How to Repel Mice?

Wild Mouse Eating an Apple
Wild Mouse Eating an Apple

Finding that a mouse has taken up residence in your home is never a pleasant experience. These troublesome critters can make life a nuisance, breeding and multiplying, scurrying across your kitchen countertops and contaminating your food. Don’t throw up your hands in frustration. Send these rogue rodents packing with a few strategic moves.

Peppermint or Spearmint Oil

Mice are repulsed by the smell of peppermint and spearmint. Some experts even report that they are allergic to the scent. Use a small amount of concentrated peppermint or spearmint oil sprinkled on cotton balls to keep the mice from entering your home. Strategically place the cotton balls in areas that mice prefer, such as under cabinets, behind stoves and refrigerators and in corners. Mice have a keen sense of smell, so it only takes a few drops to send them scurrying in the other direction. Beware that the mice will reappear when the smell dissipates, so make sure to refresh the cotton balls periodically to keep your home mouse-free.

Fabric Softener Sheets

Many people swear by fabric softener sheets as an effective means to repel mice from their homes. Mice do not like the smell of fabric softener sheets, and will move elsewhere to find food and water. Place fabric softener sheets strategically around your home. Make sure to distribute them evenly around the house. You don’t want to inadvertently direct them to a different part of the home to seek refuge from the smell. Mice may become acclimated to the smell after prolonged exposure, so be sure to refresh your dryer sheets often for maximum effectiveness.

Electronic Mouse Repellant

Electronic devices work by projecting a high-pitched noise that only mice can hear. This eardrum-blasting noise sends the mice running for the nearest exit as the sound is unbearable to their sensitive ears. Electronic mouse repellants usually plug into a standard outlet, and will not interfere with your home’s electrical system. Although the frequency of the electronic mouse repellant is too high to be picked up by the human ear, it may be perceptible to your small rodent pets, such as hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs. These devices are safe for use around larger pets such as dogs and cats.

Fox Urine/Rodent Powders

Powdered rodent repellant works by mimicking the scent of animals that are a mouse’s natural predator, such as bobcats, foxes and wolves. This concentrated powder has a smell imperceptible to humans, but easily picked up by the rodent’s sensitive nose. Sprinkle rodent powder around the perimeter of your home to keep mice out, and in the interior to drive out existing mice. Fox urine works in the same manner, giving the mouse the impression that a predator is lurking nearby. Some experts report that spraying fox urine or sprinkling rodent powder has limited effectiveness, as mice will start to return after a period of time if they don’t actually see a fox or cat. Rodent powder and fox urine is available at most hardware

Guard the Perimeter

Keep mice out of your home by finding their points of entry and closing them off to a critter infestation. Look around the exterior of your home for cracks in the foundation, small holes and openings where mice may be entering. Seal cracks tightly, as mice have been known to chew through hard substances to gain access to homes. Be sure to rid your home of existing mice, as you may also prevent mice from exiting when you seal off the points of entry.

Many people wonder how to repel mice from their home, and agonize over this pesky problem. By following a few simple steps, you can be well on your way to a mouse free home in no time.


Author: Kelly

Kelly Sperber has been a professional writer for 5 years. She joined TheHousingForum Team in January, 2011. Kelly enjoys skydiving, attending fashion shows, and gardening in her spare time.

16 thoughts on “How to Repel Mice?”

  1. Mice are NOT repelled by the scent of peppermint.  I’ll tell you how I know that — I am a teacher and I left a bag of peppermints (made with real peppermint oil) in my desk over the summer.  When I came back to work in August, mice had chewed off the plastic on several of the candies  and the candies were licked until the red color was gone.  Grossed me out!!! 

    1. Uh, sugar-filled peppermint candy are a far cry from peppermint oil, which is actually supposed to be used to deter rodents.

    2. It has to be a 100% peppermint oil if your mints where 100% you would not be able to handle sucking and eating them your tongue would burn as if it where on fire just as bad as clove oil.

  2. Happybooker98, perhaps the reason the peppermint candy didn’t repel the mice was because the oil’s fragrance had already dissipated by the time the mice got into the candy.  It’s mostly the strong aroma that they don’t like, not the taste.

