How To Keep Rats Out Of Trash Cans [8 Tips]

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Rats can be a nuisance and bring you a lot of trouble. Are you tired of trying to get rid of rats and still not finding effective ways to do so? Well, here are a few tips and tricks on how to keep rats out of trash cans. 

The rats can be kept out of trash cans by carrying out the following actions:

  • Lining your trash cans with heavy-duty trash bags
  •  Cleaning food waste containers properly 
  •  Constructing trash enclosures 
  •  Repairing broken or damaged bins 
  •  Installing motion-sensing lights 
  •  Securing the lid of trash cans
  •  Keeping trash cans far away from your residency 
  •  Spray pungent-smelling substances like Ammonia

In this article, we will read in detail about every measure mentioned earlier that can be taken to keep the rats out of trash cans. If you have not found a solution yet, you must read on to get the perfect solution to your problem.

How To Keep Rats Out Of Trash Cans
How To Keep Rats Out Of Trash Cans

Tips to Keep Rats Out OF Trash Cans

Rats are clever and have sharp paws to easily climb trash cans. There are numerous ways of getting rid of rats out of trash cans. We are going to take a look at each one of them sequentially.

Tip#1 Lining You Trash Cans With Heavy-Duty Trash Bags 

Trash Cans With Heavy-Duty Trash Bags

These unique bags have been designed to act as a barrier between greedy pests and your garbage content. If you have a lot of garbage related to food content, you must try and minimize all the pests’ opportunities by using resistant trash bags.

Tip#2 Cleaning Food Containers Properly

Cleaning Food Containers

At the end of the day, you must properly dispose of the food containers and ensure that there are no food particles inside them. Although it is challenging to minimize food waste as there are vegetable and food peels, you can be careful.

Food particles are an open invitation for the rats to come and search deep inside the garbage cans. The lesser food you have in there, there better it is to keep the rats away!

Tip#3 Constructing Trash Enclosures

Trash Enclosures

There are certain materials that keep the rats out. They have been mentioned in the following paragraph:

Trash can enclosures are very common in areas where there are a lot of raccoons and rats. Garbage can be protected by building an enclosure around it. The enclosure can be of the following materials:

  • Plastic
  •  Wood
  •  Metal

Ready-made enclosures are also available in the market. You can also attach ropes to your garbage cans and connect them to a tree so that your trash can does not topple over every time a rat tries to pay a night’s visit. 

Tip#4 Repairing Broken Or Damaged Bins

Broken Trash Bins

It would be best if you patched up the cracks and holes in your trash cans. The best reinforcement is using fiberglass or epoxy. There are good adhesive tapes as well that are sufficient to carry out the deed. However, if the damage is more, you must rush to the market to get a new garbage can to avoid infestations. 

Tip#5 Installing Motion-Sensing Lights

As rats are nocturnal animals, they avoid the brightness emitted by any light source, especially flashing lights. So, you can install motion-sensing lights in your garden or yard. 

The advantage of doing so is that lights will be activated upon the entry of the rat and will deter it away from the garbage cans. This is one of the most effective methods of keeping rats away, so it minimizes your efforts. 

The motion sensors are pretty effective in sensing rats’ movements and will immediately lighten up to keep the rats away from exploring the contents of trash cans. 

Tip#6 Will A Strobe Light Keep Rats Away

Yes, strobe lights have proven to be effective in keeping rats away. They are also 100% efficient in keeping the raccoons and squirrels at a distance too. The strobe lights have been tested on different rodents for the past 30 years.

You can install these lights and then rely on them to keep the rats away. You can purchase them from the nearby electric store or order them online at your own convenience.

Tip#7 Securing The Lid Of Trash Cans

Cover Trash Cans

It would help if you utilized the bungee cords, side clips, and self-securing tops to discourage rodents from entering your trash cans. Rats are intelligent but not smart enough to crack open a tightly sealed container. 

Rats invade the compost bins as well and you can protect the compost by sealing the containers tightly so that a rat does not enter it from any side. You must avoid putting in cooked food like meat as well as fish.

Tip#8 Keeping trash cans far away from your residency 

Keeping trash cans away from your residency is a good way of getting rid of rats altogether. Though you may need to walk the extra mile to throw away the garbage, keep in mind that this prevents the rats from coming anywhere near your residency. 

Although this practice will keep the rats away from your area but still act as an open invitation for infestation, it is not long before the rats go to other places in search of food. That is why this method is not recommended very often. 

Spray pungent-smelling substances like Ammonia


Rats can usually be kept away by the smell of Ammonia. It deters the rats away from the garbage cans. How do you do this? You must put Ammonia in a spray bottle and then spray it on the infected area. 

As rats have a strong sense of smell, it will prevent them from coming near trash cans. You can also use bleach to keep rats away. However, Ammonia has a more pungent smell and has proven to be more effective. 

Best Trash Cans To Keep Rats Out

In this article, I am going to enlist a few trash cans that are rat-repellent, and having them will free you from all your worries. 

There are a few common properties of these garbage cans. They are galvanized and are not chewable. That is why a rat goes away after prowling for a while. You can purchase these from a nearby store or order them online through Amazon.

Can A Rat Chew Through A Garbage Can?


Yes, rats can chew through garbage cans that are made up of plastic. That is why your material of choice should be rat-repellent. It is preferred if you use a trash can made up of steel.

It is hard for the rats to bite through steel or get inside garbage cans through cracks. Plastic, on the other hand, is a poor choice as it is not effectively rat-repellent.

What Material Keeps Rats Out?

There are a few materials in the market that keep the rats out. For instance; solid concrete, metal, and stone. If these materials have been used for building your trash cans or your garbage cans have been lined with such material, you have protected your trash well.

Such materials are not only rat-repellent but also save your waste materials from being scattered everywhere by the rats. So you don’t have to worry about cleaning the mess after the rats have left!

What Smell Will Keep Rats Away?


Other than Ammonia, which has been mentioned above in the article, Bleach can also be used to keep the rats at bay. Bleach has oxygen, sodium, and chlorine atoms in it. Its pungent smell deters the rats.

All you have to do is fill up the bleach in a spray bottle and spray it around the trash cans. As a result, the rats will not come near it. You must remember to do it every night.

What Are Rats Scared Of?

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Other than the above-mentioned ways, there are a few measures or healthy practices that you can adopt to keep the rats away:

Install snap traps around the place

If you place bait inside the snap trap to lure the rat in, it is an effective method of keeping the rat population under check. The rat will get trapped easily and will die eventually. 

Use of Rat poison

Rat poisons can be injected inside the food source. Once the rat takes it, its heartbeat will slow down due to the poison spreading inside the body, and eventually, it will die. 

These two methods have proven to be effective in reducing the rat population in the vicinity. If rats are more petite, your trash cans are invaded less as well. 

Wrapping It Up

Keeping rats out can be a tough job. however, persistence is often the solution to many of our problems. The pests can cause a lot of trouble but if you keep implementing the above-mentioned measures regularly, rats are bound to go away.

This article has provided you the guidelines on what measures to adopt for repelling rats away for good. Should they return, you can simply take up an alternative method and go for it.


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