[19] Smells That Keep Rats Away From Your Living Place

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Rats are one of the most common nuisance rodents. The National Pest Management Association states that 29% of Americans have rat problems every winter. Rats have high susceptibleness to smell and to hear. However, do you know; what smell keeps rats away?

Rats are prone to some odors because of their highly developed sense of smell. They might move outside your house or to less fragrant areas nearby if you use immersed cotton balls in peppermint oil, cinnamon, and citronella. You can also use red pepper and garlic to repel them.

If you are interested in repelling rats through scents, read the below guidelines to get a sneak peek into it.

[19] Smells That Repel Rats Away

Rats can find nearby food and water because of their highly developed sense of smell. Once they enter your house, they use their noses to follow a portion of food. As they can pollute food and other household objects, these hairy, screaky little visitors may endanger your health.

Thus, to keep your house rat-free, you can use the following scents:

  • Citronella
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Hot Sauce and Cayenne Pepper
  • Chili Powder
  • White Vinegar
  • Eucalyptus
  • Clover Plants
  • Cinnamon
  • Stale Coffee Grounds
  • Ammonia
  • Bleach
  • Mothballs
  • Garlic & Onion
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Oranges
  • Smell of Predators
  • The Smell of Cat’s Fur

Citronella Helps To Repel Rats


Although citronella is a dominant mosquito and flies repellent, you can use it to deter rats from your home. According to Applied Biological Research, you can keep rats away from your home by using citronella oil as paint. Rats hate the fresh, lemon-like smell of citronella so you can use it to ward off rats.

There are two ways to use citronella. First, you can use it by mixing 10% citronella with 90% water. Soak cotton balls in this solution or spray this mixture along the ways of rats to deter rats. Another way to use citronella oil is to employ a candle and fragrant sticks. You can purchase these items from your nearby market.

Use Peppermint Oil


Peppermint oil is one of the most effective oils to deter rats. Rats do not enjoy the pleasant aroma of peppermint, notwithstanding how wonderful it smells in a home. You can use peppermint oil by adding 10-15 drops into a cup of water.

Spray it on the entry points of your home and make your house rats-free. You can also use peppermint oil by soaking cotton balls in the mixture of water and the herb, then scattering them along the path of rats.

Another way is to Add peppermint plants to your home’s landscape. Though it takes time, this strategy will succeed. Since peppermint is a perennial, you only need to plant it once, and it will grow back every spring on its own.

Rats Hate Hot Sauce and Cayenne Pepper


Rats have a keen sense of smell, which awakens their perception of danger and causes them to repulse. Hot sauce and cayenne powder contain capsaicin which acts as a strong rat-repellent. Rats’ lips and taste receptors react to the hot capsaicin by feeling pain and burning.

You can make a hot sauce with cayenne pepper by mixing 4 cups of water, 2 tsp of cayenne powder, and 1 tsp of dish soap. Spray this solution along the way of rats, and it will work like magic to deter rats.

Chili Powder Is the Best Rat Repeller


Besides cayenne pepper, chili powder is one of the best household products to keep rats away. You can sprinkle chili powder on any spots throughout your home or even outside that are infested with rats because it has a potent fragrance that rats hate. Moreover, you can use it anywhere and anytime in your home to kick off rats.

You can make a paste out of chili powder by mixing it with water. Later, you can put cotton balls with this mixture on them and place them in the rats’ favorite places. Just be sure you’re using the appropriate peppers to ward off rats because regular red peppers do not have capsaicin.

White Vinegar Is Effective For Rats


White vinegar is another household product to deter rats. Rats hate the smell and taste of white vinegar. It alarms rats about danger, and they avoid the region where the vinegar is present.

White vinegar is so potent and surprising to a rat, especially if the location where they chose to build their nest was not the same as where they first detected the scent.

You can use white vinegar to deter rats by simply soaking cotton balls in it or by preparing a diluted mixture of white vinegar and water and then sprinkling it around your house.

