Most people do not want to deal with rats in their home. Traditional methods of controlling rats typically used poison, but some people do not like using rodenticides. Maybe you do not like the harsh chemicals, the risks to the health of you or your families, or the slow death for rats associated with that method.

This has led to a rise in suggestions and searches for natural rat control methods, including baking soda. The result is many people wondering does baking soda kill rats?

Yes, it can, but the answer is much more complex than that.

How the Baking Soda Works

box of baking soda

The idea behind using baking soda to kill rats is that the bicarbonate in the powder will react with stomach acids of the rodent. This will create a gas that is carbon dioxide. Since rats cannot pass gas, it will just build up within their digestive system. Eventually, it will cause a rupture or blockage.

Rats Can Become Highly Resistant to Baking Soda

While baking soda does technically kill rats, you also need to account for the adaptability of the rodent immune system. Rodents are able to easily develop an immunity or at least improve their resistance to poisons. This makes it much harder to kill rats with baking soda, since you will not be sure whether it will produce results.

The Rat Needs to Consume a Lot of Baking Soda

Because of the high resistance to baking soda, a rat would need to consume between two and three grams of it to die. More importantly, this all has to be consumed in a short amount of time as the rat could recover between consuming smaller quantities. 

Getting the rat to eat that much baking soda is easier said than done. Rats tend to stay away from poison, so you would have to mix it with something that is appealing. Even that can be challenging since you would have to mix the baking soda into enough food to mask it. Once you do that, you will be left with more food than a rat is likely to eat. 

Death Will Be Slow and Inhumane

Another important thing to keep in mind is that if the baking soda does kill the rat, the rodent will experience a slow and painful death. It can take days or weeks for the rat to die from ingesting baking soda, and taking weeks are the norm. During that time, the rats will be uncomfortable and in pain, and still roaming your home. 

They Will Hide Before Dying

dead rat

You also need to think about what will happen when the rat actually dies from the baking soda. Rats tend to seek out shelter when they feel unwell or like they are about to die. Unfortunately for property owners, this means finding a nice, dark, and secluded spot. It may be the interior of your wall or another area that is very hard to reach. 

This means that when the rat finally dies, you will have to do your best to find it before the body starts decomposing and stinking or attracting other pests. This can be challenging to do and may require lifting floorboards or making holes in the wall.

You Are Unlikely to Kill All of Them

Even if you do experience some success with baking soda to poison rats, you should not expect to kill all of them with this method. Expect around half of the rats that actually consume the lethal dose to die. 

This means that you will still have an infestation on your hands and will have to look into other methods of controlling the rats. On the bright side, you will have made your job easier, but you will still have work to do. 

Baking Soda May Just Make the Rat Sick

There is the possibility that the rat will not die and will instead just be very sick. If this happens, you will still have to deal with your rat problem.

To make matters worse, sick rats have weaker immune systems, making them more likely to carry additional pathogens. Some of those pathogens may pose a risk to you, your family, or your pets.

The Rats Will Return Unless You Make Changes

You should also keep in mind that unless you make changes to your property, rats will just keep coming back. You will find yourself in an endless cycle of killing (or trying to kill) rats with baking soda, just to have new rats take their place. 

To avoid this issue, you need to make some basic changes to your property so it is unappealing to the rats. This should be part of any rodent control solution, whether or not you use baking soda. 

Clean Your Home

Start by keeping your home clean. Take special care with food and food-related items, storing any leftovers in the fridge or in an airtight container that rats cannot access. Otherwise, rats may be tempted by the smell and then come to find it. Once they find the food, they will decide your home is a great source and look for a place to nest nearby.

Part of eliminating food items also includes sweeping up any crumbs that may have fallen on the flood and wiping down your countertops.

Empty the Garbage

You will also need to empty out your garbage cans regularly and try to choose garbage bins that close tightly. Rats are not picky about food and items that are in the garbage are still very appealing to them.

Seal Up Their Entrances

Examine your home from the perspective of a rat and see what areas they would use to gain entry. Pay attention to holes in your walls and other access points. Then, seal these up so the rats cannot get inside.

The Best Alternative

Instead of using baking soda to try to kill rats, you should consult an expert in controlling rats. They should have more effective, humane methods up their sleeves. They will also be able to help you make your home less attractive to rats and remove the dead rodents for you, so you do not have to deal with the rodents at all.