How To Get Rid Of A Rat In Your House

Rodent Guide
Written By Rodent Guide

I believe in treating all creatures with respect. My mission is to ensure everyone understands how to protect their home from rodents without using cruel methods.

So, you have confirmed that you have a rat in your house!

First things first, having a rat in your home is prevalent. Many people suffer from rat problems, especially in the fall and early winter, when rats actively look for a warm environment.

Now you have seen or heard signs of a rat in your house, it is time to get rid of them!

Now you need to know how to get rid of a rat in your house.

Is it common to get rats in your house?

The first step is to realize that this is very common, and it DOES NOT mean that your house is dirty. Instead, it simply means that a rat has got lucky and has found a small entrance to your home.

Rats look for food, protection, and comfort.

Your house offers all 3 of these (unless you have a cat).

It is common to have rats in your house means you need to be familiar with rodent control techniques for when it does happen. The good news is that once you have gotten rid of rats and sealed your home up, the chances of you getting rats again and limited. To get to that stage, follow the tips on this page!

Getting Rid Of A Rat In Your House – 10 Steps

How To Get Rid Of Rats In Your Home

Please look at these 10 pest control tips to help eliminate rats in your house and keep them out.

Get To Know The Rat Route

learn rat run

All you need to do first is wait until nightfall and listen. If you have rats in your home, you will hear them after sundown and before sunrise.

Learning which routes the rat travels around your house is a significant advantage, especially when setting rat traps!

If you have a rat in your attic, wait underneath and track which parts of the attic it frequently visits. The last time I had a rat in my attic, I figured out that it mainly stayed in one area of the attic. I used this info when deciding where to place the rat traps.

Rat removal success depends on your pest control strategy.

Within 1 day, I had caught myself a rat!

Catching it quickly resulted in minor damage and less mess to clean up. It would be best to deal with the rat infestation as soon as you notice it. Rats breed at lightning speed, so you do not have long to catch it before you have a pest control problem.

Consider Different Traps


There are a few different ways to get rid of rats. One of those is by using a rat trap. Let’s take a look at the most common and the most effective:

Snap Traps

Snap traps are one of my favorite rodent control tools. They are suitable for both rats and mice. I am not one for being kind, that’s for sure.

The danger is that the rats can be very clever. They are naturally very suspicious of anything new in the area, especially anything that carries a human scent, so make sure you wear gloves when setting your traps (top pest control tip).

Snap traps can also miss if the rat is quick enough. That allows the rat to take the bait and feast on it!

It would be best if you only used a snap trap inside your home where there is no danger of a child or another animal stumbling upon it.

Bait Stations

Bait stations work slightly differently. They act to lure the rat in and trap it for you to dispose of later. Perfect for rat control!

You can either have a snap trap inside the bait station or poison. As soon as the rat enters the bait box, it is trapped. Using a bait box so the rat cannot escape is a responsible way of using rat poison.

Bait stations are a great way of ensuring the rat does not disappear into your cavity walls to die from the poison! That can be very costly.


Poison is one of the most effective ways to kill rats. Poison baits usually come in bags that rats chew through to get to the bait.

They have found a rich food source as far as they are concerned!

The only problem is where they go to die. Preferably, they will go outside; however, if they die around your house, the first sign is usually a pungent stench.

You will need to follow your nose to find the dead rat. Like I had to, as you can see from this picture of a rat I caught in my attic:

rat in my attic

Glue Traps

Please don’t use them!

Prepare For Battle

prepare for battle

You must be prepared before you even set foot in any spaces where the rats might be hiding (loft, basement, etc.).

Preparation is critical to ensure you remain safe and healthy, so use the following safety strategy:

  • Face Mask
  • Shoes
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Trash Bags
  • Anti Bacterial Cleaner

As you are probably aware, rats can carry some pretty nasty diseases, so you must be very careful when attempting to remove rats from your house.

After you have rid your house of rats, you must clean the area thoroughly.

Set Traps

set traps

Setting traps is a surefire way of getting rid of rats, but where do you put them?

You will know where the rat is traveling if you read the first tip. You now know where to apply the traps to ensure a successful capture.

Peanut butter is a good rat bait, as is any meat (you will need to change the meat regularly, though).

I am asked regularly, ‘do rats learn to avoid traps?’ The answer is yes, especially if there is a human scent on the trap. Always wear gloves when handling rat traps to keep your sent off the trap.


Set the traps inside where you know the rat will be traveling. Apply as many as you can, but you must remember where you put them!

Firstly, you need to know where to check them, and secondly, you do not want to accidentally set them off by putting your hands or feet on them!


If you hear rats in your cavity walls, it could indicate where they entered your home.

Check around this area outside to find a small hole allowing a rat to enter. Seal up any rat entry points.

It is also worth adding a bait box outside, near the hole. Always use bait boxes and not snap traps because you may accidentally catch the next-door neighbor’s cat or another animal tempted by the peanut butter!