Use Eucalyptus For Strong Rat Repellent Odour

Eucalyptus oils are among the most effective pest control methods. In addition to peppermint and citronella oil, eucalyptus oil has a strong odor. The Scientific World Journal claims that the daily use of 5% or 10% of eucalyptus oil is beneficial in deterring rats.

You can use eucalyptus oil by adding 10-15 drops into the water bottle. After that, spray it where you see rat damage or where you believe they are entering your home. Furthermore, you can also use eucalyptus oil in candles or incense sticks to emit a potent aroma that repels rats.

Use Clover Plants Flowers


The Clover plant is also known as three-leaf or four-leaf cloves. They have fragrant white flowers which keep away rats from your home. Although clover plants bloom your garden with their soothing smell, rats dislike their smell.

To repel rats, you can use clover plants in two manners. You can take the flowers from your garden and scatter them in areas where you want to deter rats. This method is time-consuming, and you need to replace flowers after every 3-5 days. Another way is to soak the flowers of clover plants in water and spray this water in rat-infested areas.

Use Cinnamon Oil to Repel Rats


Powerful components in cinnamon oil combine to form a pungent smell that helps keep rats away from the area where you spray. Cinnamon oil is the most effective rat repellent. You can make cinnamon oil to repel rats by the following steps:

  • Fill the spray bottle with ¾ water.
  • Add 13-14 drops of cinnamon oil to the bottle and mix it well.
  • Now, you can spray this solution in places where you suspect the presence of rats.

Use Cloves Oil

Using cloves and clove oil is an excellent additional method of rat repulsion. Cloves have spicy odors that rats dislike. To get rid of rats, wrap whole cloves in cloth and place them inside and outside your home. You can also put these cloves in air vents and any hole you see in your home to ward off rats.

If you are willing to use clove oil, soak cotton balls in it, scatter them around your home, and let the wonder done in repelling rats.

Stale Coffee Grounds


Do you know? You can use coffee grounds to escape rats from your property. So, instead of wasting stale coffee beans in your trash bins, save them to keep rats away from your home. Coffee grounds have a potent smell and harsh taste. They work like magic to repel rats.

To use coffee grounds to deter rats, place them in plastic sacks and then put them along the routes of rats. What’s more, if you want to keep rats away from your garden, you can directly spread coffee grounds there. They also work as fertilizer and keep your yard pollinated.

Ammonia Gas Is Deadly Effective For Rats


You may use ammonia as a detergent, but do you know that the sharp and pungent odor of ammonia repels rats? Yes, ammonia is one of the best chemical rat repellents.

You don’t need rocket science to use ammonia while deterring rats. Simply immerse a towel or cotton balls in ammonia, then put them in an open plastic bag or other receptacles.

After that, put the containers or sacks in areas where you want to keep rats away. Additionally, if there is already a rat infestation in your home, you can place these bags in your attics, vents, and everywhere you see rat urine marks and droppings to deter rats.

Rats Hate Bleach Smell


Bleach is one of the most used household detergents. You can use it to remove rats away from your home. Rats avoid the area where you apply bleach because of its overpowering, rotten scent.

You can dilute it with water and spray it all around your home. After a few days, check the area to see if the rats have driven away. In addition to keeping rats away, bleach may clean up rat waste like urine, blood, and droppings.

Above all, you should be careful while using bleach because it can be dangerous for your health if you ingest it. Always wear gloves and a mask while using bleach to protect yourself.

Mothballs Smell Is Killer For Rats


Mothballs are another effective way to kick rats away from your house and property. They have a strong, pungent odor due to the presence of naphthalene in them. You can put them in spots where you’ve observed rats and in their hiding places.

Moreover, you can also make mothball spray. For this, put a few mothballs into a water bowl and dissolve them well. Once you get a solution, pour it into a spray bottle and sprinkle it along the way of rats in your house.

According to National Pesticide Information Center, exposure to several mothballs can cause headaches and eye or nose allergies. So, you should always wear gloves and a mask when handling mothballs to protect yourself.

