We are sharing how to get rid of rats and mice. Ways that we have learned from experience and our online community of DIY rodent exterminators!
Let’s talk about these rodents and ways to eliminate them both naturally and other tried and true methods for removal. This post is been consistently viral on Pinterest for the last 12 years! We are sharing rodent removal technique we use, as well as other rat removal methods are online friends have shared.
How to Get Rid of Rats
I like to spend my days sharing funny memes, but let’s be honest. Since moving to the country – we have things to deal with like mice, snakes and rodents so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to share techniques we learned on how get rid of rats and mice, plus all the shenanigans we have learned.
First, I should start this with saying – to me a mouse or a rat both are the same. They are rodents and in my mind better off dead. The thought of mice in the walls or rats in the garage irks me to know end, and brings chills down my spine. Me and rodents are NOT friends. Here is what we will be covering in this article.
- The Difference Between Mice vs Rats
- Rat Phobia / Mouse Phobia
- Rats in the Garage
- Poison to Get Rid of Rats and Mice
- Best Ways to Get Rid of Rats Naturally
- Rodent Repellent
- Answers to Your Questions About Rodent Removal
Mouse vs Rats
Want to know the difference between a rat and a mouse. Like I mentioned, to me a rodent is a rat, mouse or opossum. Raccoons get a pass because they make cute memes, but none the less some of you are dead set that we explain the difference between mice and rats.
There is No Such Things as Cute Rats
Yes, mice and rats look similar. First things, there is no such thing as cute rats or a cute mouse. All rats are ugly, same goes with mice. Chuck E Cheese, rat. Mickey Mouse, gross.
Anyways, now that we cleared the air, let’s talk about ugly rats and mice. Both types of rodents are white, brown or gray in color. Rats are larger and heavier. Mice have slender bodies. Both are nocturnal in nature.
Another difference between rats and mice are their tails. Mice have slender long tails and a rat tail is shorter, thicker and hairless. We can’t forget the ears. Mouse ears are floppy, rat ears are larger in size but mostly because the rodent is larger.
Both rodents are equally awful in regards to grossness and damage that they can cause. When talking about how to get rid of rats and how to get rid of mice, something to note is rats are far more difficult to extinguish.
Rat Phobia – Fear of Rats
YUCK. PANIC. CAN’T MOVE. I totally have a rat phobia, or rodent phobia actually. I know that mice/rats are God’s creation – but they might as well be God’s creation to disturb me. My deathly fear of these things paralyzes me. Even writing this, chills – like uncomfortable fear of these things is real.
I’ll never forget in our first house, before we even lived in the country we had a field mouse in the living room. I caught it out of the corner of my eye one day and for a WEEK I avoided that room. It’s just a serious phobia when you are living in the country where these rodents are abundent.
Can I just say, when I started this blog – never did I EVER think I would write a post about getting rid of rats and rodents. Guys, this is life and this is something those of us with rat phobia need to know about.
We have had over 150,000 views on this post. So glad to hear these random tips for getting rid of mice and rodents are helping you. Please continue to leave your feedback, comments and suggestions. Working together, we can collaborate and win with learning from each other on what works best in various situations.
Rats in the Garage
Our garage tends to still attract these rodents. R Rodents on your roof, in your walls, the smell, the crap they leave – it’s all disgusting.
Mice and rats that make their way into homes can destroy insulation, wires, PVC plumbing, and wood rafters. These rodents can make nests in your vehicles and eat wires causing thousands of dollars worht of damage.
If you hear the scurry of a mouse, see the droppings of a rat, find a nest in your garage or hear scratches in the walls at night, this post is for you.
Nobody wants a rat infestation or mice infestation in your garage or in your walls or attic. Let’s get rid of these unwanted squatters. Whether you are looking for ways to poison the rodents or if you want to get rid of rats and mice naturally, we are here for you.
Here are his latest rodent catching “techniques” that we’ve used to rid our house of rats and mice.
Poison to Get Rid of Rats and Mice
We will be focusing on ways of getting rid of rats naturally. Yes, there are certain poison rat and mouse products that can be used to solve your infestation.
