Repel Rats With These Scientifically-Proven Essential Oil Combinations

Rats can be a real nuisance to have in your home, as they can cause serious damage to the structure of your house or your insulation and can chew through electrical wires, posing a fire risk. These rodents are also known to carry harmful diseases, such as salmonellosis, leptospirosis, hantavirus, and rat bite fever, and they could also bring ticks into your space. Luckily, certain essential oils can help you get rid of rats humanely. Scientific studies have shown that mixing peppermint oil, bergamot oil and wintergreen oil, chili and wintergreen oil, or geranium oil and bergamot oil can make effective rat repellents. Additionally, other research has shown that eucalyptus oil and citronella oil may be able to help repel rats as well.

However, though essential oils can be a great way to help deter rats, they could pose a risk for pets. Many essential oils can be toxic for cats or dogs that walk through the oil, get it on their fur, or ingest it. When considering this pest control method, make sure that you'll be able to keep the essential oils away from your pets.

The science behind essential oils repelling rats

While using essential oils as a rat repellent may seem like another age-old myth to get rid of rats, there are several scientific studies that support certain essential oils as effective repellents. A 2010 study published by the Thai Veterinary Medicine sprayed pieces of cardboard with different combinations of five different essential oils. The cardboard with peppermint oil, wintergreen oil, and bergamot oil as well as the one with wintergreen oil and chili were the most effective for keeping rats away. Bergamot and geranium oil were also somewhat repellent, but the rats still slightly chewed on the cardboard. The study concluded that all five of the essential oils could deter rats.

Additionally, a 2014 study published by Applied Biological Research showed that citronella oil diluted with isopropyl alcohol could be used as a rat repellent. Another 2014 study published in Scientific World Journal found that the combination of eucalyptus oil and rubbing alcohol was also helpful for repelling rats. Further, they found that the rats were repelled more when the oils were reapplied daily. This research shows that certain essential oils or combinations of them could prove helpful in deterring these pests, allowing you to ditch pesticides full of harmful chemicals and DIY myths. 

How to repel rats with essential oils

To use essential oils against rats, you'll first have to decide on a method and which oils you'd like to use. Some cardboard coated in essential oils could be useful for rats scurrying in attics or other hidden areas, while sprays could be easier to apply and keep up with. For the cardboard method used in the 2010 study, simply spritz pieces of cardboard with wintergreen oil, bergamot oil, and peppermint oil and place them in areas you want rats to stay out of. You could also pick wintergreen oil and chili instead. You might also choose to soak cotton balls in the oil, but these repellents will need to be replaced often to keep the smell pungent.

To make a rat repellent spray, you might try just citronella or eucalyptus oil, or a previously listed essential oil combination. Add approximately 2 teaspoons of your essential oils with 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol. This can be sprayed in areas where rats are present or where you want to keep them from going. You will likely need to respray daily to keep the scent strong enough to bother the pests. Further, while essential oils can be an easy way to keep rats away with relaxing scents, this method may not be able to combat an all-out infestation. Besides applying essential oils, you should also keep your home clean, seal any exterior cracks, and contact a professional if the rats stick around.