What Do Rats Hate? A Complete List Of Rat Repellents You May Not Have Considered 

Rats are a serious pest. They are prevalent throughout the world and are considered one of the most dangerous pests to people outside of mosquitoes.

If you’re dealing with rats, you’ll not only want to know how to get rid of them but also how to repel them. And in order to do that, you’ll need to know the answer to what do rats hate.

Well, you’re in luck. Today, we are talking about rats, answering the question of what do rats hate, and giving you a list of repellents and other products we recommend to keep these critters out of your house.

But First, Let’s Talk About Rats And What Do Rats Hate

1 a rat outside
Rats are medium sized rodents that are common pests throughout the United States.

Before we talk about what do rats hate, let’s talk about rats.

Rats are medium-sized rodents that are prevalent throughout nearly every continent in the world except for Antarctica. In fact, rats are considered some of the most problematic pests in the world, with a propensity to carry and spread serious diseases.

Furthermore, when threatened, rats have even been known to behave aggressively, biting and scratching people and pets.

Still, disease is typically the biggest threat to people when it comes to rats. Some of the most serious diseases wild rats carry include pneumonic plague, bubonic plague, leptospirosis, Hantavirus, murine typhus, salmonella, and tularemia.

Rats are also social animals, which means that where there is one there are more. They often live in colonies of hundreds, though luckily it is rare for most rats in the United States to choose to nest indoors.

For the most part, rats prefer to live in burrows, hollowed trees, and sometimes even attics and rafters on roofs.

With that being said, rats are still prevalent in heavily populated areas, often preferring to live in regions where people and pets congregate.

There are two types of rats that are most common in the United States. They include the Norway Rat and the Roof Rat.

The Norway Rat

Also known as the brown rat, the Norway rat is believed to be an invasive species of rat that found its way to the United States from Europe via human travel.

Norway rats have a short lifespan of about two years in the wild, though they are quick to procreate and are capable of having up to 12 litters per year.

You can identify a Norway Rat by its brown fur, long, bald tail, and lighter colored underbelly. Temperamentally, Norway rats are described as territorial, though they do prefer to stay away from humans.

The Roof Rat

Roof rats, sometimes referred to as black rats, are smaller than Norway rats. These rats are called roof rats because they prefer to live in rafters, eaves, attics, and trees as opposed to burrows in the ground.

Roof rats, like most types of rats, are attracted to environments where people live, as people provide them with an abundance of food and shelter.

Are you dealing with rats in your home? Let’s take a look at why you might have rats in or around your home.

Why You Might Have Rats In Your Home

2 a rat indoors
Rats typically prefer to nest outdoors, though they can find their way inside your home if conditions are ideal.

As we discussed above, rats are one of the most common pests throughout the world. They also prefer to live in close proximity to people. This is because people provide rats with three basic things they need in order to survive: water, shelter, and food.

Rats are omnivorous and prefer to scavenge for food. They often spend time rooting through trash or scavenging pet food or picnic areas. This is one of the reasons rats are so common in urban areas where trash bins are full outdoors. You may also notice an influx in rats outside of the back of restaurants or hospitals, where dumpsters are full of discarded foods.

Although rats are generally scavenging animals, they will also hunt from time to time. Some rats will hunt for insects or even other, smaller rodents like mice.

And while most rats would prefer to nest outdoors, your home could make an ideal living space for rats and their young under certain conditions.

As we mentioned, the most common types of rats in the United States include the Norway Rat and the Roof Rat. Both types of rats can be found in your home if your home makes an ideal habitat.

You might find a rat in your home if you have vulnerabilities around your home that make entering easier for rats. Many rats enter homes temporarily when seeking food or shelter, but they may stay if they find that your home is suitable for them.

Homes that are not very tidy or homes that tend to leave out dirty dishes or garbage may see more pests like rats in their homes than homes that are well kept, clean and clutter-free. You may also have rats if you live in an area where rats are abundant and you leave pet food out in the open or you don’t store your garbage or pantry foods properly.

What Do Rats Hate? A Complete List of Surprising Rat Repellents

3 a roof rat on a lantern
Rats have strong senses and can be repelled by a number of household ingredients.

Getting rid of rats can be tricky, especially if you live in an environment where rats are prevalent. Rats are also highly intelligent creatures that have adapted to living in areas abundant with humans.

For this reason, one of the best ways to manage rats is to be proactive when it comes to keeping them at bay. Along with ensuring your home is clean and tidy, and along with keeping up with routine pest control regimens, you can also make your home less inviting to rats.

One of the most effective ways to do this is to employ a number of tactics that utilize products that rats hate.

But what do rats hate? Let’s take a look:

What Do Rats Hate When It Comes To Spices?