Having children and dogs, we want these rodents gone but not at the cost of something we love, so these are organic rat removal options (and mice too.) Something to note, while these will kill rats and mice – there is another risk that if an animal ingests a dead poisoned rodent it will be unsafe for that animal.
If small animals and poison is not a concern to you, here is what you need to know when using poison to kill rats and mice.
Rodent Bait – Rodenticide
In a previous house, before kids and knowing the risk to dogs, we would use this rodent poison that the rats and mice eat, become dehydrated – go look for water and end up dying. This rodenticide contains active ingredients to kill rodents. Here are the most common active ingredients in mice and rat poisons: phosphides, bromethalin, cholecalciferol, and long-acting anticoagulants.
You will need to setup a bait station when using a poisonous product such as this rat bait. This will prevent small animals, such as dogs from getting into the poison. You most likely have seen these outside of restaurants (comforting to know that fact, right? Read this restaurant rodent horror story.) The main thing in order to rid of rats and mice, you will need to purchase a bait station that will fit both.
For home use, while the black rodent bait stations work fine. There is a key to lock the bait station to prevent dogs and kids from touching the dangerous rat poison. For home use, we prefer this rodent rock bait station (available on Amazon.) It is easy to disguise when placed outside and doesn’t scream “We have a problem with rats and mice at our house!”
Best Ways to Get Rid of Rats Naturally
That is how to get rid of rats and mice with poison, but we want natural. Getting rid of rats naturally means that when they do die, and the circle of life happens – that we are contaminating other animals.
Non-Toxic Rodent Removal Solutions
We have collected all of your suggestions over the years, hearing from many of you on how to get rid of rats and mice in barns, even mice in walls (yuck!) We love hearing from you and are sharing the best natural ways to get rid of rodents. Here are the non-toxic methods to get rid of rats naturally that we will be covering:
- Instant Potatoes
- Chocolate Laxatives
- Killing Rats With Salt and Detergent
- Soda and Beer
- Bucket Method
Let’s avoid accidental poison ingestion by checking out these natural ways to get rid of rats and mice without chemicals. Here is what we learned about using these non-toxic methods for killings mice and rats.
Mouse and rat poison also poses a great danger to our household pets. Curious dogs and cats can easily eat the poison leading to illness or possibly death. Let’s avoid that by checking out these natural ways to get rid of rats and mice without chemicals.
Instant Potatoes to Kill Rats and Mice
A popular non-toxic suggestion for killing rats and mice is Instant Potatoes. We learned this method from one of our readers many years ago and gave it a try.
How Do Instant Potato Flakes Kill Rats
So how does instant potatoes kill rats and mice? In theory, the potato flakes act as rodent food. The rats and mice would hypothetically die from ingesting instant mashed potatoes, not the ingredients but rather what happens when instant mashed potato flakes make contact with water or other fluids.
Since these rodents can not regurgitate the food they have consumed, they will be unable to get rid of the swollen mass of instant potatoes, leading to eventual starvation. This will not instantly kill a mouse or rat.
Baiting Rodents with Instant Mashed Potatoes
Here is how to bait rodents with instant mashed potatoes. Purchase any brand of potato flakes or potato powder. Amazon sells a huge thing of instant potato flakes that should last you quite a while (or help eliminate a rat infestation).
Place a few tablespoons on a paper plate or in a paper bag in the area where the rodents live. We have upped the DIY rodent removal with potato game with this suggestion: Try mixing 2 tablespoons of instant potato flakes with baking soda and artificial sweetener to make it more appealing.
Instant Potatoes and Mice
Does it work? We have found this safe rodent removal method to be best used for mice. Rats are smarter and requires more to be ingested. Moving on, let’s look at using laxatives with rodents.
Laxatives to Kill Rodents
Our next reader solution for naturally getting rid of rodents is laxatives or ex-lax. This made me laugh but from what you guys are saying some of you swear by ex-lax to get rid of a rodent infestation!
Apparently the trick is to use chocolate laxatives.
