How To Keep Rats Out of Your Garage

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Dealing with a rat infestation in your garage can be a frustrating and costly experience. Rats pose not only a health risk but also cause damage to your property and stored belongings.

Knowing how to keep rats out of the garage is essential for homeowners looking to protect their investments and maintain peace of mind. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore the behavior of rats, preventive measures you can take, effective control methods, signs of an infestation, and ways to reinforce your garage door against rodent invasions.

With the right knowledge and prevention strategies, maintaining a rat-free garage is achievable.

Key Takeaways

Sealing all entry points and gaps with proper materials such as caulk, wire mesh, or steel wool is essential to keep rats out of garages.
Decluttering and removing potential nesting materials, properly storing food and garbage, and installing screens on vents and windows are effective prevention measures in keeping rats away from your garage.
Trapping rats is the most effective way to control them in garages while seeking professional pest control services should be considered if DIY methods fail.
Signs of rat infestation in garages include gnaw marks on wires, wood, plastic items and droppings in corners or under shelves; unusual noises such as scratching or scurrying may also indicate the presence of rodents.

Understanding Rats and Their Attraction to Garages

Rats are attracted to garages because they offer shelter, warmth, and an abundance of food sources such as pet food, birdseed, and garbage.

Common Types of Rats and Their Behavior

The two most common types of rats found in residential areas are the Norway rats and Roof rats. 

Norway rats, also known as brown or sewer rats, are burrowers that typically live in underground tunnels near buildings and can be identified by their stout bodies and short tails.

Roof rats, on the other hand, are climbers known for their agile movements along power lines or fences. These slender rodents with long tails usually reside above ground in trees or attics but may still seek shelter in cluttered garages if given access through roof holes or tree branches touching roofs.

Rats exhibit nocturnal behavior, meaning they’re more active at night when humans are less likely to notice them rummaging through garbage cans or sneaking into storage spaces for food.

By knowing what attracts each type of rat – whether it’s nesting materials for a warm refuge or easily accessible food sources – homeowners can take steps towards creating an inhospitable environment inside their garages.  

Factors That Attract Rats to Garages

One main factor is warmth, as rats are drawn to warm spaces where they can comfortably nest and reproduce.

In addition to warmth, accessible food and water sources within garages lure in these pesky critters. Rats have an excellent sense of smell and can easily detect even minute amounts of leftover pet food or open garbage bins often found in garage areas.

Furthermore, structural aspects such as pipes or gutters can provide ample access to water sources, adding to their attraction. 

Garages also tend to contain plenty of hiding spots which serve as predator protection for rats; with various storage items like toolboxes, children’s toys, workbenches, and boxes offering ideal nesting locations.

Rat Burrowing under Painted Concrete Wall

Prevention Measures To Keep Rats Out of Garages

To keep rats out of your garage, take preventive measures like sealing entry points, decluttering and removing potential nesting materials, properly storing food and garbage, installing screens on vents and windows, and using natural rat repellents.  

Seal All Entry Points and Gaps With Caulk, Wire Mesh or Steel Wool

Rats have a remarkable ability to squeeze through even the smallest openings in search of food and shelter.

For smaller gaps and crevices less than an inch wide, using coarse steel wool pressed into the opening can make it difficult for rodents to chew through. If possible, apply silicone caulk over the stuffed steel wool for added protection against gnawing rats.

On the other hand, larger gaps requiring a more sturdy solution can be plugged with copper or galvanized wire mesh cut to size and securely nailed or stapled over open voids.

Declutter and Remove Potential Nesting Materials

Rats are known for their ability to take advantage of the smallest items, including cardboard boxes, newspapers, and old clothes, which they use for nesting.

Thick plastic storage containers are an excellent alternative because they eliminate hiding places for rodents in the garage. Keep all stored food in a container with tight-fitting lids to prevent access by rats.

Furthermore, ensure all trash bags are tied securely and disposed of properly outside your home. Proper sanitation practices will help reduce clutter and remove potential nesting materials that attract rats and mice to your garage.

Rat on Pots in a Basement

Properly Store Food and Garbage

Rats are attracted to any source of food, including even the slightest crumbs or spills found on floors and surfaces.

To prevent rats from being drawn into your garage in search of food, it’s important to store all food items in rodent-proof containers such as glass or metal jars with tight-fitting lids.

Additionally, avoiding storing pet food in a garage can help reduce the likelihood of attracting rodents since these foods have strong odors that tend to attract pests.

Install Screens on Vents and Windows

Rats can easily fit through small spaces, so it’s important to ensure all potential entry points are secured.

Gaps around garage windows and doors should also be checked, and weather strips can be used to seal them. It’s not just the larger openings that need attention; wire mesh can be attached to gaps between the duct and wall to keep mice out of air ducts.

Weep holes and foundation vents should also be checked for proper screening to prevent rodents from entering. Installing a rodent-proof flap with ¼ inch hardware cloth on vents is an excellent way to exclude rodents altogether.

Use Natural Rat Repellents Such as Peppermint Oil Soaked Cotton Balls

When it comes to keeping rats out of your garage, prevention is key. One effective method for deterring these pesky rodents is using natural rat repellents like peppermint oil soaked in cotton balls.

Peppermint oil is particularly effective for repelling mice and rats due to its robust and minty scent. In addition to peppermint oil, other natural rat deterrents include chili powder, citronella, and eucalyptus.

How To Get Rid of Rats From Your Garage

There are multiple effective rat control methods, including using different types of traps and baits or seeking professional extermination services.

Effective Rat Control Methods, Including Types of Traps and Baits

Trapping rats, is the most effective way to control them in garages and other structures. Snap traps are considered the safest method of rat control, as they don’t pose a risk to non-target animals.

