Rats chewing holes in clothing is a common nuisance that homeowners dread. If you’ve ever opened your dresser drawer to find a beloved sweater full of holes, you’ve likely wondered – do rats eat clothes? Understanding rats’ behavior can help you protect your wardrobe.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Yes, rats do eat clothes. Rats will chew on and damage many types of fabric and clothing.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about rats and clothing, including the types of fabrics rats like to eat, why they chew clothes, how to prevent rat damage, and how to get rid of rats in your home for good.

What Kinds of Fabrics and Clothes Do Rats Like to Eat?

Rats are known for their ability to chew through various materials, including fabrics and clothes. However, their preference for certain types of fabrics may vary. Here are some common types of fabrics and clothes that rats are more likely to be attracted to:

Cotton, wool, and other natural fibers

Rats are particularly fond of natural fibers such as cotton and wool. These materials are often used in clothing items like sweaters, socks, and blankets, making them an easy target for rats. The soft texture and natural scent of these fabrics can be very appealing to rodents.

Silk, satin, velvet, and other delicate fabrics

Rats have a knack for finding their way into closets and drawers, where they may come across delicate fabrics like silk, satin, and velvet. These luxurious materials can be a tempting treat for rats, especially if they are looking for nesting materials.

It’s important to store these fabrics properly to prevent any potential damage.

Leather shoes, belts, and accessories

Rats have strong teeth that can easily tear through leather materials. Leather shoes, belts, and accessories are not only attractive to rats because of their texture, but they may also be drawn to the lingering scent of sweat or food particles.

It’s essential to keep these items stored in rat-proof containers to avoid any unexpected surprises.

Carpets, curtains, upholstery, and other household textiles

Rats can also damage household textiles like carpets, curtains, and upholstery. These materials provide rats with a cozy place to nest and can be easily chewed through. It’s crucial to identify and address any potential entry points into your home to prevent rats from accessing these tempting items.

It’s worth mentioning that while rats may be attracted to specific fabrics and clothes, their primary motivation for chewing through them is not for nutritional purposes. Instead, they chew on these materials to wear down their continuously growing teeth or create nesting materials.

If you suspect a rat infestation or have experienced damage to your fabrics and clothes, it’s recommended to contact a professional pest control service for assistance in eliminating the problem.

Why Do Rats Chew on and Damage Fabrics and Clothing?

Rats are notorious for their ability to chew through various materials, including fabrics and clothing. Understanding the reasons behind this behavior can help you prevent damage to your belongings. Here are some common reasons why rats chew on and damage fabrics and clothing:

Nesting material

Rats are known to use fabrics and clothing as nesting material. They shred the fabric to create a warm and cozy nest for themselves and their offspring. This behavior is especially common during the breeding season when rats are searching for a safe and comfortable place to raise their young.

So, if you find chewed fabric or clothing in your home, it could be a sign that rats are nesting nearby.

To wear down teeth

Rats’ teeth grow continuously, and they need to wear them down to prevent overgrowth. Chewing on hard materials, including fabrics and clothing, helps rats keep their teeth at a manageable length. The texture of fabrics provides the necessary resistance for them to grind their teeth down effectively.

Unfortunately, this means that your clothes can become victims of their dental maintenance routine.

Attracted to human scents

Rats have an excellent sense of smell and are attracted to the scent of humans. Fabrics and clothing often retain our scent, making them an irresistible target for rats. They may chew on these items to investigate and mark them with their scent, which helps them communicate with other rats and establish their territory.

Seeking warmth

Rats are attracted to warm and cozy places, especially during colder months. Fabrics and clothing provide insulation and warmth, making them an appealing choice for rats seeking a comfortable spot. They may chew on these items to create holes or access points that allow them to crawl inside and find refuge from the cold.

It’s important to address rat infestations promptly to prevent further damage to your fabrics and clothing. Taking measures to eliminate rats from your home, such as sealing entry points and using traps or professional pest control services, can help protect your belongings and maintain a rat-free environment.

