OK, here are a few ways to repel rats. Let’s start with the basics.
Clutter free home
It doesn’t require a PHD to realize that rats will probably avoid living, breeding, building their nests and searching for food on a sparkling clean property. So keep your house clean (and that includes your basement, garage and barn too), get rid of your garbage in time, etc. This way, even if you’re dealing with a few rodents here and there, there is a good chance to stop a bigger infestation from taking place. The cleaner your house, the better. And you’ll be a happier home-owner this way – guaranteed!
Counter-Argument: Quite often, rats tend to infest walls and the attic of your house, so even though you do everything possible to keep your property clean, take out the trash in time, etc, a clutter-less property is still no big reason for these rodents to stay away. Sometimes they tend not to give a damn and will simply create the mess themselves first, then start breeding. Sorry, it is the way it works ;-)
Yep, growing mint in your garden is probably the most cost effective way to repel rats naturally since it’s ‘almost’ free and these are known to hate the smell, the plant and everything in between associated with peppermint. Rats hate mint and any other herbal aromas. Period. They cannot stand it. Thousands of home-owners claim to have personally tested this multiple times. They say it works. So, plant either mint, spearmint or citronella plants in your garden. Not only it’s nice to always have some fresh mint to use when cooking and brewing tea maybe, but it may indeed repel rats away from your house. So if you’re looking for a truly natural DIY rat control option, check mint.
Counter-Argument: You may be able to keep certain rodents like mice and maybe even a few bigger rats away from your property if you have mint planted in your garden, but chances are quite big this WON’T HELP at all when dealing with a serious rat infestation.
‘But I don’t want to grow mint in my garden Jeff! Is there another option? Does peppermint oil repel rats?’ Yes, there is.
The lazy method for homeowners who don’t want to plant and grow mint in their garden, a.k.a peppermint oil also works fine. Don’t plant mint, repel rats naturally by simply spending less than $10 USD on peppermint oil. You can buy it online, via Amazon. Drip up to to 4-5 drops on a cotton ball, then place it in those spots where rats appear more often. By the way, castor and citronella oils are good alternative options as well.
Here are our recommended top 5 rat repelling products either 100% or partially based on peppermint oil and their producers, currently available on Amazon. You may want to check them out:
1. Peppermint Oil (by Now Foods)
2. Vitacost 100% Pure Peppermint Oil (by Vitacost Brand)
3. Mouse Away Concentrate (by SomaTherapy)
4. Bonide 12-Pack Mouse Magic Pest Repellents (by Bonide)
5. Critter Out Mouse & Rat Repellent (by Critter Out)
Counter-Argument: Some rat control experts are totally against using peppermint oil as a do it yourself rat control solution, claiming they’ve been able to use this particular scent as bait for their traps, LOL! I don’t know if this claim is false, or, once again, these guys are trying to sell their pest control services, but one thing is for sure: you won’t be able to stop a hungry pack of several hundred rats with just peppermint oil, no matter how pure or strong its scent is, how cool the brand of the company that produces it is, or how expensive the product is.
Naphthalene (moth) balls
People may argue if these can be regarded as a natural way to deter rats, but we decided to include them here. Naphthalene is created from an organic compound anyway. Using naphthalene balls is quite simple. Place and keep them in places like sewage lines, toilets, sinks and cupboards. The aroma emitted by naphthalene balls will make rats go away. As with mint, they hate it. Some homeowners report rats have suddenly disappeared after using moth balls. So don’t be afraid to use (or at least try) naphthalene balls to repel rats.
Counter-Argument: EPA.gov has classified naphthalene as a group C, possible human carcinogen (means people may actually get cancer when dealing too much with it). Also, studies show that moth balls have quite a high level of toxicity and therefore poison the environment.
Liquid rat repellents
These type of repellents are designed to scare rats, and consist of scents spread by the most fearful rodent’s predator ever, the cat. And we all know rats hate cats, right? ;-) Another interesting thing about good quality liquid rat repellents (which can be easily purchased on Amazon nowadays) is the fact that their smell usually don’t bother us, humans, meaning that you can basically spray them all over the infested areas, even inside your house and not worry about dealing with any unpleasant scent yourself. Please note, most liquid deterrents of this kind are based on predator urine (bobcat, coyote, etc). Some people even tend to use kitty/cat liter to deter rats.
Counter-Argument: It is said that rats have been living in their natural habitat since the beginning of times and therefore, got used to searching for food, existing and breeding in the close proximity of a deadly predator. Nevertheless, we are once again dealing with the endless debate between professional pest removal companies and firms who produce such liquid rat repellents.
Ultrasonic rat repellents or electronic rat repellents (electronic – since they need batteries to be powered on) a.k.a high pitched sound machines work by emitting a high frequency sound which rats hear (and supposedly cannot stand), but humans don’t. Their main goal is to keep rats away.
Counter-Argument: On May 3rd, 2001, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) warned manufacturers and retailers of ultrasonic pest control devices to abstain themselves from falsely advertising their products as extremely efficient against rats and other pest, taking into consideration the real effect of these devices has been slowly diminishing through out out the years; rats simply got used to it already, heh.
