How to remove a rat nest

Discovering a rat's nest in your home can be an unpleasant experience. Common rats carry many infectious agents including hantavirus, fleas and, in some Western states, the plague. Contacting a professional exterminator is one way to tackle a rat home invasion, but removing the nest and properly cleaning the area may still be up to the homeowner. Eliminate a rat's nest with careful cleanup and disposal methods.

Eliminate the rat or rats first by calling an exterminator or setting out rat traps. Carefully dispose of any dead rats by wearing rubber gloves, wrapping them in a plastic bag and placing in the garbage. Make sure the garbage will be taken away soon, so it doesn't attract other vermin or odours.

Air out the room, shed or attic that contains the rat nest by opening a window and any doors for 30 minutes. Allow natural cross-ventilation; do not use a fan or vacuum cleaner in the area, as blowing air forcefully may spread rodent viruses.

Prepare a bleach solution in a large bucket by mixing 1 part bleach to 10 parts water (1 1/2 cups of bleach to 1 gallon of water). Put on rubber or vinyl gloves before starting the cleaning process.

Disinfect any possible rat pathways. Rodents leave scent trails behind as they walk, and these attract more rats. Pathways can sometimes be seen as black streaks or they may simply be along walls from the point of home entry up to the nest. Use the bleach solution to mop these areas. Vinegar can help eliminate scent trails in places that cannot be bleached.

Mop all nearby floors around the nest with disinfectant solution. Soak any visible rodent droppings with the bleach solution for five minutes before attempting to clean them. Pick up rodent fecal matter with disposable paper towels or rags and place into a plastic trash bag.

Pour some of the bleach solution over the rat's nest and allow it to soak in for five minutes. Pick up the nest while wearing rubber gloves and place it into a medium-size plastic bag. Seal the plastic bag and place it into a second plastic bag tied securely shut. Throw the nest, paper towels and cleanup rags into a garbage can that will be regularly emptied.

Clean up the area around the nest with more bleach solution. Throw away any mop tops or sponges that were used to clean up the rat infestation. Remove rubber gloves carefully and dispose of immediately. Wash hands with soap and water, utilising a hand sanitiser to further disinfect your hands.

Seal up any possible rat entry holes in your home or call a professional contractor to help locate possible enty points. Clean up clutter in the yard and around the home. Keep food waste or pet food in sealed containers. Proper cleanup and maintenance are crucial to avoid further rat infestation.


Talk to neighbours about neighbourhood rat infestation, as rats often move from one home to another.

Things You'll Need

  • Bleach
  • Bucket
  • Rubber or vinyl gloves
  • Paper towels or disposable rags
  • Medium-size plastic bag
  • Disposable mop or sponge
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About the Author

Cassandra Gailis lives outside of Anchorage, Alaska and began writing self-improvement articles in 2010. Gailis has extensive experience in professional grant writing, health research and international travel. She holds a Master of Science degree in health education from Minnesota State University.