How To Get Rid of Rats

Table of Contents

Discovering rat infestations inside your home is an unsettling experience. These rodents and their droppings carry other pests and diseases that make you sick. Reclaiming your home from these destructive rodents can be accomplished by following a few basic steps.

How To Get Rid of Rats

The best way to get rid of rats is to call pest control. However, you can also seal any openings or gaps into your home, place traps, and clean up any potential food sources (like open garbage) that could draw them. Just make sure you check the traps frequently! Place them near where you see droppings or other evidence of rats, in out-of-the-way hiding holes where the large rodents may have made their nest.

The roof rat and the Norway rat are the two most common rat species in North America. Norway rats are sometimes called sewer rats and are larger than most other rat species. 

Norway rats stay closer to the ground and don’t usually venture up to roof or attic spaces. Norway rats tend to build their nests with straw, bits of cloth, or other fibrous material.

Roof rats seek protected shelter and often feel right at home in an attic or inside a wall. By contrast, the roof rat or black rat is a fantastic climber and an absolute genius at locating small openings in a roof. 

Despite their excellent climbing abilities, roof rats can be equally at ease nesting in thick shrubbery or a tree hollow. Wherever they are making their home, you’ll want to know how to detect a mice or rat infestation and how to get rid of them. 

Best Way To Get Rid of Rats

Despite popular belief, disturbing a rat’s nest won’t do the trick. You need to deal with nests properly. Making your home an inhospitable and unwelcoming place to rats is the best defense for treating rat infestation, and this article guides you with this task. However, once the rats are already inside, you have some options for your next steps. 

Inspect Your House

Performing a thorough inspection of the home to get some idea of the size of the problem is a good idea. Looking for things like grease marks on the house exterior and destroyed insulation will provide clues to where the rats could be most active and nesting.

Scratching and rustling noises at night are also clear signs of rodent activity that will provide valuable clues to the scope of the problem, along with a strong smell of urine that may permeate throughout the house. 

Seal Gaps and Openings

Rats and other rodents rarely have just one entry point to a domicile, so finding all entry points and sealing them off is crucial in controlling a rodent infestation. 

Be sure to take your time with this step in the process, as it’s one of the most important ways to keep the rats out of the house. 

Familiar places for rodent entry points into your house include: 

  • Inside and underneath cabinets
  • Behind baseboards 
  • Behind stoves or refrigerators
  • Around pipes and outside dryer vents 

Any hole roughly the same size as a quarter is large enough for a rat to squeeze through and is a possible entry point that needs sealing. Cutting out their paths is essential.

Set Up Rat Traps

Rat traps are the traditional way for homeowners to handle infestations for a good reason. Successfully ridding your home of rats in this manner will require a bit of planning and investments in both time and patience. 

There are many types of traps on the market, and each has its pros and cons. Snap traps are the most widely used, and they consist of a thick metal wire, a spring, and a sensor to place bait. Once the rat triggers the sensor by going for the bait, the spring engages and (ideally) kills the rat. 

Glue traps consist of very sticky glue on one side of a plastic board. When the rat walks on the trap, they are stuck there until they die, which can take days to occur. While glue traps are very effective, the rat may suffer for a long time before death. 

Live traps are considered a more humane method of dealing with a rodent problem. When successful, the live trap will secure the rat inside of a wire cage until it can be released far from your home, hopefully near a wooded area where it won’t just become an issue for another homeowner. 

Avoid Using Rat Baits

Rat baits come in several different forms depending on your specific situation. They are available in:

  • Blocks
  • Pellets 
  • Packets
  • Seeds 

While these poisonous items can effectively kill a rat, using them inside your home can have some challenges. 

One of the most significant issues with using bait inside the house is that once the rat consumes the poison, it may take hours to expire, making locating the remains difficult. It can be dangerous to keep rat poison on hand, especially if you have children in the home. 

Clean Up Food Sources and Nests

Rats build nests in warm, secure places and provide easy access to food. Rats love dining on unsecured garbage and leftover food. 

Don’t make it easy for them; secure all available food sources. By eliminating all possible food sources, you’ve just made your home into a much less desirable nesting location. 

Discourage Rats

Rats have very sensitive noses, and the smell of a clean house is not attractive to them. Keeping the house clean and orderly is a great way to defend it from a rat invasion.

How To Get Rid of Rats Outside of Your House

Here are the best ways to get rid of rats living outside your home in your yard or garden areas or near your home’s foundation. 

How To Get Rid of Rats in Yards or Gardens

Keeping rats out of your yard will keep them from coming into your house. Ensure you’re doing everything you can to keep rats as far away from your home as possible. 

Tidy Up Your Backyard

Trash and debris in your backyard are like rolling out a welcome mat to rats. Keeping the yard mowed and picked up will lessen the chances of rats moving in. Overgrown and unkempt yard areas provide plenty of places to find shelter and build a nest.

Plants To Repel Rats

Planting natural rodent deterrent plants in the garden is an excellent way to keep rats off the property. 

Strong fragrances tend to irritate their noses, so planting marigolds, lavender, and rosemary would make rats uncomfortable. Garlic and peppermint are two other plants that rats find unacceptable.

Dry Ice

Treating rat nests with dry ice is a very effective way of eliminating a rodent problem. The rats suffocate after treating the nest as the dry ice evaporates. 

Get Birds or Cats

Cats and birds are natural predators of rats. By using their sensitive noses, rats can pick up on their scent right away and know that the area is not safe to settle in. 


Taking on a rat infestation inside your home is never pleasant, but taking swift, decisive action is key to winning this particular war. While you can try to deal with rats yourself, to truly be sure you’re pest-free, it’s best to call a professional to keep your home safe and clean. 

Jake Garza
Jake Garza
Jake is the founder of Hama Pest Control, the preferred choice for pest removal and extermination in the Greater Toronto Area. With over thirty years of experience, Jake prides himself in bringing quality, knowledge, and care to Hama Pest Control's customers.
Related Articles

How To Control a Rat Infestation in 9 Steps

Whenever a rat infestation occurs, a few questions typically cross the mind… How do you get rid of unwanted rats? How long does it take …

How to Get Rid of Mouse Urine Smell

If you suddenly have a mouse problem or notice an overpowering smell that could be from mouse urine, it’s critical to take care of it …

Why Do Mice Come Into the House in the Summer

Mice are looking for a place to hide from the summer heat, and your home has food, shelter, and cooler temperatures than the outside elements. …

Find out why our +500 customers love us

Ready For The Peace Of Mind You Deserve?

Proudly Serving The Greater Toronto Area