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How To Get Rid of Rats Without Hiring an Exterminator

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Rat infestations can be a nightmare for any homeowner. Not only do they pose a threat to your property, but they also carry diseases that can affect human health. While hiring an exterminator is often the quickest solution, it can be costly. Fortunately, there are several methods available for you to get rid of rats without hiring a professional. From maintaining sanitation to using natural repellents, this guide will provide you with comprehensive steps to tackle your rat problem effectively.


To get rid of rats without hiring an exterminator, start by maintaining good sanitation habits to eliminate food sources and potential shelters. Identify and seal any potential entry points rats could use to get in your home. Use humane traps in high-traffic areas and consider natural repellents such as peppermint oil or homemade solutions. You can also use plants that repel rats and physical barriers around your property. Always remember that prevention is better than cure, so continue these practices even after the rats are gone.

Identifying a Rat Infestation

Before you can deal with a rat infestation, you need to identify the signs. These include rat droppings, gnaw marks, rub marks along walls and floorboards, scratching noises, holes chewed through walls and floors, nests, and a foul smell. You may also notice footprints or track marks along their common routes.

Sanitation is Key

The first step in getting rid of rats is maintaining good sanitation habits. Rats are attracted to food sources and areas that provide them with shelter. By keeping your home and yard clean, you eliminate these attractions. This includes removing clutter, disposing of garbage regularly, and making sure food is stored in sealed containers.

Seal Entry Points

Rats can fit through small gaps and holes, so it’s crucial to identify and seal any potential entry points. Use materials like heavy-gauge wire screening, metal mesh, or expanding foam sealant to block these access points.

Trapping: The Humane Approach

Snap traps are a humane way to deal with a rat infestation. They kill rats quickly, preventing any unnecessary suffering. When setting up traps, place them in high-traffic areas and use enticing foods as bait, such as peanut butter.

Natural Repellents

Several natural repellents can deter rats from your home. These include peppermint oil, cinnamon, vinegar, or ammonia. You can also create a homemade repellent using minced garlic cloves, castor oil, soap, Tabasco, and water.

Dry Ice: A Unique Solution

A less known method to get rid of rats is using dry ice. By placing dry ice at the entrance of rat burrows, the carbon dioxide produced can anesthetize and kill rats.

Barrier Protection

Physical barriers such as pellet rat repellents or pouch rat repellents made with oils or plants can deter rodents. These barriers can be placed around the perimeter of your property to prevent rats from entering.

Using Plants as a Natural Deterrent

Certain plants can repel rats. Consider planting lavender, elderberry, daffodils, or mint around your home to deter rodents.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While these methods can help eradicate a rat infestation, it’s important to avoid common mistakes. These include relying solely on poison, not identifying and sealing entry points, not keeping food and trash secure, focusing only on short-term measures, using the wrong food baits or trap placement, and using too few traps.

Prevention is Better Than Cure

Once you’ve dealt with a rat infestation, it’s important to take steps to prevent future infestations. This includes maintaining good sanitation habits, removing food sources, eliminating water sources, sealing entry points, removing potential nesting sites, trimming trees and shrubs, setting traps, and using natural repellents.

Remember, dealing with a rat infestation can be a daunting task, but it’s not impossible. By following these steps and maintaining a clean and well-kept home, you can get rid of rats without having to hire an exterminator. But if the problem persists or becomes too difficult to manage, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are other signs that I might have a rat infestation?

Other signs that you might have a rat infestation include seeing the rats themselves, especially during the day, which indicates a large population. You might also find your pet behaving unusually, as they can often sense the presence of rodents.

How often should I check the traps I’ve set?

It’s best to check your rat traps daily. This allows you to remove any caught rats quickly and reset the traps, ensuring they’re always ready to catch more.

How can I dispose of a dead rat safely?

When disposing of a dead rat, always wear gloves and place the rat in a plastic bag. Seal the bag tightly and place it in another bag, then dispose of it in your outside trash can.

Is there a specific time of year when rats are more likely to infest homes?

Rats can infest homes at any time of year, but they’re more likely to seek shelter indoors during colder months when food and water sources outside become scarce.

Are there any specific foods that rats find particularly attractive?

Rats are omnivores and will eat almost anything, but they are particularly attracted to high-protein foods like meat, cheese and peanut butter. They also like fruits, vegetables and cereals.

What should I do if these methods don’t work and the infestation persists?

If these methods don’t work and the infestation persists, it’s highly advisable to seek professional help. A pest control professional will have the knowledge and means to deal with the infestation effectively.

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