Does Salt Kill Rats?

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Rats are notorious for causing interior damage to your home, spreading disease, and just being an all-around unwelcome guest. One popular, DIY home remedy to eliminate them appears to be salt – a seemingly simple, handy, and cost-effective solution.

Does salt kill rats? In this post, we’ll explore the truth behind this widely circulated belief, delve into scientific explanations of its effectiveness or lack thereof, and discuss actual effective methods to successfully rid your house of these unwanted guests.

Key Takeaways

Salt is not effective at killing rats. It takes a comically large amount of salt to be lethal for rats.
Instead of salt, natural remedies for rats include peppermint oil, mothballs, and instant potatoes.
If natural remedies are not effective, use commercially available rat poisons or snap traps.
When all else fails, call a professional pest control company to address rat infestations.

The Truth About Salt Killing Rats

Salt is commonly believed to be an effective method for killing rats, but the truth is that it’s only deadly if consumed in very large amounts. 

Generally speaking, it is pretty ineffective as a rat poison. If rats were easily killed by salt, they would die from consuming any number of household groceries they seem to happily tear through without ill effect. 

Debunking the Myth of Salt as a Rat Killer

The notion of salt being an effective rat killer has circulated for years, but it’s time to debunk this myth once and for all. While consuming excessive amounts of salt – more than 80 grams (0.16 pounds) – may cause severe dehydration, organ damage, high blood pressure, and eventually death in rats within a day or so, it is not a reliable method for exterminating these pests.

For perspective, a rat weighs about 1 pound on average. This means it takes 16% of its own weight in salt for it to be lethal. This is the equivalent of a 200 lb human consuming 32 lbs of salt. Obviously, this just isn’t practical.

Brown Rat with Nut in Mouth on Mossy Wood

If the rat were to consume an adequate amount of water immediately after salt ingestion, they could easily negate the negative impact of excess sodium. 

Additionally, one must consider the ethics surrounding the use of salt as a means to kill rats. 

The claim that using salt is a humane option might not hold up when taking into account the potential suffering that ensues due to dehydration and other health complications caused by the large intake of sodium chloride.

Why is Salt Ineffective?

The notion that salt is an effective rat killer is a popular misunderstanding. While it’s true that excessive amounts of salt can be deadly to rats, the quantity required for a lethal outcome is impractical and unlikely to be consumed by these pests.

Rats have evolved to survive in various environments with limited resources and are quite adaptable when it comes to their diet.

Moreover, even if a rat were to consume large quantities of salt, the consequences would not be immediate like those seen with commercial rat poisons or toxic baits. High sodium intake could take days or even weeks before causing serious health issues like dehydration, kidney failure, and eventual death among the rodent population.

This slow-acting effect makes using salt as a primary method for controlling rats highly inefficient compared to targeted pest control solutions designed specifically for these pesky creatures.

Potential Risks of Using Salt

While many people consider using salt as a humane method to eradicate rats, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential dangers linked with this approach. 

Administering large amounts of salt can lead to organ damage in these rodents, causing slow and painful deaths accompanied by intense suffering – often prolonging the period of death for many days. These animals may then die inside ventilation, or places where you can’t reach them to dispose of their decaying body. 

Moreover, relying on salt for rat control brings risks for other household pets and wildlife that could accidentally ingest the substance. 

Effective Alternatives to Salt for Killing Rats

There are several effective alternatives to salt for killing rats, including commercial rat poisons, traps and baits, and natural remedies.

Commercial Rat Poison

One of the most popular and effective ways to get rid of rats is through the use of commercial rat poisons. These poisons usually come in pellet or bait form, containing chemicals that are toxic to rodents.

It’s important to note that while these poisons can effectively eliminate a rat infestation, they should be used with caution as they can also pose a risk to humans and pets if not handled properly.

It’s crucial to follow the instructions on the packaging carefully and keep them out of reach from children or curious animals.

Unopened D-Con Rat Poison on White Background

Traps and Bait

Traps and baits are effective alternatives to salt when it comes to killing rats. There are various types of rat traps that people can use, such as snap traps, glue traps, and electronic traps.

Snap traps are the most common type of trap used for killing rats because they’re easy to bait and set up.

On the other hand, there is also a wide range of commercial baits available in the market that target rodents like mice and rats.

It’s essential to note that trapping may not be enough on its own if you have an extensive infestation problem because it only captures individual rodents instead of solving the root cause or underlying problems with adequate proofing measures around your home or property.

Armed Rat Trap on White Background

Natural Remedies

If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly and non-toxic approach to get rid of rats, there are several natural remedies that are highly effective. Some popular options include peppermint oil, mothballs, instant potatoes, onions, and a mixture of plaster of Paris with cocoa powder.

Peppermint oil has been known to deter rats due to its strong scent, while mothballs can be placed in areas where rats frequent as they dislike the smell. Instant potatoes mixed with water creates a paste-like substance that dehydrates the rat once ingested.

Onions also have a strong odor that repels rats and placing them near entry points can help keep these pests away.

However, it’s essential to use caution when trying out natural remedies as some may not work or could put your pets and children at risk if used incorrectly or handled carelessly.

Effective Ways to Get Rid of Rats

Identify rat infestation signs, block entry points and eliminate food sources, maintain proper cleaning and sanitation practices, and consider professional extermination services for safe and effective ways to get rid of rats.

Identifying Rat Infestation 

Rats are known to cause destruction and spread disease in households. That’s why it is important to identify the signs of a rat infestation before it gets out of hand. One common sign is the presence of droppings which can be found along paths that rats frequently use, near food sources, or in hidden corners.

