How Long Does Bleach Keep Rats Away?

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Dealing with a rat infestation can be frustrating and overwhelming. It can feel impossible to rid your home of these pests. Many homeowners turn to bleach as a quick fix, hoping that the strong ammonia smell will deter these pesky rodents.

But, how long does bleach keep rats away? In this post, we’ll explore the effectiveness of using bleach as a rat repellent, discuss factors affecting its longevity as a deterrent, and suggest alternative solutions for permanent rodent control.

Key Takeaways

Bleach can be an effective temporary solution to repel rats.
Bleach is not a permanent solution and its effectiveness depends on various factors such as concentration, exposure time, and environmental conditions.
More effective rat repellants include peppermint oil and mothballs as well as snap traps and rat poison.
If the DIY methods are not effective, call a pest control professional.

The Effectiveness of Bleach in Repelling Rats

Bleach is not a foolproof method for deterring rats, but it can temporarily repel them due to its strong ammonia smell and disinfectant properties.

Bleach is a Temporary Solution

Using bleach as a temporary solution to repel rats can be effective, but it’s essential to understand that this method won’t provide long-lasting relief from rodent infestations.

The strong smell of bleach tends to irritate the sensitive noses of rats, causing them to avoid areas treated with the chemical. 

For instance, imagine treating an area frequented by rats with a bleach solution; initially, the powerful aroma will drive them away. But after a few days or even just several hours depending on variables like air flow and temperature changes, they may become accustomed to the scent and venture back into those spaces.

Worse, it may drive them further into crevices and corners of your home where you have no hope of catching them – in vents and walls. 

Small Bleach Bottles on a Store Shelf

Bleach is a Disinfectant

Bleach is widely recognized for its powerful disinfecting properties, making it a popular choice for various cleaning tasks in households and industries alike.

This potent sanitizing agent can also come in handy when dealing with rodent-related issues. By applying a bleach solution to areas contaminated by rat urine and droppings, not only does it assist in neutralizing unpleasant odors but also aids in preventing the spread of diseases linked to these pesky rodents.

A common recommendation is mixing one part bleach with 10 parts water to create an effective cleaning solution that effectively kills germs while remaining relatively safe for indoor use.

Can Bleach Kill Rats?

Using bleach as a rat deterrent is mainly due to its strong odor which can irritate and overwhelm rats’ sensitive sense of smell, forcing them to leave the area. Although bleach does have the potential to kill rats, it’s not a guaranteed method since it requires ingestion by the rodent.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that some homeowners have had success with mixing bleach into bait; however, this method comes with multiple risks such as accidental poisoning of non-target animals or even pets. It also is unlikely the rat will consume a food item tainted by the distinct odor of bleach. 

In addition, using bleach for pest extermination might not effectively eliminate an entire rat population or prevent future infestations from occurring.

How Bleach Affects Rats’ Sense Of Smell

Bleach has a strong and pungent smell that repels rats, making it an effective rat deterrent. The intense odor of bleach disrupts a rat’s sense of smell, which they rely on heavily to navigate their environment and find food sources.

When encountering the potent scent of bleach, rats may be unable to locate or identify nearby food sources, making them less likely to stay in the area.

When using bleach as a rat repellent, it’s essential to use caution and follow proper dilution guidelines to ensure its effectiveness while minimizing potential harm to yourself or others.

Additionally, combining peanut butter with bleach can attract rats and lead to their poisoning when consumed in large amounts.

Is There Science Behind Using Bleach?

Bleach is often used as a rat deterrent due to its strong smell and disinfectant properties. When rats come into contact with bleach, the chemical reaction creates a strong odor that can discourage them from returning to the area.

However, using bleach as a long-term solution for deterring rats may not always be effective since rodents can quickly adapt to their environment. Factors such as exposure time and concentration of bleach can also affect its longevity in repelling rats. It’s not a science-backed method for effective rodent control.

Sure, bleach is known to be toxic when ingested – but the likelihood of rats consuming any bleach you taint food bait with is low. Simply walking through it, or smelling it won’t be enough to kill them or permanently repel them. 

Other alternative methods like peppermint essential oil or ultrasonic repellers might offer more enduring solutions for keeping rats away without exposing one’s family and pets to toxic substances like ammonia or mothballs.

Factors That May Impact How Useful Bleach Is

Factors such as exposure time and bleach concentration can affect the effectiveness of using bleach as a rat repellent, but there are also other environmental factors to consider.

Exposure Time

The amount of time bleach remains effective in repelling rats varies depending on various factors. These include the concentration of bleach, environmental conditions, and exposure time.

A higher concentration of bleach might work faster to deter rats but may not last very long. On the other hand, a lower concentration of bleach may take longer to work but lasts longer as well.

It’s essential to note that even though bleach has some effectiveness in repelling rodents for a short period, it’s not an absolute solution for keeping rats away permanently.


The concentration of bleach is a crucial factor that affects its longevity as a rat repellent. Concentrated bleach solutions contain 10-15% sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), which gives off a harsh odor and has a pH level of about 11.

Diluting bleach in water can create an effective rat repellent solution, but the amount of dilution required may vary based on the severity of infestation and environmental factors such as sun exposure.

It’s essential to use caution when handling concentrated bleach solutions as they can cause skin irritation or even chemical burns if mishandled.

Environmental Factors

The longevity of bleach as a rat repellent can be influenced by various environmental factors. For instance, exposure time and concentration of bleach are crucial in determining its effectiveness in repelling rats.

