skip to Main Content

How to DIY Rat Pest control

How To DIY Rat Pest Control

Before I itemize how to DIY rat pest control, some background …

Rats and mice have been around humans since “time immemorial”. Rats and their cousins, mice are attracted to the warmth, shelter, and food in our homes. Just like us, the rats may be ‘single’ borders or have a family or even a colony.


They tend to live in closed spaces where they cannot be easily seen and where they feel safe. Typically, these places include baseboards, n cupboards, basements, and garages. Most household pests are insects, but rats are one of the most common of all pests in the home.


From an ethical point of view, the rats are only trying to get on with their own lives and obviously they have no concept of abstract ideas such as “property rights” or ‘home-ownership’.


I believe it’s important to take into consideration that animals are, in a sense, sentient beings, but, in weighing up the interests of you and your family, vs the interests of these creatures it may become necessary to deal with rat infestations in a decisive and appropriate way, especially if the health or well-being of anyone is at risk. In consideration of this, there are top methods to deal with a rat infestation.

How to DIY Rat Pest Control methods

1. Catch And Release Trap for rats

One of the most ethical how to DIY methods of dealing with rat pest control is the catch and release trap for rats. You simply catch the rat in a non-lethal trap and release it somewhere else.


Naturally, it is important to either seal up all potential entrances to your home (something I would in any case advocate doing) or release the mouse far enough away that it won’t likely navigate its way back.


As far as the trap itself is concerned, you could build it yourself, as described below, or merely purchase one online. There are many online variants. The traps mostly consist of a cage with a trap door.


You can also build your trap own with the use of a yardstick, a garbage can, or large bucket, with high walls, and some peanut butter. Position the yardstick in such a manner that it’s similar to a teeter-totter, with one side hanging over the garbage can/bucket and the other side resting on a countertop or table.


Scoop some peanut butter on the one side of the yardstick that is positioned over the garbage can. Leave the trap alone overnight in a place where is little or no movement and preferably in the dark. Peanut butter has a strong smell for rats and irresistible to them. (Most people believe cheese would be more attractive, but Peanut-Butter wins, hands-down).


When the rats go to smell or eat the peanut butter, the yardstick will tip down into the garbage can/bucket, emptying the rat into the garbage can and trapping it there – NOTE – it’s important that the garbage can or bucket has high enough walls (at least 2 foot) as rats are excellent jumpers.

Place a cover over the garbage can and relocate the rat to it’s new ‘forever’ home, which should be far enough that he’s not tempted to return to his old abode.

2. Peppermint Oil

Here is another non-invasive and ethical how to DIY rat pest control method to prevent or manage a rat infestation.

Humans generally enjoy the smell of Peppermint oil. Rats and mice (and most other pests) generally do not.


To apply this pest control method, purchase some peppermint oil and dilute it if highly concentrated, or simply use it as is. Obtain an empty spray bottle (which can be purchased or simply use an old one bottle that may have contained some other product).


Spray the peppermint oil anywhere where you believe the rats would be likely to go. Alternatively, you could also soak cotton balls in the oil (this works well for undiluted, concentrated solutions of peppermint oil. Place these soaked cotton balls along baseboards or entry points to your home. This is a particularly useful strategy if you’re unable to seal them up these entry/exit points to your home.


Note – one caveat or warning with using peppermint oil, is domestic that some animals or pets may have a bad reaction to the oil, so be vigilant to observe how they react to the peppermint oil.

3. Ultrasonic Devices as a non-lethal strategy to control a rat infestation

This is probably the last in the list of non-lethal how to DIY methods of rat pest control. These devices offer another humane form of rat and mouse control. Ultrasonic devices are small and plug directly into the electrical socket in your wall.

They emit a high-pitched frequency that is so high that they are beyond the hearing range of most humans and therefore, for all intents and purposes, silent. Rats and mice have very senses of hearing and particularly noises that are of a high frequency.

The noise emitted from the device is disturbing for the rats and mice and results in them being deterred from entering your home and ‘gently’ persuades those that have already ‘taken-up residence’, to leave. Again, once the unwelcome guests have left, Just be sure to check for all possible entrances to your home and seal them up, or use the peppermint balls as described above.

4. Cats

If you have a cat or would like one as a pet, they are fantastic at controlling an infestation of rats or mice. Whilst this can sometimes be lethal for the rats, it is a natural process and once the rats smell that there a resident cat, they will mostly avoid your home entirely.

It naturally goes without saying that you should generally avoid any rat poison strategies whilst you have a cat (unless you obtain expert advice on this).

How to DIY Rat Pest control
Cats are an excellent deterrent for rats

5. Traditional Traps as a method of rat infestation management

This method should only be considered when non-lethal methods are not working and are, therefore, one of the ‘last-resort’ options. We’ve all come across the traditional mouse-trap, that breaks the animal’s neck instantly. More recent variations are electrocution traps, and probably the most un-ethical, the sticky traps.

Sometimes killing the rodent is necessary, but it’s best to see if it can be avoided with more humane traps first.

6. Using the Services of a Professional Pest Control Company

If you are really overwhelmed by your rat infestation and you are unable to control it, or if you no that comfortable using the above methods of controlling the rat infestation yourself, you could call in a professional pest control service.

Although professionals tend to use lethal (and highly effective) methods, some companies do offer humane removal and I would recommend you discuss this with the company.


Outside the home, rats and mice are cute and fairly harmless. When they become unwelcome guests in your home however, it’s a problem that requires active management.

I hope that the strategies discussed have provided you with a helpful guideline to deal with the infestation.

Sven Welsh

What started out as an intention to economically protect my family and property from the ravages (and some dangers) of pests, has turned into a quest to share my research and findings with others.
Despite the cost and potential dangers of some eradication techniques, there are cost-effective and ethical ways of dealing with pests.
Knowledge is power.

Back To Top
×Close search