6 Fast Ways to Trap or Get Rid of Rats in the House

Rat Control

Rats are a part of nature and have a history of being a nuisance when they get inside of a residential or commercial property. Beyond them being just annoying, rats also are dirty and carry many diseases that can be transferred to humans. The following six methods are great for getting rid of rats in houses once and for all.

Best Ways to Get Rid of Rats

You could end up wasting a ton of time and money trying to get rid of rats if you don’t know the proper methods to use to get the job done. Not only could you waste money, but some methods can be toxic to other animals and insects or could be considered inhumane to the rat.

Rat Snap Traps

There are many different trusted and efficient methods to get rid of rats in a humane and safe manner without having to call the exterminators. Here are a few worth trying out.

1. Seal All Possible Openings & Entrance Points

Getting rid of rats is going to be much quicker if you start off by sealing off any and all possible openings within your home. Rats can get through very small gaps, and they don’t just come in from the ground. Rats also can come from the top, including coming down from tree branches.

On the outside of your home, you want to make sure you have sealed around the foundation, all along the openings where gas lines, cables, plumbing, and electrical wires are present, and around the crawlspace vents. With the roof, you need to ensure the eaves, gables, and rafters have been sealed properly. Inside your home, ensure that windows and doors are sealed properly, and also check the dryer vent and floor vents. Close off any gaps or openings around fireplaces, inside of the attic, and inside of the basement.

2. Set Up Multiple Rodent Snap Traps

Snap traps are thought of as one of the most common and effective ways to get rid of rats. Snap traps are great because many of them are made with a cover on them so you don’t have to directly touch or see the rat. Some people don’t like snap traps because the trap will kill the rat, as opposed to other methods that involve just deterring the rodent.

Snap traps can be made of different materials including plastic, wood, and metal. It works by you putting some bait on the trap and setting up the hinges. The rat will be enticed to get on the trap in order to try to get the bait and is quickly killed. Setting up multiple traps gives you better odds at catching any and all rats.

3. Repel the Rats with Peppermint Oil

One of the best ways to get rid of rats involves using peppermint oil, but this trick will work best only in enclosed spaces such as your attic. The reason why peppermint oil works is because it’s very strong and concentrated. Rats have a very keen and sensitive sense of smell so the smell of the peppermint acts as a natural deterrent. This method does not kill the rats and it also doesn’t involve handling toxic chemicals that rodent poison contains.

4. Clean Up and Store All Food Promptly

Getting rid of rats requires that you pay attention to your kitchen and any other place where you might store food or food products. Not only should you be cleaning up food promptly from your kitchen area, but you also need to focus on how you are storing food.

Make sure you use tightly-sealed containers to store any food that you leave in the kitchen cabinets. Ideally, you should also use a tall and firm trash can that rats can’t easily access. The trash can should also be regularly disposed of to eliminate the lingering odor.

5. Create a Homemade Rat Trap Using a Bucket

There are many free videos that show methods for creating your own homemade rat trap by using a 5-gallon bucket, pop cans, and a dowel rod. You will need a few other items as well for this method including some scrap wood and peanut butter.

Drill a hole on each side of the top of the bucket. Take a couple pop cans and drill a hole right in the middle of each on the flat side. Put the dowel rod through the pop can holes and through the holes in the bucket.

Put peanut butter around the pop cans to act as a bait for the rats and then use a piece of wood as a ramp up to the bucket. The rats will go up the ramp, try to get the peanut butter or other bait, and then end up falling into the 5-gallon bucket. You are then able to release the rats back out into the wild without harming them during this trapping method.

6. Rat-Proof the Exterior & Yard of Your Home

In order to get rid of rats for good, you should be rat-proofing the yard and exterior of your home. The main goal of rat-proofing the exterior is to make it more difficult for the rats to climb up the pipes. Not only do you want to make it hard for the rats to get up the pipes, but you also want to do some yard work in order to dissuade them from making a home there. You want to clear away the debris in the yard as much as you can and keep your yard as clean as possible.

Rat Trap Tactics to Avoid

While none of us want rats around and we all want to get rid of them before it becomes an infestation, not all rat tactics are worth pursuing for your mission. There are certain rat trap tactics that you should avoid, especially to not endanger other harmless animals. You also should avoid certain trap methods because they are inhumane to the rats and are just generally not successful in getting rid of the problem.

