Rats in the house can be annoying, unsanitary, and even dangerous. If you have a rat problem, you’ll want to get rid of them as quickly and safely as possible.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Set traps baited with peanut butter around your home, seal any entry points, and use natural repellents like peppermint oil and dried peppermint leaves.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover various methods and tips for getting rid of house rats fast, including identifying signs of an infestation, trapping techniques, natural repellents, sealing entry points, and maintaining prevention.

Identifying Signs of a Rat Infestation

Rats can be a nuisance when they find their way into your home. It is important to identify the signs of a rat infestation early on to prevent further damage and potential health risks. Here are some common signs to look out for:


Rat droppings are one of the most obvious signs of an infestation. They are typically small, dark, and pellet-shaped. If you notice these droppings in your home, especially in areas like the kitchen or pantry, it is a clear indication that rats have made themselves at home.

Rub Marks

Rats have oily fur that leaves behind smudges or rub marks along walls and baseboards as they navigate through your home. These marks are often dark in color and can be easily spotted. If you come across these marks, it is likely that rats are active in your house.

Chewing Damage

Rats have a constant need to gnaw on objects to keep their teeth from growing too long. Consequently, they can cause damage to various materials in your home, such as wires, pipes, wooden furniture, and even walls.

If you notice chew marks or damaged items, it is a strong indication of a rat infestation.


Rats are known to create burrows for nesting and hiding. These burrows are often found in hidden areas like attics, basements, or crawl spaces. If you discover small holes or tunnels in these areas, it is likely that rats have established a nest in your house.

Live or Dead Rats

If you actually spot a rat in your home, it is a clear sign of an infestation. Rats are nocturnal creatures, so it is more common to see them at night. However, if you come across a dead rat, it suggests that there are likely more rats in your vicinity.


Rats are not the quietest house guests. If you hear scratching or scurrying noises coming from the walls, ceilings, or under the floors, it is a strong indication of rat activity. These noises are more pronounced at night when rats are most active.

Remember, if you suspect a rat infestation in your home, it is important to take immediate action to prevent further damage and potential health risks. Seeking professional help from pest control experts can ensure a thorough and effective removal process.

Trapping Rats

Snap Traps

Snap traps are one of the most common and effective methods of trapping rats. These traps consist of a spring-loaded mechanism that snaps shut when triggered by the rat. When setting snap traps, it’s important to place them in areas where rats are likely to travel, such as along walls or near food sources.

Peanut butter or cheese can be used as bait, as rats are attracted to these strong-smelling foods. Remember to handle snap traps with caution and follow safety instructions to avoid any injuries.

Live Cage Traps

Live cage traps are another option for trapping rats. These traps allow you to capture the rat alive and release it outside away from your home. When using live cage traps, it’s important to check them frequently to ensure that any trapped rats are not left inside for extended periods of time.

Additionally, make sure to release the rat at least a mile away from your home to prevent it from returning.

Choosing Bait for Traps

Choosing the right bait for your traps is crucial in successfully trapping rats. Rats are known to be attracted to strong-smelling foods, such as peanut butter, bacon, or dried fruit. Experiment with different baits to see which one works best for your situation.

It’s also helpful to use gloves when handling bait to avoid leaving human scent on the traps, as rats are wary of unfamiliar smells.

Where to Place Traps

Knowing where to place traps is key to trapping rats effectively. Rats tend to follow the same paths repeatedly, so it’s important to set traps along their travel routes. Place traps against walls, in corners, or in areas where you have noticed rat activity, such as droppings or gnaw marks.

It’s also a good idea to place traps near potential entry points, such as gaps or holes in walls or floors.

Checking and Resetting Traps

Once you have set your traps, it’s crucial to check them regularly. Rats are quick and can sometimes steal bait without getting caught. Check your traps at least once a day and replace the bait if necessary.

If you have successfully trapped a rat, be sure to dispose of it properly and clean the trap thoroughly before reusing it. Remember, trapping rats may require patience and persistence, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t catch them all at once.

For more detailed information and step-by-step guides on trapping rats, you can visit reputable websites such as www.doyourownpestcontrol.com or www.pestworld.org. These websites provide valuable resources and advice on rat trapping and other pest control methods.

Using Natural Rat Repellents

When it comes to dealing with a rat infestation in your house, using natural rat repellents can be an effective and environmentally-friendly solution. These repellents are safe to use around children and pets, and they can help keep rats away without the use of harmful chemicals.

Here are some natural rat repellents that you can try:

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is known for its strong scent that rats find repulsive. To use peppermint oil as a rat repellent, simply soak cotton balls in the oil and place them in areas where rats are likely to frequent, such as near their entry points or in their nesting areas.

The strong smell of peppermint will help deter rats from entering your home.

Dried Peppermint Leaves

If you don’t have access to peppermint oil, dried peppermint leaves can also be used as a natural rat repellent. Simply crush the leaves and sprinkle them in areas where rats are commonly seen. The strong aroma of the leaves will help keep rats away.


Mothballs are another effective natural rat repellent. Their strong odor is unpleasant for rats, and they can be placed in areas where rats are likely to hide or travel. However, it’s important to note that mothballs should be used with caution as they can be toxic to pets and children.

Make sure to keep them out of reach and use them only in areas where they won’t pose a risk.


