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do rats hate the smell of garlic?

Are Rats Repelled By Garlic?

Garlic is one of the most popular natural remedies for garden pests, including armyworms, aphids, and household bugs like flies and mosquitos.

While garlic is effective at repelling insects, you might be wondering if the same applies to rats.

Garlic has a strong smell that rats find unpleasant, so many homeowners consider garlic an excellent alternative to rodenticides when combating infestations.

Moreover, garlic is entirely natural, which makes it a safe option.

Although garlic is good at repelling rats in the short term due to its potent scent, its smell tends to dissipate quickly. So, it loses its ability to deter rats.

Furthermore, some rats can get used to the smell of garlic and won’t be bothered by it.

Do Rats Hate The Smell Of Garlic?

Rats dislike the smell of garlic and will avoid any areas where the scent of this herb lingers.

While most people don’t mind the smell of garlic (and may even find it pleasant), rats can’t handle it because they have a keen sense of smell.

According to Genome Biology, rats have a sense of smell that has evolved to detect scents even at low concentrations, so they can pick up on scents that a human wouldn’t ordinarily notice.

The sophisticated olfactory system in rats is vital for their survival. It allows them to detect the scent of food in their environment and follow the smell back to the source. This is why the smell of food is one of the main factors that lure rats into people’s homes.

They can also recognize the presence of predators in their environment by detecting their pheromones. Rats have many predators, including cats, dogs, and ferrets.

Since they have few defensive capabilities against such dangers in their environment, they depend on their sense of smell to pick out predators at long distances. They’re able to hide or stay out of predators’ paths.

Moreover, the olfactory system of rats facilitates the mating process, thus ensuring the rodents continue to reproduce. Male rats can detect the pheromones of females on heat. This signals them to mount the females and reproduce with them.

Although better olfaction is extremely useful to rats, it has drawbacks. For instance, it causes rats to be agitated and disturbed by odors that humans and other animals do not mind.

This explains why the smell of garlic is so distressing to rats. It becomes an overwhelmingly powerful smell that irritates their nose and can even burn their eyes.  

Do Rats Hate Garlic Powder?

As mentioned, rats detest the potent scent of garlic and will try to avoid spending time in areas where garlic powder has been sprayed.

According to Chemical Senses, rats have over 3 times the number of human olfactory receptors. This makes their sense of smell significantly heightened.

So, any strong odors in their environment can be very distressing for rats. That’s why herbs like garlic can be powerful deterrents.

However, like other organic rodent repellents, garlic is only effective for the short term. When garlic is left in the open for long periods, it loses its potency and becomes less effective at keeping rats away.

Likewise, rats exposed to garlic can become accustomed to it over time. Rats are highly adaptable and can learn that garlic is not harmful to them, even if irritated. When this happens, the smell of garlic won’t be repulsive enough to drive them out.

how to use garlic to repel rats

How To Use Garlic To Repel Rats

Garlic is one of the most common natural remedies against rodent infestations.

Its intense aroma is repulsive to rats but also devoid of the harmful chemicals found in commercial rodenticides.

Furthermore, garlic is readily available compared to other natural rat repellents like essential oils. So, if you’re looking for the best homemade remedy against rats, garlic is one of your best options.

Below are various ways to use garlic to drive out rats from your home:

Garlic Powder

This is by far the easiest method. Merely sprinkle garlic powder along paths that rats use when foraging for food and other areas in your home where there is a lot of rodent activity.

If you haven’t spotted any rats but suspect they may be hiding somewhere in your home, look around for signs of rat infestation. These include grease marks, droppings, and urine.

Rats tend to hang around in isolated areas with foot traffic. Some places to check include wardrobes, inside kitchen cabinets, behind furniture and garbage bins, and inside empty drawers.

Garlic Spray

To prepare garlic spray at home, you’ll need garlic, mineral oil, liquid dish soap, and water.

Add 4 – 6 cloves of minced or grated garlic to one tablespoon of mineral oil and let it sit for 30 to 45 minutes. Strain out the garlic and mix the oil with one teaspoon of dish soap and a cup of water. Shake the mixture thoroughly and spray it where you’ve noticed rat activity.

Alternatively, you can create garlic spray using garlic powder. To do so, mix two teaspoons of dish soap with a pint of water and shake thoroughly to create a light, soapy mixture. Cover the top of a spray bottle with a cloth and secure it with a rubber band to make it taut.

Add one teaspoon of garlic to the fastened cloth and gently pour the water and dish soap mixture into the container. This will ensure the garlic powder integrates into the water so it doesn’t clog up your spray bottle. If you have some cayenne pepper, you can add it to the garlic powder.

As highlighted, the odor of garlic tends to dissipate in the air quite rapidly, which reduces its effectiveness in repelling rats. So, remember to respray the rat-prone areas as soon as you notice the smell is wearing off. Do this repeatedly until you are sure the rats have left for good.

Will Garlic Get Rid Of Rats?

As mentioned, rats detest the aroma of garlic and will avoid any areas where garlic has been sprayed.

However, the scent of garlic must be concentrated for this herb to be effective against rats. So, if you decide to employ this method to deter rats, you’ll likely need to use it consistently over several days to see any meaningful results.

Does Garlic Kill Rats?

While rats find the smell of garlic unpleasant, the herb isn’t toxic or lethal to rats. Due to its strong aroma, garlic can be a safe and natural rat repellent.

Some rats can get accustomed to the smell of garlic over time. That’s especially true if they have been exposed to it several times.

When this happens, the scent of garlic may not be sufficient to drive away rats. You may need to employ alternative methods of getting rid of the rodents.