While rodenticides and snap traps are good at killing rats, they aren’t humane and are toxic.
Peppermint oil is efficient at deterring rats and is natural and eco-friendly. It contains natural compounds that emit a potent scent, which rats find repulsive.
Aside from its strong scent, peppermint contains menthol compounds that irritate the nasal cavities of rats. For this reason, putting peppermint strategically around your home can keep rats away.
Peppermint contains menthol compounds that cause irritation when inhaled, including:
- Menthyl acetate
Dried peppermint also contains trace amounts of:
While most people find peppermint therapeutic, rats can’t handle its powerful scent. This is because rats have sensitive olfactory senses.
As Genome Biology revealed, rats have a more developed olfactory repertoire than most mammals and humans. It’s estimated that these rodents possess over 1500 olfactory receptors (ORs) compared to about 350 found in humans.
Rats’ sense of smell is vital for their survival. For instance, their ability to detect scents from far away enables these rodents to locate food sources quite easily.
So, if you have unsecured food in your home and rats are lurking nearby, they’ll be lured into your home by the smell of food. This is why proper food storage is critical for deterring rodents from your home. Even damaged tinned food could be vulnerable.
Likewise, the sensitive noses of rats allow them to pick up on the presence of potential predators such as cats, dogs, and ferrets in their environment.
Usually, they do so by detecting the scent (pheromones) contained in the urine, saliva, and other secretions. Since rats are hyper-aware of the possibility of being killed by predators, they tend to avoid areas where the smell of predators lingers.
Although superior olfaction is beneficial to rats, it has negatives. For example, rats are easily disturbed and irritated by scents that humans or other animals wouldn’t mind.
Even the most pleasant scents to humans, such as peppermint, can be deeply disturbing for rats. This is what makes these natural products so effective at deterring rats.
According to a Thai Journal of Veterinary Medicine, rats dislike the concentrated scent of peppermint since it irritates their nostrils.
For this reason, rats tend to steer clear of areas where the smell of peppermint lingers. This makes peppermint oil one of the most effective natural deterrents against rats.
Unfortunately, peppermint oil usually evaporates and quickly loses potency when exposed to air. When this happens, it is no longer effective at keeping rats away.
Peppermint is one of the best natural remedies against rats.
Not only does it have a potent smell that rats detest, but it’s also devoid of industrial chemicals that are typically found in commercial rodenticides, so it’s safe to use indoors.
There are a couple of ways you can use peppermint to repel rats, including:
The peppermint cotton ball method is the most popular technique for driving out rats using peppermint.
Soak balls of cotton with a few drops of peppermint oil. Then, strategically place the cotton balls in areas where rats congregate and along trails that they usually use when foraging.
If you’re unsure where to set up the cotton balls, examine your home for signs of high rodent activity, such as urine, droppings, and grease marks. Placing cotton balls in these areas will keep rats from returning and remove the stench of urine and droppings.
Remember, the rat-repellent properties of peppermint normally dissipate after prolonged exposure to the air. So, ensure you replace the peppermint cotton balls with fresh ones when the smell starts to wear off.
Spraying peppermint in and around areas with high rat activity is an alternative way to drive rodents from your home, especially in cases where cotton balls may be easily blown away.
To make peppermint spray, do the following:
- Mix two teaspoons of peppermint oil with one cup of water. You can also add some detergent to make the solution more potent.
- Shake the mixture in a spray bottle.
- Apply it in areas where you suspect rats may be frequenting.
- Once the smell fades, reapply it again until there are no more rats.
Douse Peppermint Solution Onto Rats’ Nests
This method works best if you have identified rat nests in your home. Pouring peppermint solution inside the nests makes them unfit for habitation, thus forcing the rats to abandon them.
Growing peppermint in your garden makes it unappealing for rats since they can’t stand the concentrated smell of these plants.
Alternatively, you can spread peppermint leaves and shoots around your garden to discourage rodents from sheltering there and destroying your crops.
In addition to keeping rodents out of your garden, growing peppermint plants also gives you a ready supply of raw material from which you can extract peppermint oil to use indoors.
To extract peppermint oil at home, do the following:
- Crush some fresh peppermint leaves in a medium-sized jar with a tight lid.
- Apply olive oil (or any other carrier oil) to the leaves, then cover the jar and shake it vigorously.
- Let the mixture sit for 3 days, then strain the liquid into another jar and discard the leaves.
- Repeat this process until you collect your desired amount of peppermint oil.
You can then use your homemade peppermint oil to make peppermint cotton balls or spray.
Peppermint oil has a powerful scent that rats dislike, so they’ll stay away from any areas in your home where peppermint oil has been sprayed.
Peppermint oil is also 100 percent organic, so it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals. This makes it one of the safest ways to get rid of rats from your home, particularly if you have children or pets.
Peppermint isn’t toxic to rats and doesn’t kill them, even if consumed accidentally.
However, the menthol compounds found in peppermint produce a concentrated scent that rats dislike. This makes peppermint an effective home remedy for combating mild rat infestations.
If you have a few rats in your home, applying peppermint spray in high-activity areas can drive them out in the short term.