How To Get Rid Of Rats In Walls And Ceiling (4 Perfect Ways)

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray

In the middle of watching a scary movie, you hear scurrying in your walls and ceiling. You jump at the sound. After investigating, you realize it wasn’t your imagination flaring up because of the movie; you have rats in your walls and ceiling. It happened to me last year when we moved to a new home. I called an expert and asked how to get rid of rats in my walls and ceiling?

Some of the ways you can get rid of rats in the walls and ceiling are by eliminating their hiding places, sealing all the gaps where they might be getting into the walls or ceilings, setting traps, eliminating their food source, and spraying repellents. It can take around eight weeks to get rid of them.

Getting rid of rats in the walls and ceiling took a while, but it wasn’t nearly as challenging as I thought it would be. With the help of some expert exterminators, we managed to get rid of the rats in less than two months. I thought I would share the excellent advice exterminators gave me and the information we researched on this topic.

How To Rid Of Rid Your Walls And Ceiling Of Rats

Getting rid of rats doesn’t have to be too complicated. It can take a while to get rid of rats in your home, but with persistence, patience, and consistency, you will have a rat-free home in no time. Here are a few tried and tested ways to get rid of rats in your walls and ceiling.

Before You Start

Before you start your war on rats, you need to do a full inspection of your home, inside and outside, to find out more about your rat problem. It’s crucial to find out how big your rat problem is, where they are nesting and how they are getting into your walls and ceiling. These answers will be the building blocks you use to get rid of them.

Some things that you can look out for are:

  • Look for gaps in the walls, 
  • Look near the main doors, 
  • Look near the roofline for gaps, cracks, or crevices where they could be getting into your house. 
  • Look for cracks in the garage door 
  • Look at broken drain pipes 
  • Look for cracks in the foundation 
  • Look for any appliance lines or places where the rats could gain entry to your home. 
  • Look for any bundles of material and papers that might hide a rat nest. Rats tend to use pieces of paper like newspaper, cardboard, and material to build nests, usually in corners or in a secluded dark place.

After you have inspected your home, it’s time to seal up any of the cracks, gaps, crevices, or places they might have gained entry into your walls and ceiling. The best way to make sure the rats don’t reopen these entry points is to add steel wool, steel plates, or chalk to these places before sealing them up. 

Rats don’t like to chew through these materials, so it will dramatically reduce the chances of reopening these entry points.

Using Baits Or Traps To Get Rid Of Rats In Your Wall And Ceiling

We all want to get rid of any rodent problem as soon as possible before it gets worse and turns into a full-blown infestation. Use different traps to get rid of the rats that have invaded your walls and ceilings that we will be discussing:

  1. Using bait stations or bait boxes
  2. Using snap traps
  3. Using live traps
  4. Using electric traps

Using Bait Stations or Bait Boxes To Get Rid Of Rats 

bait box rat

The first option is to use bait stations or bait boxes to catch the rats. The way these bait stations work is you open up the box of the station and put an approved rodenticide (block or paste) inside. You close the station back up and place it in the area where the rats are most active. It has one hole that the rat can use to enter or exit.

The rodenticide bait is flavored to smell and taste like food. The rat eats some of the bait and usually leaves the station. After 24h-48h, the rat dies. You can eliminate multiple rats before they even die. 

While they are safe to use around children, as they can’t open the box and the rats can’t remove the bait, there is the problem of secondary poisoning to your pets. Animals are attracted to the smell of decay, and if the rats die away from the ceiling or wall where your pets can get to it, they may bite or eat a piece of the rat and get accidentally poisoned.

Keep in mind that certain baits and poisons have been outlawed in many cities, so you must use rodenticides approved by the town where you live.

Using Snap Traps To Rid Walls And Ceiling Of Rats

Snap Traps

Snap traps are plastic or wooden traps that you use by placing bait on a marked surface, setting the trap as it works using a spring-loaded type of mechanism, and putting them in the place where there is the highest level of activity. The rat will smell the bait, and as soon as it bites off a piece of bait, the trap snaps close, effectively killing the rat.

When you use a snap trap, you need to ensure you buy traps marked for rats; the smaller versions are made for mice. They are only effective with mice as the mechanism isn’t strong enough to use on rats. You might end up inhumanly maiming or injuring the rats. These traps are also dangerous; if children or pets can get to the traps, they may get hurt.

You don’t need to use poison with this trap, and you can use things like peanut butter, fruits, or nuts as bait. Ensure to set the traps up in the ceiling where children and pets can’t get to it, or if you have an attic, locking the entrance would help.

You must check on these traps every day as the smell of decay will attract other rodents to the area. 

