When Rats Are Unwelcome in Your Home
Rats are shy, nocturnal rodents that seek food, water, shelter, and safety in our homes. In many cases, rats will live outside a home but come in for food during their active hours (at night).
Do you have rats in your home? And they aren't pets? Read on for natural ways to get rid of them and keep them from coming back.
I'll share simple recipes for:
- Boric acid poison
- Baking soda poison
- Plaster of Paris poison
What You'll Need to Make Rat Poison
- Disposable gloves
- Chicken broth
- Flour or cornmeal
- Sugar or powdered chocolate mix
- Boric acid
- Baking soda
- Plaster of Paris
- Jar lids
1. How to Make Boric Acid Rat Poison
- Put on your disposable gloves to avoid skin irritation. Put 1 cup of boric acid into a bowl. Begin adding chicken broth to the boric acid, about a 1/2 tsp. at a time. Stir very well after each addition, until you have a thick paste that's no longer easily stirred. If it's too thin, just add a little more boric acid. The odor of the broth will attract the rats, which will eventually die from consuming the boric acid.
- Roll the paste into balls about the size of a marble. Place two or three of the balls into jar lids or other small disposable containers, creating baits that will be easy to relocate if need be.
- Place the baits in areas where you have seen rat droppings, which are places that they are the most likely to reappear.
- Watch the baited areas for the cessation of droppings, or for the appearance of dead rats.
2. How to Make Baking Soda Rat Poison
- Put on disposable gloves. Combine 1 cup of flour or cornmeal with 1 cup of sugar or powdered chocolate mix. Add 1 cup of baking soda and blend the mixture very well. The sugar or chocolate will attract the rats and the baking soda will soon kill them after they've consumed it.
- Fill some jar lids about half full with the rat bait.
- Set the baited jar lids wherever you have noticed rat droppings. The rats are most likely to return to these spots.
- Monitor the areas for indications that your problem is solved, once you no longer spot new droppings. Watch for dead rats.
What does baking soda do to rats?
The bicarbonate in the baking soda reacts with the rat’s stomach acids to produce a carbon dioxide gas. Since rats are unable to pass the gas, it builds up in the rat’s system and eventually causes internal blockage or rupture.
3. How to Make Plaster of Paris Rat Poison
- Put on your disposable gloves. Combine 1 cup each of flour or cornmeal, sugar or powdered chocolate mix and plaster of Paris. Blend the mixture very well. The smell of the sugar or chocolate will attract the rats and they will eat the bait. Consuming the plaster of Paris will kill them when it combines with fluids and hardens in their gastrointestinal tracts.
- Spoon enough of the mixture into jar lids to fill them about halfway.
- Place the baited lids in areas of your home where you've noticed rat traffic, particularly where you've found droppings.
- Watch the areas carefully for dead vermin. You should also notice that the appearance of fresh droppings is diminishing or has ceased altogether.
Outdoor Rat Traps That Are Safe for Children and Other Animals
A reader kindly shared this method after trying it himself.
To avoid injuring pets, wildlife, and children, follow these steps when placing rat poison outside your home.
- Get a few empty plastic one-gallon milk jugs.
- Find a few places where rats live outside your home, such as near plants or trash cans.
- Mix some sugar and powdered chocolate or cocoa powder. Alternatively, you can prepare one of the poison recipes above.
- Fill the milk just half-way with water.
- Add some of sugar or poison mixture and screw the lid on.
- Dig a hole in one of the spots where rats are present. Bury the jug in the hole until it's even with the ground.
- Sprinkle a little chocolate powder around on the surface. Rats will smell the chocolate and dig a hole through both the soil and the plastic jug, but the hole will be just large enough for them to drop in and drown.
Places to bury an outdoor rat trap
- Near wood piles or lumber that is not being used
- Under bushes, vines, and in tall grasses that are not trimmed or cut back
- Under rocks in the garden
- In crawl spaces under buildings
- In and around trash and compost cans
How to Keep Rats Away From Your Yard
- Make sure the lids on any garbage cans are tightly sealed.
- Stow any bags of trash inside sealed garbage cans.
- Store food for pets and birds in sealed containers. Do not leave birdseed on the ground or in seed feeders.
- Seal your compost pile or worm bin. Do not put meat or dairy products in the compost.
- Clean up and compost any fruits or berries that have fallen to the ground.
- Clean up and dispose of any dog droppings.
