About rat repellents
A quick breakdown of rat repellents
Rat repellent devices and products vary a lot in their intended purpose, ingredients, application, components, and even in their very nature. As you’ve seen from the above lists, rat repellents can be anything from a natural rat repellent spray to an electronic ultrasonic high tech rat repelling device. They can also be soil additives for your yard, herbal pouches for your car, and all other manners of products and devices. The only unifying factor between rat repellents is the simple fact that they repel rats. In that sense, even a cat can be considered a “rat repellent”.
So, instead of one quick breakdown, let’s go over several quick breakdowns of the major types of rat repellents:
Rat repellent sprays
Rat repellent sprays work on the simple principle of spraying the areas that rats dwell in or frequently pass through with a liquid that has an unpleasant smell and/or a painful or poisonous feel to the touch for rats. Most natural rat repellents are based on various essential oils such as peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, cedar oil, and other similar ones, since these give off smells that the pesky rodents can’t stand. Other rat repellent sprays may include various artificial chemicals that make them poisonous for rats, that cause burn upon direct impact or when stepped in, and so on.
Regardless of the details, rat repellent sprays work simply by spraying a repelling and intolerable liquid in key places in an attempt to drive rats off your property or prevent them from going in in the first place. This is usually done with a varying effectiveness since the precise locations you spray on are very important – spraying somewhere where rats don’t pass through will be ineffective, while spraying on the right spots can make the rat repellent very efficient.
All in all, rat repellent sprays are a good tool to have, even though they are mostly used indoors and need to be reapplied frequently.
It’s often ill-advised to rely solely on them, however, since if the conditions outside that the rats are running from are harsh enough they can force themselves to pass through the sprayed areas anyway.
Electronic ultrasound rat repellents
A very unique and high tech way to combat rat invaders, such ultrasonic devices emit special ultrasounds that only rats and other rodents can detect. These sounds don’t affect our lives or health in any way and are even safe for our home and pets, as long as those pets aren’t rodents themselves. This is an ingenious way to repel rats since it is 100% natural and chemical-free, it doesn’t need to be reapplied since it’s just constantly connected to a power outlet, and it doesn’t consume a lot of electricity. Such devices still have their drawbacks, however:
- Each device can work only in a single room or space since the ultrasounds can’t pass through walls
- Each device has a limited range of square footage
- The ultrasounds can even be stopped from massive furniture, so you may need to rearrange some furniture in your home’s rooms
- Because people can’t detect the ultrasounds of these rat repellents, it’s hard to tell when they are working and when they’ve malfunctioned. It’s not uncommon for people to employ an ineffective device without realizing that it’s actually broken
- Rats can learn to tolerate the sounds of these electronic devices and ignore them if what you have on your property is just too alluring. That’s why some of the better ultrasonic devices can switch their ultrasounds from time to time to catch such rodents off guard and repel them once again
All in all, ultrasonic devices are certainly an ingenious way to go about a rodent problem and do have certain effectiveness. If you have a rodent problem or you are in risk of having such a problem soon, we’d definitely recommend getting several good quality ultrasonic rat repellents, but we’d also recommend that you use them together with another type of repellent.
Soil additive rat repellents
“Soil additive” is a bit of a made-up term, but it generally describes all manners of rat repellents that are spread outdoors in gardens and yards. They are usually made of recycled paper and essential oils and are almost always safe for pets, kids, as well as plants. Their purpose is to create a barrier of essential oils around your home and thus deter any rat or other rodents that have the bright idea of getting close to your property. They are generally effective, although they need to be reapplied from time to time (especially if it rains regularly) which can be annoying.
Rat repellent pouches
Mothballs, in particular, are frequently used by a lot of people to repel rats. They can sometimes do a good job of that, depending on the particular type and brand of mothballs, since they can be quite toxic and smelly. How to keep rats away, especially in a house with pets or kids? Simply putting mothballs all around is rarely a good idea. Instead, something like a dedicated rat repellent pouch can be a good alternative. They are usually made with dried off herbs and essential oils and have a similar effect to rat repellent sprays, only in a pouch form. This makes them great for cars and vehicles, as well as for small and enclosed spaces such as various storage areas.
Instead of getting a spray made out of essential oil diluted in water, you can just get the essential oil itself and diluted it however you like. Peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, and other such products are sold separately and undiluted and can be used either in their pure form or diluted in water, depending on the situation. If the oil is pure and of a high enough quality, it’s bound to be highly effective at deterring and repelling rats and all manners of other rodents away from your property.
Rat repellent buying guide
- Do you need a rat repellent as a preventive measure or as a tool to drive away an existing rat presence in your home or property? For preventive measures, you’ll usually go for products that can work outdoors as well as indoors, as they can stop rats before they have even entered your home or storage spaces. Additionally, for preventive measures, you’ll want products with a long-term effect that don’t need to be reapplied every day. Alternatively, if you want a rat repellent that aims to help you drive off an already existing rodent invasion on your property, you’ll need a product that has a maximum immediate potential, with the long-term effectiveness being optional but not necessary perk.