Here are the top 5 ultrasonic rat deterrents, currently available on Amazon, that I recommend:
1. Black & Decker EP1100-A Ultrasonic Pest Repeller (by Black & Decker)
2. Ultrasonic Electronic High Power Pest Repeller (by DTMCare)
3. Home Sentinel 5 in 1 Indoor Home Pest Control Repeller (by Aspectek)
4. Victor M792 Heavy-Duty Sonic PestChaser (by Victor)
5. Garden Creations JB5028 Ultrasonic Cordless Pest Repeller (by Garden Creations)
Now moving forward to rat repelling methods that involve blood, tears and death:
Boric acid + peanut butter
This is yet another good option to repel rats, not very expensive, doesn’t require a lot of resources. Here is what you do: mix ¼ cup Boric acid and ½ cup peanut butter. Now create a bunch of marble sized balls and dump them near any rat infested areas in your house or on your property. This particular mixture has been proven to actually kill rats for good, once they ingest your mixture.
Counter-Argument: This may stop one or two rats, but how much Boric acid and peanut butter one needs in order to stop a REALLY BAD rat invasion?
Raw sweet potato
This is yet another good rat repellent solution if you are OKAY with killing rats. The way raw sweet potato works as a natural deterrent is quite simple. Once consumed (and rats love it!) a cyanide reaction takes place in the rodent’s stomach, thus causing death. With that being said, it is always a good idea to apply a little bit of paleo diet hacks in your daily meals ;-)
Counter-Argument: A home-owner dealing with a serious rat infestation may need a ridiculous quantity of raw sweet potato in order to kill a pack of rats. Funny. Will it work against several hundreds rats?
Raw dry beans and peanuts
Multiple studies and tests have proven that pest rats die once certain nutrients contained in raw dry beans and peanuts reach the rodent’s organism. The way it works is quite simple: It blocks the rat’s digestive system by aborting vitamin A and all those enzymes necessary to digest both protein and starches. Due to this, the red blood cells tend to cluster and the rat eventually dies.
Counter-Argument: You will probably go bankrupt buying large quantities of raw dry beans and peanuts in order to successfully apply this particular do it yourself rat control method.
A live cat!
No one can debate cats are great rat predators, and they indeed are. These felines have adapted, evolved and can bravely fight rats of basically any size. I’ve seen this with my own eyes. So if you ‘know/feel/hear’ to have several rats, giving you a terrible headache during the night, while you sleep (due to gnawing, scratching, etc) you may of course consider adopting a cat. You don’t need a ‘fancy’ one, just adopt any cat from your local veterinary and it should do the job.
Counter-Argument: No matter how good your cat is, there are certain spots in your house (like the attic and inside walls), where it is going to be physically impossible for the cat to reach in order to hunt for, kill those rats (and maybe eat them :P). Also, cats sometimes tend to become discouraged when dealing with a very serious rat infestation so you want to consider several, just to avoid it getting injured during those fight with rats (some hunt attempts end up being quite bloody, even for the cat).
You’ll find testimonials all over the place, especially online, on various forums, coming from people who claim ammonia is yet another top-notch liquid rat deterrent. Most home-owners tend to prefer this particular repellent because it is considered 100% non-harmful to pets and humans. In other words, it’s natural. The way ammonia works in order to get rid of rats is quite simple. You just soak some parts of the rugs on the perimeter of your house with mixture of ammonia and distilled water and it should do the job – they say. Another option would be to put the same liquid in a bowl in those rooms where rats tend to appear more often.
Counter-Argument: While ammonia typically falls in the category of powerfully scented products, plants and liquids (like mint, peppermint oil, naphthalene balls, etc) that supposedly SHOULD help to get rid of rats , will it really work during winter, when there is a -30 degrees Celsius temperature outside, and rats feel the probability of death is certain if they leave your house? Probably not.
Some people swear rats dislike the presence of humans and will run away the moment they feel you are messing too much with their ‘privacy’. Using human hair to to repel rats is yet another rodent eradication option that you may find around the web. Just clip some hair and throw it near the spots where you last saw a rat, they say. Rats will go away, they say…
Counter-Argument: If you’ve carefully read this article from the very beginning till this moment, you probably know that we’ve started to preach about diy rat control option with this quotation: ’Where humans live, the rat lives; what humans eat, the rat eats’. Guess what? It’s really how it works for rats. These rodents love humans, they cannot live without humans. No humans usually means no shelter and very little food. Think about it before using human hair as way to deter rats from the walls of your house.
Strobing light machines
These devices have become quite popular lately and one can easily purchase them for less than $50 USD on Amazon. Home-owners invest in high intensity strobing light machines not only to deter rats, but other rodents as well, like squirrels. Apparently, pest creatures residing in your walls and attic will become ‘intimidated’ by the powerful lights and will be forced to leave. You will find a lot of videos showing how these devices work on YouTube.
Counter-Argument: High intensity strobing light machines may provide a temporary solution when dealing with a few rats here and there. However, most professional pest control companies out there claim this is just fancy looking solution and claim it won’t work in the long run, especially when dealing with a large rat infestation. Apparently rats tend to get accustomed to these lights and tend not to care anymore.
Using toilet cakes to repel rats may seem funny from the very beginning, but rest assured you will find plenty of testimonies it works. Home-owners claim rats hate the smell, so fixing these in your attic or walls may do the job, temporarily.
Counter-Argument: Rats simply don’t care. When hungry, they will not pay attention to unpleasant smell and will do everything possible to get their food. There has been numerous cases of bigger rats attacking humans in their search for nutrition. So do you really believe they will become ‘intimidated’ by your toilet cake rat repeller in your garage, attic, walls, or basement?