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Rat Control Methods Compared

Whether you’ve spotted gnaw marks, droppings or any other signs of a rat problem around your home, it’s time for immediate and effective action. Rodents spread diseases that can be harmful to humans and animals and they can cause major damage to your property. This makes it crucial to get rid of these pests in a timely manner.

With so many types of repellents and control methods available, you want to find one that delivers results. You want confidence that the pest control option you are buying will, in fact, keep these pests out of your home. 

We put together a helpful comparison chart that looks at different aspects of various control methods to help you find the best rat repellent for your home: 

  Fresh Cab Peppermint Oil Moth Balls Poison Ultrasonic
Biodegradable Yes  Yes Yes No No
Kids/Pets Safe Safe Toxic Toxic Some may be harmful to pet’s hearing
Disposal Simply remove Simply remove Gloves & mask Gloves & mask Simply remove
Environment Safe Safe Toxic Toxic Rodents adapt to sound
Meets Fed. EPA Repellency Standards Yes No No Yes No
Made in USA Yes Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown

Finding the Best Rat Repellent for Your Home

Each of the common home remedies and products listed above are meant to keep these pests away, but as you can see, effectiveness and safety varies. Each method has its benefits and drawbacks. Below, we go into further detail about each deterrent method.

Botanical Repellents

Fresh Cab pouch next to food in an airtight container

The best, most effective rat repellent option is a scent-based deterrent. A botanical repellent uses plant-based materials to help keep these pests from entering the property. Certain plant-based scents, such as peppermint or balsam fir, are offensive to these pests due to their great sense of smell. A product containing the right combination of these natural ingredients and essential oils is an effective and safe way to keep rats away. 

Fresh Cab Rodent Repellent is an example of a plant-based deterrent that’s made in the USA with 80% U.S. farm-grown ingredients. It contains a powerful combination of ingredients, including corn cob chips, herbal extracts, balsam fir oil, and plants, and is guaranteed to repel rats and other rodents. It works by creating a scent that’s strong enough to keep these pests from coming into an area and causing those already there to leave. The purpose of the pouch is to get rid of rats instead of killing them, which helps to preserve a balanced ecosystem. 

In rigorous testing, the product has shown to be highly effective at keeping rats out – more so than other competitors.

Peppermint Oil

The use of peppermint oil is a DIY solution that’s often used as a rat control method. While this method is environmentally safe, its effectiveness is somewhat inconclusive. The scent tends to wear out rather quickly, and the oil typically needs to be replaced every one or two weeks.

The common approach with this method is to drop peppermint essential oil onto cotton balls and then place them in areas where pest activity is seen or expected. 

Moth Balls 

This control method is easy to try, inexpensive, and easily available in stores. However, this solution can be toxic to children and pets and is not proven effective for repelling rodents

Rat Poison

When it comes to using poison as a rat control method, there are some dangers associated. This method is used to kill rats, which means a dead rodent could be laying around your home and will need to be disposed of properly. This can become an issue if the rodent dies in a place that’s hidden or hard to reach, and can also produce a very unpleasant smell. 

This approach is not safe to have around children and pets. We do not recommend this technique.  

Ultrasonic Pest Repellers

Ultrasonic sound-based rat deterrents work by emitting high-frequency sound waves that are supposedly inaudible to humans and pets, but drive rats away. These electronic devices are either plug-in or battery-operated, so they require a source of energy to work. You must use multiple devices as they do not transmit through walls into other rooms or around furniture.

Ultrasonic repellents are beneficial because they require no poisons and do not put the user in contact with potentially dangerous rats. Most people do not realize they are installed on the property because they cannot hear the sound, but this also means you may not know when the product stops working.

The theory behind ultrasonic devices makes sense, unfortunately, the actual performance of these repellants is spotty. Some people report excellent results, while others find they do nothing to keep the critters at bay. 

Some have also reported that they hear a “humming” or “chirping” sound from the device. Animals may be bothered by it as well, making this repellent a problem in barns or around pets.

Blocking Entrances 

In theory, you can keep rats out of your home by completely blocking their entrance to the property, a process known as exclusion. Buildings can be rat-proofed if all holes larger than ½ inch are closed. The best method of filling gaps and holes is placing steel wool in the opening and then using silicone caulking to seal it up. Spray foam is not recommended as rodents can chew through it much more easily.

However, blocking every entrance is not always possible, especially in an older home or outdoor building. These pests can also get into the home through utility lines and plumbing if they are determined to do so. If you have a rat infestation, you will need a proven repellent to deal with it. Ideally, this approach will be used along with a deterrent to increase effectiveness.

Table comparing pros and cons of different rodent control methods


What Next?

As a homeowner, if you stumble across this problem on your property, it’s important to figure out an effective rat repellent solution quickly. The longer you let it go, the worse the problem can get. 

Once these pests are gone, it’s important to be proactive with prevention. Keeping a clean house, sealing possible entry points, and continuously using a repellent are three necessary strategies. 

Fresh Cab® and Stay Away® Rodent pouches contain fast-acting, plant-powered ingredients that work to repel mice and rats. They offer continuous protection for 30 days.