How to Safely Remove Rats from Your Attic

Discovering rats in your attic can be a distressing experience.

These unwelcome guests can cause significant damage to your home and pose health risks. However, with a systematic and humane approach, you can effectively remove rats from your attic.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to safely and efficiently solve your rodent problem.

1. Identify the Signs of Rats

Before you can remove rats, you need to confirm their presence. Common signs include:

Droppings: Small, dark pellets scattered around the attic.
Gnaw marks: Rats chew on wood, insulation, and electrical wires.
Noises: Scratching or scurrying sounds, especially at night.
Nests: Shredded materials like paper or insulation used to create nests.
Footprints: Dusty surfaces may reveal tracks or tail marks.

2. Seal Entry Points

Rats can squeeze through very small openings, so sealing their entry points is crucial to prevent more from entering. Inspect your attic thoroughly and:

Close gaps and holes: Use steel wool, hardware cloth, or caulk to seal cracks in walls, floors, and around pipes.
Check vents and chimneys: Install rodent-proof mesh over vents and chimney openings.
Inspect the roof: Repair any damaged shingles or eaves that could provide access.

3. Set Up Traps

Using traps is a humane and effective method to catch and remove rats. Here are some options:

Snap traps: These are quick and kill rats instantly. Place them along walls and near nests or droppings.
Live traps: These catch rats without harming them. Once caught, release them far from your home.
Electronic traps: These deliver a lethal shock. They are easy to use and reduce handling of dead rats.

When setting traps, use bait such as peanut butter, dried fruit, or nuts. Place traps in areas with high rat activity and check them daily.

4. Use Natural Deterrents

Natural deterrents can help make your attic less appealing to rats:

Peppermint oil: Rats dislike the smell. Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them around the attic.
Ammonia: The strong smell can deter rats. Place small containers of ammonia in the attic, but ensure they are out of reach of children and pets.
Ultrasonic repellents: These devices emit high-frequency sounds that are unpleasant for rats. While their effectiveness can vary, they are worth considering.

5. Maintain Cleanliness

A clean attic is less attractive to rats. Regularly clean and declutter your attic to remove potential nesting materials and food sources:

Store items in plastic bins: Rats can chew through cardboard but not plastic.
Remove food sources: Ensure there is no food stored in the attic.
Regular inspections: Periodically check your attic for new signs of rats and reapply deterrents as needed.

6. Seek Professional Help

If the infestation is severe or persists despite your efforts, it’s wise to call a professional pest control service. Professionals have the expertise and tools to deal with rat infestations effectively and safely. They can also provide advice on preventing future problems.


Removing rats from your attic requires patience and diligence. By identifying signs of infestation, sealing entry points, setting traps, using natural deterrents, maintaining cleanliness, and seeking professional help when necessary, you can reclaim your attic and ensure it remains rat-free.

Remember, early intervention is key to preventing a small problem from becoming a large one. Stay vigilant and proactive to protect your home and health.