It would help to consider both children and pets when setting traps outside.

Clean The House


Check your home for piles of clothing, empty boxes, and other items a rat might want to use to build a rat’s nest.

Rats will use anything they can chew to form their nest with. For example, I have witnessed a rat dragging away a large plastic bottle before listening to it chewing the bottle into smaller pieces.

You can use many items for a rat’s nest, so make sure you do not make it easy for them!

Tidy Away Food

clean food

Rats are attracted to food sources around your home, which doesn’t just mean the food stored in your kitchen either.

If you regularly eat food while watching TV or have a dining table to eat on, make sure these areas are free from any crumbs and leftover food.

On the subject of the kitchen, always ensure that food is stored correctly in thick plastic or glass containers to keep food sources to a minimum.

Also – be careful when storing pet food! Pet food temps rats into your home, especially food left out for your pet to eat. Rats have a keen sense of smell and will smell the food through walls!

Seal Your Home

seal house

You don’t have to kill rats to get rid of them. You can make it challenging to get into your home.

As I mentioned above, if you hear rats in your walls, then you should be checking the outside of your home, in that area, to see if any small holes will allow rats to enter.

Seal these holes to reduce the risk of more rats finding a way into your home.

Rats are opportunist invaders. They will not be out looking for holes in a home, but they may stumble upon easy access while searching for food.

When they find a hole, they will take advantage. Keep the rat population down for rats by sealing them up.

Check Traps

check the traps

When you have rat traps set around your home, it is essential to check them daily.

A dead rat will begin to smell very quickly, so you will want to dispose of the rat ASAP.

When you have successfully caught a rat, do not think about removing any other traps you have set. You may be lucky and only have 1 rat, but it is widespread for the rest of the family to be growing up in your attic too!

Rat removal is a long game, so don’t think you know how to get rid of rats just because you have caught one of them in a trap.

Safe Disposal


Congratulations! You have caught a rat!

Now you need to dispose of the rat, but how do you do it?

Wearing your protective mask and rubber gloves, place the rat’s body in a plastic bag that you can seal completely. Place the plastic bag into another bag that also needs to be tied.

Now you have double-bagged the rat, place it in your trash (if local rules allow you to).

Always ensure you fully clean the area where you found the rat. Clean this area with an antibacterial cleaner or bleach until you are confident that it is immaculate.

This is how I clear up dead rats in my area, but the rules and regulations might differ where you live. Always check with your local refuse center before throwing dead rats out with the trash.

Clean The House (Again)

clean house

The last step is to clean the house again now that you have dealt with the rat problem.

This is the last step because you do not want to attract more rats into your living space.

Rats will find their way into your attic again, but the least you can do is let them know that there is nothing much in your house that you are willing to let them eat or use as bedding for a nest.

It is pest control 101!

Can you have just one rat in your house?

It is possible only to have one rat in your house, especially if you have only just noticed the signs that you have rats.

That being said, do not be over-confident when you catch the rat! Instead, you should keep more traps set up and seal the rat entry points to fully get rid of rats and increase the chances of them not getting back in.

Consider Rat Repellent Options

There are several rat-repellent options.

Bleach has been shown to repel rats (tested by me) successfully, and many swear that using vinegar works as a rat repellent.

Take a look here for more homemade rat-repellent options. They are all worth considering as part of your DIY rat control process.


Knowing how to get rid of rats means following a confirmed process that has been successful multiple times. The tips I’ve given you on this page are what I do to eliminate them.

The tips are already in the order you need, and it is in the order that I use when I need to get rid of a rat!

The process is simple:

  1. Check where the rat is going
  2. Prepare to do battle
  3. Set the traps (do not use glue traps)
  4. Seal your home
  5. Check the traps
  6. Dispose of the dead rats (rat removal)
  7. Clean up
  8. Stop it from happening again (make sure you block the entry points)

Once you memorize the process, follow it each time you need to.

Good rat control follows the correct process to halt any potential rat infestation. You don’t have to kill rats; you need to remove them from your property and keep them from getting back in.

Sleep tight!


About the Rodent Guide

I’m an expert in do-it-yourself rodent control. For more than 20 years, I’ve dedicated my life to helping people live harmoniously alongside these critters by sharing rodent control solutions that are effective and kind.

I believe in treating all creatures with respect. My mission is to ensure everyone understands how to protect their home from rodents without using cruel methods.

1 thought on “How To Get Rid Of A Rat In Your House”

  1. You made a great point about cleaning up the house again after rat extermination to make sure they don’t come back. We’ve been having a pretty annoying rat problem in the house that my aunt moved into, and this is something we need to take care of for good since we’ll be living in with her for the holidays. Once we get a pest control service to assist us in locating and exterminating them, I’ll follow all the tidying tips you gave so they won’t be attracted to her house again.


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