  3. We have  a HUGE mouse problem. It got so worse this summer that droppings were found in the car. Gross!! I actually tried 100% peppermint oil and it didn’t do squat. I placed it on a cotton ball and threw them in my car. Sometime later, they had ripped the cotton ball into shreds and pooped on it. I think another time, a cotton ball was found outside…? Even the disgusting scent of fox urine didn’t even do the trick. It didn’t just “keep the mice away” it kept ME away from my own car. I’ve heard about mothballs working…I swear I’ve tried everything. We live in a wild area and it’s hard to find a million holes to seal up since mice can get into the smallest holes as small as a quarter! Setting traps helped us capture 6 or 7 mice but that’s probably not even a fraction of their population…ugh hate mice with a passion. Next on the list is getting a cat!!  

    1. Dana, you have my sympathy!  We live in a very rural area too and have a huge problem with mice off and on.   I’ve seen them come in through an electrical wall outlet before.  And I’ve had them eat through the wires on my car too. 

      The best way to deal with mice is to use a combination of the different methods.  Try combining these ideas:  a) plant mint and spearmint in various areas of the yard and around the base of the house; b) use real cedar planks/log siding on the bottom half of the house or use several cedar flower boxes filled with mint plants next to the house and where you park your car; c) set out mice traps in strategic locations; d) keep all foods in tightly sealed plastic containers, and e) get several cats and keep them slightly hungry and a bit feral- they only kill mice when they’re hungry or being playful and will sit right next to a mouse and ignore it otherwise.  You might also try using cedar oil instead of mint oil.  The cotton balls have to be replaced every few days in order to be effective, since the smell will dissipate over time.

      As for fabric softener sheets, they only work for a few days at a time too for the same reason.  The main thing to remember is that it’s the strong, overwhelming odors that deter mice and rats, which means that anything will quit working once their scents start to fade.  Every method only works some of the time, as each method has its drawbacks.  Anything with a scent requires renewing the potency of the scent.  Any trap has to be constantly emptied, baited and reset.  Any plants have to be kept watered and nurtured in order for the plant to survive and reach it’s highest potency level.  Cats and other animals aren’t always hungry or playful enough to go after the mice and rats.  Cedar logging and cedar storage chests can be expensive and may lose some of the potency of the cedar oil over time.  Mice can sometimes chew through plastic containers.  And they will use the cotton balls and fabric softener sheets to help line their nests once the dreaded scent fades away.  Also, the mice will get into the cat food if it’s not properly stored away.

  4. I had mice in my home and i brought peppermint oil and placed it on cotton balls and put it into vents behind my stove and other areas around my house, The next morning when i awaken we did not have an signs of mice. I rather continue this method to keep the critters out of my home.

  5. Can assure you mice like peppermint oil. I was told they didnt so few years back having mouse problems in my house I put down 100% pure peppermint oil on seeing a mosue. The mouse however came out from behind the sofa and stayed eating the concentrated oil sniffing and looking at me freaking me out and only left at my screams.

  6. Anyone tried snakes? Where can mouse eating ones be bought ? Why can’t freak govt. stop
    raising rats mice and mosquitoes etc to sell vaccines/chemicals and eliminate them instead of
    us. NOT ONE mouse for forty years NOW super mice chewing thru walls to get in…a plaque !

  7. as a massage therapist i suggest to those that tried peppermint to make sure you are actually getting the real deal on peppermint oil because most stores like bath and body works bed bath and beyond,walmart and stores like these do not sell a 100% peppermint oil they lie and will say this but other indregients are added into it like fregrance and there should not be any others except peppermint oil. to buy the real deal is to go find it online or go to a local massage business and ask about where they buy theirs

  8. I am dealing with an infestation in my vehicle! It’s the WORST! I’ve been fighting this for a good 3 weeks!
    I have 2 small children in car seats- since discovering the invasion- I’ve removed car seats, washed, power washed, bleached carpet, vacuumed (they got under my carpet in a section under the seats where carpets come together & used the foam padding to build their nests) peppermint oil (the real deal) fabric softeners, liquid scent booster on carpets, a plug in ozone generator, rubber snakes, baking soda, vacuumed every single day for a week straight to be able to spot any new evidence, bait, traps, sticky pads….. these things are beyond smart and resilient- keep rebuilding nests in same places and more! I’m completely at a loss other than letting the car burn! I drive it every day! Have two kicking and screaming kids! How is that not deterrent enough!? Ugh! I have a VERY strict rule of no eating or drinking in the vehicle now. They are so gross! I’ve caught two. And I can always tell when there’s been a newly created nest bc the urine smell is ungodly! I have a very sensitive nose! This is what to wish on an enemy!

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