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How to Keep Rats Out of the Garage

Garages are meant for storage, sheltered protection, and hobbies…not for rats. Unfortunately, the things that make the garage a suitable place for a car also make it suitable for a rat.  Here is how to keep rats out of the garage.


Exclusion efforts refer to blocking off potential entry points that rats could use to gain access. Since garages have giant openings to allow vehicles to enter and exit, it is important to pay attention to how those access points are managed.

Close the Garage Door

Rats are careful animals and are not likely to be out in the open when large things such as people and cars are around to threaten them. Open garage door issues arise after parking the car or bike and everyone goes inside. If nobody is going to be around to scare off the rat, make sure to close the garage door to keep rats out of the garage.

image of a rat
Rat on a sewer could bee seen from drain grate

1-inch Entries

Despite their larger size, rats only need 1 inch of a hole or gap to squeeze their way in. Attention to small details is how to keep rats out of the garage. As garage doors go up and down, the door bottom seal and the weather-stripping tend to wear out. This is especially true at corners. Inspect these points regularly and replace these elements as they begin to separate from each other, the door, or the ground.

In some cases, it is helpful to use light to point out other places that need attention. After inspecting the windows for potential entry points, hang blankets or something similar to block light from the windows, close the doors and see where the light comes in. Pick a sunny time of day to perform this inspection.

In some cases, the reverse approach can be useful. Once it is dark, turn the lights on the inside of the garage and inspect outside for light exiting where it shouldn’t. You may need to cover windows similar to the daytime inspection approach.

Food Management

Rats have to have food to be healthy and happy. Protect and seal dog food, cat food, bird food, etc. Thick plastic bins that seal are the best approach for keeping food from sustaining rats and making your garage the local hangout.

The more difficult piece is stopping trash receptacles from being an automatic food dispenser for rats. Ensure trash is discarded inside of bags that stop things from easily falling or leaking out. Regularly inspect the lids for proper fit and even consider weighting or locking the lids. Whenever gunk begins to build up inside the container, be sure to wash it out thoroughly.


In addition to food, rats are looking for shelter. They not only like shelter from the elements but predators and potential threats. The garage itself can be a protection, but rats aren’t going to want to just hang out in the open. Rats don’t want to be where they are visible to passing people. In order to make the garage as uncomfortable as possible for rats, reduce clutter and choose shelving such as wire shelves that do not completely conceal.

On a related note, regular disruptions will help flush out a rat population in its early stages or simply make things uninhabitable for them. Sweeping, dusting, or simply rotating things around every few weeks to a month can be enough to stop rats from nesting. It also has the side benefit of providing reminders of things that have been stored so long they are obsolete and should be discarded.

Control populations

Whether inside or out, killing rats is how to keep rats out of the garage. Utilize poison baits in the form of wax blocks, soft baits or liquid baits. Whenever utilizing poisons, secure baits inside of locked, tamper-resistant stations to avoid harming a non-target animal. Another bait to consider is a bait that includes fertility control which basically acts as birth control for rats.

The alternative to poison baits is trapping. Traps such as snap traps and glue boards can be strategically placed to control rats. Keep in mind that rats are cautious and neophobic (fear of new things), so placing traps with bait before engaging the trap mechanism for several bait-takings will increase the likelihood of a successful trap once engaged.

Hire an expert

The rodent experts at Rove Pest Control are available to help you along the way with exclusion and control efforts. Whether you need temporary assistance and guidance or would rather not have to think about it at all, talk to Rove. Learn more at