Does Bleach Keep Rats Away? (Find Out Now!)
While they may be cute to some, rats can be a real pesky problem. When they’ve gained access to your home or have settled in your backyard, it can be challenging to get rid of them. Whether you’ve got one rat or a whole infestation, it is vital to quickly and carefully deal with the issue.
Rats can carry a number of deadly diseases and can also wreak havoc by chewing on wires, furniture, insulation, or the entire structure of your home. Outdoors, they may burrow into your vehicle, have a buffet in your garden, create tunnels in your landscaping, and more.
The short answer is yes, you can use bleach to keep rats away. To do so, use diluted bleach to spray down rat hubs, disinfect the rat nests, or sprinkle bleach at the rat entry points of your home. You can also soak cotton balls in diluted bleach and place them around your house to repel rats.
How To Use Bleach To Keep Rats Away
Bleach has a strong enough odor to drive even humans away, imagine what it can do for the tiny noses of rats. In fact, it has several uses in keeping rats away from your home. You can spray rat hubs, disinfect rat’s nests, use bleach-soaked cotton balls, or sprinkle bleach at your home’s entry points.
Note: Always use diluted bleach to keep rats away. Pure bleach fumes will irritate you and other people fending off the rats.
1. Spray Rat Hubs with Bleach
If you have rats around, you likely know where the rats hang out most of the time. You need to spray down these rat hubs thoroughly. Keep any exits to these areas open. This will allow rats to run away from the bleach smell.
Keeping exits open will also help air out the fumes for you and your family. Spraying rat hubs with bleach should send those pesky rats running!
2. Disinfect the Rat’s Nest
Once you’ve sent those rats packing, it’s essential to clean infested areas. Rats carry a whole host of diseases, and you don’t want your or your family to become ill. Use the bleach to clean problem areas; it’s an excellent disinfectant to remove germs, viruses, and bacteria, and keep you safe from disease. Carefully wipe down all surfaces and mop the floors with diluted bleach.
Use the bleach solution to clean out any rat nests that you locate. This process will remove any disease-carrying organisms in your home, which is especially important if you have young children around the house. Plus, cleaning the area thoroughly with bleach can help prevent rats from returning.
How Do You Locate a Rat’s Nest?
You can find rat nests by searching your yard, inside furniture, and your home’s foundation. Also, check the roof, the walls, and storage spaces.
Several factors identify rat nests and burrows:
- Two to four-inch holes
- Rat droppings
- Rat footprints
- Urine spots
If you see any of these signs, it’s time to break out the bleach!
If there are rats in your home, there may be a rat burrow in your yard. Rats tend to burrow in overgrown areas, underneath concrete, in your garden, under your home, or under rocks. If you detect rat burrows, pour bleach down the hole entrance to flush out the rodents.
3. Soak Cotton Balls in Bleach
If you’re having a hard time pinpointing the rat hub, cotton balls are a good way to go. Soak cotton balls in diluted bleach and disperse them randomly throughout your home. The goal here is to saturate your home in the smell of bleach and make every spot inhabitable for rats.
Take care to place them along confirmed rat routes as well. This placement covers the rat’s only place of transportation with the distinctive bleach odor.
A floor covered in bleach-soaked cotton balls should send rats running. At the very least, these cotton balls will slow them down. When the rats are slower, you can catch them more easily and release them far away from your home, or kill them in rat traps. With this method, you should start to see less rats within a week’s time.
4. Sprinkle Bleach at Entry Points
If you’re concerned about rats entering your house, sprinkle bleach at any potential entry points around your home. An entry point is any space large enough for a rat to poke its head through. A rat can even squeeze through a hole the size of a nickel!
Some examples of entry points are AC vents, gaps in and around doors and windows, and exposed pipes. Never underestimate a rat’s ability to get inside your home; these rodents are smart and creative.
Therefore, you need to get creative too. Double-down on protection by sealing any possible entryways. Find gaps and close them up to prevent rats from crawling inside. Seal exterior holes in your home with spackling, and repair any holes in windows and doorways. If you have a screen door, add a piece of mesh to reinforce any holes.
Install weatherstrip on your doors to close any gaps around the tops and bottoms. To prevent rats from climbing in through your roof, trim tall trees and vines. Rats are great climbers and can jump from trees to your roof and climb in through openings.
Does Bleach Kill Rats?
Bleach will send rats running, but if you want the rats gone for good, they need to ingest the bleach. If a rat eats bleach, it will die. The smell alone certainly aggravates their senses, but it won’t kill them.
Because of bleach’s strong smell, rats won’t consume it on their own. The way to convince rats to ingest bleach is to hide it in something appealing. Peanut butter will do the trick, as it is equally as strong as the bleach but more pleasant. Mix one to two spoonfuls of peanut butter with bleach and wait for the rats to come flocking to their new buffet.
The peanut butter smell will attract the rats and mask the bleach scent. After consuming the peanut butter-cloaked bleach, it will burn the walls of the rat’s stomach. Once the damage has been done to the stomach, connected tissues and organs are affected and it will die in about one to two days.
Quick Tip: If you have pets, use caution with the peanut butter method or consider trying something else. Your dog or cat will most likely be just as attracted to the scent of peanut butter as the rats, possibly causing them to ingest the bleach.
What If the Rats Keep Coming Back?
If you get rid of the rats with bleach, but they keep coming back, there are a few other ways to scatter them. You can set live traps or snap traps. A live trap is a cage that traps rats for release. You can place bait in the trap to attract the rats. Once the rat is in, the door will automatically shut and capture it inside.
A snap trap is designed to kill rats as soon as it attempts to eat the bait. As the rat moves for the bait, a bar will snap down, killing it. You’ll have to dispose of the rat’s body quickly before insects swarm.
Can vinegar be used to keep rats away?
Because rats have such a strong sense of smell, white vinegar can keep rats away. You can also utilize other scents like peppermint oil, castor oil, and citronella oil to keep rats at bay.
Does animal control help with rat infestations?
Because rats are considered domestic rodents, animal control won’t come to help you with your rat problem. Rats are not regarded as wild or dangerous, so it is up to you or an exterminator to deal with them.
When is it time to call in a professional exterminator for your rat problem?
If your rat problem’s too much for you to handle, an exterminator can help remove the animals from your home. The following are signs you may have an infestation:
- Teeth marks on walls, cords, and furniture
- Excessive amounts of rodent droppings
- Greasy marks or tracks
- Rat sounds, especially at night
- Urine stains
If you’ve got a rat infestation, you can drive rats out of your home with bleach. You can spray bleach on rat hubs or use it to disinfect rat nests. You can also disperse bleach-soaked cotton balls around your home or sprinkle bleach at entry points.
Always use diluted bleach and take great care to clean up after the rats. Once you spray down the rat’s burrows and rat nests with bleach, clean any areas you suspect rats may have touched. Remember, it is critical to disinfect any area with rat activity to prevent the spread of disease.
Merely leaving out bleach won’t kill rats. A rat needs to ingest bleach to die. You can mix bleach with peanut butter to mask its odor and attract rats.
Using bleach to rid your home of rats is a great way to keep your home rat-free and clean as a whistle!
Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.
More by Stacy Randall