Natural Rat Deterrent: Natural Rat Prevention

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Did you know that you can deter rats with natural ingredients, scents, oils, and more? You don’t always have to reach for chemical ingredients or traps. Here are a few ways to create natural rat deterrents in your own home.

Scents That Rats Hate

Rats have a naturally powerful sense of smell, and there are a number of scents they hate including garlic, onions, ammonia, coffee, eucalyptus,  clover, and more!

Do Natural Rat Deterrents Work?

Natural rat deterrents do work! Because rats look for sources of food and water via their sense of smell, these deterrents can block and prevent rats from entering your home. When rats are already inside your house, these deterrents can keep them from returning and even cause them to vacate the premises. There are a number of ways to keep rats away.

When To Use Natural Rat Deterrents

If you see signs of rats in your home, it’s time to break out the natural deterrents. If you notice rat droppings, bite marks, claw marks, disturbed food sources, chewed edges, or any other signs of a rat infestation, break out the natural deterrents and try to keep the rats from doing any more damage.

Natural Rat Deterrents You Can Use

Clover Plants

Clover plants are all-natural, easy to care for, and super aromatic. They can be used to deter rats—and yes, we are talking about your garden variety three-leaf clovers. The little flower that sits atop the green plant is a clover flower, and they’re very good at keeping rats at bay. These plants are great to keep in your garden during spring time—you can either pick the plants and leave them in areas where you want to keep rats away, or you can soak them in water and create a natural clover spray for the affected areas.

Hot Sauce With Cayenne Pepper

Rats and other small mammals hate hot sauce, because it completely messes with their sense of smell. Hot sauces contain a spicy component called capsaicin—this is what makes hot sauce actually hot. It’s a defense that pepper plants have against being eaten, and while humans love capsaicin, rodents do not. You can dilute some hot sauce with water to create an effective spray, or leave hot sauce in small dishes near the affected areas in your home.

Garlic and Onions

Garlic and onions, vegetables called alliums, work to deter all sorts of natural mammalian pests including rats! Because of its strong scent and taste, garlic messes with a rat’s sense of smell and deters them away from any room it’s in. Because of the natural allicin in garlic, the molecule works similarly to the capsaicin in hot sauce as a natural plant defense system against being eaten. Rats are wary of this compound and won’t come near a place that smells strongly of raw garlic and onion. Since garlic and onion are so versatile, you can place cloves/bulbs in vulnerable spots and even spray garlic/onion oil or make a diluted spray from ground up garlic/onion and water.


Ammonia is another powerful rat deterrent for the same reason: it disrupts their sense of smell and keeps them away from any area that has food. Ammonia has a harsh chemical smell—the home version is called ammonium hydroxide, and is used to clean bathroom and kitchen surfaces. Since so many common cleaners contain ammonia, you can spray down and clean all affected areas including attics, windows, darins, and anywhere else where rats might be congregating.

Coffee Grounds

Rats do not like coffee grounds—their strong, harsh scent is disruptive and overpowering. Instead of throwing away your coffee grounds, use them to repel rats by putting them in a perforated bag or container in any “hot spot” where rats are residing. You can also use the leftover coffee grounds as compost and garden fertilizer, to keep away outside mammals that are invading your garden.

Peppermint & Spearmint

Peppermint oils keep rats at bay, and it’s easy enough to buy some essential oils and spray them in the affected areas. Peppermint, wintergreen, and spearmint oils will keep rats and bay, and you can buy common household cleaning solutions and sprays that naturally contain mint scents or oils.


Cloves and clove oil can deter rats because of their musty, spicy smell. They’re an effective cleaner and won’t retain the harsh scent that vinegar or hot sauce does, and it’s easy enough to soak cotton balls in clove oil and leave them anywhere you’ve seen evidence of rats or mice. You can use cloves and clove oil both indoors and outdoors to deter rats.


Eucalyptus oils can be used in small concentrations to repel rats, similar to mint oils or clove oil. Spray the affected areas or soak rags/cotton to keep rats away and deter them from places in your home containing food or nesting materials.

Smell of Predators

The stories and movies are true—rats hate mice! Keeping a cat in your home is a great way to deter rats, because the very smell of predators will prevent them from coming into your home or might make them think twice before sneaking inside.

White Vinegar

White vinegar, and other vinegars such as apple cider vinegar, deter rats because of their harsh smells. You can leave vinegar in shallow bowls or dishes in places where you’ve seen evidence of rats, or combine a 2:1 water and vinegar dilution to spray down the areas and keep rats away.

Create A Homemade Spray: Make Your Own Deterrents For Rats

You can make homemade rat deterrent sprays via many of the options above—garlic, mint oil, clover, ammonia, cloves, and white vinegar can all make effective dilute sprays when mixed with water. For hot sauce, simply mix 4 cups of water with every 2 oz of hot sauce, for vinegars mix water and vinegar in a 2:1 compound and spray from a traditional spray bottle. A more powerful, but more useful, spray is 1:1 ammonia and vinegar, which will both deter rats and keep them from coming back.

What If Natural Rat Deterrents Not Work?

While natural rat deterrents are powerful and a great home remedy, they don’t always work. Rats are intelligent creatures and rat infestations are more than the average homeowner can handle. When you can’t deal with the rats invading your home, call the professionals at Hama Pest Control. With decades of local experience handling a wide variety of pests, Hama knows how to get rid of rats and keep them from coming back. All of our methods are humane, affordable, and designed to work around your schedule. Give us a call today!

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.
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