What is the Best Rat Repellent? 10 Effective Solutions!

Rats are pesky rodents that will keep creeping back to your home. Aside from the gross infestation, rats are known bearers of one of the world’s deadliest disease: the Black Plague. Rats are also carriers of leptospirosis, hantavirus, and even rabies. This is the reason why you should get rid of the critter as soon as you spot one. So what is the best rat repellent? I’ve listed some of the most effective home remedies below:

Cayenne pepper

what is the best rat repellent

One of the most effective solutions against rats is cayenne pepper. This substance stings and has a very strong smell. This is an inexpensive solution that you can easily find in your kitchen.

Chop the pepper in small bits and sprinkle it on the entryways of the rats. However, you should be careful as this will burn the skin and sting on your eyes. Also, keep your pets and kids away from the area you treated to prevent contact.

If you don’t want the pepper bits littering around, you can mix the chopped chili in vinegar. Shake this well and spray it on the spots where the rodents are entering.


If chili isn’t your type, you can use garlic instead. Almost every kitchen has this staple ingredient, so it should be easy to apply this solution against rats.

Chop several cloves and mix it with water. Let the mixture sit overnight so the garlic juices will mix with water properly. You can also sprinkle the diced garlic around the areas affected with rats.

Remember that you should use garlic modestly. Too much will make your home stench since garlic has a pungent spice. You should also be careful as garlic can be pretty dangerous to both dogs and cats.

Peppermint oil

what is the best rat repellent

If you don’t want the spicy smell of garlic and chili, you can try peppermint oil instead. Even to humans, peppermint oil has a strong smell, that’s why it has to be diluted on a carrier oil before use.

The good thing about peppermint oil is that it’s safe to use and chemical-free. You can mix a few drops in a bottle of water. You can spray this solution to your house where rats tend to harbor. Aside from driving away the pest, the scent of peppermint oil will give a refreshing whiff to your home.

Another option is to apply a few drops of peppermint oil to cotton balls then placing it on rat holes.


Rats hate the strong smell, so using ammonia is a no-brainer. Ammonia is also similar to the smell of predators, which will scare rats away. The pungent smell of ammonia is more than enough to discourage a rat from staying in your home.

You can dilute a small amount of ammonia in water and spray it around your home. Two cups of ammonia can be diluted in a bowl of water. You can also add two teaspoons of detergent for better results.

If you don’t want to make a mess on your home, you can place the bowl of solution near the spot where the rats harbor.

Clove oil

Another essential oil that you can use is clove oil. This substance has a strong smell that rodents don’t like. You can dilute the oil in water then spray it on the affected areas. Another option is to place a handful of cloves in a mesh then place it on the harborage of rats.

I suggest chopping the cloves to unravel its juices. Whole cloves don’t have much smell, so crushing and chopping it a bit will help boost the repellent effect.

Aside from that, you can mix clove oil with lavender and peppermint oil if you want to achieve a better smell.

Naphthalene balls

I grew up seeing naphthalene balls around the house to ward off rats and insect pests. Also called mothballs, this candy-looking substance will drive away the rats with its strong smell. It can be placed on drawers, cabinets, and other hard-to-reach areas.

However, you should never use naphthalene balls if you have a small child at home. I remember my niece mistaking one as a candy, which resulted in a visit to the ER. Mothballs are poisonous to humans, pets, and even rats.

I suggest placing the mothballs on hidden areas where you suspect rats to be harboring. It can be your attic, the back of your appliance, and so on.

Predator urine

Predator urine has been making rounds in the pest control market. The premise is that manufacturers produce sprays that mimic the scent of pest’s natural predators. For rats, you can look for a coyote urine spray. This will trick the rodent that imminent danger is present in your home.

You can find commercially formulated predator urine, which uses synthetic chemicals. Some will use the actual thing, which you should carefully to prevent direct contact to the animal excretion.

Nevertheless, this solution doesn’t offer the best smell, so it’s up to you if you’re going to use it. I haven’t used this yet, but I heard that the results are stellar. If the rat infestation is getting out of hand, this might be a good option.

Steel wool barricades

If you’re sure that you’ve driven the rats away from your home, the next step is to block their way back in. The best material to use here is steel wool. Fill the gaps with crumped and compacted steel wool as rats have no way of chewing through this.

You can also spray the steel wool barricades with any of the solutions I’ve mentioned above. This will stop rats from attempting to remove the blockage.

It’s important to check the blockages from time to time to ensure that pests will not remove it.

Specific plants

If you don’t want any smelly or drastic measures, you can utilize some plants to drive the rats away. Aside from that, such plants will add an aesthetic touch to your home. You can grow peppermint, lavender, alliums, camphor, and euphorbias around your home.

The natural and strong scent of these plants are unappealing to rats. You can also make it a habit to crush some leaves and leave it along the walls where rats are known to pass by.

However, you should be picky with the plants you’re going to bring inside if you have a dog or cat. Some of them are poisonous to pets.

Visual scares

Some fake scares may also work its charm on rats. You can place fake owls and other predators near their nests. Spray it with a little predator urine, and you’ll surely scare the critters away.

Another option is to place your cat’s litter box near the rat nest to scare away the rodents. A mousing cat is also a great addition to your household. However, you may have a deal with some disemboweled rats in the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does vinegar help keep rats away?

A: Vinegar has a strong scent that rats may find repulsive. However, this can only repel the rodents away temporarily. Some may grow tolerance toward it and can endure the smell. You can also pair the vinegar solution with other methods I listed here.

Q: What do rats hate the most?

A: Rats have a very strong sense of smell so anything that has a stench or overpowering smell to it will somehow drive them away. Above, I listed some of the most effective solutions, from essential oils to some common household items.

Q: Does bleach help keep rats away?

A: Bleach is effective in driving rats away. However, you should never use this as a home remedy. Bleach is highly abrasive, and continued exposure to this chemical can result in health problems. You can explore other alternatives, including the ones I listed above.

Q: Where do rats hide during the day?

A: Rats love hiding behind walls and tiny spaces where they will not be seen. They will harbor behind furniture and appliances that are not constantly disturbed or moved. Some would even chew its way through, damaging the fixture and causing further problems.

Q: Do rats ever leave on their own?

A: Rats don’t usually leave on their own as long as there’s a continuous supply of food. Most of them will burrow into the ground up to three meters deep to create a tunnel. They can enter your home even if you don’t see it. If you can deprive the rats of food, they may seek another nesting site. You can also use other deterrent options to drive the pests away.

Final words

What is the best rat repellent? You can experiment with essential oils, some kitchen items, and commercial options. You can also pair these solutions for the best results. Always practice caution so you won’t experience adverse side effects.

What do you think of these rat repellents? Do you have something to add on this list? Feel free to drop your suggestions below to help other homeowners!