Traps that Involve Rat Poison

Traps that involve rat poison aren’t really the best choice to use because most of the time the rats will not die immediately. Instead of dying quickly, which is a lot more humane, the rats will end up hiding in their nest and dying. That’s bad news for you due to the fact that the rat will begin to rot and it can be difficult to know where the nest is located. Often times rats will nest inside your walls or attic, and this means the rotting rat odor is going to be inside your house.

Rodent Glue Traps

Rodent glue traps aren’t the most humane option out there and really should be avoided if possible. Other animals, such as small birds, could end up getting stuck on the sticky traps. Some glue traps also contain other chemicals, some of which are toxic. Glue traps are also pretty ineffective in the first place at baiting a rat so it’s worth avoiding altogether.

Best Baits to Use for Rats

If you are trying to get rid of rats using bait traps, there are certain kinds of bait that will attract the rats to the trap much easier and quicker. Peanut butter is thought to be one of the best options to use as bait for rats. You can use meat, cereal, and even vegetables to bait the rats as well. Bacon also works very well and so does fruit.

Difference Between Rats and Mice

There are many differences between rats and mice and many of the differences go way beyond physical appearance. One major difference between the two is that rats are a lot more cautious than mice, meaning they are sneakier and better at hiding from people. Mice are more bold when it comes to exploring their surroundings and even exploring traps setup to catch them.

Other differences include that mice are more skilled climbers and can get into even the smallest space within your home. Rats do tend to stick with basements and crawlspaces due to them being ground level and easier to access since rats are not really skilled at climbing. Mice are more skilled at climbing because they are more agile and a lot smaller. Mice generally are between 2-inches and 4-inches whereas a rat averages around 9-inches.

Rats are also a lot stronger overall than mice and rats have much bigger and stronger teeth. Mice have fairly weak teeth, which is why they aren’t good at getting into sealed containers. Rats have such strong teeth that they can gnaw through cinder blocks, glass, wood, and sheet metal.

Common Types of Household Rats

When you think of a household rat, you might have a particular image in your head, but did you know there’s more than one rat known to find shelter in your home? Not all rats are the same in terms of appearance or where they nest. It’s important to know the most common types of rats that can be found inside of your home so that you can get rid of them.

Norway Brown Rats

Norway brown rats are the most common type of household rat and is often just referred to as a sewer rat or street rat. Unlike the name suggests, Norway brown rats have an Asian origin that dates back to the 1700s. These brown rats were a huge problem on ships in the 1700s and the ships are how these rats ended up migrating to the United States.

They are brown in color with the fur looking like small bristles. There are very tiny black hairs that are found within the layers of brown fur. The belly of the Norway brown rat is much lighter than the backside and often has a yellow or off-white tone. This rat has a fairly short tail and also have small ears and eyes. Being colorblind and lacking great vision doesn’t stop this rat and it relies heavily on the other senses to get around.

These rats are particularly damaging to structures due to their abilities to gnaw through material. They most often will live in or near a sewer system because they are attracted to wet and damp environments. You are also likely to find Norway brown rats in residential buildings or in alleys.

Roof Black Rats

Roof black rats can be found in the southern part of the United States and also live along coastal states. Coloring on these rats is mostly brown with some black fur intertwined within the layers. Speaking of the fur, with the roof black rats, their coats are very smooth and soft. These rats have both large ears and large eyes with a thin and long body. These rats are mistaken for a common house mouse a lot of the time due to their similarities in color and size.

These rats are very damaging to houses and other buildings due to it loving to gnaw on these types of materials. The roof rat is also known to get into stored food products, such as containers or storage bins. You will likely find a roof black rat inside of your wall or attic as they don’t like cooler temperatures. Fresh fruits, seeds, and vegetables are the preferred food choices for these critters, although grain and meat are also items they will eat.


Woodrats are also referred to as traderats or packrats and have a scientific name of Neotoma SPP. This scientific name means a rodent that cuts with teeth, which should give you an indication of how destructive this rat can be. The woodrat is fluffier and has much longer fur than other rats, and the fur is often very smooth. Some have said the woodrat resembles a hamster due to it being more round and more thick in build.

Coloring of this rat includes black, brown, and gray and the average length of a woodrat is 7-inches. These rats are similar to roof rats in that they primarily will nest in various tight spaces around your home. They can make a stick house right underneath your porch or end up climbing into voids in the ceiling. These rats might make a home inside of your attic and inner walls.