Does Antifreeze Kill Rats [Know The Facts]

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The rat colonies in an area will impact people negatively. There are a lot of conventional methods for killing rats. However, time is evolving, and rats are becoming immune to it. Therefore, people are looking for new and unique procedures to kill pests. One such idea is the use of antifreeze to kill rats. But does antifreeze kill rats?

Yes. Antifreeze can kill rats. It is a poisonous chemical that can kill rats in a few days after ingestion. Antifreeze has a sweet taste that attracts the rat towards it; a few milliliters of antifreeze is enough to kill one rat. However, this chemical is equally toxic for humans and house pets.

It is essential to kill the rats for house security and mental peace. Read the article to find a detailed review of how antifreeze works to kill rats.

What Is Antifreeze?


Antifreeze is a substance that lowers the system temperature while maintaining functionality. Typically, it is a colored chemical liquid agent that acts as a heat exchanger between the vehicle engine and the radiator. As a result, the engine will operate at the ideal temperature for peak power and duration.

Commonly, antifreeze is known as radiator fluid and is the same as coolant. This fluid maintains the car engine by preventing it from freezing in cold temperatures and overheating in hot temperatures.

The main constituent of antifreeze is ethylene glycol propyl glycol, or methanol mixed with water. Antifreeze can kill any living creature upon ingestion as the body metabolizes its components into highly toxic byproducts.

What Does Antifreeze Do To Rats?

Ethylene glycol is the primary component of antifreeze. It is toxic and can kill anything. The poisoning caused by antifreeze will show similar signs and symptoms in almost all living creatures, humans or animals.

Antifreeze damages the liver and the kidneys. It causes blood intoxication, vomiting, and abdominal pain and reduces consciousness progressing to headaches and seizures.

Research by Kenneth McMartin states that diethylene glycol causes acute kidney injury and neurological effects in rats. Including weakened or reduced facial and limb refluxes in female rats.

The research was on twelve female rats of which three had increased blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels indicating AKI. When compared with non-AKI animals, AKI animals had poor forelimb strength and physiological response.

Does Antifreeze Kill Rats Instantly?

Antifreeze is a poisonous chemical that can work as a rodent poison and other pest poison. However, it does not kill the rat instantly and can take a few days for the rat to die. The correct dose of antifreeze causes slow and painful poisoning leading to death. A rat will only die when it drinks at least ten milliliters of the antifreeze.


Antifreeze takes time to work. It is a slow poison that first affects the liver and kidney and causes acute kidney injury in animals within a few hours. Slowly the chemical spreads in the blood and moves toward the brain, causing neurological problems. Therefore, the poisoning of antifreeze is slow and painful.

How Long Does It Take For Antifreeze To Kill Rats 

Antifreeze is an important fluid in maintaining engine temperature. However, its ethylene glycol component makes it extremely poisonous to rodents like rats. Symptoms appear within hours of eating antifreeze, and most rats die within 24 to 72 hours.

The body quickly breaks down the ingested poison into harmful molecules like oxalic acid. These have terrible effects on the kidneys and nervous system, ultimately killing the poor rat from renal failure or neurotoxicity. 

Therefore, the toxicological clock begins ticking as soon as ingestion occurs. The actual process of dying may take a little longer than expected. How long the effects last will depend on the rat’s weight, general health, and the amount of antifreeze it ate. As such, it is clear that more humane pest control methods are required.

Does 50-50 Antifreeze Kill Rats?

Commonly referred to as “50/50,” it is half-strength antifreeze.  50/50 comprises equal parts water and ethylene glycol, the toxic ingredient that can be harmful to rats. Even though 50/50 has been watered down. It still has the power to kill. If a rat eats it, it will get sick no matter how much water is added. 

When ethylene glycol is eaten, it is metabolized into more dangerous molecules like oxalic acid. And then sets off a chain reaction of internal damage. It’s the root cause of renal and neurological disorders. And it kills the animal within a day to three days.

However, this can vary depending on the rat’s size, general health, and the amount consumed. It cannot be emphasized enough that this method of rodent extermination, despite being effective, is cruel and poses serious hazards to non-target animals and the environment. Alternatives should be looked into that are morally and environmentally responsible.

How Do You Kill Rats with Antifreeze?

Antifreeze is not made and sold as rat poison. It is a chemical agent used for maintaining and regulating your vehicle. It is poisonous to humans and animals, including rats.

A report (2000) on ethylene glycol hazards summarized that ethylene glycol shows low to moderate acute toxicity in rats upon ingestion and moderate acute toxicity upon inhalation and dermal exposure.