  1. Spicey Seasonings
  2. Pungent Essential Oils
  3. Alliums
  4. Ammonia
  5. Certain Garden Plants
  6. White Vinegar
  7. Predators
  8. Used Coffee Grounds

Now that you know the answer to what do rats hate, let’s dissect the above products and learn how you can use these products to your advantage to keep rats from becoming an overwhelming problem inside your home.

What Do Rats Hate – Spicey Seasonings

4 a chili pepper
Hot peppers and spicy seasonings can be quite irritating to rats.

Rats have a very powerful sense of smell, and they rely on this sense of smell to help them not only find food but also discover more about their environment. Because a rat’s nose is so sensitive, you can use spicy seasonings to your advantage to repel them.

Spicy seasonings and sauces irritate a rat’s nose and mouth, and they will often prefer to steer clear of spicy seasonings at all costs for this reason.

Some of the most common spicy seasonings you should know about when it comes to what do rats hate include:

  • Chilli Peppers
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Tabasco
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • And Black Pepper

You can use the above products in a variety of ways to repel rats. Take a look:

How To Make Your Own Spicey Rat Repellent Spray For What Do Rats Hate

To make your own hot chili spray to repel rats, you will need the following ingredients:


  • Fresh chili pepper
  • Dry Chilli pepper flakes
  • A food processor
  • Boiled water
  • A spray bottle
  • A stranger or cheesecloth


To make a hot pepper spray to repel rats, you will need to dice fresh chili peppers as fine as possible. Add a handful of dry chili pepper flakes, and then mix these products together in a food processor until they are completely ground down.

While the food processor is mixing, put four cups of boiling water on the stovetop. Once the water is boiled, pour the ground chili peppers and chili flakes into the boiled water. Allow it to boil for about 30 minutes before setting it aside to cool. Put a lid on the mixture and leave it cooling on your stove overnight.

Then pour the mixture into a spray bottle using a cheesecloth or strainer to catch any larger bits of chili flakes or pepper. You can use this product immediately to spray around areas where you have noticed rat activity.

Be cautious when using this spray around children or pets, as the spray could irritate their eyes, nose, and skin.

Repeat this process as needed to repel rats and other pests like mice or bats.

How To Use Tobasco To Repel Rats

You can use cotton balls soaked in Tabasco sauce to repel pesky rats, especially if you are dealing with roof rats or rats living in rafters or in your walls. Simply saturate cotton balls in tabasco and leave them in areas you have noticed rat activity. The smell of the hot red peppers will repel the rats.

Replace the old cotton balls with freshly soaked cotton balls once every three days.

How To Use Traditional Spices To Repel Rats

You don’t have to make your own homemade recipe to repel rats. When it comes to what do rats hate, we know they despise spicy seasonings. One of the easiest ways to repel rats in your home is to sprinkle seasonings around entry points or around areas you have noticed rat activity.

The best seasonings you can use to repel rats when it comes to what do rats hate are cayenne pepper, black pepper, or red chili flakes.

What Do Rats Hate – Pungent Essential Oils

5 essential oils
Essential Oils like peppermint oil are strong-smelling and can repel rats.

Since we know rats have such a strong sense of smell, it should come as no surprise that rats would hate the smell of essential oils. One of the best things about using essential oils when it comes to what do rats hate is that they may smell repulsive to rats, but they are often delightful to people!

Some of the best rat-repellent essential oils you can use to get rid of rats include:

  • Peppermint Oil
  • Lavender Oil
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Cedarwood Oil
  • Clove Oil
  • And Tea Tree Oil

How To Make Your Own Rat Repellent Spray Using Essential Oils For What Do Rats Hate

Making your own essential oil spray to take advantage of what do rats hate is an easy and delightfully good-smelling solution to rat problems in the home.

Here is what you’ll need in order to make your own rat repellent spray using essential oils:


  • 10 to 20 drops of the essential oil of your choice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 spray bottle


Combine the above ingredients into a spray bottle and mix it. You may then go throughout your home and spray areas you have noticed rat activity. This method should be used at least two to three times a week for the best results when it comes to repelling rats.

When using an essential oil spray, you can also help to repel other pests in your home like ants, roaches, spiders, flies, and mosquitoes.

How To Protect Pantries From Rats Using Essential Oils

Protecting your pantries from rats is important, as rats are known to spread serious diseases and bacteria. If they get into your food, you’ll need to throw food away.

Along with storing your food properly in airtight containers to keep rats out, we also recommend using the cotton ball and essential oil method.

Since we know one of the answers to what do rats hate is essential oils, you can soak cotton balls in the above essential oils and leave them in the back of pantries. You might also want to leave saturated cotton balls in eaves, rafters, attics, and beneath sinks.

