Black Pepper: Here’s How To Use It To Naturally Repel Mice

Wild wood mouse sitting on the forest floor

Mice may be cute, but are nothing but a headache for you and your home as they are pesky and carry a number of things into your home that you don’t want there. Hiding in walls, ceilings, cabinets, and other nooks and crannies of your home, mice are elusive, fast, and produce a ton of offspring every year. So how do we keep them away?

Rodents, such as rats and mice, have a strong sense of smell which lures them to discarded food. Since mice rely so heavily on their strong sense of smell, the strong potency of black pepper, which contains piperine, will deter them from getting closer to the source and keep them away.

Rather than elimination, this article will focus on deterring mice, or rather, keeping them away. So let’s look a little deeper into black pepper and other ways to get rid of those pesky roommates!

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Is Black Pepper A Good Mouse Repellant?

There are studies strongly suggesting that the use of black pepper is both a humane and effective tactic for keeping mice and other rodents away. Since mice rely on their strong sense of smell, the strong potency of black pepper will make them think twice when coming around certain areas of your home.

black pepper on black stone plate

Non-lethal repellents such as black pepper and cayenne pepper cause nasal irritation for these suburban vermin.

According to research published from The University of California, herbal repellents containing black pepper oil reduced the appetite in small rodents like mice. This varied in effectiveness for female and male mice, where male mice were less affected. As a result, female mice tend to be more susceptible to the effects of black pepper.

Containing the bioactive compound piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper that naturally irritates mice and rodents, black pepper is a great way to keep away rodents like mice and reduce the appetites of the females, thus reducing the amount of reproduction in the process. The less they eat, the less they mate and create offspring.

Black pepper may be a great way to curb the amount of time between minor annoyances and a full-blown infestation. When things get out of control, more extreme measures may have to be taken to protect your family long-term.

Reducing the appetites of your unwanted houseguests should help to keep them at bay. A more pungent pepper, such as cayenne pepper, can be used in combination with black pepper for a more pronounced and effective defense.

The idea of sprinkling black pepper around your kitchen and outside perimeter seems silly enough, but it will force them to avoid the area. Rodents, however, are slick and determined to find ways to get what they want. Black pepper will deter them for now, but more effective solutions should be explored to remove and keep them away permanently.

More than likely, there is some black pepper on your spice rack right now. Why not give this method a try? But remember that repelling mice is only a temporary solution.

Just to add – when you shop using links from Pest Pointers, we may earn affiliate commissions if you make a purchase. Thanks bunches for reading!

How To Use Black Pepper To Repel Mice

Thankfully for us, there are multiple ways to repel mice with black pepper.

Wild Wood mouse resting on the root of a tree on the forest floor with lush green vegetation

Use Black Pepper Essential Oil

Additionally, the study above used a concentration of 2% black pepper oil to show repel female mice. Therefor, you may you can look into getting black pepper oil concentrate and create a spray on your own.

Please note, the research study above and any products mentioned are totally independent from this article. The interpretations are based on our research.

Now, you can simply get a concentration of black pepper like SenseLAB Black Pepper Essential Oil and create a spray to repel mice. For every cup of water, add 10-15 drops of black pepper essential oil and place it into a spray bottle. You now have a mice repellent!

Use Ground Black Pepper

Simply place small piles of black pepper where the mice are most seen and that should do the trick! This includes inside cabinets, on counters, and under furniture. If your house is kept somewhat messy, they could also become comfortable under clothing and other cluttered areas.

It is also a good idea to use coffee filters to house the pepper as it will help keep the spice contained and easy to spot. Mice will avoid the pepper regardless of how it is distributed, so you might as well keep your pepper piles from getting out of hand!

It is important to note that once exposed to air, the black pepper will lose its potency over time. It is best to replace the black pepper piles (or bags) every 24-hours to ensure the highest effectiveness. Black pepper can be purchased in large quantities, like Gel Spice Ground Black Pepper if needed.

As you may not know how many mice there are or where they like to hide, it can be good to experiment with the size and location of the piles of black pepper. Add more pepper to areas you see fit and record results daily to ensure proper control.

Will Black Pepper Repel Mice Long-Term?

But wait, I already have so much to manage! Will I have to keep this up, like, forever? Good question.

Depending on your unique situation, black pepper and other deterrents may be utilized as a long-term solution. However, black pepper may not keep the mice away for extended periods and the act of placing it can become tedious.

If there is something they desperately want/need inside your home, mice, like all mammals, will instinctually find a way. The best course of action when keeping mice away is preventive measures such as keeping your home free of discarded food and clutter as much as possible.

If you live in an area where mice are almost guaranteed to make surprise visits through certain times of the year, such as New York City or other heavily-populated areas, then more permanent solutions may need to be considered. Rodents, like humans, migrate to where the conditions best suit their needs (you won’t find many surfers in Kansas!)

It is important to note that rodents are intelligent creatures. Whether you use humane deterrents like black pepper or more lethal solutions, rodents will learn to avoid these traps over time. Consulting with your local exterminators will help narrow down long-term solutions for your particular situation.

If you’re interested, you can read our piece on repelling mice from your shed here.

Wild mouse eating raspberry on log

Other Animals And Insects That Black Pepper May Repel

Mice are just one of the many animals and insects attracted to improperly discarded food, clutter, and unsanitary living conditions.

Black pepper, because of its natural irritant levels, can help deter the presence of:

  • Rats
  • Ants
  • Raccons
  • Deer
  • Groundhogs
  • Skunks
  • Pigeons
  • Squirrels

Placing black pepper in and around your garden may help keep ants and other invasive bugs from chewing on your crops. Containing the ant repellant capsaicin, ants will avoid black pepper when necessary.

