Clover Plants: Here’s How To Use Them To Repel Rats

clover up close to repel rats

Thinking about a rat infestation in your home can be quite the startling thought. The word ‘rat’ brings garbage and sewers to the forefront of our minds which are two things we don’t want in our homes! If you know rats live in your area, there are several ways to keep them from making your home their home.

Rats rely heavily on their sense of smell to locate food sources. You can use this behavior against them by using scents that they hate to deter them.

Research has shown that clover juice, especially when fermented, is repellent to rats and keeps them from feeding and chewing. This, coupled with exclusion methods can greatly improve your rat defenses and keep them out of your home.

Keep reading to learn how to use clover plants to help repel rats from your home. We’ll also give you some other tips to help you make your home rat-proof!

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Why Do Rats Hate Clovers?

The exact reason why rats hate clovers isn’t fully understood. However, when researchers from the Egyptian Academic Journal of Biological Sciences analyzed the composition of clover juice, bromine compounds were found in high concentrations. They basically found that clover juice with higher concentrations of bromine compounds was more repellent to rats.

How To Use Clover To Repel Rats

There are a few different ways to use clover plants to keep rats away. Whether you use the whole plant or its juices, rats won’t be very happy when they encounter the clover scent. However, you’ll need to know where to put your rat repellent to make sure it is effective. 

Where you place the repellant depends on what type of rat you have.

There are a variety of other plants that rats find repulsive. For more info, check out our full list of 15 Scents That Rats Hate.

green clover outside to repel rats in lawn

Know What Type Of Rat You’re Dealing With

Different types of rodents in the home tend to be found in different places. Knowing which type of rodent you’re dealing with will help you focus your efforts to get rid of them in the right place. Below is a table to help you determine what type of rat you’re dealing with or if a mouse is actually the culprit. 

Rodents are pretty good at staying hidden so you may have to rely on other means to identify them. Unfortunately, their droppings may be the easiest thing for you to find and use to identify them. Rat droppings can help you determine the size of the infestation and where to focus your efforts to get rid of them.

When searching for and cleaning up rodent droppings, always wear disposable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.

Differences Between Most Common House Rodents

Norway ratBurrowers, typically stay close to the ground in basements, crawl spaces, or the first floorAround 13 to 18 inches long including the tail, tail shorter than the body, blunt snout, hairless tail, brown coat, droppings about 3/4 inch long with blunt ends
Roof ratClimbers, typically found in attics, drop ceilings, or wallsAround 13 to 18 inches long including the tail, tail longer than the body, blunt snout, hairless tail, black coat, droppings about 1/2 long with pointed ends
House mouseClimbers, can be found hiding anywhere in the house but prefers enclosed, cluttered areasAround 7.5 inches long including the tail, pointed snout, tail slightly hairy, droppings about 1/4 inch long with pointed ends
wild norway rat standing infront of log
Norway Rat

Clover Flowers Produce The Most Scent

The flowers are the most aromatic part of the clover plant. You can use this to your advantage and use them to repel rats. 

Harvest the white flowers they produce and place them in small piles in areas you want to keep rats out of. The flowers will last for 3 to 5 days before they begin to dry out and lose their scent. This method is a bit more labor intensive because you’ll have to replace the flowers every few days.

Another option is to create a liquid spray using the flowers. Collect the flowers and soak them overnight in water. You can chop them up a bit before putting them into the water to help release the juices and oils.

The following day, use a strainer to remove the flowers and pour the water into a spray bottle. Now you can easily spray the liquid repellant where it’s needed. The liquid won’t be as strong as the flowers themselves, but it will be easier to apply and reapply as needed.

While flowers work great, clovers typically only flower in spring and summer. So how can you use clovers when they aren’t flowering? Luckily, the juices from leaves and stems can also be used to repel rats as well!

Clover Plant Juices Smells Terrible To Rats

The juices found in clover contain tons of bromine compounds which rats hate the smell of. You can use this to your advantage by extracting the juice to make a spray to repel rats.

Clover juice isn’t something you’re going to find for sale, so you’ll need to make your own. The best way to extract the juices is using a juicer.

I would suggest purchasing a cheap blender that you won’t be using in your kitchen since you don’t know what could be on the clovers you collect.

This Personal Blender is affordable and will get the job done quickly. You can also purchase extra cups for it. That will allow you to designate one cup for clover juicing and another for your own personal use in the kitchen!

You can simply add your clovers to the blender and shred them to bits. Then, pour the mix through a strainer and collect the juices. You can throw away the remaining plant tissue or add it to your compost bin. Add the juice to a spray bottle and you’ve got your own homemade rat repellent!

Spray it where rats are likely to enter your home. This includes around the foundation, near doors, around windows, and any other opening to your home.