How Does Laxatives Kill Rodents
While I never had ex-lax chocolate so can’t tell you what it tastes like. That said, apparently rats and mice LOVE IT. Top your chocolate laxatives for mice with peanut butter because y’all they love them some PB. Yes, it may feel like you are making candy for rats, but people swear this works.
Chocolate Laxatives for Rodents
Another thing that rodents apparently like, is peanut butter. So this is how you kill rats with exlax. Take a ex-lax chocolate available on Amazon. Top it with peanut butter and place wherever you are experiencing an infestation.
How Ex-Lax Kills Rodents
The chocolate ex-lax will put the rodents into gastric distress because their digestive system is so small.
The theory behind ex-lax and rats is this. If one rodent gets sick in their home or nest, the others are smart. They know something isn’t right and leave for a safer environment.
Keep Away From Pets and Humans
This should go without saying, but if you have pets or humans (kids, predominately) that could get into the ex-lax – hide it. Rodents can sniff this out but place where your pets cannot easily access.
Killing Rats with Salt and Detergent
Our readers had a strong recommendation of killing rats with salt and detergent. This again was something we had never heard of. Here is what we learned about how to kill rats with salt (and mice too!)
Originally the suggestion came in of using salt with peanut butter, but the more we learned is that it would take a LOT of salt to kill a rat or a mouse. We want these rodents gone so after hearing about killing rats with salt and detergent we knew we were on to something. Here is what to do:
How to Kill Mice and Rats with Salt and Detergent
This method will work on both mice and rats. So if you find a rat nest in your garage or mice in walls, try this salt and detergent rodent killer out for a non-toxic solution.
Create a thick paste of flour, water, detergent and salt mixed with peanut butter. You want this salt and detergent solution to be mixed with food like the paste above as rats are smart. Leave this near where the rodent problem areas. Make sure to quickly dispose of dead rats and dead mice as they will SMELL.
Give a Rodent a Soda or Beer
While I thought this would make for a funny rodent meme, who knew this actually is a non-toxic natural rodent removal method, not I! While the suggestion of soda (Coke, Pepsi, Diet Coke, Dr Pepper, etc) or beer (apparently rodents aren’t picky when it comes to beer) – the secret to success is for it to be a carbonated beverage.
Place a small bowl out with either soda or beer for the rats and mice to ingest. The rodents cannot burp or vomit, so they end up suffocating and dying. Basically you are cutting off the ability for the rats ability to breathe therefore leading to their death.
Mouse Trap Bucket Method
This is a humane mouse trap if you are wanting to ensure that the mouse feels as little pain as possible. While this catch rats, you are better off using this method if you have a mouse infestation. This works great to get rid of mice in the garage.
This method is also known as the redneck bucket rat trap. Essentially what you are doing is enticing the rodents to the mouse bait (preferably peanut butter.) What the mouse doesn’t know, when it reaches the bait it is tricked into falling into a bucket of water which s mouse is unable to get out of, resulting in drowning mice.
DIY Bucket Mouse Trap
I know, it sounds so morbid but if you are tired of picking up nasty mice traps or seeings rats on glue pad – this is a humane way to kill mice and rats. We are showing you how to make this bucket mouse trap, but good news.
This post was originally written in 2009, here in 2023 you can purchase all of the supplies for a flip lid bucket mouse trap on Amazon. You would just need to purchase a 5-gallon bucket and a bucket trap kit, no DIY needed!
Here is an illustration of house this goes down and how to create a DIY bucket mouse trap.
Here is what you will need for the redneck bucket trap for catching rodents:
- Large bucket (the orange buckets from Home Depot would work great)
- Ramp (this can be a 2/4 cut to the appropriate size)
- Can (we used a tomato paste can)
- Dish soap
- Peanut butter (the rats aren’t picky, you can use generic)
- Wire coat hanger
DIY bucket mouse trap instructions:
- Using the 5 gallon bucket, a board as a ramp, a can and peanut butter. You will take need to drill a hole thru the can (see illustration below.)
- Un-ravel the wire coat hanger, place thru the can and hook onto the side of the bucket.
- Fill the bucket with water, about halfway. Drop a few squirts of dish soap into the bucket.
- Place the 2×4 or whatever you are using as a ramp onto the side of the bucket.
