5 DIY Rat Poisons from Basic Pantry Ingredients

For being so small, rats can be a truly huge problem. Whether they are in your home or just lurking on the homestead, there’s no end to the trouble they can cause.

mouse poison featured

They routinely poach eggs, kill chicks and ducklings, contaminate feed, and spread nasty diseases that you, your family, and your animals can catch. They also tear up insulation and wiring, and generally just stink the whole place up. I despise them, and you should too…

But getting rid of rats is easier said than done. They’re mostly nocturnal, and they stick to the shadows and out-of-the-way places where people and even cats cannot reach.

One of your best weapons in the war against rodent kind is poison. Poison baits exploit a rat’s constant hunger and deployed properly will certainly kill.

But over-the-counter rat baits are very expensive and may not prove to be any more effective than time-tested DIY solutions. I’ll tell you what you need to know to make your own effective rat poison in this article, and give you guidance on how to place them for maximum lethality.

Warning: Be Careful Even with DIY Rodent Control Solutions

Before we go any further, I want to impress upon you that it’s critical to stay focused when concocting and deploying any of these DIY rat poisons.

I don’t think it’s any exaggeration to say that most folks are entirely acquainted with the risks of actual, commercially produced rat poison.

But, for some reason, I’ve noticed a disturbing tendency for folks to sort of turn off the cautionary part of their brain when mixing up the same thing from a common household goods.

I understand it, I think: a lack of conspicuous skull-and-crossbones and dire warnings about danger on the packaging might lull people into a false sense of security…

You cannot let that happen though! These homemade baits can still prove to be extremely deadly to all other animals, especially pets, and potentially children and adults if mishandled.

You need to constantly think about proper employment that will minimize the risks of cross-contamination, inadvertent consumption and other harm when using any of the techniques or recipes presented in this article.

What You’ll Need

You don’t need much to craft your own DIY rat poison at home. You’ll need some stuff to measure and handle ingredients safely for mixing, and maybe a couple of things in order to deploy it for maximum effectiveness.

Measuring Cups: most of the ingredients we will be working with can be combined by weight or by volume, and I prefer the latter. You can use any conventional measuring cups for the purpose, scaling recipes up or down depending on your requirements and how many stations you need.

I strongly recommend that you use a dedicated set of measuring cups separate from the ones that you use in your kitchen every day (unless you’ll be working with only the completely safe ingredients on our list).

Mixing Bowl: a large mixing bowl to combine and stir ingredients together will make your life easy. I prefer a plastic or glass one to ensure no reactivity with some of the chemical ingredients we will feature later.

I again strongly urge you to use one that isn’t an everyday kitchen implement unless you’re only going to be working with completely non-toxic ingredients.

Mixing Utensil: something to stir and mix all of the ingredients together. You can use a fork, a spatula, or anything else. A whisk is handy for powder-only recipes. Just make sure it is sturdy and that you don’t mind discarding it or keeping it for utility use only after you’re finished.

Small Saucers or Cups: for some of the formulas on our list you’ll need a small saucer or cup for each bait station that you’re going to put out.

Some folks have good success with repurposed jar lids, but I think they are too shallow to be easy to handle. I like to use disposable condiment cups or cheap ashtrays for the purpose.

Gloves: wear gloves for all of the following operations. Better safe than sorry when mixing, and even if you’re working with completely safe and non-toxic ingredients, you’ll be working in and around areas where rats and mice have frequently traveled. Gloves will help keep you safe from contracting diseases.

And that is all you need. Time to get on to the recipes.

5 DIY Rat Poison Recipes

Below are five proven DIY rat poison recipes. Read all of the required ingredients and steps carefully before you decide to proceed.

Recipe #1: Bleach and Peanut Butter

One of the most effective and most lethal DIY rat poisons out there uses nothing more than common bleach and peanut butter.

Take care to not let the bleach come into contact with any metal during the mixing or placing process because it can be highly reactive. Other than that, it is quick, easy, and cheap to make.


  • Chlorine bleach, unscented.
  • Peanut butter.


Add one tablespoon of bleach to the bowl for every two tablespoons of peanut butter you are using:

mixing bleach and peanut butter
mixing bleach and peanut butter

Stir thoroughly to incorporate and make sure the peanut butter isn’t runny. If it is, add a little more butter and stir again until it takes on a normal consistency.

Place saucers or small cups of the mixture where you know rats are traveling or living. Take great care to keep this mixture out of the reach of pets! Regular ingestion will lead to death by internal hemorrhaging or organ failure.

mouse bait peanut butter and bleach

Investigate bait stations and refill as needed; replace with fresh mixture every 2 to 3 days.

Recipe #2: Baking Soda, Flour and Sugar

A good rat poison recipe that takes a little bit of time to kill compared to the previous one, but it has the advantage of remaining viable much longer. It’s also easier and safer to mix because it doesn’t use bleach…

mixing baking soda sugar and flour
mixing baking soda sugar and flour


  • Baking soda.
  • Flour, any kind.
  • Sugar, any kind.


Mix equal parts of all ingredients in a bowl. Use measuring cups to ensure accuracy and a consistent mixture. Stir thoroughly, and shake to fully combine and incorporate.

Place saucers or cups of poison anywhere you know rats are traveling or living. The sugar and flour will attract them, and as they eat, the mixture the baking soda will fatally disrupt their digestive tract, resulting in death eventually.

Make sure you check on the bait stations every couple of days and refill as needed. This bait stays viable and dangerous permanently after mixing, so it’s great for depopulating an area over time – with minimal risks to people or pets.

