Tips on keeping rats out of my garbage

If you thought that getting rid of rats or mice would be as easy as letting your cat at them, you've probably got another thing coming. Many homeowners believe that a combination of poison, traps, and a household cat or dog is often the answer to the rat problem, but we've visited plenty of households where pets have been present, and rats have been present too.

We've also visited plenty of households where poison hasn't been the solution either, for the record. In fact, you should probably be aware that poison creates more problems than it solves.

If you think wild animals, rats included, might be digging through your garbage, it's time to take action. There are plenty of preventative measures you can take to ensure this doesn't become a constant problem, but you do need to remember that repairing the damage (cracks, holes, etc. around the home is non-negotiable. If you want a rat-free home, you will need to do that repair work either way, and you will need to make sure you are using materials that the rats definitely can't tear or gnaw through.

If you properly dispose of your garbage, making sure bags are thrown in an actual garbage can with a lid, and that lid has been secured, no animal can get inside it. When they can't get inside, they can't tear it apart and make a mess. They will also soon give up and move on to a house with more readily accessible food sources. That's the aim of the game - get the rats to give up because they have no way of getting access to what they want the most.

Bungee cords can help if animals keep knocking the lid of your garbage can, and you may want to consider moving it too. If it is currently outside, move it inside - into your shed or garage, for example. You will need to make sure that the rats have no way of accessing the shed or garage too though, otherwise you will have just moved the problem, rather than solved it.

If you are throwing food out - leftovers, etc. - make sure you are throwing it at the bottom of the garbage can, and put everything else on the top. You could also add some spray over the top. If the animals can't smell the food, they won't know it's there. They then won't try to access it.

A metal trash can is obviously a much better choice than plastic, or just using black garbage bags. Rats can chew through plastic, as can many other wild animals, and although quite pricey, will make for a great investment. This is definitely the case if you seem to be plagued by wild animal invaders.

Of course, all the moving around and hiding of garbage in the world won't make the world of difference if rats can actually enter your home, because there is plenty of food in there, ready and waiting. You need to make your home unaccessible to animals, not easily accessible, and you will find that regular inspections of your property will soon start to highlight any problematic areas. If you seal those holes and repair that damage with the right materials, rats, mice and other wild animals won't be able to get in, and then you won't have a problem at all. You can't really stop animals from entering your front or back yards, of course, but you can protect your home. That's the most important thing.

Go back to the Rats in the Attic home page.

Food draws the attention of rats and other wild animals because all animals must eat to live and reproduce and so when there is food in your garbage can, rats become frequent visitors in your yard. Black and Norway rats are the common yard visitors and they enjoy feeding on foods in garbage and trash. They scatter trash in your yard during their visits and make your yard disorganized. The rats also spread zoonotic diseases and can make you and your family sick and so you must keep them away from your trash. 

To keep rats away from your garbage:

  • You must dispose of your trash often: The best way to discourage rats from visiting your yard and trash cans is to dispose of your trash as often as you can. When you dispose of your trash, the rats will not have anything to feed on when they come looking for food, and over time they will get discouraged and leave your yard. This means that you should fill up your trash can to the brim before you dispose of it. This method will discourage rats from visiting your yard and trash and will also save you the stress of dealing with a rat infestation.
  • Use trash cans that have lids: Your trash bin should have a lid on it that closes properly; this will keep the rats out of your trash. Even when you are using a garbage bag, you should seal it well or put it in a trash bin that has a lid. You must properly dispose of your trash and close the trash bin so that you can keep the rats away from your yard.
  • Spread ammonia on your trash: If you cannot dispose of your trash regularly, you should repel the rats by spreading ammonia on your trash. Ammonia chokes rats and the odor will keep them from visiting your yard and trash bin. This method is very effective and will not kill the rats but will keep them away from your yard and trash bin.
  • Use rat poison: This rat control method is not as effective as others are because other rats can come back to your trash bin when you kill the first set and so you must repeat the poisoning of the rats after a while. Rat poisons can still help you to keep the rats away permanently if you scatter the poison in your garbage bag. Before using rat poison, you must know the laws and legislation about rats in your state. You must also be very conscious about your pet animals like dogs and cats that love to sniff and eat so that you will not accidentally poison them. 
  • Keep your yard clean: Rats are aggressive and small animals, but they love going through covered paths. You give them cover when there is dirt and debris in your yard and so the best way of keeping the rats away is by clearing trash and making your yard less cluttered.

You should remember that rats will stay away from your yard and garbage if there is no food source for them.