- Put a glob of peanut butter smack on the can.
Bonus, the smell is not near as bad. The bad part is that you will still need to see the dead rats and mice. Just dump out the water and discard the carcasses.
The rodents die from drowning. Make sure to check and dump the bucket out at least once a day. This natural pest remover works GREAT for field mice. After being the first home, a new build house in a new subdivision that backed up to vacant property – we quickly had a garage filled with field mice.
The bucket mouse trap worked great, but make sure to check and empty the bucket often. My husband would empty buckets full of dead mice regularly, quite disgusting and hearing splashes all day in the garage was not satisfying. That said, I’ll take that any day over having a garage with mice and rats.
Prevent Rodent Infestation in House
While we have a giant list of suggestions for mice repellent and rat repellent, there are several things that can be done to make your house unattractive for potential rodent residents. Think of this as anti-staging for when you don’t want to sell your home.
These are the things rats and mice are NOT looking. Let’s prevent a rodent infestation in your house with these tips.
- Keep Your House Clean – Cleaning your house regularly will not get rid of rats by just cleaning, it will help prevent more from coming in. Remove all things that would attract a rodent, such as exposed dog food, crumbs and clutter.
- Avoid Clutter in Garage and Attic – Believe me, I know that the garage and attic are storage spaces and not meant to be pretty but functional. That said, clutter will attract rodents especially in a garage and attic.
- Take Trash Out Regularly – Avoid collecting trash in your house. While you may think, I do take my trash out – do you have a child or a teenager living in your house? A teen room is the perfect habitat for rats and mice to infest. Please use this line and this blog as a reference to your teens when telling them why the teen must clean their room.
- Fill Holes and Crevices – Rodents don’t just walk thru the front door, they find their way in thru holes and crevices. This means checking your outside siding and brick for any holes and filling them regularly. Your garage door can be an easy passage way in for rats and mice. Make sure that your garage door is properly sealed.
- Uncapped Chimneys – If your chimney is uncapped, this is like a giant door for rodents to enter. Finding mice and rats in your fireplace is not fun, get a chimney cap to help prevent unwanted rodents from entering.
- Plant Bushes and Trees Away From Your House – A good landscaper will make sure that your bushes are not planted right next to your house. Same goes with trees. Pests like to hide in landscaping.
- Treat Your Lawn for Insects – While mice love eating the food in your pantry, somethings else these rodents like is insects! Treat your lawn for insects to help eliminate a food source for rats and mice.
- Rats Love Manure – If you have a barn, particularly one with manure – watch out rats love manure.
Again, our Digital Mom Blog readers came thru HUGE in regards to DIY mice repellent and rat repellent. Thank you, here is what we have done and rodent repellent that our readers suggested.
Now that we have looked at non-toxic home remedies for rodent removal and learned how to get rid of rats and mice, let’s talk rodent repellent. Rather than having to get rid of rodents, let’s find out great ways for them to know they are not welcome in your home and property.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Essential oils to get rid of mice? Some people swear by it! Here is a DIY mice repellent suggested by a reader: PEPPERMINT OIL! Y’all this works great. Bonus, it smells wonderful.
Here are the two products we personally use in our country home. We live on property so field mice, barn rats and all types of other creatures love to call our house home – until the peppermint oil was introduced that is. Even the red wasps hate this peppermint oil!
Mighty Mint Rodent Repellent
For the perimeter of the house, we spray Mighty Mint Rodent Repellent peppermint oil (4%). This is done once a month.
This comes in a gallon size container with a spray nozzle making it super easy to spray peppermint oil to keep mice away. Available on Amazon.
Grandpa Gus’s Mouse Repellent
In places that we know that rodents like, we keep Grandpa Gus’s Extra Strength Mouse Repellent pouches. Available on Amazon.
These are heavily scented pouches featuring cinnamon oil and peppermint oil. These last approximately 30 days and are worth purchasing!
Place peppermint essential oil on cotton balls. Plug up any holes with the cotton balls, and leave through out the garage, attic or other locations that are infested with mice or rats.
