring theories about rodents is that rats and mice don’t like any pungent smell. This is why a lot of people say the smell of onions can work against rats. However, rats and mice can survive living in sewers so the pungent smell of onions might not matter much to them. Onions also rot quickly and are toxic for other animals such as dogs, so they aren’t the ideal choice to repel rats with. 
  • Garlic: Garlic is a popular remedy against rodents because people assume that rats and mice don’t like its strong smell. Some people recommend mixing chopped garlic with water and sprinkling it around your house. The problem is that even if garlic can briefly drive them away, they can get used to the aroma and return. And then your home will smell like garlic all day long. 
  • Peppermint oil: Rats may have a sensitive sense of smell but they might enjoy peppermint oil, rather than be repelled by it. Like other essential oils, peppermint oil will evaporate after a while and the smell will disappear. Even with large quantities of peppermint oil, rats could still come back to your home. 
  • Pepper flakes: Sprinkling pepper along your hallways might not be a permanent solution against rats. Even if they are deterred by the powerful smell and pain caused by the spiciness, they could still come back. You would also need to constantly place pepper along hideouts, entry points, and corners - which can be time consuming and inefficient. 
  • Cat litter: On its own, cat litter might not scare away rodents. It’s the scent of cat urine that will keep mice and rats far away. However, it is not hygienic to spread used cat litter around your home - so this method isn’t a great solution either. 

Checklist: How To Protect Your Home From Rodents 

Tired of waging war against tiny pests or nervous that they might make an appearance at your house soon? Prevention is always better than the cure, so take these steps to keep your home rodent-free: 

  • Maintain your house: Regular repairs and upkeep can prevent rodents from finding ways to break inside your home. 
  • Seal off entrances: Inspect all tiny cracks and crevices on your property then seal them off. You can also stuff steel wool into tiny holes as rodents can’t chew through it. 
  • Take out the trash: Cleanliness is the key against infestations so always keep your home cleared of clutter, scraps, and food crumbs. 
  • Have regular inspections: The dark, unused spaces inside your house are where pests like to lurk so it’s important to check these regularly and destroy the nests built there. 

PermaKill Exterminating - The Safest Pest Control Service In NJ 

You can’t rely on home remedies to get rid of pests. When the infestation is severe, it’s always better to call in the pros. 

PermaKill Exterminating has been serving New Jersey since 1984. We specialize in providing safe, scientifically proven treatments against pests to meet your specific requirements. Our licensed technicians are trained in all the latest technologies and techniques so they can serve you better. Schedule a home inspection with us today.

Learn more: Do Electronic Rodent Repellents Really Work?


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