Natural Garlic & Onion Are Best As Rat Repellents


Garlic and onions are the primary ingredients of every dish. Every household has easy access to them. Because they smell strong and contain certain compounds, rats detest them.

Garlic consists of allicin, while onion contains sulfur which gives them a peculiar smell. You can use onion and garlic separately to deter rats or make a spray of them.

You can make an onion-garlic spray to repel rats by the below steps:

  • Put four cups of water in a bowl.
  • Add minced onion and 3-4 cloves of garlic in it.
  • Then cook the mixture for 5 minutes and let it cool.
  • Now, strain it into a spray bottle and sprinkle it on the favorite spots of rats

Lavender Oil


Besides peppermint, cinnamon, and citronella, lavender is a powerful essential oil to repel rats. The smell of lavender is overpowering to rats and quite potent. As a result, they flee and look for safety. You can buy lavender oil from your nearby market and plant this herb in your garden by sprinkling its stalks.

To use lavender oil to deter rats, put 10-12 drops of it on a cotton ball and place them at the entrance of your house and anywhere you observe rats.

Rosemary Spray


The overwhelming and pungent smell of rosemary is effective in repelling rats. The powerful aroma of rosemary repels rats, and if they come in touch with its oils, they can quickly perish. The best way to use rosemary is to employ its essential oil to deter rats.

You can make rosemary oil spray by the below method:

  • Add some water to a spray bottle.
  • Put 10-12 drops of rosemary oil into it and mix it well.
  • Now, you can use it as a spray to keep rats away from your home, attics, kitchen, and anywhere from your property.

Oranges Peels


Oranges are excellent rat repellents. Its essential oil is quite potent and includes strong chemicals that deter rats from approaching it. You can use oranges in two ways to repel rats. Firstly, you can mince orange peels and then spread them around your home.

Secondly, you can use its essential oil to kick rats off. Add some water to a spray bottle. Put 10-12 drops of orange oil into it. Mix it well and spray this solution everywhere in your house and property where you suspect rats.

Smell of Predators

Smell of predators

Rats hate the smell of their predators. There is a good likelihood that a rat will avoid a location if it discovers one that smells like a cat or raccoon. The Journal of Neuroscience claims that cat smell stimulates the release of stress hormones in rats.

You can put a cat-smelling object in an area of rat presence. If the number of rats is large, you can cut the cat bed into pieces and spread them along the way of rats. As long as the rats sense their smell, they will keep away.

The Smell of Cat’s Fur

As already mentioned, rats hate the smell of cats. You can use a cat’s fur to deter or repel rats. Any pet hair, whether you have a cat or not, can keep rats away from your home. Gather some cat hair that sheds from your cat, then place them in the rat-prone areas of your home.

As the rat smells it, it will not dare to move in such areas. If you don’t have a pet, you can buy some pet hair from your nearby pet store to keep rats away from your home.

Other Ways to Repel Rats

Although using natural repellents is effective in repelling rats away from your house and property, these methods work best if you use them along with other methods. Here is a list of some other ways to repel rats:

Regular Cleaning

Rats are fond of dirt and debris. They enjoy a free meal if you leave your rubbish outside without tightly covering it and become attracted to it. Rats draw to filth, so if they see that your residence is clean, they won’t think twice about visiting.

To keep rats away, you should clean your house regularly. Mop your floor regularly so that there is no food fragment left there. If you keep your home clean, rats will find another place to infest and will not dare to attack again.

Store Food in Metal Containers

One of the reasons for a rat infestation in your home is improper storage of food items. Rats are opportunistic feeders that eat everything that is accessible to them.  They have sharp and strong teeth. Rats can chew things, especially cardboard.

If you store snacks and biscuits in cardboard containers, rats can easily find their way to reach there by making holes in the cardboard. On the other hand, food in a metal container has less rat infestation. Thus, protect your food from rats by storing them in metal containers. 

