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Will rats get into your bed?

Rats getting into your bed is a common concern for many homeowners. Having rats invade your personal sleeping space can be alarming and downright disgusting. However, there are ways to prevent and get rid of rats in your bedroom. Here’s what you need to know about rat infestations in beds.

Can rats really get into your bed?

Yes, rats can and will get into your bed if given the opportunity. Rats are adept climbers and can crawl up the sides of most beds. They are also small enough to sneak in through tiny gaps and holes in the bed frame or mattress. Once inside, rats will burrow and nest in the warm, cozy environment.

Beds provide everything a rat looks for – shelter, warmth, and soft, shreddable materials for nest building. Mattresses, pillows, and bedding are appealing nesting spots. Rats will chew, shred, and soil bedding materials with their urine and feces.

Warning signs that rats have infested your bed include:

  • Droppings in or around the bed
  • Nesting materials like shredded paper or fabric
  • Chewing damage to wood frames or mattresses
  • Greasy rub marks along walls or bed legs from rat bodies
  • A musky, urine-like odor

If you observe any of these signs, it’s important to take action right away to get rid of the rats and prevent further infestation.

Why do rats try to get in beds?

Rats get into beds for three main reasons:

  1. Seeking shelter. Rats look for warm, protected places to build nests and sleep during the day.
  2. Finding food. Rats are drawn to crumbs and food residue in beds.
  3. Chewing and shredding materials. Rats need to constantly gnaw to keep their teeth worn down. They use bedding for this purpose.

Beds satisfy all these needs nicely. The inner framework offers secluded shelter. Crumbs often accumulate in sheets and mattresses. And bedding provides endless shreddable nesting material.

Rats will return to a bed again and again once they find it suitable. The more rats invade, the larger the infestation can grow.

How do rats get in beds?

Rats use several routes to get inside beds:

  • Climbing up bed legs
  • Crawling through openings in the mattress or frame
  • Squeezing through cracks along walls and flooring
  • Traveling through holes in walls from other infested areas
  • Climbing drapes, furniture, or other objects near the bed

Rats can crawl through astonishingly small gaps as narrow as 1/2 inch wide. They will investigate any loose or separated seams, joints, or edges. Damaged areas from chewing or wear provide easy access.

Beds pushed against walls give rats a “jumping off” point. They’ll scale the wall and drop down into hiding spots inside the bed.

What damage can rats cause in beds?

An infestation of rats inside a mattress or bed frame can cause significant damage. Rats will chew, urinate, and defecate anywhere they please. The most common damage includes:

  • Holes chewed in mattresses, box springs, and bedding
  • Urine stains and feces on mattresses and bedding
  • Wood frames chewed down and weakened
  • Nests built from shredded materials inside frames and mattresses
  • Greasy rub marks along walls, frames, and carpeting

In addition to physical damage, rats also spread diseases. Their urine and droppings contain germs and bacteria harmful to humans. Items contaminated by rats should be thrown away to prevent sickness.

How to keep rats out of beds

Preventing rats from getting into beds takes diligence and maintenance. Here are ways to rat-proof your bed:

  • Inspect the bed frame and mattresses for holes, loose seams, or gaps. Seal all openings with caulk, metal kick plates, wire mesh, or other sturdy materials.
  • Keep bedding tucked in tightly and beds pushed fully against walls to eliminate space behind or underneath.
  • Check for cracks along walls and floors near the bed. Seal any openings wider than 1/4 inch.
  • Keep food and crumbs cleaned up around the bed. Vacuum and sanitize mattresses regularly.
  • Install traps or bait stations nearby to catch rats. Focus on wall edges, corners, and along baseboards.
  • Use natural repellents like peppermint oil, cayenne pepper, or ammonia soaked cotton balls.
  • Adopt a cat – cats are excellent hunters and will deter rats.

With diligence, you can successfully exclude rats from beds. But infestations often require professional pest control to fully eliminate.

How to get rid of rats in beds

If you already have an infestation inside your bed, you’ll need to take more intensive removal steps:

  1. Wear gloves and a face mask to avoid germs. Remove all bedding and wash on high heat or discard.
  2. Vacuum and sanitize the mattress, frame, and surrounding area thoroughly.
  3. Place glue boards or snap traps around the bed frame to catch rats.
  4. Inspect for access points and seal up holes with steel wool, caulk, or other durable fillers.
  5. Consider professional pest control if the infestation is severe. Fumigation or heat treatments can kill all hiding rats.
  6. Monitor for several weeks and continue trapping rats until activity ceases.
  7. Soiled mattresses may need to be discarded and replaced if too contaminated.

Eliminating an existing infestation requires dedication. Rats are quick to return and re-infest if vulnerabilities remain. Sealing access thoroughly shuts down their ability to build nests inside the cozy environment of your bed.

Natural repellents and deterrents

For mild or potential infestations, natural repellents can help make beds less appealing:

  • Peppermint oil – Rats dislike the strong scent. Soak cotton balls and tuck them in hidden crevices.
  • Cayenne pepper – Sprinkling this spicy powder deters rats. Reapply after cleaning.
  • Ammonia – The pungent odor drives rats away. Wipe or spray it along rat access points.
  • Moth balls – The naphthalene smell repels rats. Use them short-term only in ventilated areas.
  • Ultrasonic devices – Emit high-frequency sounds that bother rat’s sensitive hearing.

Note that rats can eventually adapt and ignore smells or sounds. But combined with exclusion methods, these options add extra rat-proofing power.

When to call a professional exterminator

If simple trapping and exclusion fails to eliminate rats from your bed, professional pest control may be needed. Call an exterminator if:

  • There are more than 2-3 rats trapped per day
  • New rats appear after sealing access holes
  • You hear rats fighting or running inside mattresses
  • Droppings or urine soak through the mattress
  • There is extreme damage to the bed frame, mattress, or nearby walls
  • You or family members have health issues that rats could exacerbate

Professional exterminators have powerful tools to kill rats and destroy nesting spots inside bed frames. Fumigation tents or targeted heat treatments can penetrate deep into infested mattresses as well. This gives the most thorough rat removal results.


Rats can definitely find their way into beds by climbing frames, scaling nearby objects, and squeezing through tiny openings. They are attracted to the warmth, shelter, and shreddable materials inside mattresses. An infestation can cause disgusting and unhealthy conditions through feces, urine, and pathogens left behind.

Fortunately, rats can be deterred and excluded through careful inspection and sealing access points. Natural repellents provide extra protection. Trapping and professional treatment may be needed for severe existing infestations. But with diligence and maintenance, you can successfully keep rats out of your bed and get a clean, restful night’s sleep.