Overview of Rodent Repellants

Home and business owners typically are strident in their efforts to keep rodents at bay and rat out of the premises. With that in mind, there exist different types of repellants that are used in an attempt to keep rodents out of homes and businesses. These repellants are explored with you in this article.

Natural Repellants

There are some natural repellants that some recommend as tools to keep rodents away from a home or business. Some so-called experts contend that the smell of certain plants (or oils derived from those plants) are effective at keeping rodents at bay. The plants that are alleged to be unattractive to rodent include:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Wormwood
  • Mint (particularly peppermint)

The reality is that these plants and oils, and odors derived from them, really are not highly effective deterrents. If for no other reason, the scent needs to be so strong and persistent to work as a deterrent that it will be bothersome to people.

Sound Repellants

In addition to the natural items some people use as rodent repellants, there are also sound devices that are used with hopes of achieving the same end. These devices emit sounds that are too high for humans to hear but which are thought to be unpleasant for rodents.

As is the case with the natural plant-based repellants discussed a moment ago, there are very real questions about how effective sound devices are when it comes to repelling rodents from homes, businesses, and other locations. In the end, there is some fairly well-settled consensus that these sound devices are minimally effective, at best, at repelling rodents.

Chemical Repellants

There is a trio of chemical repellants that are used in an attempt to keep rats at bay. These are:

  • Bromethalin
  • Vitamin-based
  • Anti-coagulants

Bromethalin is a neurotoxin. Bromethalin is the chemical that people are referring to in most cases when they use the term “rat poison.” The chemical is used not only in an attempt to stop rats but other rodents as well. When a rodent ingests Bromethalin, the toxin starts to take effect immediately. A rodent typically is dead within a couple of hours after ingesting the substance. Bromethalin presents a very real health risk to humans and pets. There is no antidote and Bromethalin is a killer when ingested by humans and pets in many, many cases.

There are vitamin-based chemicals that are also used as rodent repellants. These products overload a rodent’s system with vitamins, like vitamin D, which causes a systemic collapse in these animals. Death comes within about a day of ingestion. These products are also dangerous to humans and pets, but not as hazardous as Bromethalin. There are treatments or remedies for a human or pet who ingests one of these products.

Finally, chemical repellants include anti-coagulants. These impact a rodent’s blood. A rodent will die within a few days of ingestion. These products also pose some threat to the health and wellbeing of humans and pets if accidentally ingested as well.

In the final analysis, the use of chemical repellants requires weighing and balancing. A home or business owner needs to weigh and balance the risk to people and pets versus the odds of successfully, thoroughly repelling rodents. Indeed, Bromethalin should not be used in a household or other location in which children and pets are present.


Cats can be a decent rodent repellant. The fact is that many rodents will avoid a location where cats are present. There are some limitations to cats, however. Some cats are not what broadly are called “mousers.” In other words, there are cats that are not trained as kittens to hunt for rodents. For example, a cat born to a purely indoor cat mother is not likely to be trained by to mouse.

Comprehensive Rodent Repellant Practices

In the final analysis, the best course of action to repel rodents is to follow a set of comprehensive practices. These include:

  • Keep the interior of a home or business clean and tidy. Do not leave food lying out. This includes pet food. Don’t leave a pet’s food bowl out indefinitely.
  • Keep food containers tightly sealed.
  • Keep garbage cans in and outside of a residence or business tightly sealed.
  • Keep the grounds around your home or business neatly maintained. Keep bushes and shrubbery trimmed. Don’t plant vegetation directly next to a building. Consider installing a 12 to 18-inch gravel perimeter directly around a structure as a means of discouraging rodents from approaching a house or business.
  • Plug any holes on the exterior of a structure. This includes very small holes. Bear in mind that the smallest rodents – mice – can fit through an opening that is the size of a U.S. quarter. When plugging holes, cement tends to be the best solution.
  • Eliminate any puddles or pools of water.

Coordinate With Neighbors

If you live in an urban setting, you need to coordinate rodent repellant practices with your neighbors. If you take action to eradicate or prevent rodents from your premises, but your neighbors do not, you will continue to face issues with these animals. Everyone in close proximity to your residence or business needs to join in and actively implement protocols like those described a moment ago to effectively repel rodents.