Using Live Traps To Rid Walls And Ceiling Of Rats

Live Traps

Using live traps is a non-lethal way of effectively getting rid of rats. You put the bait inside the trap and let the curious nature of rats lead them to inspect the trap. Once they are inside, the opening closes and traps them inside. You can then drive them as far away as possible from your home. 

The best bait to use is mixing seeds and grains with peanut butter; rats can’t resist. Ensure to wear gloves as rats don’t like to go near places where they can smell humans. These traps work great, but you need to ensure you place them away from small pets as they might get stuck or curious children might get injured.

Using Electric Traps To Rid Walls And Ceiling Of Rats

Electric Traps

Using electric traps to get rid of rats is becoming more popular and is considered a much more human way of getting rid of rats. With this trap, you put the bait in the indicated place, finish the setup and place the trap where only the rats can get to it. When the rat smells the bait and goes inside the trap, it gets electrocuted immediately. 

The shock is instantaneous and is more humane than the bait and snap traps as it can take a few hours or days before a rat dies, and it’s usually a painful death for them. Remember, you must check these traps more than once a day because the rats die on contact; you might have a lot of dead rats to deal with in a short amount of time.

Remember you need to use gloves when using traps of any kind because rats have very sensitive noses, and they don’t like the smell of humans, so the less contact your skin and scent have with the traps, the better chance you have of catching more rats.

Using Repellents To Rid Walls And Ceiling Of Rats

The other way to get rid of rats in your walls and ceiling is to put rat repellent in the areas where the rats are seen or heard most. These repellents include:

  • You can spread peppermint oil, cloves, black pepper, and cayenne pepper around the outside of your home and near all the entrances to your ceiling to keep the rats from entering your home.
  • Use pepper spray or sprinkle crushed pepper around all the entrances to your ceilings and outside your home. Pepper irritates a rat’s sensitive nose, and they will steer clear.

Using A Exterminator To Rid Walls And Ceiling Of Rats

When you realize that none of the methods have worked to get rid of the rats, and you feel like you are running out of options, you should consider using a professional exterminator to get rid of the rats for good. Exterminators can help you get rid of the rats, and they can help you with a long-term plan to keep the rats from coming back in.

Signs That There Are Rats In Your Walls And Ceiling

Before going gung-ho on the rats in your home, you need to ensure your problem is rats and not mice, raccoons, or other animal invaders because you could use the wrong method and make matters worse. Here are some signs you definitely have a rat problem.

  • There will be an overwhelming smell of ammonia coming from the walls and ceilings, and there will be loud noises like scurrying, scratching, and squeaking.
  • Rats leave dirty smears on the walls and small dark pellet-shaped droppings along the main pathways they use to move around your home.
  • There will be noticeable damage to wires, boxes, drywall, and much more. You can check to see if you have rats by sprinkling baking soda near the entrances of your ceiling and checking for footprints.
  • Suppose you hear running or small footsteps in the walls or ceiling at night. Rats are primarily active at night.
  • Food like flour, cake mix, bread, fruit, etc., will have bite marks or pieces missing. Rats gnaw through most foods they can find.
  • You will see bite marks on wooden ceiling beams and wooden furniture. Rats like to gnaw on wood to keep their teeth sharp.

Tips For Keeping Rats Away

After taking care of the rats, you don’t want them to come back. Here are tips to keep rats away from your ceiling, walls, and your home in general:

  • You need to keep your garbage bins locked so no critters can get inside.
  • Clean up any clutter in and around your house that rats might use as a nesting spot.
  • Keep any food you have for your pets locked in airtight containers. Rats have very sensitive noses, and they will smell the food.
  • It would help if you threw out any bedding that you might have left out for your dogs, as it attracts rats to use it as nesting material.
  • Keep your bushes trimmed and clean up any piles of leaves that you might have in your yard or in your gutters that lead to the roof.
  • Seal any cracks, holes, or spaces that the rats might use to get into the ceiling or walls.
  • Regularly cleaning your ceiling will help eliminate the rats because they won’t have time to build nests.
  • Don’t leave any food you have eaten on the counter as the rats will see a potential food source, and it will attract them more.
  • Ensure you clean the kitchen every knight and that all the food is locked up, so they don’t have a food source.


Having rats in your home is a nuisance and can cause a lot of damage to your property and health. Rats carry diseases that are a health risk to humans so getting rid of them is the best way to ensure your sanity and health stay intact. 

The best way to get rid of rats is to use traps or call exterminators; they have all the best techniques and equipment to get the job done. Remember to take preventative measures to ensure the rats don’t come back.

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.