Rats are unpleasant rodents to find running in your house for many reasons. Top of the list is the damage they cause to any and everything, from food to your favorite appliances.
In this guide, we will walk you through some preventive steps to keep rats away from your washing machine.
Rats love to stay around hidden places in houses like the laundry for many reasons. If you notice the activities of these destructive rodents around your washer, here are a few ways to keep them away:
- Keep your laundry clean always
- Close the washing machine after every use
- Place rat repellents like peppermint oil, ammonia, cloves, and ultrasonic device around the laundry environment
These are a few strategies. There are more in the article.
In the next few headings, we will walk you through 11 practical ways to deter rats from your washing machine – what circumstances you can use each and a step-by-step guide to applying them.
You will also find answers to common questions about rat infestation in laundries.
11 Ways To Keep Rats Away From Washing Machines
No one wants to wake up and find rats in their washing machine. These rodents can chew up the insulation in your washer, costing you serious bucks in repairs. Chewed-up wires can even cause a fire hazard and risk your family’s safety.
So, the best way to deal with this problem is to prevent it from the start. Below are 11 easy ways to do that.
1. Buy a Washer With a Protection Panel
As we said earlier, the best way to deal with an issue is to prevent it from happening. So, to keep rats out of your washing machine, buy one that has an anti-rat protection panel.
Most washing machines now have rat protection panels to prevent small creatures from climbing in. With a washer like this, you don’t have to keep watch all the time or set stressful traps.
Apart from preventing rats from entering your appliance, having rat protection helps improve your washing machine’s performance and durability. The protection panel shields from damage.
However, suppose you have an older washing machine model without a rat protection panel. You can install rat-proof protection yourself.
This rat-proof covering is a thin piece of metal placed to cover a washing machine and keep rats from entering. You can make one using scrap metal sheets or purchase one from a hardware store.
2. Clean the Environment Where You Have the Washing Machine
Rats and other rodents thrive in dirty environments. These provide them with easy cover and quick access to food, so they can quickly make a nest there.
Having dirt or food particles around your washing machine is an invitation to these rodents. So, make a habit of cleaning your washing machine and the floor around it regularly.
Clutter is another thing that attracts rats to washing machines. It offers them a warm, dark shade to hide from human predators and pets.
So, if you have junk piled up in your laundry room, it is time to take them out. This will make the place less appealing for rats.
3. Arrange All Cords and Cables
We have established that rats love to munch on washing machine cords and cables. A disorganized and messy wiring setup will easily attract rats. So, how do you keep your wiring out of the reach of these pests?
The first thing you can do is buy cord clips and use them to stick your washing machine cables to the wall. Alternatively, you can tie the wires together to prevent rats from running around them.
Arranging your washing machine’s cords and cables does more than just prevent them from rat attacks. It also helps to avoid unnecessary wear/damage to the wires. Wires can easily be damaged when placed carelessly on the floor.
4. Create a Rat Repellant Out of Peppermint Oil
The strong scent of peppermint oil is unpleasant to rats. Fortunately, it is safe for humans. So, you can use peppermint oil to keep rats out of your washing machine at no risk to your family.
Simply dip a couple of cotton balls in peppermint oil and drop them close to your washing machine. Once rats come close and perceive the scent of the peppermint oil, they will run off.
However, this method is not a long-lasting solution, as you will have to replace the cotton balls often.
Suppose cotton balls are not available. You can make a DIY spray from peppermint oil and water instead. With the mixture in a spray bottle, diffuse the solution around your washing machine to repel rats.
5. Close the Washing Machine After Every Use
Closing your machine after doing your laundry is another way to prevent rats from entering it and causing damage. If you use a front-loading washing machine, shut the door tight after every use.
If rats get past your washing machine lid, they can chew up some of its parts and create holes in its surface. In the worst case, they can get stuck in the machine and resort to gnawing the cables.
So, if you are the type that leaves your washing machine open all the time, you need to improve in this regard.
6. Use an Ultrasonic Device
One thing most people do not know about rats is that they have sensitive hearing. As a result, sounds coming from an ultrasonic device can cause them severe discomfort.
So, you can take advantage of rats’ dislike of loud noises to keep them away from your laundry. To do this, get an ultrasonic rat-repelling device near your machine. This device will release high-intensity waves and beeping sounds that rats hate.
You can get an ultrasonic device from any hardware store near you or online outlets. It is safe to use around kids and pets.