It’s important to place traps where rats are likely to travel along walls or near entry points but also out of reach of children and pets. Baiting can be used in conjunction with trapping for added effectiveness.

Some popular baits include peanut butter, bacon grease, and dried fruits. However, it’s important to switch up bait options frequently as rats can quickly develop aversions.

Rat Trapped in Rusty Cage

Seeking Professional Extermination Services

If you’ve tried all the DIY methods and still can’t get rid of rats in your garage, it might be time to call a professional pest control company. These experts have the knowledge, skills, and tools required for safe and effective rat removal from garages.

Professional extermination services not only help you eliminate rats but also offer tips on preventing future infestations. Their expertise lies in identifying potential entry points like gaps in walls or floors that rodents may use as access points into your garage.

It is essential to call an expert when there’s evidence of these pests since they reproduce quickly, causing substantial damage over a short period.

Signs of Rat Infestation in Garages

Look for gnaw marks on wires, wood, and plastic items, as well as droppings in corners or under shelves. Unusual noises, such as scratching or scuttling, may indicate that rats are present, along with a foul odor caused by their urine.

Identifying Gnaw Marks and Droppings

Rats have powerful teeth capable of chewing through wood, plastic, and electrical wiring leading to potential safety hazards.

Gnaw marks on stored items or walls may indicate the presence of rats.

It is essential to take swift action upon discovering gnaw marks and droppings in your garage, as their presence can harm human health. 

As mentioned, rats carry diseases such as leptospirosis and salmonella, which can cause severe illness when they come into contact with humans’ skin or food sources.

Recognizing Unusual Noises and Foul Odors

Rats, mice, and other rodents are quite noisy creatures and frequently scurry inside walls or gnaw at wood to create small holes for entry into the garage.

In addition to strange noises, rodents tend to primarily leave their scent in their feces and urine. These bodily excretions usually have a sharp odor which can become overpowering if not timely attended to.

Be sure to pay attention to areas with droppings, as these could be breeding grounds for more rats or mice.

Identifying Damage to Stored Items

Rats love to chew on almost anything they can find, including cardboard boxes, plastic containers, and even wood furniture.

You may notice that some of your belongings have small teeth marks or holes when you pull them out from storage.

It’s important to regularly inspect stored items for any signs of gnawing activity so that you can take action immediately before the problem worsens. If left unchecked, rats and mice can quickly ruin your belongings and create an unsanitary environment in your garage or shed.

Reinforcing Your Garage Door: Keeping Your Garage Rat-Free

Reinforcing your garage door is crucial in keeping rats out; check for gaps or holes that rodents can enter through and seal them with caulk or steel wool.

Making Sure the Door Is Properly Sealed and Reinforced

Even tiny gaps or holes in the garage door can be an entry point for rodents.

Depending on your garage door type, there are different methods to seal gaps and reinforce weak spots. Caulk, weatherstripping, and stainless steel door jamb seals are popular options that prevent rodents from entering through gaps between panels or around edges.

You may also consider using a rodent guard or seal at the bottom of your garage door as extra protection against these pests.

Pulling Items Away From Walls and Off the Ground

Rats and mice will use any object as a ladder to climb up into your stored items, making it easier for them to create costly damage in your garage.

By placing items on shelving or hanging racks, you can prevent rodents from accessing them while creating more garage space.

In addition, pulling items away from the walls helps reinforce your garage door, another key factor in keeping rats out. A reinforced door makes it harder for rodents to chew through rubber seals or sneak under gaps at the base of the door.

Checking the Attic for Entry Points

It’s important to remember that rats are excellent climbers and will take advantage of any small openings in your garage to enter. This includes entry points in the attic, which may go unnoticed if not inspected regularly.

Rats can climb up walls or trees adjacent to the garage and enter the attic through small holes or gaps. 

To prevent this from happening, inspect your attic for potential entry points by shining a flashlight on all corners and looking out for any daylight that seeps in.

Regular attic inspection is crucial to ensuring that rats don’t establish themselves inside your garage. It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for signs such as rat droppings, gnaw marks, or foul smells when checking around potential entry points.


What attracts rats to a garage?

Various factors attract rats to a garage. One key attraction for rats is the availability of food and water. Things like leftover pet food, garbage, or even bird seed can attract these pests. Also, a garage often provides a suitable environment for rats to establish their nest. They prefer quiet, dark, and cluttered spaces with lots of hiding places. Moreover, rats love places where they can gnaw and chew on things, such as wood and insulation.Signs of rats include rat droppings and damage from their gnawing.

How do rats get into your garage?

Rats and mice usually enter your garage through small holes and cracks in the structure or underneath the garage door. An open garage door’s bottom also provides an ideal entry point for these creatures. Rats can also crawl up drain pipes or climb walls and trees to get into your garage or attic.

How can I keep rats out of my garage?

To keep rats out of your garage, it is imperative to seal all potential entry points, maintain cleanliness, and avoid leaving food and water available. A homeowner should also ensure the garage door’s bottom is properly sealed to prevent rats from entering. Regular inspection and maintenance of the garage can also deter these pests.

What are effective methods to get rid of rats or mice in a garage?

Several methods can get rid of rats or mice around your garage. These include using traps, poison, or calling a pest control professional. Additionally, good sanitation practices, eliminating food sources, and sealing off entry points are effective ways of dealing with a rodent infestation.


Keeping rats out of your garage is possible with the right knowledge and prevention measures. By understanding what attracts rats to garages, you can take steps to prevent their entry.

By being aware of signs of a rat infestation in your garage and reinforcing it through proper sealing methods, you can protect your home from harmful pests. With these simple prevention tips, you can ensure a safe and rat-free environment for you and your family.

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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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