What Is The Most Effective Way To Get Rid Of Rats?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:52 pm

If you notice that rats have gained access to the house, you should not hesitate for long. The small rodents may look inconspicuous, but they pose a great danger. They are considered carriers of various diseases and will tamper with your food.

If several rats have found their way into your home, the infestation is reportable. This should illustrate the seriousness of the situation.

What Is The Most Effective Way To Get Rid Of Rats?

If the rats feel at home with you, you have several options to drive the pests away again. Do you want to rely on deadly traps or put the rats to flight in a gentler way?

With the following methods, you will surely succeed in driving away the rats in your house.

How do you recognize a rat infestation?

Rats are considered to be extremely shy animals. They do seek proximity to humans to feed on food scraps, for example, but direct encounters are rare. Rats are nocturnal and retreat during the day.

So it’s not at all easy to tell that rats have made their way to your home. The following clues are clear signs of a rat infestation.

Rat droppings

A sure indication that you are dealing with a rat infestation is droppings. Rat droppings are only around 1 to 2mm in size and have an elongated shape. Rats secrete up to 40 of these small balls of feces during the course of the day. Care must be taken with the droppings. Bacteria and parasites can be found there, which are also dangerous for humans. Therefore, dispose of the droppings only with proper protection. Gloves and a respiratory mask are the least you can do when handling animal droppings.

Running tracks

Especially in winter, all kinds of tracks can be discovered in the snow in the garden. In the house, too, tracks could indicate that rats have taken up residence. In the dusty basement or attic, you can examine the floor more closely and possibly see the footprints. Follow the tracks to identify where the rats are walking. Later, you can take action there to successfully evict the rats.

Unpleasant odor

Rats also make themselves known with an exceedingly strong odor. This is due to the urine and sometimes the decomposing corpses of the rats. If you notice an intense ammonia smell, it is high time to take action against the rats. The rat infestation is far advanced and the longer you wait, the more difficult it is to fight rats.

Deny access

You can take action against the acute rat infestation and use various control methods. The most practical is to prevent the rats from entering your home in the first place. Pay attention to the following entry points and improve your house accordingly.

Door and window gaps

Ratte - Haustür

Rats are very small and clever animals. The easiest access they get through an open window or door. Therefore, the principle that you should keep the house locked at night. Even with windows on upper floors, there is a risk of rats climbing up downspouts. Therefore, rats on the balcony are not uncommon.

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If the doors and windows on your house are a bit older, they will not fit snugly. A tiny gap a few millimeters in size is enough for the little rat to squeeze through. To prevent this, use a rubber lip to seal the windows. Keep windows tightly closed at night to prevent rats from gaining access.


To ensure that you can open the windows and doors without being disturbed, it is advisable to use fine-mesh grilles. These should have a mesh size of no more than 18 millimeters.

Cracks and joints, often near doors and windows, should also be sealed with a mortar. So, especially in older houses, there is plenty of work waiting for you to protect yourself from rats.

Pipe system

Rats in the toilet, unfortunately, are not an urban fairy tale. While it may be a nightmare for many individuals, migratory rates in sewers are a reality. There, they feed on food scraps and spread rapidly.

In search of food, individuals may make their way through the ductwork and into the home. Rats are considered excellent climbers, and this is how they gain entry.

To keep the rats out, it is best to install backwater valves. These allow water to flow in only one direction while preventing rats from entering the house through the pipes.

Avoid attracting rats

Keeping rats out completely is nearly impossible in larger and older homes. Therefore, you should design the environment so that it is extremely unattractive to rats. If rats do not find food in the house, they will not nest. Avoid the following food sources so that rats do not feel comfortable in the house and garden.

Compost pile

In recent years, compost piles have re-emerged in gardens as a popular way to dispose of organic waste. Simple wooden composters can be quickly constructed with little prior knowledge.

However, it is often forgotten that food waste has no place in the compost heap. Not only rats, but other pests, such as the marten, are attracted to the compost and will rummage through it looking for the food scraps.

Secure the compost with fine wire screens to keep rats from getting to the organic waste. Then the compost pile will serve its purpose without attracting pests.

Pet food

Tierfutter -Ratten

Do you have dogs or cats in the household? Then you might leave the pet food around without a guilty conscience. After all, the pet can help itself when it is hungry.

However, the same applies to the rats. These also like the pet food and could tamper with it during the night. Therefore, you should always keep the pet food covered and not leave it out in the open.


