Home Improvement

Rat Infestation? Here’s How to Get Rid of Rats in Your Home

Rats chew holes through drywall, wires, and wood. They also leave tracks and tail drag marks in dusty areas. Look for them near doors, windows, and food supplies. Listen for gnawing sounds and look for fresh droppings that are soft.

Reduce their hiding spots by cleaning up and removing clutter—store garbage in hard plastic rat-resistant containers with tight lids.

Seal Entry Points

Cracks around the foundation are a common entry point for rats. Seal these with silicone caulk to prevent rodents from entering your house. Keeping your gutters clear is also good so water doesn’t collect in the soffits or overflow into the roof.

Look for signs of rats, including droppings, gnaw marks, and tracks in dusty areas. Rats have powerful teeth that can chew through food packaging, wood structures, and electrical wires. They leave gnaw marks that appear as dark streaks on walls and baseboards. You can also hear them scurrying at night.

Store food in hard plastic rat-proof containers or cabinets with locking mechanisms. Use the garbage disposal regularly to eliminate exposed food scraps. Keep piles of debris and trash away from the foundation of your home or building. Trim bushes and shrubs that touch your house.

Set Traps

Rats are often repelled by strong scents, such as those from peppermint and eucalyptus oils. You can use these products on cotton balls and place them in places where rats frequent. These methods are more effective for rat removal than sprays or baits.

You can also set traps. Snap traps are the most popular, but you can also try humane ones that capture rats alive and release them in the wild. You can even use a lethal method, such as rat poison, but this should only be used outside to prevent rats from returning inside your home.

Be sure to seal cracks, crevices, and holes the size of a quarter or larger. This includes openings for water pipes and wires, drain spouts, vents, and doors and windows. This is one of the most effective forms of rat control. Store foods in rat-proof containers, and keep garbage bins tightly closed. Remove wood piles, junk, and other debris from your yard since these are regular rat hangouts.

Remove Food Sources

Rats cause a surprising amount of damage in a short period, damaging homes and gardens. Their presence also puts people and pets at risk of contracting diseases from contaminated food. To prevent rats from entering your home in the first place, remove weeds and brush piles; keep wood piles away from your house, sheds, or garages; and dispose of trash and scraps properly. Rats can squeeze their bodies through gaps and holes the size of a quarter, so check for cracks and spaces around doors, windows, baseboards, and electrical cords regularly and seal them with caulk, steel wool, hardware cloth, or cement as needed.

Rats are attracted to ripening fruit and seeds, so make sure pet food and bird feeders are brought inside at night; harvest any fallen nuts or fruit from trees in your yard and pick up any seedlings that sprout on the ground. You should also store any foods in rodent-proof containers and keep trash cans closed when not used.


When rats enter your home, they create a lot of destruction, contaminate food and introduce other unwelcome pests like fleas. They also carry diseases like leptospirosis and Hantavirus.

You can prevent a rat infestation by keeping your property free of trash, debris, and overgrown vegetation. Keeping your garbage cans and pet dishes securely closed is also important.

Indoors, signs of a rat problem include smears along baseboards, holes in the walls, and gnawed items. Rats are avid chewers; you can often identify their gnaw marks by size and scratchiness. It would help if you also listened for scampering noises and rat droppings (feces) in dark or out-of-the-way places like basements and attics.

Check dusty areas to look for pawprints and tail marks. You can also sprinkle flour on an area and check for tracks daily. You can also use snap traps, humane traps, or natural rat deterrents to eliminate an existing rat infestation. Just be sure to use the correct bait to not end up poisoning rats or their offspring.

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