- Do you need a rat repellent for individual cases and locations or do you need a large quantity of something to spread everywhere in or around your property? Sprays, for example, are something that you spray here or there, on places where rats go through or in small places such as vehicles. For a wider application, you’ll need either an entire gallon of rat repellent spray or some natural additive to spread all around your yard and garden.
- How toxic do you need the rat repellent to be? Do you want it to be a rat killer poison spray that you can spray on key locations that rats pass through or dwell in, or do you need it to be a natural product that simply gives off a scent that drives rats away? The former option is unpleasant for everyone involved, including you and your family, but can sometimes be necessary, depending on the situation. The latter option, on the other hand, is more frequently preferred by consumers, as natural products can be applied more freely in living spaces and food-processing facilities such as kitchens or food-storing areas.
- Do you have kids and pets? If you have kids and/or a pet, choosing a natural rat repellent that is harmless to them is a must, otherwise, you’ll have to either take the risk of harming them or go to great lengths in protecting them from the potential negative effects of the rat repellent.
- Which of the dozens of types of rat repellents do you prefer, purely subjectively? Do you want a spray that you can apply manually anywhere you want? Do you want a set of ultrasonic electronic devices that you can install in all key areas of your home? Do you want a set of pouches to place in your car, storage areas, and other small spaces in your home? Do you, maybe, want a soil additive that you can scatter around your home to stop all rodents from even coming close to your home? The options are many and vary greatly in their nature and manner of application. And while some are better for some situations, and some – for others, choosing which one you want also includes a fair bit of subjective preferences.
Once you’ve decided on more or less what type of rat repellent you want for your home, the next key question to ask is – How do I make sure that whatever I buy is of a high enough quality? When it comes to battling pests, acting as fast, as effectively, and as efficiently as possible is very important, because otherwise, the problem can easily get out of hand. So, in order to make sure that you’re purchasing a product that’s worth the time and money you’re going to put into it, you’ll need to do a great deal of research.
Yes, the universally dreaded reading. That’s largely why we’ve put together this article, but don’t think that you should be satisfied with just this one article. We do believe that we’ve listed great products above, but firstly, that Top is bound to change with time, and secondly, we don’t know the particular circumstances of your own situation, so make sure to go through as much additional research as your situation necessitates. Unfortunately, as with almost everything else on the Internet, this means reading a ton of reviews.
An additional factor to consider when making a purchase is the brand of the products you’re choosing between. Brands aren’t the be all and end all of the product comparisons since it is not rare for Top Shelf brands to produce subpar items, as well as for more unknown brands to produce some truly great things. But all in all, taking the products’ brands in mind when you’re on the fence about something is a good way to make a decision. If you’re not familiar with the more popular brands in the rat repellent niche, here are several examples of brands we’d recommend: Rodent Sheriff, Harris, Exterminators Choice, Victor, Grandpa Gus’s, CLEANRTH, Fresh Cab, Essentially KateS, T3-R, and others.
Rat repellent myths
- Mothballs: Yes, we mentioned them above and said that they can sometimes work, but more often than not using mothballs to repel rats is just not a good idea. Mice are slightly more likely to run away from them, but most rats will simply ignore them. Add to that the fact that mothballs are highly toxic carcinogen for humans and it should be clear why they are ill-advised.
- Ammonia: This is a frequently mentioned method from our grandmothers and grandfathers but the fact of the matter is that while ammonia smells bad, it’s not going to drive off a particularly stubborn rat away.
- Toilet cakes: We don’t want (nor do we really want to know) why this myth exists, but toilet cakes will not work as a rat repellent for you. Trust us. Or don’t – it’s not like toilet cakes can hurt, but you will just waste your time and money.
- Predator urine: This one can sound kind of logical at first – after all, any animal should be scared to live in places that smell like their predators, right? A rat shouldn’t want to live somewhere that smells like a bobcat’s urine. Well, the problem is that rats are perfectly used with such smells. After all, we’re talking about rodents that often live in sewers. So, you are more likely to be repelled by this method that the rats are.
- An actual cat: cats and scent-hound dogs can be good rat catchers which is why we mentioned them above and will mention them again below. However, they have a place in this list as well, because they are far from a 100% effective rat repellent. A cat or a dog might catch the occasional rat that passes through, as well as drives a rat nest off if the nest itself is accessible to the cat, but in a lot of other cases, the cat or dog isn’t going to do the job. In situations where the rats have made their way into your walls, for example, there’s only so much that a cat can do.
- Strobing Light Machine: Electronic and ultrasonic devices often take a lot of heat for their ineffectiveness and while it’s true that a lot of them don’t work, good quality ones can be effective. Strobing light machines, however, are truly ridiculous devices that don’t do much more than just cost you money.