How to Prevent Rats from Damaging Your Clothes and Fabrics

Rats are notorious for causing damage to clothing and fabrics. Their sharp teeth can easily tear through fabrics, leaving behind holes and ruined garments. To protect your clothes from these pesky rodents, here are some effective prevention tips:

Store clothing in chew-proof containers

One way to keep your clothes safe from rat damage is to store them in chew-proof containers. Opt for plastic or metal bins with secure lids that rats cannot chew through. This will create a barrier between your clothes and the rodents, preventing them from having access to your beloved garments.

Use cedar blocks and lavender sachets

Rats are repelled by certain scents, such as cedar and lavender. Placing cedar blocks or sachets filled with dried lavender in your closets and drawers can help deter rats from entering these areas. Not only will your clothes smell pleasant, but you’ll also be keeping the rats at bay.

Keep closet and dresser drawers clean

Rats are attracted to dirty and cluttered spaces, as they provide hiding spots and potential sources of food. Keeping your closets and dresser drawers clean and organized will make them less appealing to rats.

Regularly vacuum, sweep, and wipe down these areas to remove any food crumbs or debris that could attract rodents.

Inspect for entry points and seal up

Rats can enter your home through small openings, so it’s crucial to inspect your property for any potential entry points. Check for gaps in doors, windows, and walls, and seal them up using caulk or steel wool.

By closing off these entryways, you’ll make it harder for rats to access your home and damage your clothes.

Set traps outside to catch rats

If you suspect rats are already present in your yard or near your home, setting traps can help control their population and prevent further damage to your clothes. Place rat traps along fences, near potential entry points, and in areas where rat activity has been observed.

Be sure to follow local regulations and guidelines when using traps.

By implementing these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of rats damaging your clothes and fabrics. Remember to stay vigilant and address any signs of rat infestation promptly to protect your wardrobe.

How to Get Rid of Rats in Your House for Good

Dealing with a rat infestation can be a frustrating and unpleasant experience. Rats can cause damage to your home, contaminate food, and spread diseases. If you’re wondering how to get rid of rats in your house for good, here are a few effective strategies to consider:

Sanitation – eliminate food sources

Rats are opportunistic feeders and will eat just about anything they can find. To discourage them from sticking around, it’s important to eliminate their food sources. Keep your kitchen clean and store food in airtight containers.

Make sure to take out the trash regularly and clean up any spills or crumbs immediately. Rats are also attracted to pet food, so be sure to store it securely.

Seal up entry points

Rats can squeeze through very small openings, so it’s important to seal up any potential entry points. Inspect your home for gaps or cracks in the walls, floors, and foundation. Use caulk or steel wool to fill in these openings.

Pay special attention to areas around pipes, vents, and utility lines, as rats can use these as entry points.

Use baits and traps

Baits and traps can be effective in reducing the rat population in your home. There are a variety of rat baits available, including poison baits and non-toxic options. It’s important to follow the instructions carefully and place the baits in areas where rats are likely to frequent, such as along walls or near their burrows.

Traps can also be used to catch rats alive, allowing you to release them elsewhere.

Consider hiring a pest control professional

If you’ve tried various methods but are still struggling with a rat problem, it may be time to call in the professionals. Pest control professionals have the knowledge and tools to effectively eliminate rats from your home.

They can assess the situation, identify entry points, and implement a comprehensive plan to eradicate the infestation.

Remember, getting rid of rats requires persistence and a multi-faceted approach. It’s important to address both the immediate problem and take steps to prevent future infestations. By following these strategies, you can successfully get rid of rats in your house for good.


Having rats destroy your favorite clothing is annoying and costly. Now that you know rats are attracted to fabrics like cotton, wool, silk, and leather, you can take steps to protect your wardrobe by storing clothes in sealed containers and inspecting for rat entryways.

Implementing preventative measures like traps and sealing up cracks will help evict rodents from your residence for good. With some diligence, you can defend your fabrics and fashion from ratty ruin!

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