What Smell Kills Rats Instantly? [Best 10]

What smell kills rats instantly? Let’s be honest – there isn’t a specific smell that can kill rats instantly. However, there are certain smells that rats find repulsive and may deter them from entering or staying in an area.

Nobody wants to find rats in their home. These critters often make a mess, and the diseases they carry are a big concern. Besides keeping your home tidy, certain smells can help keep rats away.

So, the right question should be “What smells deter rats?” Rats have a strong sense of smell, and they dislike scents like chemicals, predators, and natural odors. However, relying solely on these scents may not be sufficient because rats can get used to them easily.

What Smell Kills Rats Instantly?

What Smell Kills Rats Instantly

We have explained that rather than kill rats, certain scents will keep them away. Every winter, millions of American households have to deal with rodent issues. These critters will look for food and warmth during this cold season. Fortunately, you can discourage them from coming in using affordable and eco-friendly homemade repellents.

So, what smell kills rats instantly, or let’s rephrase, what smell will keep them away?

Rats have a good sense of smell, but they’re tough creatures. They can live in harsh places like sewers. So, just using strong smells won’t always keep them away for good.

Rats don’t like three types of smells: chemical, predator, and natural scents. But to really keep them away, it’s important to do more than just use these smells. You should also keep your home clean, seal any holes in the walls, store food in tight containers, and set traps where you spot rats.

a. Natural Smells to Keep Rats Away

Among the various types of smells that can make rats go away, natural scents are not very strong. Rats can live in stinky places like sewers, so if they’re used to strong smells, things like peppermint, chili powder, eucalyptus, and citronella might not work so well on them.

1. Chili Powder

Chili powder can make rats’ noses feel uncomfortable when they breathe it in. Rats tend to avoid places where they have smelled or eaten chili powder. You can keep rats away by putting chili powder in the areas where they are most active.

2. Peppermint Oil

If you need a scent that kills rats instantly, peppermint is not the choice. This mint smells good in your home, but rats do not like it.

A study published online in 2014 Jan 12. doi: 10.1155/2014/249284 found that rats stayed away from places with peppermint smell. To use peppermint oil to repel rats, put a few drops on a cotton ball and place it where you see rat signs. You can also plant peppermint around your house to keep rats out.

3. Citronella

Most people know citronella for keeping mosquitoes away. However, it also works for rats. A study from Punjab Agricultural University discovered that rats stayed away from food areas sprayed with citronella oil. The smell of citronella can also make rats less hungry. In a 2015 study, rats exposed to citronella oil smell lost appetite and as a result, ate less and lost weight.

4. Eucalyptus

Present studies reveal the potential of eucalyptus oil in repelling rats. Eucalyptus smells strong and can stop rats from making homes in your house. Some people like it more than peppermint because it’s not as strong.

Even a small amount of eucalyptus mixed with water (5%) can keep rats from taking your food. Instead of using pure eucalyptus oil on a cotton ball, mix it with water in different strengths like 5%, 10%, or 20%. Finally, spray this diluted eucalyptus mix where rats enter.

5. Tabasco Sauce or Chili Pepper

Mixing chili powder with wintergreen oil works. So, it makes sense that other spicy stuff would also do the job. Tabasco sauce and chili pepper have strong scents that rats do not like. However, rats need to get near these spicy repellents to smell the capsaicin, which is what makes them spicy.

If you want a strong smell to keep rats away, you might need to use a lot of these spices. But be careful, and make sure pets and kids stay away from the area you’re treating. This is good for keeping rats out of outdoor places or around the yard.

6. Black Pepper & Cayenne Pepper

Does black pepper keep rats away? Yes, it can. Black pepper contains piperine, which scientists found is harmful to rodents. You can refer to this study on PubMed Central. This substance might also make female rats less interested in having babies.

Rats do not like the smell of black pepper or stronger peppers such as cayenne. The problem with this method is that small pepper flakes can easily be blown or washed away, especially outside.

The solution is to use bigger pieces of peppercorn to make piles or put in corners. You can use just black pepper or mix it with cayenne pepper for a stronger result. If possible, leave them in a nearly flat container.

b. Chemical Smells to Keep Rats Away

The original purpose of this article is to reveal what smell kills rats instantly. I have explained that rather than kill a rat, certain smells can only keep them away from your home or property.

