Does Baking Soda Kill Rats?

No, baking soda does not kill rats. Baking soda is a common household ingredient that can be used for cleaning and deodorizing, but it is not an effective way to get rid of rats. The crystals in baking soda are too large for a rat to ingest, so it won’t poison them. If a rat were to consume enough baking soda, the alkaline substance could cause its stomach to rupture or other digestive issues, but it would take an incredibly large amount for this to happen.

Another issue with attempting to use baking soda as a way to kill rats is that the taste and smell of baking soda is not appealing to them. Rats are naturally repelled by strong odors and tastes and will avoid anything they find unappetizing. Additionally, some people believe that sprinkling baking soda around their property will deter rats from entering; however, there is no scientific evidence supporting this theory either.

In conclusion, while baking soda can be used in many applications around your home, killing rats with it isn’t one of them. If you’re looking for an effective way to get rid of rodents in your home or garden then using traps or poisons specifically designed for this purpose is much more reliable than attempting to use baking soda.

Understanding Rats and Their Biology

Before discussing how baking soda may affect rats, it is important to understand their biology and behavior. Rats are a real pest. Did you know that exposed wires from mice and rats are known to cause 25% of house fires in the United States? Furthermore, 82% of properties in the United States have been found to have trace amounts of mouse urine, causing families to experience more allergies and a wide variety of diseases.

Basic Rat Anatomy and Physiology

  • Digestive system: Rats have a simple stomach and a digestive system that is designed to efficiently break down and absorb nutrients from their food.
  • Respiratory system: Rats, like humans, breathe through their lungs and rely on their diaphragm to help expel air.

Rat Species and Their Common Habitats

There are two primary species of rats that cause problems for humans:

  1. Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus): These large rats are burrowers and prefer living in underground nests. They are commonly found near human settlements, where they can access food and shelter.
  2. Roof rats (Rattus rattus): As their name suggests, roof rats prefer to live in high places, such as attics, trees, and ceilings. They are agile climbers and are known to cause damage by gnawing on wires and insulation.

Rat Reproduction and Population Growth

Rats are prolific breeders, which is one reason they can be difficult to control. A single female rat can produce up to seven litters per year, with each litter containing five to twelve pups. With such rapid reproduction, rat populations can quickly grow out of control if not properly managed.

Baking Soda: Properties and Uses

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a common household item with a variety of uses, from baking to cleaning. It is a white, crystalline powder that is mildly alkaline and has the ability to neutralize acids. This property has led some to believe that it may be effective in controlling rat populations.

Chemical Composition of Baking Soda

Baking soda is composed of sodium, hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen atoms, with the chemical formula NaHCO₃. When it comes into contact with an acid, it releases carbon dioxide gas as a byproduct.

Common Household and Industrial Uses

Baking soda has numerous applications, including:

  • Leavening agent in baking
  • Odor neutralizer
  • Cleaning agent
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Antacid

Possible Effects of Baking Soda on Mammals

In general, baking soda is considered safe for humans and animals when ingested in small amounts. However, large quantities can cause electrolyte imbalances and other health issues.

Baking Soda as a Rat Poison

When ingested by rats, baking soda can cause a buildup of carbon dioxide gas in their digestive system. Since rats are unable to burp or release gas like humans, the pressure can lead to internal distress and, in some cases, death.

How Baking Soda Affects Rats’ Digestive System

  1. Production of carbon dioxide gas: When baking soda comes into contact with the acidic environment of a rat’s stomach, it produces carbon dioxide gas.
  2. Inability to burp or release gas: Rats lack the ability to expel the gas generated by the baking soda, leading to a buildup of pressure in their stomach and intestines, which may cause discomfort and, eventually, death.

Potential Lethality of Baking Soda to Rats

While some anecdotal reports suggest that baking soda can be effective in killing rats, there is limited scientific evidence to support these claims. The efficacy of baking soda as a rat poison may depend on factors such as the rat’s size, the amount ingested, and the rat’s overall health.

Comparing Baking Soda with Other Rodent Control Methods

Baking soda may be considered a more humane and eco-friendly option compared to traditional rat poisons, which often contain toxic chemicals that can harm the environment and pose risks to pets and children. However, it may not be as effective as other control methods:

  1. Traditional rat poison: Highly effective, but can be dangerous to non-target species and may cause secondary poisoning in predators.
  2. Traps: Effective in capturing or killing individual rats, but may not be sufficient to control large infestations.
  3. Natural repellents: Can help deter rats from entering a specific area but may not be effective in eliminating an existing infestation.
  4. Ultrasonic devices: Emit high-frequency sounds that are intended to repel rodents, but their effectiveness remains questionable and may vary depending on the specific device and situation.

How to Use Baking Soda for Rat Control

If you decide to use baking soda as a rat control method, follow these steps:

Creating an Effective Baking Soda Mixture

  1. Recommended ingredients and proportions: Mix equal parts baking soda and powdered sugar to create a palatable bait for rats. Some sources also suggest adding a small amount of flour to help bind the mixture.
  2. Safety precautions: Wear gloves when handling the mixture, and store it in a secure location away from children and pets.

Placement of the Baking Soda Mixture

  1. Identifying rat entry points and high-traffic areas: Look for signs of rat activity, such as droppings, gnaw marks, and grease stains, to determine where to place the bait.
  2. Properly positioning the bait: Place small amounts of the mixture in shallow containers or on small pieces of cardboard and position them near the identified rat entry points or high-traffic areas. Make sure the bait is out of reach of pets and children.