Replace these cotton balls with freshly soaked cotton balls once every two to three days for the best results.

Using Essential Oils To Keep Rats Out Of Garbage Bins

Essential oils can also be used to help cover the odor of garbage and to keep rats out of trashcans both inside and outside of the home. You can either use your essential oil spray to repel rats by spraying it directly into garbage bins or you can simply drop several drops of essential oil directly into the bin itself.

This method should be used in conjunction with proper garbage storing practices, including storing garbage in a bin that shuts.

What Do Rats Hate – Alliums

6 garlic
Alliums like garlic and onions can be repulsive to rats when used in the right way.

Alliums are different types of plants that include:

  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Onions
  • Leeks

Alliums like those listed above may be wonderful additions to culinary recipes for people, but to animals, like rats, these foods are spicy and unpleasant. Much like the use of essential oils and spices, you can use alliums to your advantage when it comes to repelling these pests.

Not only will alliums help to repel rats indoors, but you can also grow alliums outdoors to keep rats and other pests out of your garden.

How To Use Alliums To Repel Rats Inside

It is easy to make your own spray using common alliums by using the following ingredients:


  • 1 garlic OR onion OR Leek OR chopped Chives
  • 4 Cups Of Boiling Water
  • 1 Mason Jar
  • 1 Spray Bottle
  • Red Chilli Flakes OR Essential Oils (Optional)


Dice the allium of your voice up finely and then steep it for about 30 minutes in the boiling water. Allow the water to cool on your stovetop overnight. The next day, pour the mixture into your mason jar, straining it using a cheesecloth or stranger to remove any excess bits of the allium.

Pour what is left into a spray bottle and use the product immediately to spray around entry points of your home. You can also spray this mixture around eaves, in the attic, and in your garden to repel pests like rats, mice, spiders, roaches, and ants.

What Do Rats Hate – Ammonia

7 a blue spray bottle
Ammonia is a common household cleaner that is highly repulsive to rats.

Ammonia is a powerful and popular cleaning agent that many people use around their homes. However, ammonia is also a secret weapon when it comes to understanding what do rats hate.

Rats hate the smell of ammonia not only because it has a strong odor, but also because ammonia mimics the smell of predator urine for rats. This means that ammonia can tap into a rat’s instinctual fear, driving the rat far away as it will think a predator is nearby.

There are a few ways you can go about using ammonia to keep rats at bay.

Use Ammonia To Keep Rats Out Of The Garbage

Much like you would use essential oils or spices to keep rats out of the garbage, you can also use ammonia. Simply spray diluted ammonia or an ammonia spray directly into the trash on top of the garbage to help disguise odor and keep rats from coming close.

Use Ammonia To Keep Rats From Coming Inside Or To Repel Them

Another way to use ammonia to your advantage when it comes to what do rats hate is to pour about 2 cups of ammonia into a bowl. Mix this ammonia with 200mls of water and combine about 3 teaspoons of detergent into the mix.

Simply place this bowl near areas you have noticed rat activity. The smell will drive rats out quickly as they will assume a predator is nearby.

Use Ammonia As A Common Cleaning Agent Around The House For What Do Rats Hate

Ammonia is a great cleaning agent, and we already know that simply keeping our homes clean and tidy can help reduce rat activity. If you add ammonia to your cleaning supplies, you’ll have a bit of extra power behind you to help get rid of rats and keep them from coming back.

What Do Rats Hate – Certain Plants

8 Lavender
Lavender is one of many plants you can use in your garden and in your home to repel rats.

Though it is quite possible for rats to nest indoors, they typically prefer to nest outdoors. Rats do come inside from time to time for food and shelter, of course, but most indoor rats begin as outdoor rats.

In order to control rats, you need to know the answer to what do rats hate outdoors. A great way to keep rats at bay is to use companion planting to your advantage.

Some of the most common plants you can use when it comes to what do rats hate include:

  • Catnip
  • Lavender
  • Marigolds
  • Peppermint
  • Grape Hyacinth
  • Rosemary
  • Daffodils
  • Oregano
  • Tomatoes
  • And Sage

These plants not only help to repel rats and keep them out of your garden, but they can also help repel a number of other pests like mice, gophers, ants, caterpillars, and more.

Of course, companion planting to get rid of rats doesn’t have to stop in your garden. You can also use potted plants around your patio to keep rats at bay, as well as indoor potted plants in your kitchen to deter the pests.

What Do Rats Hate – White Vinegar

9 vinegar
The smell of vinegar in pipes can help keep rats at bay.

White vinegar is a strong-smelling household product you can use to deter rats and a variety of other pests inside the home.

Rats hate white vinegar because it is irritating to their sensitive noses, and it can also sting and irritate their skin if they come into contact with it.

