When it comes to dealing with a rat infestation, there are some solutions that appear to have been present for decades. You may have seen sound emitters that are said to repel rats on sale for years. Surely they must have some effect? Equally, when there are so many people suggesting that home remedies such as mothballs or ammonia can help to get rid of rats, then surely it’s worth a try, right? If these actually worked, they would be a cheap solution that would deal with rats both quickly and humanely, without needing any direct contact with the animals themselves.


Anyone who has ever accidentally caught the scent of ammonia will know that the smell of this chemical is very strong. The theory behind ammonia is that rats, like humans, will also intensely dislike this smell, and as a result they will leave their nest to look for a new home away from the scent.

Those who promote the use of ammonia as a repellent suggest several different ways it can be done. The most common mentioned are dousing cotton wool balls in ammonia or preparing a small bowl of the liquid. These are then placed near areas where you have identified signs of rat activity.


This is another of the most commonly found home remedies for dealing with rats in the attic, and the idea behind it is the same as that of ammonia. However, as mothballs are already in a soft ball similar to the texture of cotton wool, there is no need to mix it with cotton. Mothballs can be quite toxic with a powerful smell, which is why they are said to be a potential rat repellent for those who are trying to deal with rat infestations.

High-Frequency Sound Emitters

Although not a home remedy, high frequency sound emitters have been around for quite some time. They are often marketed as a cure-all that will repel almost every animal species that can be a problem in or around your home. The idea is based on the fact that rats have a higher audio hearing range than humans. As such, sound emitters will produce a high pitched sound that is outside the hearing range of humans. This sound is said to be so irritating to rats that it will drive them away from the area, while people living inside the house will never hear a thing. Sound emitters can be battery powered and designed to fire when they detect movement, or they can be connected to a power supply to produce a constant tone.

How Effective Are These Solutions?

Mothballs and ammonia are products that are often found in the home, so many people think they are good options to try first, just in case they actually work.

The truth is that there is no evidence to suggest that rats can be deterred by a strong scent, especially when they benefit from the warmth and security offered by your home, as the pros outweigh the cons for them. Sound emitters do not work particularly well either. While they may startle the animal the first time, in most cases the factors keeping the rats in your home are greater than the annoyance these devices may produce.

The problem with using these options as a first choice is that they actually delay people from taking quick action to deal with the infestation humanely. Rats can breed incredibly fast, and if you have tried and failed with ammonia or mothballs, then by the time you are taking proper action, you may actually be dealing with a much larger population of rats.