Block Entry Points & Holes

Another way to keep rats away is to seal all the entry points of your home. Rats can pass through even a minute crack. Check your walls, ceiling, and doors for holes and cracks regularly. If you find any openings, close them immediately to prevent rat entrance. Consequently, rats cannot find any to enter your home.

Above all, you should close your door and windows as these clever clitters may find their way to your home from them.

Use Steel Wool

Rats love to eat and chew electrical wires. Cutting off electrical wires may cause a short circuit in your house. The best way to protect your wiring is to use steel wool. You can use steel wool to keep rats away from your wiring.

Put steel wool between holes and cracks. Rats may begin chewing steel wool, but because they can’t get through it, they become frustrated and stop biting wires.

Employ Traps

The trap is one of the handiest and easy ways to catch rats. If you know how to repel rats, they are typically simple to deal with; using traps is an excellent solution to your issue. You can use a snap trap and bait tarp to capture rats.

The best way to use a trap is to place some allurement on it.  You can prepare rat traps with the rat’s preferred bait, such as a cheese slice or peanut butter. Place these traps along the way of rats, and once they sense the smell of their favorite food, they become trapped.

Use Rat Poison

Although the poison is a brutal way to deter rats, it kills them in seconds. You can buy rat poison from a nearby marketplace, but you should be careful to use it. It can be dangerous for your health and pets. Rats cannot vomit poison, so use a mixture of poison and the rat’s preferred meal to kill them.

Call a Professional Pest Control Company

Letting a professional handle your rat problem is the most efficient and long-term method of rat prevention and control. Expert pest controllers have the skills and knowledge to kill and repel rats.

Don’t wait for rats to completely occupy your home if an infestation is only beginning or is already at its worst. Call a professional pest control company and let them do their job.

Before starting any treatment, they inspect your property to make sure that only the necessary solutions should apply to protect you and your family.

Summing Up

Rats are a nuisance and destructive rodents. They become more annoying once they find a way to your home. There are different methods to control rats, but the easiest way to keep rats away is to use natural rat repellents.

You can use the above fragrances to keep rats out of your home, but you’ll need to test them all to see which one works best. If none of these solutions work in your location or if it’s tough to determine what kind of smell could work best, get in touch with a seasoned pest control specialist to solve your issue.


Since rats are nocturnal rodents, it is frequently simpler to identify the symptoms of a rat infestation than the actual rats themselves. You can know that you have a rat infestation if you find any of the below signs:
– Rats’ droppings and urine
– Scratching and creepy noises
– Holes and cracks in walls
– Footsteps of rats
– Rat nests

Rats are unwanted guests. They destroy your home and property and carry fatal diseases with them. Understanding why rats are coming to your home is essential if you want to keep them out. Rats come to your house because of the following reasons:
– Food, shelter, and water
– For warmth and comfort
– Plants and vegetables
– For waste and debris
– For pets food

Although there are different scents to repel rats, ammonia is the only smell to kill rats instantly. Ammonia is a cleaning product, but you can use it as a poison to kill rats. Add a half cup of ammonia, 100-200 ml water, and 2 tsp of detergent in a bowl. Mix them well, and here you go: rat poison is ready to kill it instantly.

Rats possess an acute sense of smell. They can smell anything from a great distance. However, rats hate all pungent odors, but the scents they hate the most are peppermint oil, cinnamon, vinegar, chili powder, cinnamon, ammonia, mothballs, and bleach. All these smells work efficiently if you use them in the right manner and with proper concentrations.


National Pest Management Association.

Singla, Neena & Thind, Ramandeep. (2014). The potential of citronella oil as rodent repellent is measured as an aversion to food. Applied Biological Research. 16. 191-198.

Potential of Eucalyptus Oil as Repellent against House Rat, Rattus rattus. The Scientific World Journal.

National Pesticide Information Center.

Neural Correlates of Cat Odor-Induced Anxiety in Rats: Region-Specific Effects of the Benzodiazepine Midazolam.