- Human hair: We don’t know how or why this nonsensical myth exists. We don’t know when or where it originated, nor what prompted its existence. It might be some witchcraft stupidity or just plain old human stupidity but suffice it to say that no, human hair does not repel rats. It pains to even have to mention this.
Repellent usage tips
But, just to give you some additional tips outside of the rat repellents themselves, here are some points to follow:
- Whatever rat repellent you are using, make sure to always keep your home or property as clean as possible. Rats are incredibly tenacious and stubborn creatures so if they decide that your property offers too many valuable food sources, protection, comfort, and other similar assets, they may force themselves to ignore the rat repellent you are using, be it a peppermint oil spray or an ultrasonic sound.
- Similarly, if the outside environment is too harsh for them (for example, if it’s the middle of winter up north), then even the strongest rat repellent may not be as bad for them as the conditions outside. For that reason, it’s important to make sure that your property doesn’t have much to offer to your rat guests. Make sure that there aren’t any food leftovers lying around, that there aren’t any easy-to-access stored edible goods that the rats can eat, that there aren’t any warm, cozy and comfortable places for them to nest in, and so on.
- Another thing to take care of is to make sure that your home or property doesn’t have too many entry points which rats, mice, and other rodent pests can use to enter. Repelling your rodent guests is one thing, but it won’t be of too much use if they can simply come back later. All holes, cracks, nooks, crevices, pipes, spaces under doors, and other such “rat pathways” should either be sealed off or overdoes with rat repellent so that no rodent will ever be able to or want to use them.
- A frequent mistake that a lot of homeowners make even though it is inherently silly and obvious, is using rat baits or baited rat traps in conjunction with rat repellents. The fact that both types of products are designed to reduce and remove your rat problem doesn’t mean that they work well together. While rat repellents are meant to push rats away from your property, rat baits and baited traps are meant to attract the rats to themselves in order to capture and/or kill them.
- With the above being said, using rat repellents in conjunction with some other anti-rat products is generally a good idea. In particular, combining different types of rat repellents is always smart – why use just a rat repellent spray or just a rat repellent ultrasonic device when you can use both? Neither type of product has 100% efficiency but combined they can get damn close, especially if they are of a high enough quality.
- Similarly, using rat repellents together with certain non-baited traps can also significantly increase the effectiveness of your efforts.
- If you do want to use rat repellents together with baited traps, the location of both types of products becomes even more important. In principle, if your property is big enough, you can use rat repellents to drive the rats off of a part of your property and into another part of it where you’ve set up a lot of baited rat raps that work. That tends to be a bit too convoluted, however, so it’s generally advisable to choose between baiting and repelling.
- Consider getting a cat. Cats have been the OG rat repellent and rat extermination devices humanity has used since the dawn of time. And there is a good reason for that – a big farm cat can deal with any mouse or rat that gets in its way – either killing it or at the very least, driving it off your property. Just make sure that you don’t get a cat from some smaller and newer toy breed since those aren’t going to so much scare the rats away, as bait them inside instead.
Rat repellents have their own sets of issues, however. Not only do they come in a stunningly vast diversity of options and choices, but determining which are good and which are a waste of money can often be challenging and time-consuming in and of itself. Properly using a rat repellent also requires a certain amount of skill and know-how, but it’s almost always worth it as it can save you much more trouble down the line.
So, to wrap things up, here are our Top 3 choices once again:
- The Exterminators Choice Rat Repellent For Car is a perfect mix of water, vinegar, peppermint oil, white pepper, and several other rats repelling ingredients. This effectively makes it one of the best answers to the “What smells do rats dislike?” question. It comes in a large 32 oz. bottle or in a 128 oz. (1 gallon) container. It’s also effective against squirrels, mice, rabbits, gophers, raccoons, roaches, and other insect pests. Highly effective when sprayed in your car, its smell will keep the rodents at bay while still not disturbing you in the vehicle’s cabin.
- If you’re looking for an ultrasound option, the T3-R Triple High Impact Electronic Rat Repellent is a great choice. It emits its rat repelling ultrasound in all directions, unlike most electronic rat repellents which are designed to be plugged in walls. It comes with a 6-foot long power cord, making it easier to employ wherever you need it. Additionally, it also has the option of changing the ultrasound frequency, effectively making sure that your rat invaders won’t be able to get used to the sound.
- The Essentially KateS Peppermint oil for Rats is a great option if you’re wondering how to scare rats away. A 100% undiluted peppermint oil, it is highly potent and can be used however you like. It comes with a phenolic cap for prolonged storage, a precise glass dropper for more precise applications, as well as a detailed user guide e-book that you’ll receive via email upon purchasing the product. What’s more, you also have the option to return the product for a full refund if you’re not happy with it, regardless of the reason why.