How safe are your own supplies? Rats are able to gnaw thin packaging and get to food without much effort. To avoid this, don’t leave food sitting around in the open. Store supplies in suitable containers or jars that are out of reach of rats. Then they will not find food and will not nest near the pantry.

Use rat traps

After you have carried out the precautions presented here, it’s time to drive away the rats. One popular method is to set rat traps. You can use them several times and other animals will not be harmed. Which traps can you use in case of rat infestation?

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Live traps

If you have detected the rat infestation early and you suspect only a few rodents in the immediate vicinity, you can use live traps. Equip them with a suitable bait and place them near the walkways. Sweet peanut butter is best suited as bait. However, you can also try the following means, which are also attractive to the rats:

  • Bread
  • Grains
  • Nuts
  • Pet food
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Ham

Ultimately, you will have to try for yourself which bait will give you the most success. If the rat goes into the trap, release the rodent far away. Be careful when handling and wear gloves when transporting the traps to protect yourself from bites.

Beat traps

If the rat infestation is much more pronounced, you will not get anywhere with live traps. The effort would be too high to constantly transport and release the animals.

Strike traps are far more effective with a large number of rats. By a pressure released the trap strikes and the rat is dead on the blow. Then you dispose of the rat and re-tighten the trap to set it again. This way you can quickly decimate the number of rats. However, rats are intelligent and will proceed more cautiously. As a result, over time, the effectiveness of the beating traps will decrease and you will have to come up with a new method to successfully drive the rats away.

Using intense odors to drive away rats

If you want to drive away rats and specifically protect the pantry or the garden, odors are a good way to do this. This is because rats trust their noses when looking for food. They avoid intense smells and prefer to run away.


Minze - Ratten vertreiben

Strong smelling plants, such as the chamomile or mint are unpleasant for the rats. Use herbs or plants from which essential oils are obtained. The smell is so intense that rats can be successfully driven away.


When working with turpentine, the strong smell will certainly have risen to your nose. Rats also do not find this stench very pleasant. Soak rags in turpentine and place them near the access points. Rats will be so impressed by this that they will run away.


Popular in the kitchen, the smell of vinegar essence is also effective against rats. In turn, dip cloth rags in the essence and place them at door gaps or the rats’ entrances. In a simple way, the rats can be driven away.

Use cats against rats

The natural enemy of rats are cats. Even harmless house pets have an innate hunting instinct, which sounds the alarm when rats are present. For this reason, rats stay away from any cats and can be easily driven away.

The easiest way to do this is to keep cats as pets yourself. Cats that have grown up on a farm and are allowed to run as freely as possible are even more likely to follow their hunting instincts. Ask farms in the area if they still have kittens from a litter to give away.

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If you suffer from a cat hair allergy or would like to do without the pet for other reasons, a neighbor with a cat could still prove useful. After all, rats don’t just panic at the sight of a cat. The smell of cat litter alone sends rats fleeing.

Place used cat litter near the rats’ known paths of travel. Even a filled bag of cat litter can prove effective.

The rats are alerted to the smell and will likely move to another location. Thus, you have been able to drive the rats away without using a cat yourself.

Hire an exterminator

If the methods presented so far have not proven effective, help from a professional is necessary. Since rats transmit diseases and multiply quickly, you must not delay too long. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to fight the rodents.

Certainly, the exterminator is associated with higher costs. But in return, it will ensure that the rats are driven away and do not re-enter the house. In the long run, this investment could turn out to be much more beneficial by causing less damage from the rats.

Drive out rats with natural means

If there are rats in your garden or house, you should drive them out as soon as possible. They transmit diseases and cause all kinds of damage to food or the building fabric.

The use of rat poison is rarely recommended. If you have pets or small children in the household, handling the poisonous agent is too dangerous. The risk is high that the rat poison will be ingested accidentally and in the worst case death will occur.

If you want to drive away rats, then rather use the methods presented here. Prevent a rat infestation by not leaving food out in the open. If rats go empty when looking for food, they will pass by and look for another place.

If the rodents have taken up residence in your home, use traps or cats. Plants can also be effective as a home remedy to drive the rats away.

If there is no success, rat control must be done by a professional. The pest controller will effectively drive away all rats and you can use your garden again without fear of the pests.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-jones-436784297/ gardeninguru@outlook.com Jones James

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