If you’re finding that you may have mice in your car, take a peak at our guide on how to keep mice out of your car.

Can Other Household Seasonings Repel Mice?

Black pepper may not be an immediate option for your specific situation. In addition to those mentioned above, there are alternative methods to keeping these rodents away from your home and family. Many additional types of spices and seasonings will repel mice and natural seasonings work as eco-friendly alternatives. The most commonly used are:

  • Peppermint
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Garlic
  • Cloves

Little did you know those same spices in your grandma’s homemade pasta sauce recipe were so versatile! 

You can read our full list of scents that mice hate here.

Other Mice Repellents

Stuffing holes with aluminum foil. Unlike your camp fire dinners, mice hate aluminum foil. Mice have a tough time chewing through metal, so stuffing holes will keep them from chewing through metal and they may not even attempt to do it. A win no matter how you look at it.

Cotton balls soaked with white vinegar. White vinegar is the most potent vinegar available. The strong scent is sure to keep pesky mice away.

Store food in air-tight containers. Following a mice issue, the best practice is to store all food in air-tight containers. This reduces smells attracting mice and other rodents. Think Ratatouille. This movie perfectly illustrates why food being left out is a potential feast for rodents! If only they could cook for us…

A wonderful mice repellent (and raccoon), Rodent Sheriff Ultra-Pure Peppermint Spray comes in a two-pack, 8-ounce bottle good for over 2,000 sprays. This product is good for indoor and outdoor use. It is easier to have smaller bottles when on the move in your home.

Are Electronic Mouse Repellents Effective In Deterring Mice?

How does it work? The idea is to broadcast sounds not audible to humans but irritating to rodents. Electronic sound waves will not travel through the ceiling, walls, or cabinets where mice usually tend to hide. However, if open areas tend to be the most affected, then using a plug-in may be the right solution for you.

Mice and other rodents use high-pitched sounds to communicate. Emitting a device irritates the rodents and may work to keep them away.

While there is no concrete evidence supporting this theory, this option is a great one to explore if you would rather not directly handle spices.

So, Does Black Pepper Really Deter Mice? Our Conclusion!

Rodents, such as mice, are a pain in the behind. Although they physically do not seem to pose an immediate threat, mice are potential carriers of several nasty things.

Fortunately, one humane method to deter mice from your home is to utilize black pepper.

By placing black pepper in areas where mice are spotted, their guest appearances can be reduced dramatically. This only deters your new houseguests and does not serve as a long-term solution.

Tidying up your home and ensuring that no food is left out will help keep them away. Once the infestation is under control, keep food in air-tight containers to keep them away for good. Keeping your house tidy and eliminating what attracts mice the most is the winning combination to deter many unwanted visitors.


Capasso, R., Izzo, A. A., Borrelli, F., Russo, A., Sautebin, L., Pinto, A., … & Mascolo, N. (2002). Effect of piperine, the active ingredient of black pepper, on intestinal secretion in mice. Life Sciences, 71(19), 2311-2317.

Hansen, S. C., & Jacob, J. (2016). Herbal Repellents against Agricultural Rodent Pest Species. In Proceedings of the Vertebrate Pest Conference (Vol. 27, No. 27).

Kanedi, M. (2015). Effects of black pepper (Piper nigrum Linn.) extract on sexual drive in male mice. Research Journal of Medicinal Plant, 9(1), 42-47.

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  1. Thanks to everyone for replying! I cannot believe I am so foolishly tenderhearted about my mouse, And I also know it sounds extremely foolish to think I have only ONE mouse – but I do. Anyway, yesterday, he ran from my pantry as I was running a loud electric floor cleaner – escaping into my laundry room. Careful examination let me determine what I think is the passageway into my house – via the water pipes for my washing machine, of all things! Then VERY THOROUGH cleaning of my pantry let me determine conclusively where he had been living and dining!

    With painful misgivings, I put out several mounds of black pepper, ordered a huge box of the same online, and placed pepper mounds all through my pantry and laundry room near the pipes. He is not in the pantry this morning. Frankly I already miss him. My cats could care less!

    1. Black pepper success! Generally, the best cause of action is just to inspect as deeply as you can where you think they are nesting. You’ll often be unpleasantly surprised. Keep us updated for sure!

  2. I am having a problem with trying to rid my food pantry of ONE LITTLE MOUSE! I could probably catch it or drive it away, but it has been with me for WEEKS now and I do not want to hurt it. If I contain it in one of its favorite boxes in my pantry – not food boxes but boxes which were put there during my move-in to the house – what can I do with it? I know that’s a ridiculous request, but my heart is involved! (My three cats know it is there but show no interest in trying to catch it.)

    1. oooo sounds like a fun one 🙂 I can’t believe the cats aren’t going to work!

      In all seriousness, it’s probably not best to try and play “catch, trap & release” if the mouse is in your pantry near your food. You may have mice, and not just one mouse. I wouldn’t recommend live trapping, but if you’re set on it, you should let a professional do that for you. I would recommend consulting a local professional in your area anyways, especially with the mouse being near your food. They leave droppings (both types) along the areas they run, so there’s a very strong chance that’s happening in your pantry. These can act as pheromone trails and attract MORE mice.

      Your best bet while waiting for a professional to come would be to set some enclosed, electronic mouse traps with some peanut butter near the areas you’ve seen them for the time being and try to figure out just how the mice are getting into your pantry. They can fit inside any gaps 1/4in and bigger. If you look super closely, you may see dark streaks on your wall corners where they’ve been “running” up to your pantry and can trace back from there just how they’re getting into your pantry and where they’re coming from specifically.

      Keep me updated, best of luck!

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