DIY Bait Stations to Kill Rats
If you have rats inside your home, don't use any of the above poison mixtures without a bait station. A bait station is simply a box or other structure that contains the poison. You should use a bait station because:
- it offers the rat a more secure place to eat, making it more likely that they'll feel safe and eat more of the poison mixture
- it keeps pets and children away from the poison mixture
- it's more likely that the dying rat will die in the station rather than crawling off and dying somewhere hard to reach
Make your own bait station
You can buy bait stations made out of hard plastic, cardboard, or metal at hardware stores. You can also make your own. Choose solid materials, like pieces of scrap wood or plastic. Make sure your bait station has two entrances. Rats are more likely to eat in a place where there are multiple exits. Some types of homemade bait stations are:
- a length of PVC pipe
- an empty plastic milk or water jug with two holes large enough for the rat to crawl through
- a wooden box with two small holes
- a cigar box with two small holes
Where to put bait stations indoors
- in the insulation of walls or ceilings
- in crawl spaces
- behind or under cupboards, counters, bathtubs, and shower stalls
- near hot water heaters and furnaces
- in basements, attics, and wherever things are stored in boxes or bags
Using Rat Traps
The best rat trap is the large, simple, cheap wooden "snap trap." They are sold in hardware stores.
To use the trap:
- Bait it with pieces of apple, potato, raw bacon, cereal, or peanut butter spread on a cotton ball. Make sure the bait is attached to trap.
- Place the trap near where you have found rat droppings. Make sure the trap is out of reach from children and pets.
- Attach the trap firmly to the ground or to a solid wall to keep the rat from dragging the trap away.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Add Your Comment
NICHAN SROURIAN on July 05, 2020:
Get a cat. The best solution.
coolkid1234 on May 27, 2020:
This is stupid! It should not kill the mice. The mice just need a home!
Cainan the cannibal on March 21, 2020:
I live in a fifth wheel w my wife and two year old we have an ongoing infestation in the whole RV park I mixed the baking soda w powdered peanut butter and it was all consumed before the next morning I watched as rats bolted away from it and back to it each time I time I opened my front door I'm sure some of them died but I never found ani dead ones .....they stopped sneaking inside at night for a few days but the rat population is so large they are unextinguishable they are starting to chew wires and have gotten into our ventilation system my home is being destroyed and I'm all but powerless to stop it I still it baitout every night and there eating it but more a be heard in my walls/ vets and garden every nigh
kwagers on March 10, 2020:
Is this good for mice also, since the article references rats?
tudiroki on February 11, 2020:
this will be grate for school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nasir Mohammad on December 07, 2019:
Check out Shawn Woods channel on YouTube for hundreds of different traps. The easiest one that worked for me is a large glass bowl with oil. Leave a stick at edge of bowl for the vermin to climb on.
Best places are basement and closed garage where there are no worries of other animals.
For outdoors it’s complexed, leave it uncovered at night only. At daytime the squirrels keep eating the peanut butter bait, some dived in the oil and climbed out. Finally at night a skunk knocked the bowl over.
Whatever traps you use, start everything by wearing new rubber gloves. Rats/mice can smell human skin oils and will stay away from those traps that were set up without gloves.
T dog on November 29, 2019:
How long do i leave out poison bait balls using baking soda for mice or rats in my home?
Edward feeley on November 07, 2019:
We had rat problems in canteen at work so we put loads of anthetemine and ketamine mixed up in a peanut butter jar when we got to work in the morning they were all dancing on the tables microwave fridge etc
Andrea on October 30, 2019:
There are just some rats are smart enough to get away on some bait we usually do and I found it amazing. When the rats does that to my bait I directly call rodent control service.
jenny dodds wilson on October 08, 2019:
live traps then drown the vermin, or get an air rifle
diane loais on September 20, 2019:
thanks for all this good information; generally I love all creatures but rats freak me out........
P on September 16, 2019:
I tried the baking soda poison, it's been 3 days now, mice that go around the house lessened.
eddy b on August 31, 2019:
a rat infestation is a terrible problem and people who advocate humane methods to kill them or suggest dropping them off somewhere else after capturing them are so far out to lunch that they need to have it happen to them . these no minds should have the rats dumped off at their home . i have a large vegetable garden and they eat all night - corn ,beets, carrots, potatoes,figs, succinie ,cuccs, etc they get it before me . the damage they do is unreal plus the disease possibilities is awful .
B on August 28, 2019:
used some of the home made poison , I think I put in too much baking soda as I found an exploded rat at the bottom of the garden ooopps !
J on August 20, 2019:
How about you people try being humans and catch them, take them to field, and release them. It works like a charm.
doesn't work on August 19, 2019:
Baking powder, flour and sugar doesn't work. I placed this near the rat holes outside, by my neightbors garden, and the next morning there were ants all over the mixture because of the sugar.