Recipe #3: Instant Mashed Potatoes

No, that’s not a typo. Nothing more than common, run-of-the-mill instant mashed potatoes can be all you need to eliminate rats and mice. It’s true!

It kills because, as mice eat the mixture, it will swell up in their stomachs and the starchiness will eventually block their digestive tract and result in death.

instant mashed potatoes rat bait
instant mashed potatoes rat bait

Even though it is much slower than other methods, it’s still one of my favorites because the ingredients are totally safe for people and pets… assuming, of course, you don’t let your pets eat as much of this stuff as they want!


  • Instant mashed potato flakes.


Nothing to this one, simply place generous portions of mashed potato flakes anywhere you know rats are looking for food, or near their nests.

The larger the rodent, the more they’ll have to eat, and the more they’ll need to eat over time, to ensure a kill – so buy plenty and refill bait stations regularly.

Recipe #4: Plaster of Paris, Sugar, Cornmeal and Milk

An ingenious and devastating mixture, this one kills rats stone-cold dead by solidifying in their stomach and digestive tract, completely blocking it and causing heinous internal injuries.

It’s a bad way to go, but it has advantages: it’s adaptable to lots of different situations and does not require containers for bait thanks to its consistency. As always, make sure there is no way that kids or pets can get to the stuff.


  • Plaster of Paris.
  • Sugar, any kind.
  • Cornmeal.
  • Milk, any kind.


Mix equal parts plaster of Paris and cornmeal in a mixing bowl. Measure both carefully to ensure proper consistency. To this mixture, add the same amount of sugar. Then, slowly add milk, stirring and incorporating as you go. You’ll usually need four parts milk to every one part of plaster and cornmeal.

Keep adding milk slowly and stirring until you don’t notice any dry granules in the mixture.

Once it takes on a dough-like consistency, put your gloves on and then start kneading it thoroughly until it takes on the texture of modeling clay. If it’s too wet, add more of your dry ingredients in equal proportions.

Once the mixture is properly prepared, you can tear off small hunks and then roll them into balls. Aim for something about the size of a ping-pong ball or golf ball.

Place the bait balls anywhere you know rats are frequenting or near nesting areas for best results. Again, make sure you keep them out of reach of pets and children!

Recipe #5: Boric Acid and Chicken Broth

Another deadly concoction, this time a liquid. It’s somewhat messier to prepare, and can be a little more challenging to place without making a mess.

Nevertheless, has proven very appealing to all kinds of mice and rats and can be used in conjunction with the other dry baits on our list to maximize opportunistic feeding from picky pests.


  • Boric acid.
  • Chicken broth, any kind.


Mix equal parts of chicken broth and boric acid in your mixing container. Stir or whisk thoroughly, being careful to minimize splashing.

Once the mixture is fully incorporated, take the time to either place your bait cups or trays and then add solution using a dropper or ladle, or fill your bait stations and then carefully place them without spilling.

Check on the mixture every couple of days for refilling and replacement in case of evaporation and be extremely cautious to keep this away from pets, particularly dogs!

Safety First When Handling Poison Baits!

Most of the DIY formulas on our list are nowhere near as directly dangerous to people and other animals as actual rodenticides, but they should still be handled cautiously.

Ingredients like plaster powder and boric acid, to say nothing of bleach, can be directly harmful to skin and mucous membranes, and potentially even an inhalation hazard if you have an accident.

For that reason, it’s in your best interest to always wear proper protective equipment when preparing and placing your homebrew rat poison. Be especially cautious to avoid contaminating surfaces that you use or are in contact with regularly.

Where to Place the Bait

So you know rats are around, but where do you place the bait exactly if you want them to get it? If you know they’ve been rating a particular area for food, bit animal feed or your own stuff, if you can safely place a bait station or two there that is definitely a great way to start getting some kills.

But other areas that will ensure success include high-traffic paths that rats and mice take regularly, and anywhere that you suspect a nest is nearby.

For locating high-traffic areas, look along walls and other vertical surfaces where they meet the floor for areas that:

  • are conspicuously swept clean of dust,
  • have odd greasy marks, residual pools of urine or droppings,
  • which look like brown grains of rice- exact size dependent upon the specimens in question.

These are all indicators that rodents are around, since they habitually stick close to walls for safety and comfort. Anywhere you locate these paths, place a couple of bait stations in areas of cover where critters will feel secure eating.

Remember, the cardinal rule is to keep bait out of reach of susceptible children, pets, and all other animals that might come into contact with it. Poison, even the homemade kind, is an indiscriminate killer!

You should also keep in mind that these poisons take time to work, and rats that are close to death or highly likely to retreat into an enclosed area or nesting location…

This could mean in or around your home, so be prepared to deal with the stench or else go to the trouble of locating and extricating the corpse.

How Fast Does DIY Poison Bait Work?

Poison baits will kill, of course, but how fast do they kill? It depends on the lethality of the mixture and the size of the animal, along with the dosage.

Generally speaking, recipes above that incorporate chemicals like bleach or boric acid, or other inedible indigestible stuff like plaster, kill quicker than those that depend on simply harmful foods like instant mashed potatoes.

As a rule of thumb, the larger the rodent, the longer it takes to kill – unless the dosage is very high. This is why I encourage you to put out plenty of bait at every station. If a hungry rat comes along and gorgeous on the bait, that might be lights out in short order.

But generally speaking, according to the variables, your baits might take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days to kill assuming that the target rodent is eating them.

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1 thought on “5 DIY Rat Poisons from Basic Pantry Ingredients”

  1. What are the risks to secondary animals, those who eat the dead mouse/rat, especially the boric acid or bleach recipes?


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