Many rodent products you buy in stores have chemicals that can eliminate or keep rats away. However, these chemicals can be harmful to pets and non-target wildlife, not just rodents.

If you are using these chemicals at home to keep rats away, you have to be very careful. Make sure to read the label to avoid any poisoning or health problems. In this section, we will look at three common chemical smells that rats don’t like, and you might have them in your home.

7. Ammonia

You can use ammonia to scare rats away – that is because it gives off the smell of animals that hunt rats such as cats. To use ammonia to keep rats away, mix 2 cups of ammonia with 6.5 oz of water and 2 spoonfuls of soap. Put this mixture in a bowl where you discover rat activity.

Ammonia is a good way to make rats go away because of its strong smell, but it can be risky for people and pets. The smell is so strong that it can make rats run away or even harm them if they breathe too much in a small space.

You can also mix ammonia with water and dish soap. Dip cotton balls in this mixture and put them where you think rats are or where they might come in. You can also spray the mixture in those areas to spread the smell.

Ammonia smell is equally unfriendly to people and pets if you breathe it in a lot. According to the New York State Department of Health, exposure to high concentrations of ammonia in the air causes immediate burning of the nose, throat, and respiratory tract.

Don’t use it in your main living space or where you work because it can make you feel sick or even cause serious problems if you breathe it for a long time or in a lot. It’s better to use ammonia outdoors, in barns, or in places where it will not affect people and pets.

8. Bleach

Bleach is often used for cleaning, but it can also help to keep rats out. Mix bleach with water to make the smell less strong in your home. Besides keeping rats away, bleach can also clean and disinfect places where rats leave droppings, blood, or urine.

Bleach is generally not a good choice for pest control. The strong smell might work, but it can also hurt people and pets who have to deal with the smell and the rats.

Just like you wouldn’t spray a cleaning liquid with bleach in your home and leave it there for a long time, using plain bleach is even riskier.

When using bleach against rats, you have to use a lot of it in one place. But be careful because bleach can damage things it touches, like your clothes, carpets, and other materials, changing their color and making them weaker.

9. Mothballs

Mothball smell will also scare rats away, but they can hurt people too. Some of the chemicals in mothballs can cause reversible health effects that include headaches, nausea, eye and nose irritation and coughing. Exposure to naphthalene can cause more serious effects, including hemolytic anemia. Naphthalene is also a possible carcinogen.

so, while mothball smell can make rats stay away, you want to use them in places where people and pets can’t get to them. They can work well in places like barns and outdoor areas. Mothballs are not a good idea for indoors. Pets may try to eat them.

c. Predator Smell

Rats don’t like the smell of animals that might eat them, even if those animals aren’t there. If a rat smells like a cat, ferret, or raccoon has been around, it will probably stay away.

A study in The Journal of Neuroscience found that when rats smelled cats or ferrets, they got stressed. They also acted scared, like standing up a lot, not grooming themselves, and avoiding things that smelled like those predators.

Having a pet cat can help scare away rats because they are afraid of animals that might eat them. But be careful because rats can get mean when they are trapped. They might pass on diseases to the pet or hurt them badly in a fight.

10. Cat Odor

Cats scare rats because they hunt them. So, using cat smells can help keep rodents away. If you know someone with cats, ask if you can have some of their used cat litter. Let it dry with the pee and poop still in it, and then put it in places where you don’t want rats. This works best outside, far from where you live or work, so you don’t have the smell indoors.

Every few weeks, ask to use a friend’s cat or two. Let them wander around the place you want to keep rat-free. Their smell will scare rats away. But remember, the smell won’t last forever, especially outside where rain or snow can wash it away.

Alternatively, you can consider adopting a cat that needs a home. While it might not keep all rats away, it can certainly help.


What smell kills rats instantly? While certain smells won’t kill rats, they can deter them from your home. In this article, you have seen three smell types, including natural, chemical, and predator smells. Make sure to choose what suits your home. Remember, you cannot depend solely on repellent scents to get rid of rats. consider other methods such as setting rat traps or baiting with food that rats like.

Are rats still entering your house? You have to stop them before they become severe and spread diseases. Plant these repellents in every area where you notice rat activities.

If you keep noticing signs of rats such as droppings, chewed things, or greasy trails, call your local pest control experts. You need skilled technicians to get rid of rats using the right methods and tools.

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