Gnaw marks on wood or plastic surfaces indicate their need to chew constantly to keep their teeth sharp while feeding damage on stored foods like fruits and grains is also a red flag.

Identifying these signs early enough will make rat removal easier and improve your chances of preventing future infestations.

Blocking Entry Points and Eliminating Food Sources

One of the most important steps in getting rid of a rat infestation is to block off any entry points and eliminate potential food sources.

Look around the exterior of your home for potential gaps. Exterior walls, crawl space entrances, pipe entries, and gaps in siding are all potential entry points

Rats are notorious for being able to squeeze through small gaps and holes, so homeowners need to be diligent in inspecting their homes for any possible entrances that need sealing up.

Additionally, rats are attracted to areas where they can easily find food or water, so keeping a clean environment is essential in preventing them from setting up camp.

To further prevent rats from invading your home, try placing traps near suspected entryways or using repellents like peppermint oil around the perimeter of your house.

Proper Cleaning and Sanitation

Maintaining a clean and sanitary living environment is crucial in preventing rat infestations. Rats are attracted to dirty, cluttered areas where they can easily find food and shelter.

To keep rats at bay, it’s important to dispose of trash promptly and store food securely.

Additionally, disinfecting surfaces with a bleach solution or another effective disinfectant can help prevent the spread of disease from rat droppings and urine. Using sealants around doors and windows to prevent entry points for rodents is also essential in keeping them out of your home or business.

Professional Extermination 

Professional extermination services offer safe and effective ways to get rid of rats permanently. These services can provide expert advice on the best methods to use, which may include traps, baits, or other solutions tailored to the specific needs of your home.

Hiring an exterminator is particularly important if a large number of rats are present in your home or if you are dealing with a persistent infestation that has not responded well to DIY treatments.

Professional pest removal companies typically employ licensed technicians who are trained in the latest rodent control techniques and equipped with specialized tools and equipment designed for this purpose.

Rat Prevention

Preventing rat infestations is crucial in maintaining a sanitary living space; keeping your home clean and free of clutter, blocking entry points, and disposing of food waste properly can discourage these unwanted rodents from taking residence.

Proper Storage and Disposal of Food Waste

Proper storage and disposal of food waste are crucial steps in rat prevention. Rats are attracted to food sources, so it’s important to store food in airtight, rat-resistant containers.

Avoid storing food in basements where rats can easily enter through cracks or gaps. You don’t want any food near or at ground level. 

In addition to proper storage, disposing of your garbage correctly is equally essential in preventing rodent infestations. Make sure your trash cans have tight-fitting lids and take the trash out on time regularly.

Several Different Colored Rats Eating Food on a Counter

Regular Inspection of Outdoor Areas

To prevent a rat infestation, it’s essential to make regular inspections of the outdoor areas around your home. Rats can enter buildings through small holes and chew their way through weak spots in walls or roofs.

Check for any openings that rodents might use to gain access inside, ensuring they are sealed with appropriate materials like wire mesh or steel wool.

Regularly inspecting outdoor areas is critical because rats thrive in environments where food sources are readily available. Garbage cans should be tightly closed and positioned away from the home while compost piles should be kept well-covered to reduce odors that can attract rats.

Natural Rat Repellents

Rat repellents are a popular alternative to traditional rat-killing methods. These natural or synthetic products work by creating an environment that rats find uninviting, ultimately driving them out of your home.

For example, peppermint oil is known for its ability to repel rats due to its strong scent from natural chemical compounds present in the extract. 

However, it’s essential to be mindful that while many people rely on rat repellents as an effective pest control method, they may not always prove 100% effective in eliminating a full-scale rat infestation.


Can You Kill Rats with Salt and Detergent?

Another concept is killing rats with salt and detergent. This idea involves mixing laundry detergent with salt to create a fatal concoction for the rats. However, it is improbable for it to work effectively. Mixing salt and detergent creates a mixture that could deter rats due to its smell, but it’s unlikely to kill the rat.

Can Epsom Salt Kill Rats?

Similar to table salt, Epsom salt does not have lethal effects on rats. Epsom salt – known for its benefits in relaxation and detoxification, does not contain properties to exterminate rats.

Can Excess Salt Eventually Kill a Rat?

Technically, excess salt can eventually kill a rat due to the dehydration and sodium poisoning. However, the rat would have to consume a significant amount of it – at least 2.8 oz of salt (80 grams) which is near to impossible since rats typically do not voluntarily consume large amounts of salt.

Is Salt a Way to Get Rid of a Rat Infestation in Your Home?

Salt is unlikely an effective way to get rid of a rat infestation in your home. While salt and its smell might deter rats from specific areas, it won’t exterminate them. For efficient rat infestation control, it’s best to turn to professional pest control services or use specialized rat poisons.

Choose Effective Rat Control Methods

There’s no doubt that rats can be a nuisance and even pose serious health risks if left untreated. Thankfully, there are many safe and humane alternatives to consider when it comes to rat control. Salt can kill rats, but only in very large quantities – around 2.8 oz (80 grams). This makes it highly ineffective. 

Ultimately, the key to successful rat control is choosing safe yet effective methods that work best for your specific needs and environment. We always recommend professional pest control services for extensive home infestations, and more effective DIY remedies to help repel them from your property. 

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Sean is the founder of Conquer Critters. With more than 17 years of experience in dealing with various pests, he is passionate about spreading his knowledge to help everyone manage their pest problem in the fastest, most effective manor possible.

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