Monitoring and Adjusting the Treatment

  1. Assessing the success of the method: Monitor the baited areas for signs of rat activity and bait consumption. Replace the bait as needed and adjust the placement if necessary.
  2. Reapplying or changing strategies: If the baking soda method does not seem to be effective, consider trying other control methods or consulting a professional pest control service.

Potential Drawbacks and Risks of Using Baking Soda for Rat Control

While baking soda may be a more environmentally friendly option, it is not without its drawbacks:

  • Safety concerns for pets and children: If ingested in large amounts, baking soda can be harmful to pets and children. Make sure to place the bait out of their reach.
  • Environmental impact: While baking soda is less toxic than traditional rat poisons, it can still have an impact on the environment if used excessively.
  • Ineffectiveness for certain rat species or infestations: Baking soda may not be effective against all rat species or in cases of severe infestations. It may also be less effective if rats have access to other food sources.
  • Potential for developing baking soda-resistant rats: There is a possibility that rats may develop resistance to baking soda over time, especially if it is used as the primary control method.

Alternative Methods for Rat Control

If baking soda does not work for your rat problem, consider these alternative solutions:

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

IPM is a comprehensive approach to rat control that focuses on prevention, exclusion, and targeted treatment:

  1. Prevention and exclusion techniques: Seal any gaps, holes, and cracks in the building’s exterior to prevent rats from entering. Remove potential food sources by storing food in airtight containers and keeping garbage in sealed bins.
  2. Sanitation and habitat modification: Keep your living environment clean and uncluttered to reduce potential hiding spots for rats. Trim trees and shrubs around your property to minimize potential access points for roof rats.
  3. Trapping and removal: Use snap traps or live traps to capture individual rats, and then remove them from your property.

Professional Pest Control Services

If you are unable to manage a rat infestation on your own, consider hiring a professional pest control service. They have the expertise, equipment, and access to specialized products to effectively eliminate rat populations.

Biological Control Options

  1. Natural predators: Encourage the presence of natural rat predators, such as owls, snakes, and cats, to help control rat populations.
  2. Bacterial and viral agents: Some biological control agents, such as Bacillus thuringiensis and rodent-specific viruses, can be used to target rats without harming other animals. However, their availability and effectiveness may vary depending on local regulations and environmental factors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s answer the most frequently asked questions about baking soda and rats.

1. Is baking soda effective for getting rid of rats?

No, you should not use baking soda to repel rats. Baking soda is a common household item that can be used for many purposes, but it will not deter rats from entering your home or property. Rats are attracted to food sources and other sources of nutrition, not baking soda. In addition, the presence of baking soda may actually attract more rodents as they will try to eat it. It is better to use appropriate deterrents such as electronic rat repellents, ultrasonic sound devices or natural repellents like peppermint oil and cayenne pepper rather than baking soda.

2. Where should I place the rat baits?

Rat baits should be placed in areas of the house where rats are most likely to travel. This includes along walls and behind large appliances, furniture, and boxes. Place rat baits near known rat activity, like droppings or nests, as well as any entry points that rats may be using to get inside your home. Make sure to place the bait out of reach of children and pets. Additionally, it is important to remember that rat baits are poisonous and can cause harm if not handled properly. Wear gloves when handling the bait and dispose of any unused bait safely according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

3. When shouldn’t you use baking soda to get rid of rats?

In our opinion, baking soda should not be used as a rat control solution. As it is an abrasive substance, it can cause irritation or damage to the rat’s skin if ingested. Additionally, rats have a very sensitive sense of smell and could be driven away by the strong scent of baking soda. Furthermore, baking soda does not actually kill rats – it only masks odors and can provide temporary relief from infestations. In order to effectively get rid of rats, you should use traps or exclusion techniques in combination with proper sanitation measures such as sealing off entry points and removing potential food sources around your home.

4. Will baking soda rat traps harm other animals?

No, baking soda rat traps will not harm other animals. Baking soda is a non-toxic substance and it does not have any toxic or chemical substances that can be dangerous to other animals if ingested. In fact, baking soda is often used as an ingredient in many natural remedies for pets. When used properly, baking soda can help get rid of rat infestations without putting the health of other animals at risk. It’s important to note, however, that baking soda should only be used as a temporary solution and that more permanent solutions are often necessary to solve the problem.

5. What can I mix baking soda with to kill rats?

Baking soda can be mixed with a number of ingredients to make an effective rat-killing mixture. Rat bait such as oatmeal, cornmeal, flour, sugar, and other grains can be combined with baking soda to create a poisonous mix that rats won’t be able to resist. Additionally, adding small amounts of grease or oil helps the mixture stick together better so it’s easier for rats to consume. Finally, it may also be beneficial to sprinkle some cayenne pepper onto the bait as rats are particularly sensitive to spicy foods. All of these ingredients are safe for use around humans and pets but should always be used with caution when kept in areas accessible by children or animals.


While baking soda may be a more eco-friendly and humane option for rat control, its effectiveness can vary and may not be suitable for all situations. When deciding on a rat control method, consider the specific circumstances of your infestation, the potential risks and benefits of each approach, and the need for a comprehensive, integrated strategy. In cases of severe infestations, it is advisable to consult a professional pest control service to ensure the problem is effectively addressed.


  • Nathan Collins

    Having spent years working in the landscaping industry, Nathan Collins has cultivated a wealth of knowledge about the natural world. He is committed to helping others appreciate the beauty in their backyards, whether it's through identifying rare rocks and minerals or crafting the perfect landscape.

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