Repelling Mice With Smells They Hate

October 3, 2021

We all agree that the most straightforward way of controlling rodent population in our homes is using poison baits like the highly toxic synthetic pesticides and rodenticides. This method of controlling rodents is however considered to have a number of disadvantages:

  • It is only a temporary control measure as rodents re-infest the home after sometime. Killing rodents with poison may lead to a scenario where a small population is left with huge food resources. Plenty of food provides ground for reproduction and in turn their numbers increase to unmanageable levels.
  • The pesticide formulation may stop working against the rodents due to resistance. It is common knowledge that pests develop resistance to pesticides and rodents are no exception.
  • Rodents may easily learn to avoid the bait in preference for familiar food alternatives.
  • Using poison baits has the risk of inadvertently poisoning non-target animals including our pets and household members.

It is therefore important to device alternatives that pose no health risk to us but capable of deterring rodents from our homes. But why should you be so much concerned by the presence of these animals in your homes? Wouldn’t it be easier to just coexist peacefully with them?

Rodents such as rats and mice are considered pests because their presence in our living places have significant economic and health consequences. We therefore cannot ignore their presence in and around our homes.

  • They cause structural damage to our homes by gnawing on wood
  • Rats and mice create fire hazards by gnawing on electrical installations
  • They are vectors of viruses, bacteria and ectoparasites hence a public health hazard
  • Rodents feed on and destroy stored crops impacting our food security
  • They contaminate our food through their urine and droppings hence impact our food safety

The use of natural solutions like non-chemical repellents has the potential of keeping mice and rats away from our homes. They have been touted as effective alternatives to lethal chemical pesticides. These repellents have unpleasant taste and smell that the mice and rats hate. The strong scent from these repellents cause irritation in mice. The irritation may cause these animals to feel sick and develop learned smell aversions. They would associate the unpleasant smell with subsequent illness or irritation and avoid areas with such smells.

Fragrances That Mice And Rats Hate

Essential Oils

The use of natural solutions to get rid of mice and rats is desirable where the use of chemical pesticides poses danger to non-target animals or to ourselves. Available commercial rodent repellents are either made using chemicals or natural extracts with a blend of essential oils and other additives.

Essential oils have become a popular natural repellent used to get rid of mice from homes. Mice and rats hate the smell of these products although not everyone agrees that essential oils are effective rodent repellents.

Peppermint Oil

This is a natural extract from peppermint leaves with a scent that is pleasant to human beings but irritating to mice. Besides its use as a flavouring agent in foods and beverages as well as a fragrance in cosmetics, it also used to repel mice from homes.

To use this product as a mice deterrent you need:

  • 2 tea spoons of peppermint oil
  • A cup of water
  • 3 drops of dish soap
  • One spray bottle

Steps to prepare this repellent at home:

  • Mix the peppermint oil, water and dish soap together in the spray bottle
  • Soak cotton balls in a few drops of the prepared peppermint oil solution
  • Place the soaked cotton balls where there is evidence of mice activities
  • Monitor the cotton balls and replace them when the scent fades

Tea Tree Oil

The strong scent of tea tree oil is an effective rodent repellent that keeps them away from your home.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil is one of the most effective essential oils you can use to get rid of mice from your house.

Lemon Oil

Lemon oil has a citrus fragrance which will repulse rodents from your home.

Cayenne Pepper/Chili Oil/Powder

These are hot chilis mostly used by humans to flavour food. We can harness their strong smell to keep mice away from our homes. Identify areas that are frequented by mice and sprinkle a generous amount of cayenne pepper, chili oil or powder.

Cloves and Clove Essential Oil

Cloves are dried aromatic flower buds of the clove tree. The spicy flavour of whole cloves and clove oil makes them a natural mice repellent.

Wrap cloves in a cloth or soak cotton balls in clove essential oil and place them around the home in places where mice use to gain entry.

Cedarwood Oil

Cedarwood oil contains phenols with strong scents that repel mice and other pest bugs.