7. Use Ammonia To Drive Rats Away
Ammonia has a pungent smell that rats can’t stand because its smell is similar to their predators’ urine. Besides that, ammonia also has a toxic effect on them and can damage their respiratory system.
You can put ammonia in containers and strategically place them around your washing machine.
Or, create a solution from ammonia, water, and detergent and spray and spray it around your washing machine to deter rats. This should help keep rats away from your laundry.
Ammonia is toxic to humans and animals. So, if you have kids or pets in the house, remember to keep and apply the ammonia only in places out of reach to them.
However, if you consider this method unsafe for you, keep reading to learn other safe ways to keep rats away from your washing machine.
8. Place Cloves Around Your Laundry Area
Clove is a natural alternative to ammonia that is also effective for keeping rats away. The smell of fresh cloves is too strong and overpowering for rats. If you have some in your cabinet, you can try it on the rat trying to infest your laundry area.
Simply place bunches of cloves around your laundry area. Or, soak bits of cotton wool in clove oil and drop them around your washing machine.
Unlike ammonia, cloves are not harmful to children and pets. So, there is no need for any extra caution here.
9. Set Rat Traps Around Your Washing Machine
For many years, people have used rat traps as an effective strategy to deal with a rat infestation problem. You, too, can apply this strategy to discourage rats from going near your washing machine.
However, here’s something you should know – rats are curious and suspicious creatures. When they notice a new object in their surroundings, they won’t go close until they know what it is.
So, here is where baiting comes in handy. Placing something attractive to rats in your trap can cause them to lose their guard.
Baits can be anything like bread, peanut butter, or even cheese. Once the rat reaches for the bait, it will get stuck in the trap. You can then grab and dispose of the rat.
Alternatively, you can use rat poison to kill rats that come around your washing machine. But if you are using this approach, note that rat poison is a dangerous chemical substance, and not just for rats.
When placing rat poison around your washing machine, drop them out of the reach of kids and pets. Also, remember to read and follow the instructions on the label carefully to avoid making dangerous mistakes.
10. Store Pet Food Properly
Rats are scavengers and can eat anything, including pet food. Most pet foods contain nutrients that rats love.
One interesting thing about these rodents is that they have a strong sense of smell that can inform them that there is pet food around. Once they locate the spot where you keep them, they will keep coming for more.
So, secure your pet food properly. Do not keep it close to your washing machine areas. You can store pet food in an airtight container and keep it off the ground.
An airtight container helps to lock the scent of pet food in, so rats cannot trace it. If you store pet food outside, like in your garden, it is best to change the location from time to time.
Leaving your pet’s food outside, like in the garden, can attract rodents, and you definitely don’t want that.
11. Call Professionals
If these DIY tips don’t work or you don’t have the time to try them out, you can call on pest control experts. These professionals can help manage the situation before the rats multiply and cause even more damage.
Their control techniques include exterminating the rat and boarding up openings through which they enter. Unlike DIY measures, pest control agents offer a more permanent solution to rat infestations.
Nobody likes to see rats in their homes, or worse, chewing up their washing machine wires. Unfortunately, sometimes, these happen, and it’s important to employ effective strategies to keep them away.
We discussed some of these strategies in this article. Keep them handy to protect your washer from these pesky rodents.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do Rats Hide in Washing Machines?
Washing machines provide a warm and comfortable environment for rats to hide, especially in winter. From there, they can easily move around to find food in the house.
Hiding inside a washing machine further protects them from predators, like your pet dog or cat. Also, the pipes and vents in your house make it easy for rats to climb and enter the machine.
Can Rats Damage Clothes in a Washing Machine?
Absolutely, yes! Rats can destroy almost anything they come across with their sharp teeth. A rat’s teeth can keep growing throughout its lifetime, and they chew on things to keep them in check.
If your favorite clothing items are in the way, rats will gnaw on them. This makes sense since they survive by scavenging and tearing through materials to find food. So, they can tear into boxes, bags, and even clothes, looking for a snack.
How Do Rats Get Into Washing Machines?
Rats are slender animals with highly flexible bodies. For this reason, they can fit into any hole, even one smaller than their bodies. Plus, they are very climbers. So, they can easily find and climb cracks in your walls to get into your washing machine.
A weak ventilation system, broken electric switches, and damaged plumbing fittings are other avenues for rats to get into your washer.