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How To Keep Rats Out of Your Garbage

How To Keep Rats Out Of Your Garbage

The one place rats love to hang out is the garbage area. It’s like a free buffet where they can find all sorts of food and leftovers.

The problem is that rats are not hygienic; they make a lot of mess and bring all kinds of diseases.

So, how to keep rats out of your garbage?


If you’re not taking care of your trash, rats won’t be far away. Here are five ways you can prevent these critters from tearing through your garbage:

  1. Get sturdy garbage cans.
  2. Keep the garbage area clean.
  3. Dispose of your garbage regularly.
  4. Use rat repellents.
  5. Terminate with extreme prejudice.

Keeping rats away from your garbage area can prevent your loved ones and pets from being exposed to any health hazards.

Let’s find out why rats target your trash and how you can deter them from doing so in the first place.

Why Are Rats Attracted to Garbage?

Why Are Rats Attracted To Garbage?

Rats are scavengers, scurrying around the dark corners looking for nourishment. They don’t mind whether the food is a day old or has been rotting for 10 days; they’ll devour it without question.

So when you put out your trash bags, you send a silent but smelly invitation to your neighborhood critters.

After all, anything edible has a fragrance, and because rats have a heightened sense of sniffing stuff out, they’ll already be on their way by the time you get back inside.

Did You Know?

Rats can process the location of a certain odor within 50 milliseconds! They can follow the trail accurately to its place of origin 99% of the time.

Being opportunistic pests, rats will eat anything that is conveniently available, even stuff we don’t consider food, like wood, paper, animal feces, and even dead animals.

5 Ways To Deter Rats From Your Garbage

Ways To Deter Rats From Your Garbage

Rats prefer dining out at garbage locations that are close to their hidey-hole.

So, if your trash cans have been raided by a bunch of sneaky critters, chances are they live nearby and will be paying regular visits.

Here are five ways you can put a stop to their visitations:

1. Get Sturdy Garbage Cans

Get Sturdy Garbage Cans

There’s no stopping a hungry rat. If the pest smells something yummy, it’ll chew through almost anything to get to it unless it’s sturdy enough to withstand the rat’s sharp teeth!

If your garbage cans are made of weak material with paper-weight lids, the rodents will have no problem getting inside. These critters are smart; they can easily lift lightweight lids to gain access to the garbage.

Use garbage cans that have tight-fitting and heavy-duty lids. This will prevent the rats from getting inside, even if they can topple the can.

Rat Fact!

A full-grown adult rat can jump as high as 3 feet vertically and 4 feet horizontally! So jumping onto garbage cans is not a problem for them.

Also, heavy-duty metal or plastic garbage cans will ensure that these trash containers do not break or crack easily.

2. Keep the Garbage Area Clean

Keep The Garbage Area Clean

If there’s nothing worth eating lying around, there’s no reason to be there now.

Well, the same goes for rats. If the garbage area looks and smells clean, the pests will not give it a second look or a sniff.

You can keep the trash space clean by washing it with water and disinfectant. Later, spray some ammonia or peppermint oil on the cans and the surroundings.

This way, any smell originating from the garbage cans will be masked by ammonia, and the rats will stay away.

3. Dispose of Your Garbage Regularly

Dispose Of Your Garbage Regularly

Don’t wait for your waste bins to be filled to the brim before disposing of them.

By letting the waste accumulate, you’re just allowing it to rot and smell, sending silent and stinky invites to the pests in your neighborhood.

Make sure that you dispose of the waste in tightly sealed plastic bags that won’t let the smell spread out.

4. Use Rat Repellents

Use Rat Repellents

Rodents are among the strongest sniffers in the world, accurately identifying a scent and following its trail. This is why you can use repellents specifically designed to keep rats away.

You can use chemical-based sprays, but rats may grow to tolerate them over time.

Using simple homemade repellents like peppermint oil and ammonia on your garbage cans and their surroundings can also deter the rats.

Additionally, you can use motion-sensing sound and light alarms to scare the critters off.

5. Terminate With Extreme Prejudice

Terminate With Extreme Prejudice

When all things fail, it’s time to go all out on the rats.

Start laying all kinds of rat traps to take them out. Even if you eliminate the first wave of rodents, chances are more will follow in time.

So, keep placing these traps because you never know when a new rat family will move into your neighborhood and want to visit your garbage for a late-night snack.


When placing rat traps, ensure you place them at a time when all the pets and kids have gone inside to sleep. You don’t want to risk any innocents getting in harm’s way!


There’s no one sure way to prevent rats from visiting your garbage. They’re always on the move, scavenging and looking for nourishment.

You can use a combination of these methods to keep rats out of your garbage:

  1. Get sturdy garbage cans.
  2. Keep the garbage area clean.
  3. Dispose of your garbage regularly.
  4. Use rat repellents.
  5. Terminate with extreme prejudice.

Remember, rats are smart and sneaky, able to adapt to threats and changing environments.

If the rats keep coming even after you have tried your best with the above-mentioned preventive measures, call in professional help before things get out of hand!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Rats Eat Through Garbage Cans?

Rats are excellent chewers as they can gnaw through almost anything, including plastic and wood.

If the garbage can is damaged or rusted, rats can make short work of the weak points with their sharp teeth and get inside.

Do Rats Know How To Open Garbage Cans?

They don’t know how to open the lids on garbage cans, but being smart and pesky pests, they can learn to lift the lids. This is possible if the lids don’t have a locking system or are lightweight.

What Are Rats Afraid Of?

Rats are scared of humans, cats, dogs, hawks, and other natural predators that like to hunt rodents.

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