You can use white vinegar in a variety of ways when it comes to what do rats hate.

One of the ways you can use white vinegar is to simply pour the product into a bowl and leave it around your home and in areas you have noticed rat activity.

You can also spray white vinegar directly from a spray bottle around eaves, raftors, in attics, and around entry points to keep rats at bay.

If you have rats coming in from your pipes, you can pour white vinegar down drains to help repel the pests. While this method is effective, it will need to be repeated as necessary to help keep rats at bay.

What Do Rats Hate – Rat Predators

10 a cat
Cats are natural predators of rats and can help keep rats under control both inside and outside of your home.

Predators may seem like a no-brainer when it comes to what do rats hate, but understanding which predators rats hate can actually help you to keep rats at bay.

The most common types of predators for rats include:

There are several ways you can use predators to keep rats out of your home and even out of your yard. These methods include the use of:

  • Predator Scents
  • Predator Decoys
  • Natural Predators
  • And Investing in Pets Like Cats and Dogs

What Do Rats Hate – Used Coffee Grounds

11 coffee grounds
Tossing used coffee grounds in garbage or in the garden is an easy way you can repel rats.

Last, and perhaps one of the most easily used methods when it comes to what do rats hate, is the method of using used coffee grounds.

Rats can’t stand the smell of used coffee grounds and will steer clear of this strong smell at all costs. Once you have your morning coffee, simply pour your used coffee grounds directly in your garbage bin to keep rats out of the trash.

You can also sprinkle used coffee grounds directly into your garden to keep pests like rats out of your vegetables and edibles, and you can even place used coffee grounds around your home near rat hot spots in a bowl or open plastic bag.

The one downfall of using used coffee grounds as a means for repelling rats is that they can begin to smell unpleasant to humans as well. For this method, we recommend using it for outdoor use primarily.

Other Products You Can Buy When It Comes To What Do Rats Hate

12 a rat outside
Rat repellents can be purchased and provide you with longer-lasting solutions to rat control.

When it comes to understanding the answer to what do rats hate, there are plenty of household remedies you can use.

Of course, you also have the option of purchasing products to help repel rats. One of the benefits of investing in products to repel rats is that these products may provide a longer-lasting solution to your rodent problem.

Furthermore, many of the below-listed products also help to repel other pests like insects, spiders, and other rodents.

Take a look.

Tomcat Rodent Repellent

No products found.

Tomcat rodent repellent is ideal for both inside and outside use, and it works using ingredients like essential oils and other plant-based ingredients. The product is safe to use around children and pets and includes a comfort wand for easy application.

There is no odor to this rodent repellent product, and it can help repel different types of rats and mice for long periods of time.

Neatmaster Ultrasonic Pest Repeller

No products found.

Rats are not only sensitive to certain smells, but they are also sensitive to certain sounds. Using an ultrasonic pest repellent can be a safe and effective way to control rats in and around your home without the use of chemicals or odors.

The above ultrasonic pest repellent works by emitting strong sounds and vibrations that are highly irritating to pests but harmless to people and pets.

What Do Rats Hate – Other Tips For Repelling Those Pesky Rats

13 blue gloves cleaning
Keeping your home clean and tidy is one of the most effective ways to control pests like rats.

Rats are not only a serious nuisance to people, but they can also be dangerous. For this reason, it’s especially important to implement what we know that rats hate into our daily routines. Along with knowing what do rats hate, it’s important to know how to keep rats out of your home by using methods to make your home less habitable to these pests.

If you’re not sure where to start, we have listed some methods recommended by experts below.

Keep Up With Routine Home Maintenance

Keeping your home well maintained can help to keep rats out simply by removing potential entry points for these critters. Be on the lookout for potential vulnerabilities around your home and openings or gaps that could allow rats or other pests from getting inside.

Though rats are larger rodents, they can often squeeze into entry points no larger than the size of a quarter.

Keep Your Home Tidy And Clutter-Free

Rats will be more attracted to homes that are dirty and cluttered. This includes sinks filled with dirty dishes, overflowing garbage bins, pantries that hold food that is improperly stored, and floors that are improperly vacuumed or swept.

Even a few crumbs around the counter or on the floor can lead to rats and other pests like ants or roaches. Be sure to implement a routine cleaning regimen to help keep your home clean and free of pests.

Keep Your Yard Well-Maintained And Clutter-Free

Remember, most rats prefer to nest outdoors, and an indoor rat problem typically begins outside. If you want to keep rats from getting inside your home, you should not only work to make your home less inviting to them but also your yard and garden.

Remove clutter, use companion planting to your advantage, and keep up with routine pest control both inside and outside year-round.

Best of luck and thanks for reading!

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