SLP Pope on August 10, 2019:
I’ve tried traps (wooden snap traps w/ peanut butter), poison bait ($20 at home depot) and placing mint plants all around but they are still digging up my potted aloe vera plants outside. I at my wits end. I will try one of your suggestions, but not very optimistic
Mac on August 01, 2019:
The only downside to these methods (using baking soda or plaster) is that they may also kill the natural preditors of the rats/mice. I live in a hilly area near a large open space/state park. We have lots of raptors-hawks, vultures, owls, etc who will eat a sick/dieing rat, then get sick themselves- or more likely die. The milk jug method is much better & would kill the vermin without the risk to raptors, etc.
Jake on May 01, 2019:
Rats are very nosey and if you put any poison inside a box wrapped up paper or the cut off bottom of childrens plastic drinks bottles ( works great due to sweet smell ) the sweeter the better and they do love chocolate
Mr. V on April 23, 2019:
Will a half of cup of everything still work?
Cousin Jack on March 11, 2019:
I had a large infestation of Rats living under my deck. I have used two of the homemade baits. Peanut butter mixed with an equal amount of Baking Soda, and also Peanut Butter mixed with Plaster Of Paris. Both worked very well and were accepted readily by the rats. The baits cleaned out the whole infestation in a week. Thanks!!!
Fred Scott on March 09, 2019:
I tried the baking soda method before and it worked. Now baiting again for the next round of mice.
Victoria dudman on February 24, 2019:
Im goung to try the lit combined wuth mint bayleaf etc i will let you know results in a week or so
wayne on February 21, 2019:
dont care how i kill them just want them gone they have eaten over £200 of poison now HELP
mohamed wagih ahmed on January 10, 2019:
interesting recipes safe to us easy to DIY rapid effective ecologically friend thanks a lot
Susan on October 31, 2018:
What is another pet safe way to rid my house of rats
Mancitiesz on October 25, 2018:
How long does it take for the diy poison to take affect
Teresa on November 22, 2017:
My neighbor's house is abandoned. Needless to say they have a rat infestation that came into my yard and somehow a few got into my home. I did a cup of baking soda, flour and sugar. I added some brown sugar and cookies to it and I had some tomcat rat poison pellets. I crushed up in the mixture. I placed them in little sandwich bags and tied knots in the bags. The rat was dead within a week. I also placed a few under the house.
Ann on September 02, 2017:
I tried baking soda with flour and sugar mixture and it didn't work.
Caroline on November 21, 2016:
I trapped a rat in my washing machine in the garage. Will running him thru the hot cycle kill him?
Snakepliskynn on October 28, 2016:
Save your gallon milk jugs. You don't want to risk injury to your pets, your neighbors pets or any innocent victim. Fix up the same formula in 6 favorites spots of opportunity such as near your plants, your trash can, etc.... About half full of water with a nice mix of sugar, chocolate and water screw the lid back on and bury the jug even with the ground. Sprinkle a little chocolate powder around and they will dig a hole just large enough to drop in and drown. No bad smell in the house. I could get into other methods but this is not the forum. If you doubt it, you can paperclip size hole in the lid of the just. Put plaster of paris in a zip lock bag and secure it to the lid so it dangles above the water in the jug when you screw it back on. It remains dry until the rat that just fell into the water panics tearing the bag open only to end its life a tad bid quicker.
ratman on June 13, 2016:
can any of these, the boric acid, or baking soda cause harm to an animal that may eat the rodent before it dies? In the area we live in we are concerned for wildlife such as coyote and wildcats, as well as a possible domestic animal such as cat or dog. I wish to try all these right away if I can get an answer to this! Thanks!
Kathy on May 02, 2016:
I have mixed "ENO's" antacid powder with peanut butter and put a small dish on the back mat where the rats have left droppings.....Did it last night and the dish was empty with teeth marks clearly visible in the remnant. A lot of droppings around the dish. Will do it again tonight and keep you posted.
Prue on February 13, 2015:
Thanky Thanky for all this good inoanmftior!
James on November 14, 2014:
I used ferret droppings got them from a local farmer,a real ferret will rip A rat to shreds,( used to work on a farm),u can set a ferret free in ure house but it's retrieving it that poses a problem,the droppings were successful in my case.
jgary lm on September 06, 2012:
I hate rats. I have used traditional traps successfully. Thank you for this lens.
anonymous on April 07, 2012:
I have seen this baking soda recipe elsewhere. Most people just repost what they have seen elsewhere without actually trying it. May I ask, have you actually tried this with success...anyone? thanks
Theo, baking soda can be harmful to pets or children in large amounts. No one yet has been willing to define what a large amount means, but I would assume it is large. It can cause an electrolite imbalance. Small amounts are safe.
anonymous on January 21, 2012:
With regards to the Baking Soda Poison, is it safe for children, if a child eats it would it harm him? excellent article by the way!