But wait, where are you going to get fresh clovers from? Here are a few ways you can make sure you have fresh clovers to collect for making your rat repellent.

Growing Clovers For Repelling Rats

You may or may not have clovers growing in your lawn. If you do, you’re pretty much all set to make your repellant. If not, there are a few other ways to grow clovers you can use to deter rats.

group of green clover overhead view

Collect Clovers From Your Yard

Many of us have patches of clover growing in our lawns. Most people consider these to be undesirable weeds. If you’ve got a rat problem though, you now have an easy source of clovers you can collect and use against them!

Leave the lawn unmowed for at least a week to let the clovers grow. Use a pair of sharp scissors and simply grasp a handful of clovers and cut them off. Place the cut clovers in a container as you go along.

If you’re worried that your clovers won’t grow back, don’t! Clovers are extremely prolific and actually quite difficult to get rid of – the entire downslope of my backyard is filled with them! They will be back to normal in a couple of weeks and you’ll be able to harvest more if needed.

You Can Grow Clover In Pots

If you don’t have clover growing in your yard, and you don’t want to introduce it, you can grow it in flower pots. You’ll need some flower pots, well-draining soil, plenty of sunshine, and some clover seed.

This White Dutch Clover Seed grows well and won’t break the bank. It comes in a variety of sizes so you can purchase exactly what you need!

Fill a flower pot with soil and water it thoroughly. Then, sprinkle about 1 to 2 tablespoons of clover seed evenly over the surface. The seeds are tiny so you won’t need to cover them with soil. 

Keep the seeds and soil surface moist using a spray bottle. The soil must remain moist for the seeds to germinate. 

Consider putting a layer of plastic wrap with a few holes poked in it across the top of the flower pot. Keep it a few inches up off the soil. This will help retain moisture on the soil surface and seeds while they germinate.

After your clover germinates, make sure you water it regularly. Clovers prefer to grow in moist soil that doesn’t dry out completely. You’ll find yourself with a healthy patch of clover growing in just a few weeks!

Use Clover As A Cover Crop In The Garden

Wouldn’t it be great if you could improve your garden while repelling rats at the same time? That may seem impossible but clovers can make this dream come true! 

Your empty winter garden makes for a great place to grow some clover. It should give you plenty of space to grow plenty of clovers to make your rat repellent. Plus, clovers are nitrogen fixers. That means they add nitrogen to the soil as they grow. 

Growing them in your garden as a cover crop in winter will improve the health of the soil and reduce the amount of fertilizer you have to add in spring!

The process for growing clover in your garden is the same as growing it in flower beds.

You’ll want to make sure to remove any old plant material and weeds before you start. You can also lightly till the soil to help break up any roots left behind.

Sprinkle 1/4 to 1/2 cup of clover seed per 25 square feet of garden area. Keep the soil surface moist until the seeds germinate. Once your clover starts to grow, make sure you keep the soil from drying out completely.

After a few weeks, you’ll have plenty of clovers to help you repel rats while also improving the soil in your garden!

Rat-Proofing Your Home To Make Clover More Effective

While repellants like clover will help to keep rats away from your home, they work best when combined with other methods. The best way to ensure rats don’t invade your home is to deploy as many deterrents as possible. Combining repellants with exclusion tactics is often the most effective method.

Here’s a list of some of the best things you can use along with clovers to keep rats out of your house.

  • Make sure your outside garbage can has a secure lid to prevent rats from getting in. Having a lid on the trash can in your kitchen is also a great idea if you’re worried about rats.
  • Keep your kitchen clean. Even crumbs can be inviting to rats so make sure to wipe down counters and keep the floors clean regularly.
  • Trim back any vegetation that is against the house. This will help prevent roof rats from climbing up to your attic.
  • Seal up any holes around the outside of your home with metal mesh. Rats can squeeze through holes as small as 1/2 inch in diameter. They can also chew through most materials so metal mesh works best to keep them out.

That’s A Wrap!

No one wants to share their home with a rat or any rodent for that matter. Luckily, clovers can be used to help keep rats from entering your home!

Whether you’re dealing with Norway rats or roof rats, they hate the smell of the bromine compounds in clover. Clover is a common lawn weed and is also simple to grow, making it easily accessible to use as a repellent.

You can use the flowers or the entire plant to make a liquid spray to deter rats. Don’t forget, repellants work best when you combine them with other methods to keep rats out of your house.

If you find you already have a rat in the house, don’t fret! Check out our article on the 6 Things To Do If You Find A Rat In Your House.


Kandil, R. A., Mobarak, S. A., & Abdelhady, E. A. (2021). Testing the Repellent Effect of Clover Plant, Trifollium alexandrium Juice Against Black Rat, Rattus rattus, to Protect Stores. Egyptian Academic Journal of Biological Sciences, B. Zoology, 13(1), 173-181.

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