Ammonia is a strong-smelling substance that rats dislike. To use ammonia as a rat repellent, mix it with water in a spray bottle and spray it in areas where rats have been spotted. The smell of ammonia will discourage rats from returning to those areas.

Cayenne Pepper and Other Spices

Rats have a strong sense of smell, and certain spices can be used to repel them. Cayenne pepper, black pepper, and garlic powder are known to be effective in deterring rats. Sprinkle these spices in areas where rats are active, and they will likely avoid those areas due to the strong smell.

Predator Urine

Rats are naturally afraid of predators, and the smell of predator urine can help keep them away. You can purchase predator urine from hunting supply stores or online. Soak cotton balls in the urine and place them in areas where rats are likely to be.

The scent of the predator urine will make rats think that there is a predator nearby, and they will avoid those areas.


Garlic is another natural rat repellent that you can try. The strong smell of garlic is unpleasant for rats, and it can help keep them away. Crush garlic cloves and sprinkle them in areas where rats are active, or place garlic cloves near their entry points.

Rats will be deterred by the smell of garlic.


Similar to garlic, the strong smell of onion can also repel rats. Cut onions into small pieces and place them in areas where rats are commonly seen. The pungent smell of onions will help keep rats away from your home.

Remember that while these natural rat repellents can be effective, they may not completely eliminate an infestation. It’s important to take additional steps such as sealing entry points, keeping your house clean and tidy, and removing potential food sources to prevent rats from returning.

If the rat problem persists or becomes too severe, it’s best to seek professional help.

Sealing Up Entry Points

Inside the House

One of the most effective ways to get rid of rats in your house is by sealing up any entry points they may be using to gain access. Rats can squeeze through small openings, so it’s important to thoroughly inspect your home for any gaps or holes.

Start by checking areas such as the attic, basement, and crawl spaces. Look for cracks in the walls, broken vents, or damaged pipes. Use caulk or steel wool to seal up these openings, as rats are unable to chew through these materials.

Additionally, pay close attention to areas where utility lines enter your home. These are common entry points for rats. Use expanding foam or wire mesh to seal around these entry points, ensuring that rats are unable to enter your home through these routes.

Outside the House

Sealing up entry points on the exterior of your house is just as important as addressing the interior. Rats can enter your home through gaps in the foundation, damaged vents, or openings around windows and doors.

Inspect the foundation of your home for any cracks or gaps and seal them with concrete or mortar. Replace any damaged or missing vents and use weather stripping to seal gaps around windows and doors.

It’s also crucial to keep your yard tidy and well-maintained. Rats are attracted to cluttered areas, so remove any piles of wood, debris, or overgrown vegetation that could serve as hiding spots for these pests.

Trim back tree branches that are close to your home, as rats can use them as a pathway onto your roof and into your attic.

Hiring a Professional

If you’re unable to effectively seal up entry points on your own or if you’re dealing with a large infestation, it may be necessary to hire a professional pest control company. These experts have the knowledge and experience to identify and seal all potential entry points, ensuring that rats are unable to enter your home.

They can also provide additional treatments, such as baiting or trapping, to eliminate existing rat populations.

When hiring a professional, be sure to choose a reputable company with a track record of success in rat control. Check online reviews and ask for recommendations from friends or family. A professional will not only help you get rid of rats fast but also provide guidance on preventing future infestations.

Preventing Future Infestations

Once you have successfully gotten rid of rats in your house, it’s important to take steps to prevent future infestations. By implementing some preventive measures, you can ensure that these unwanted pests stay away for good. Here are some effective ways to prevent future rat infestations:


Keeping your house clean and maintaining good sanitation practices is crucial in deterring rats from entering your home. Rats are attracted to food sources, so make sure to:

  • Store food in tightly sealed containers
  • Dispose of garbage regularly in sealed bins
  • Clean up spills and crumbs immediately
  • Remove clutter and debris that can serve as hiding places

By eliminating potential food sources and keeping your home clean, you can significantly reduce the chances of rats returning.


Believe it or not, your landscaping choices can also play a role in preventing rat infestations. Rats are often attracted to overgrown vegetation and cluttered yards. Here’s what you can do:

  • Trim trees and shrubs away from your house, creating a clear gap between the foliage and your home’s exterior
  • Remove any piles of leaves, branches, or other debris from your yard
  • Keep your lawn mowed and well-maintained
  • Regularly inspect and seal any openings in your home’s foundation or exterior walls

By maintaining a well-kept yard and eliminating potential hiding spots, you can make your property less appealing to rats.

Regular Checks

Regularly inspecting your home for any signs of rats or potential entry points is crucial in preventing future infestations. Here are some areas to pay close attention to:

  • Check for any cracks or gaps in your walls, windows, doors, and foundation
  • Inspect your attic, basement, and crawl spaces for any signs of rat activity, such as droppings or chewed wires
  • Ensure that your vents and chimney are properly screened
  • Seal any openings or cracks you find using caulk or steel wool

By conducting regular checks and promptly addressing any issues, you can proactively prevent rats from entering your home.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to keeping rats out of your house. By following these preventive measures, you can create an environment that is unwelcoming to rats and minimize the chances of future infestations.


Rats can be tenacious, but with diligence and persistence, you can get rid of a rat problem quickly. Combining trapping, natural repellents, sealing up entry points, and prevention tactics will help evict rats and keep them from returning. Act at the first signs of an infestation for best results.

With the right knowledge and supplies, you can get rid of house rats fast.

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