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How to Repel Rats

Rats can destroy your property and even jeopardize your family’s health. If you need to get rid of these disease-carrying pests, you can drive them away with an effective rat repellent. Below, Havahart® provides step-by-step instructions teaching you how to repel rats and keep them away for good.

1 Identify Habits


In order to effectively repel rats, you’ll need to know where they are spending most of their time. A simple way to do this is to identify damage or signs of activity.

Common rat activities include:

  • chewing wires, piping and/or insulation
  • leaving tooth marks on wooden baseboards, cabinets, windowpanes, etc.
  • leaving grease marks along walls, baseboards, cabinets, etc.
  • biting large holes in food packaging

Keep in mind that although rats tend to cohabitate with humans, they prefer to live and roam in quiet, less-frequented areas like attics, basements and closets.

2 Choose Your Rat Repellent

ultrasonic rat repellent

Ultrasonic rat repellents work by emitting high frequency, jackhammer-like sounds only audible to rodents. These ultrasounds irritate all types of rodents and successfully drive them away to find a more pleasant environment.

Ultrasonic waves cannot travel through walls or other obstructions, so each room will need its own device. Select a device with a signal strength that fits the size of the room or area you want to protect. The signal strength is often indicated by the number of speakers a device has:

1 Speaker
  • average-sized room in a house
  • small office
2 Speakers
  • large-sized room
  • attic, basement, garage
3 Speakers
  • business, large office
  • warehouse

3 Install Rat Repellents

repellent placement

Plug each ultrasonic repellent into a well-positioned wall outlet. Be sure to install your repellents according to the manufacturer's instructions. Guidelines to keep in mind include:

  • Install at least one unit in each room or area where you’ve identified rat damage.
  • Clear the area surrounding the device of all obstructions like furniture and electronics.
  • If there is an obstruction that you cannot clear away, install a second device on the opposite side of the obstruction to ensure the entire room has coverage.
  • Relocate all rodent pets like hamsters and guinea pigs to another room far from the repellent to be sure that they remain unaffected.
trash can

4 Reduce Attractants

It's very important to remove or protect all potential food sources so that rats are unable to feed in or around your home. A lack of food is certain to drive rats away, since food is their main driving force. Important steps to take include:

  • cleaning your home on a regular basis: sweep, mop, sanitize, etc.
  • storing all food and pet food in rodent-proof containers
  • clearing all fallen nuts, berries, seeds and other crops from your yard
  • storing all indoor and outdoor garbage in secure, airtight containers

5 Eliminate Access


After driving your rats away, take some steps that will ensure they cannot re-enter and prevent them from burrowing underneath your home or structure.

  • Repair loosely-fitted shingles, drains, wall panels and baseboards.
  • Seal off all holes and cracks in interior and exterior walls, including the roof and foundation.
  • Cover all gaps underneath doors, garage doors, etc.
  • Seal spaces around openings for electrical wires, cables, water pipes, vents, etc.
  • Relocate piles of wood, debris or any other cover next to which a rat may burrow away from the structure you want to protect.

TIP: Be sure to seal all holes and cracks 1/2" wide or larger with strong materials like metal or concrete. Rats can squeeze through tiny spaces and can chew through most other building materials like wood, foam, vinyl, rubber and caulk.

Expert Tips

  • When selecting an ultrasonic rat repellent, be sure to select one that uses varying frequencies, so that rats do not get used to the sound.
  • Ultrasonic sound waves are safe and cannot be heard by humans or non-rodent pets like cats and dogs.
  • Repelling rats often takes several days, so it's important to be patient during the process.
  • For more repelling tips, read How to Repel »

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