How to Prevent Rats from Getting Into the Home

In this article, you’ll find out how to prevent rats from getting into the home. If you were looking to find out about mice instead, you can find more information in our how to prevent mice getting into the home article.


The best way to avoid getting rats in the home is to keep them away in the first place, which usually means fixing up your house and making sure there are zero points of entry for the dreaded rodents.


Rats are adept at squeezing through tiny holes so your first step for rat-proofing your home is to assess your house for gaps, cracks and crevices, filling these up with a mixture of steel wool and caulking or, alternatively, cement. Make sure you check spaces around your foundations, pipes, vents and ducts to be certain you’ve covered all possible opportunities for rats to get in.


What attracts rats?

When looking at how to deter rats from your home it helps to start with learning about what attracts them in the first place.


These things can generally be grouped into three main categories:


  1. Food: The obvious one is food, whether that’s in the form of garbage outside of your home or a regular rotation of dirty dishes and open food sources within it. Sanitising your home and making sure all food is sealed away is the number one rule when it comes to keeping rats away.
  2. Warmth: Rats are known to seek warmth when the temperatures outside start to cool, which may be because fall is on its way or simply when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
  3. Shelter: Rats are constantly looking for places that can act as a nesting site for their young, away from potential predators and other dangers of the wild.


While it’s hard to prevent your home from being a great place to seek warmth and shelter (that’s why you live there, too, after all!), taking steps like de-cluttering utility rooms, garages and areas outside your home can help deter rats. More on that below!


What repels rats?

There are many home remedies out there for repelling rats but there’s little evidence to back these up. Rats are robust creatures who have no problem spending time in sewage pipes and rooting through garbage so, contrary to belief, there aren’t many natural remedies that deter them.


It’s been said that rats hate the smell of peppermint and mothballs, which may be true, but there are issues with the viability of using these methods to keep them out of your home. One of them is that these smells simply aren’t strong enough to put the rats off (mothballs are designed for insects a fraction of the size of rats), and another is that these smells tend to rise in the air, while rats stay low to the ground.


How to keep rats out of your yard/garden

The best way to keep rats out of your yard is to make sure it’s not an attractive nesting site for them, or that there’s no tempting food on offer.


To do so, you should:


  1. Never leave clutter out in your yard or the space around your home, as this will provide the perfect shelter for rats.
  2. Never leave garbage where its accessible and make sure it’s removed altogether regularly.
  3. Always clear away leaves, and make sure your garden is maintained, including keeping bushes and trees trimmed back.

How to keep rats out of your garage

The same rules apply for keeping rats out of your garage as the rest of the home. Make sure all possible entryways are sealed, including gaps under the garage door or basement door. Next, regularly de-clutter your garage to remove any potential nesting spots and, finally, never leave any open food sources out for rats to access.


Worried about a smaller, but equally as annoying rodent? Read our article on how to prevent mice from getting into the home for everything you need to know!