Rats usually find their way into places that provide feeding opportunities. The smell from your garbage may attract them, as will the odor from old food in your cupboards or refrigerator.
- Make sure that you always immediately throw out any food that is past its expiration date.
- Check to see that pantry doors and trash can lids close properly.
- Keep an eye on pet food. Remove anything left in open dishes once your pet has finished feeding, and store any food in airtight containers when it isn’t in use.
- Only eat in specified areas. If your family frequently eats in bedrooms, food will inevitably fall behind headboards and under beds, attracting rats.
- When you are eating, try to use place mats as much as possible so they can easily be wiped down afterwards.
- Try to sweep and wipe up the area where you’ve eaten after you’re done so there aren’t any leftover crumbs or residue.
Sanitize Your Home
Many of the odors that draw rats come from dust and food droppings that find their ways into the corners of your home. For this reason, it’s important to take the proper steps toward sanitizing your entire home, and not just the kitchen.
- Sanitize your home by regularly vacuuming and dusting.
- Make sure that you move your furniture and get in the corners of your home to clean up all of the old food and sticky dust that may attract them.
- You also need to protect your home from your neighbors’ sanitation problems. If your neighbors are messy or smelly, you may want to have a talk with them to make sure any odors or trash aren’t making their way over to your property.
Rat-Proof Your House
If you can successfully guard your house from rodents, you’ll never have to worry about an infestation as long as you keep up with maintenance. Whether you’ve just entered a new home or heard of a nearby infestation, it’s important to take the time and complete the following steps toward rat-proofing your home.
- Start by inspecting the foundation of your home. Look for gaps or holes that may be large enough for a rat to enter. You can block off those entry points with expandable foam or mesh.
- Once those areas are secured, check your doors and windows. This is especially important at the change of seasons, when doors and windows may warp and leave gaps large enough for rodents can crawl into. Metal kickplates are a good solution for these, as well as insulation treatment.
- Next, inspect your roof. If your vents, shingles, or chimneys allow access to your attic, you may have a problem: roof rats can be especially difficult to eradicate once they’ve gotten in there. Cap the chimney when it is not being used, fix any holes that might be in your vents, and make sure your roof is in good repair in general.
- In the same vein as inspecting your roof, you’ll want to inspect your basement if you have one. If there are any holes or cracks around your plumbing, these can be easy and covert areas for rats to get into your home. Make sure these small openings are all sealed up and that you also have proper sealant on your basement door.
- Consider using a metal rodent guard if you have any wire lines or pipelines that come from the outside into the house. You can also block holes with a mixture of steel wool and mortar or caulk.
- You can further protect your home by setting up a rat poison barrier around your own property. The best rat repellents on the market usually contain chemicals with odors that rats can’t stand. These can come in a liquid spray form or granules that are then used to create a perimeter around your home, within your garden, and near any rodent holes.
Natural Rat Repellents
Natural repellents are also an easy way to turn your home into a rat-free sanctuary. There are many products rats tend to stay away from, and chances are you already have at least one in your cabinets:
- Ammonia – Rats stay away from the smell.
- Bay leaf – The chemical compound of bay leaves can be lethal to rats.
- Peppermint oil – This can be distilled in water and sprayed around the house.
- Castor oil – This works similar to how citronella works to repel mosquitoes.
- Baby powder – The chemical compound can intoxicate rats and help you trap them.
- Instant mashed potatoes – If rats eat dehydrated mashed potatoes, the flakes will expand in their stomachs until they die of bloating.