Another option is mixing a solution of coconut oil and lavender oil and lining the garage or wherever to deter rats. A good smelling garage is a bonus. This could be used in combination with one of the above rat killing methods. Just because you slayed a rat doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a family just waiting to move in. I swear they are out to haunt us and get revenge.
Irish Springs Soap
Several suggestions were about Irish Springs Soap being used as a mouse repellent. The theory is that the overwhelming smell is something that mice just do not like.
More suggestions came in and we were told that it must be ORIGINAL Irish Springs Soap (green soap bar) that needs to be grated (using a cheese grater) around the areas that you do not want the rodents.
Cats Catching Rats and Mice
Cats are a natural predator for mice and rats. The downside, these lovely pets want to show you their catch. It’s one thing to have a dead rat, it’s another when your cat brings the dead body to you. Some people have dogs that will chase mice and rats. Our dogs, not so much.
We have heard from many of you having a problem with rats and mice in your barn. A common suggestion for rat and mouse deterrents is to get a barn cat. Getting a barn cat is a low maintenance way to keep rodents and other pests off your property.
No barn, but have roof rats? Those rodents are the worse but you know what LOVES roof rats? Barn cats! Even if you don’t have a barn, an outdoor cat or backyard buddy can help you kill roof rats naturally. If you live in North Texas, check out this non-profit organization, North Texas Barn Cats.
Mothballs to Rodents
Some people swear mothballs work great for getting rid of mice, others say no. It may depend on the level of infestation as well. While mothballs may not work to kill rodents, many suggest using mothballs as a mouse repellant. We have not found this to be an effective rodent repellent.
If there is one thing I hate as much as rats, are snakes. Funny how snakes are a great natural way to get of rats, and here I am hating them. The most important thing to know about rat snakes is they eat RATS and mice!
If you see one of these snakes on your property, know he is taking care of your rodent problem. Rat snakes also love chicken eggs, so watch out for these in your chicken coops.
Rat snakes, go by many names such as: racers, eastern black snake, Texas rat snake or black rat snakes. These are LARGE venomous snakes that range between 3.5 and 7 feet long.
The large black rat snake has shiny black scales on their back and a light colored belly. Their throat and chin is white. Most are docile, produce a foul-smelling musky smell when fighting off large predators. They are sneaky, climb trees, cruise beneath rocks and logs, often found in barns. Rat snakes are excellent swimmers, skilled at catching not only rats but food from bird eggs to frogs.
In all seriousness, rat snakes are a great natural remedy for killing rats naturally. If you find these on your property – consider them your friends.
Rat snakes are medium to large constrictors and are found throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere. Read more on Wikipedia
Rats As Pets
I know, I KNOW – I have seen the comments on what great pets rats can be. Nope, sorry not for me – goodbye. I just can’t and won’t. I mean, I can’t even walk down the aisle at PetSmart that has mice. NO, nope, not for me.
Call me paranoid, call me a freak – just don’t call me if you see a rodent. The only downside of this trap – hearing the constant SPLASHES and knowing what exactly that means.
Questions About Getting Rid of Rats and Mice
How Many Rodents Do Rat Snakes Eat?
A rat snake can eat up to 9 pounds of rodents a year. Typically they like mice, which is around 192 mice a year. Want to know how to get rid of rats? Get a few pet rat snakes to kill your mice infestation or rats in your garage!
Does Salt Kill Rats?
While we posted about killing rats with salt and detergent, salt in part will kill the rats but the detergent will finish the job.
Does the Redneck Mouse Trap Work on Mice?
We suggest using the redneck mouse trap for mice rather than rats. Rats are much smarter and larger making the bucket mouse trap easier for them to evade.
How Fast Does Chocolate Kill Mice?
While a large amount of chocolate can kill mice, we don’t suggest just feeding mice chocolate.
How Do I Get Rid of Rats in Garage?
Getting rid of rats in a garage is a necessity. We recommend choosing a few options above, depending on if you want to poison rats in the garage or go a non-toxic route and kill rats naturally.
Not a fan of rats, never thought this is what I would be writing about but it’s needed info! You know what else is helpful to know? How to get rid of lice. You are welcome.
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