Home Remedies For Getting Rid Of Rats In The House

The long tailed, much hated rat loves hanging around our human habitations, and for this intelligent little critter, we unwittingly provide everything they need to thrive – food, water and shelter. However, having them nearby is quite different from having them living in our house with us, and any rat building a home in my home is not welcome.

Although we don’t need to worry too much about rats spreading the plague anymore, they can pass on other nasties to us, such as leptospirosis, salmonella and hantavirus, and exacerbate any allergies or skin conditions. Being rodents, they can chew through electrical cables, contaminate our food with urine and feces, and generally be a real pain.

Other than calling out pest control, which can be horrendously expensive, there are several home remedies to try. Remember to top them up regularly to keep the smells at their strongest.

Best Home Remedies Against Rats


Rats hate the smell of mothballs, and these work well to rid a home of the annoying rodents. However, be careful as they are poisonous if ingested by people and pets. So these are best used in attics, basements and outhouses.


Possessing a powerful odor, rats will avoid any area that smells of ammonia. Mix up one quart of water, 2 tablespoons of washing detergent and 2 cups of ammonia. Pop bowls of this liquid around your house, including attics and cellars. Frequently, ammonia products are scented with lemon, which defeats your purpose, however this one has the ideal foul odor for sending rats on their way.

Pure Bright Ammonia

Pure Bright 19703575033 Clear Ammonia, 64oz Bottle, 8/Carton

Peppermint, Citronella or Castor Oils

Soak some cotton pads in any of these oils, placing them in strategic places around your home. You can also grow mint around the walls of your house to deter rats from looking for a way in.

Pepper or Chilli Powder

These pungent smells are universally hated by rodents, so sprinkle plenty around any likely hiding places.

Powdered Potato

Whilst I don’t condone this, if you want to kill the rats, rather than just move them on, try using bowls of powdered potato. Once eaten, it expands inside them thus killing them. Keep it away from kids and pets, though.

Making Your Home Unattractive To Rats

Once you’ve got rid of any rats, it pays to make your home the place where any other rats really don’t want to be.

  • Make sure you don’t leave food lying around inside or out
  • Don’t leave rubbish lying around
  • If you have outdoor pets, such as chickens or rabbits, keep their runs scrupulously clean, and block any access points. Rats have been known to kill chickens and small pets.
  • Keep your drains clean and running smoothly
  • Ensure any entry points, such as broken air bricks or cracked pipes are blocked. Filling the holes with wire wool can be very effective as rats won’t chew through it.

If you have very determined rats, and these methods are proving ineffective, then it’s time to call out your local pest control.