1- Select The Area

Antifreeze is a poisonous chemical that can kill other animals and humans. Therefore, keep it in places out of reach of your house pets and children. If you live close to the forest areas, avoid placing the poison outside your home as it is equally poisonous to wild animals.

To kill rats with poison, selecting an area is crucial. Choose a place close to the rat’s entry point, for example, doors, windows, or any hole you find in the house structure.

2- Select The Bait

Rats are getting clever. Occasionally, they can sense the poison laid out for them and will avoid going near it. To attract the rats towards poison, you will have to add bait.

However, even mixed with the bait poison can be ineffective if a rat has not ingested enough antifreeze quantity.

3- Antifreeze Mixed With Coke

Rats love sweet things. Surprisingly, rats enjoy coke as much as we humans do. Carbonate kills rats, but coke is not enough carbonated to kill the rat.

Antifreeze has no taste or odor. To attract rats towards it add coke to the poison. Coke mixed with it makes perfect rat poison. The sweet smell and taste of the coke will attract the rats.

4- Antifreeze-soaked Bread

Rats enjoy eating flour, either raw or cooked. For years flour was used as bait for killing rats. Mainly it is mixed with baking soda. Now you can soak the bread in the antifreeze, take a few bread slices, and soak them in the antifreeze. Put these read pieces inside a container and place them near the rats’ entry point or the areas with the rat infestation.

A rat does not care how the food item looks. Rats are filthy and can even eat the trash. Therefore, a rat can eat the antifreeze-soaked bread that is easily accessible.

5- Choose a container

Place the poison in a small container so rats can drink it. It is a safety precaution and works effectively. You should wear gloves while dealing with the antifreeze as it can irritate the skin.

Take a tall plastic cup, Tupperware container, or a small plastic bottle cut in half and pour at least ten milliliters of antifreeze into it. You can also use a deep container like a pail to ensure that the rat dies inside. It will make disposing of the dead rat easier.

Place a big rock, stone, or any other support next to the container to prevent it from tumbling.

What Is The Risk Of Using Coke To Kill Rats?


Often homemade remedies are not very effective in killing the rats. As you know, coke and antifreeze are not for killing rats. There is a risk while using coke to kill rats as it can cause an opposite impact on the pest.

Instead of killing the rat, it can attract them to your house for more coke. Therefore, when using soda to kill the rats, use the antifreeze in large volumes. You must check the container and area nearby to find a dead rat. If the rat problem remains the same, you might have to look for another way.

Will Brake Fluid Kill Rats?


Antifreeze, brake fluids, and windshield wiper fluids are colorful and have a sweet smell that attracts animals. All of these chemicals work similarly.

If you are looking for an alternative to antifreeze for killing rats, you can always use brake fluids or windshield fluids.

Both of these fluids are toxic to animals and work similarly to antifreeze. The active constituent of brake fluids is ethylene glycol, and the windshield fluids contain methanol.

The small amount of methanol or ethylene glycol is lethal to the rat’s kidney. Ingestion of even ten milliliters of methanol can cause permanent blindness. Therefore, while handling these chemical agents, wear gloves and safety goggles.

How Much Antifreeze Is Required To Kill A Rat?

There is no exact quantity of antifreeze required to kill a rat. Many people use the amount somewhere between ten milliliters to twenty milliliters. However, this quantity is not confirmed by research.

Use enough volume of antifreeze so that it can die because a surviving rat is more likely to visit your home frequently.

Ethynyl glycol and methanol are active ingredients and can show their results with even a limited quantity. For the best results, I recommend you use at least ten to fifteen milliliters.

As per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, five milliliters of antifreeze will kill a small cat, and fifteen milliliters can kill a five kg dog.

Are Animals Attracted To Antifreeze?

Antifreeze does not repel any animal. In fact, it attracts rats and other mammals towards it due to its color, smell, and scent. Many animals, including rats, find antifreeze sweet and can drink it when given the opportunity. However, antifreeze is poison, and ingesting it will kill the animal.

A book on cats by Amy Shojai states that one tablespoon of antifreeze is enough to kill a cat. A cat with antifreeze poisoning will lose its appetite and have vomiting and diarrhea. Therefore, it requires first aid immediately. The cat needs to be hydrated to excrete the poison in urine.


Rats are difficult to deal with, but it is not impossible to get rid of them. There are several chemical compounds available commercially to kill rats. However, many of these chemicals are not working on rats anymore. Upon research, people found that antifreeze is lethal to rats and now use it as rat poison.

Using antifreeze as rat poison is not recommended due to its many drawbacks. The most prominent downside of antifreeze is that it is equally poisonous to humans and other animals. Therefore, house owners with pets and children should never keep chemicals like antifreeze outside. Even a limited quantity of antifreeze is enough to kill the rat.