If the concentration of bleach is too low or it’s not exposed long enough to drive away the rodents, then it might not serve its purpose effectively.

Environmental factors such as food sources, water supply, shelter availability can also have an influence on rat presence within your property.

Investing in professional pest control services that offer integrated pest management strategies could significantly help address these environmental factors leading to less dependence on bacterial disinfectants and toxins which contribute negatively to our environment.

Alternative Rat Repellents

Other effective rat repellents include peppermint essential oil, ammonia, mothballs, and ultrasonic repellers.

Peppermint Essential Oil

Using peppermint essential oil is a natural and effective way to keep rats away from your property. This pungent-smelling oil has been found to be one of the best rat repellents, with many homeowners relying on it to keep their homes rodent-free.

Peppermint oil can be mixed with water to create a spray that can be applied around doors, windows, and other entry points into your home or garden. You can also soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and leave them in corners or areas where you suspect rodents may be lurking.

Other essential oils like lemon, eucalyptus, cedarwood chips, and lavender are also effective options for keeping rats at bay.


Ammonia is a strong and effective natural repellent for rats. Its pungent smell mimics the scent of predators like cats, making it unbearable for rats to be around.

While ammonia can be an excellent tool for controlling rat infestations, its effectiveness may not last long. 

Rats may eventually get used to the smell and return to previously avoided areas.

If you’re looking for alternative natural rat repellents, consider using peppermint essential oil or ultrasonic repellers.


Mothballs are a common household item used to eliminate fabric pests like clothes moths, but they may not be effective in repelling rats. These balls contain a chemical called naphthalene that creates an unpleasant odor that keeps fabric pests at bay.

While some people claim success in deterring rats with large quantities of mothballs, it’s important to note that these balls aren’t powerful enough to get rid of these critters entirely.

Moth Balls in a Glass on Burlap

Ultrasonic Repellers

Ultrasonic repellers are among the many alternative rat repellents available to homeowners. These devices emit high-frequency sound waves that are supposed to disturb rats’ nervous systems, making them uncomfortable and eventually driving them away.

While some users claim immediate results, studies have shown that these devices do not work in the long term. In truth, ultrasonic rodent repellents may disrupt rats’ behavior for a few days until they get used to the noise.

Despite their shortcomings, ultrasonic repellers come in handy as part of an integrated pest control plan alongside other methods such as traps or poison bait. It is also essential to note that different brands have varied results depending on factors like coverage area and placement.


Traps are an effective tool for getting rid of rats. Snap traps, in particular, are considered the safest and most economical way to manage rat infestations. They work by using bait to lure rats into a trap that snaps shut on them when they take the bait.

When using traps, it’s important to attach them firmly to the ground or a solid place so that rats can’t drag them away. The traps should also be placed near areas where rat droppings have been found, as this is usually a sign of their presence.

In addition to snap traps, there are also live-capture traps available on the market if you prefer not to kill pests outright. However, these can be more expensive and require regular checks for trapped animals which can pose health risks while handling those small creatures directly.

Poison Bait

A popular method to get rid of rats is by using poison bait. This entails placing bait stations with poisoned pellets in areas where rats are frequently seen, such as near their feeding or nesting sites.

The bait lures the rats and kills them within a few days, usually by causing internal bleeding. While effective, poison baits can also be dangerous to other animals if ingested accidentally or through secondary poisoning when they consume poisoned rodents.

It’s essential to use caution when handling and disposing of these baits to avoid harm to pets or wildlife in the area.

D-Con Rat Poison on Carpet Floor

Seal Entry Points

To get rid of rats, it’s crucial to seal off all entry points into your home, as these rodents can fit through incredibly small holes and gaps. Inspect the exterior walls, crawl spaces, and foundation for cracks or openings that could be used as an entrance by rats.

Use wire mesh or steel wool to plug any holes you find and pay special attention to areas around windows, doors, vents, pipes, and drains. Additionally, keep in mind that eliminating food sources will help prevent rat infestations from occurring in the first place.

Clean up spills promptly, store food securely in airtight containers off the ground and regularly take out garbage stored outside at night (especially food waste).

Professional Pest Control Services

When it comes to dealing with a rat infestation, it’s essential to call on professional pest control services. Unlike DIY methods like traps or repellents, professionals have the expertise and equipment to remove rats efficiently and safely.

They can identify the entry points rats are using and seal them off, preventing further infestations.

Professional extermination services also use family-friendly treatments that are safe for pets and children while still being effective against rodents. While bleach and other deterrents may provide temporary relief from an infestation, they’re often less efficient than professional approaches in the long term.

Prevention Tips to Help Keep Rats Away

Preventing rats from entering your home is the first step in keeping them away. This involves sealing off entry points such as cracks, gaps, and holes around doors, windows, pipes, and vents.

Rat-proofing your home is also crucial to prevent infestations. This means eliminating attractive nesting sites such as cluttered storage areas, piles of debris or wood piles outside the house.

Natural repellents can also help repel rats while keeping you safe from harmful chemicals. Peppermint oil is an effective natural rat repellent that can be used to deter rodents safely without harming them.

Placing mothballs around problem areas will also repel rodents because they dislike the scent of naphthalene.


Bleach can be an effective temporary solution to repel rats and disinfect rat-infested areas. However, it is important to note that bleach is not a permanent solution and its effectiveness depends on various factors such as concentration, exposure time, and environmental conditions.

While there are alternative rat repellents such as peppermint oil and ammonia, proper sanitation measures and sealing off entry points remain the most effective long-term solutions for preventing rodent infestations.

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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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