7 Easy and Affordable DIY Tips on How to Get Rid of Rats

Rats are more than just a minor annoyance.

They can carry over 20 different disease-causing germs, and furthermore, they can chew through walls, insulation, and electrical wiring.

Needless to say, this could put your family at risk, so you must take action immediately and eliminate the problem.

Try these 7 easy and affordable DIY tips and tricks, and you will quickly dispose of the rat menace!

What attracts rats to your home

Rats are scavengers by nature and don’t need much to survive.

Unfortunately, the things they do love are all found in your home.

So what is it that attracts the vermin?

  • Food sources: Rats can and will eat anything from leftovers in your kitchen to food waste in your rubbish bit. They will even consume cardboard, paper, wiring, or other unconventional sources of nutrition when famished.
  • Water intake: Rats can go for weeks without water, but they still need it to stay healthy and hydrated. If none is available, they will look for leaks, condensation on pipes or damp areas.
  • Shelter: when out in the wild, the furry pests will find shelter in grasses and weeds. However, under your roof, they will find a home behind walls, below the sink, under furniture and sometimes even in appliances like under your washer or the back of your refrigerator.

How to prevent rats

Limiting the rats’ access to these conditions is the first step to successful DIY rat control.

So, how do you do that?

Keep as little clutter as possible

As a rule of thumb, anything you haven’t used in over a year can be considered clutter, and opportunistic rats will gladly take advantage of that.

The rodents will hide and make nests in unused furniture, clothes, paper and cardboard piles, overfilled storage areas and empty or unused appliances.

When you rid yourself of anything you haven’t used for a long while, you essentially eliminate most of the rats’ hiding places.

Fill potential entry points

The rodents have flexible skeletons, which allow them to squeeze through openings half their body size.

In that sense, even the smallest hole in your home can be an entry point for a curious rodent.

That’s why you need to make a detailed inspection of your property and fill up any gaps around pipes, utility lines, doors, windows, and holes in walls and ceilings.

Eliminate potential food sources

As you already know, rats will eat almost anything from food scraps to cardboard, as long as it’s easily accessible.

They will also hunt smaller rodents (like mice) and insects when pressed for food.

With that said, you should always:

  • Wash your dishes so the pests won’t eat the food leftovers;
  • Store all your food in thick containers or keep them inside the refrigerator;
  • Clean up the leftovers after your pet’s mealtime if you have a pet.

Important: check and, if necessary, fix your plumbing system–leaks or drips can also serve as attractants or entry points.

Trim your trees and shrubs

Although not as great climbers as mice, rats can jump from a tree to your roof if the tree is close enough.

For that reason, you must keep your trees and shrubs regularly trimmed so there’s at least 90cm (3 feet) between your house and the foliage. The more, the better.

In addition to preventing rats from getting onto your roof, trimming trees and shrubs can discourage other pests from entering your house too.

Natural rat repellents

If you don’t want to resort to commercial pesticides, you’d be delighted to learn you have plenty of stuff at home which can act as natural rat repellents.

Garlic or onions

Rats despise the pungent smells of garlic and onions.

So, you can crush garlic cloves and place them in areas where rats are likely to enter. Mix chopped garlic with water and sprinkle the solution around your home.

Another option is to place onions around small holes and openings and replace the bulbs every second day. The smell of onions should soon drive the rats away.

The only downside is that using garlic or onions against rats can leave a lingering smell in your home, so it might not always be the best solution.

Peppermint oil

A less smelly alternative to garlic and onions, which is also a very useful rat removal method. For starters, purchase high-quality peppermint essential oil. You must avoid lower-quality ones as they may not work as well.

Once you have it, soak some cotton balls in the oil, then gently squeeze out any excess oil. The cotton balls should be damp, not dripping, so you can place them around entry points, cracks and gaps. You must replace the cotton balls every few days or at least every week.

Hot pepper flakes

Another home ingredient which will irritate the rats' nasal paths and make them avoid your property.

You can purchase hot pepper flakes at any grocery store or make your own by crushing dried hot peppers.

The fix is quite simple: sprinkle the hot pepper flakes around entry points, gaps, and cracks in walls and around your home's foundation.

Hot pepper flakes are effective and usually deter rodents. Still, rats are very adaptive, and sometimes it will take more than that to chase them off, especially if the rodent’s hungry or there is a severe drop in temperatures outside.

Bonus tip: rat traps and baits

If you check today’s market, you will notice more types of rat traps than just the standard snap trap.

In either case, however, you must not place them in areas where your children or pets often visit.

So, here are the best options you’d find if you decide to go down this DIY rat removal alley:

  • Snap Traps: these classic traps utilise a metal bar which snaps shut, bringing the trapped rat to its demise. The snapping force of this trap can even cause accidental injuries, so be careful when setting it up;
  • Glue Traps: they’re much easier to use as they don’t require baiting or a complicated setting. You just place the glue traps in the rat’s runways, and the pests will get caught when they pass. Mind you, glue traps catch the rat alive, and you are the one who has to dispose of it later on;
  • Electronic Traps - a more humane and modern option, these traps utilize high-voltage shock to kill the trapped rat. However, electronic traps cannot be used outside the home because they are not waterproof.

These DIY rat removal tips do not guarantee that the infestation will be eradicated entirely.

Rats are intelligent and elusive creatures that mate very fast, so the infestation can quickly spiral out of control. You need to take measures as soon as possible, and if that fails, consider hiring professional rat control services to take care of the problem for you. The experts will inspect the premises and apply the best course of action.


Now that you know more about these 7 easy DIY solutions, you will have no problem dealing with the rat menace in the first place.

However, be mindful about not letting things get out of hand, for all rodents procreate fast and can cause extensive damage to your property and, most importantly, your health.

If there’s an ongoing infestation, your best course of action is to hire professional pest control services so they can deal with the problem quickly rather than trying to deal with the problem on your own.