Alternative Repellents

Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets are good for depositing strong smells that can deter mice from your home. Identify areas in the house where mice are common and place dryer sheets in those places. You can also look out for mice entry holes and stuff them with dryer sheets. Never forget to replace or remove them when the scent fades.

Irish Spring Soap

This is an American brand of deodorant soap whose smell can be harnessed to keep the mice away. Grate 2 – 3 bars of Irish spring soap to have a reasonable pile of shavings. Identify the places frequented by mice and sprinkle the shavings around those areas.

Rotten Onions

You can harness the power of the pungent smell of rotting onions to deter mice from your home.

Baking Powder

Sprinkling a good amount of baking powder in areas frequented by mice should help to get rid of them after a couple of days.

Moth Balls

Moth balls produce naphthalene vapour which has a strong smell and is irritating to mice and rats and can therefore be used to repel these rodents. However, naphthalene is only effective at a higher concentration, which can turn out to be toxic to our pets and household members.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Water

Apple cider vinegar is acidic and has a smell that naturally repels pests such as rodents. You can make a rodent repellent spray by mixing apple cider vinegar with water.

Generally, in any essential oil of your choice, soak cotton balls and stuff them in cracks, crevices and holes associated with rodents. Monitor the cotton balls regularly and replace them when they dry out.

Other Mice And Rat Control Options

Other than using poisons such as rodenticides and repellents to get rid of mice and rats from your home, you can also use the following options to control rodents around your home:


Mouse traps include snap traps and live traps. You can use these traps to control mice and rats in your home.

Ultrasonic Mice Repellent Devices

These gadgets produce sounds at frequencies that irritate mice. They are designed for indoor use and are safe to the environment and humans.

Steel Wool

Rodents cannot gnaw or chew steel wool. It is therefore ideal for sealing rodent holes or crevices to keep them away from your home.

Kitty Litter

Making your home look unsafe for the rodents is a good way to get rid of them. You can achieve this by creating fear using dirty kitty litter that has absorbed cat odour.

Pros And Cons Of Using Scented Repellents To Get Rid Of Mice From Our Homes

Although many experts and home owners agree that essential oils and other scented repellents can be used to get rid of mice and rats some people still do not agree it is an effective method. Regardless, using essential oils and scented repellents has some advantages and disadvantages that you should know.


  • When used in the house to repel rodents, essential oils and other scented repellents also control other pests like aphids, bed bugs, ants, roaches, flies, fleas, spiders, stink bugs, wasps and even lice.
  • They are safe for the environment and people
  • It is very easy to use these products and they are also easy to find


  • They are costly than some alternative methods of mice control like traps
  • These products have strong scents that may not be pleasant to you and your pets and can irritate the skin
  • For these methods to be effective they need to be applied repeatedly

Best Preventative Measures That Will Keep Your Home Mouse-Free All Year Round

It is said that prevention is the best cure. Therefore, to keep rodents permanently away from your home, here are some of the best preventive measures you can implement:

  • Deny rodents access to food and water sources. When your home does not provide food to rodents, they are unlikely to live there and will find somewhere else that has food resources for them.
  • Your attention should not shift away from places like your roof and basement where rodents are likely to find safe for nesting. Carry out regular home inspection and maintenance. Repair damaged roofs, breaking mortar and seal cracks and crevices that can provide entry points for rodents into your home.
  • Keep the lawn around your home short and tree branches trimmed. Long grass provides safe nesting grounds for rodents while hanging branches can be used to climb to the roof of your house.
  • Hire professional pest control companies to pest-proof your house. These companies provide intelligent solutions that permanently deter rodents from infesting your home.

Professional Rodent Control Services In Adelaide

Eliminating rats and mice from your house may require you to consider asking for professional help. Pest Aid offers professional pest management and extermination of nuisance animals from your living space. It is a South Australian family owned and operated pest control company with many years of experience in inspection and treatment of the following pest infestations:

  • Rodents
  • Termites
  • Possums
  • Spiders
  • Cockroaches
  • Flies
  • Mosquitoes
  • Ants
  • Wasps
  • Bees
  • Birds

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