There’s nothing worse than a mouse scampering across the kitchen before your eyes. The sudden horror that fills you and the urge to wash and sanitize every surface can be dizzying.
Luckily, there are proactive measures you can take to avoid this nightmare from becoming a reality in your home!
Mice and other rodents have a particularly strong sense of smell which they use to help them locate food.
While certain smells attract mice, strong spice odors like that of clove and clove oil can repel them. Therefore you can use repellents like clove to keep mice away from your home!
In this article, we will focus on how you can repel mice from your home using cloves and clove oil. We’ll give you all the details about how it works and how you can use clove to protect your home.
Enough of the overview, let’s get started!
Are Cloves and Clove Oil A Good Mouse Repellent?
Many plants have evolved to protect themselves from would-be predators by using repellent smells. Things like garlic, onions, cayenne pepper, peppermint, and cloves can all deter a variety of insect and mammal pests due to their pungent odors.
Odor repellents work well against mice because they have a strong sense of smell. Mice use their noses to sniff out yummy food, find mates, and avoid predators. By placing things with smells that mice hate around your home, you can effectively keep them away.
The University of California conducted a study about the use of plant secondary metabolites (PSMs) as rodent repellents. They noted that PSMs have been shown to deter feeding, change foraging behaviors, and impact rodent reproducing behavior.
The primary PSM found in cloves is called eugenol. Eugenol has been thoroughly studied as a repellent against a variety of insect pests.
It can be used to deter a variety of organisms which we will discuss further later in the article.
The repellency of eugenol from cloves and clove oil has not been thoroughly studied in mice. However, other plants that produce eugenols, like cinnamon and pepper, have been shown to repel mice quite well.
In fact, many commercially available rodent repellents contain cinnamon and pepper. Therefore, it is reasonable to predict that cloves will work just as well to repel mice. Many homeowners report having success using cloves and clove oil to repel mice.
As a heads up, you may want to use one of our other recommend scents that mice hate, like vinegar, if you have pets around so they don’t eat the cloves.
How To Use Cloves To Repel Mice
There are two main forms of clove you can use to repel mice, whole cloves and ground cloves. Both contain plenty of eugenol which will help keep mice away.
Regardless of which form you use, you’ll want to focus your effort on certain areas. This will save you time and money vs just placing cloves everywhere willy-nilly.
Place cloves around doors and windows which are common entry points for mice. They can squeeze through openings as small as ¼ inch. Mice will also squeeze through the gaps around utility lines where they enter your home.
Vents are another opening mice will use to access your home. This includes attic vents, bathroom vents, and dryer vents. They can also gain entry through any holes they find around roof soffits.
These are the areas where you’ll want to apply cloves and/or clove oil to keep mice out. For more information, check out our article on how mice get into your home.
Keep reading below to learn the pros and cons of using whole cloves vs. ground cloves to repel mice.
As a side note, if you have rats instead, clove oil is an effective rat repellent as well, which we wrote a whole guide on if you’d like to take a look.
Whole Cloves Will Keep Mice Away
Whole cloves work great against mice. They contain plenty of eugenol which mice hate the smell of. Applying them doesn’t take long and you don’t have to worry about any negative impacts.
Place whole cloves around areas where mice can enter your home. This includes any opening greater than ¼ inch wide.
Cloves have to be replaced frequently since they lose their smell over time when exposed to air. A pro for whole cloves is that they contain more clove oil than ground cloves. That means they won’t have to be replaced quite as often as ground cloves.
A con when using whole cloves is cleaning them up. You’ll ultimately want to pick up the old cloves as you replace them. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a noticeable amount of whole cloves laying around outside.
We recommend using Spicy World Whole Cloves to repel mice from your home. They have a high clove oil content and come in a 16 oz bag that will last quite a while. They come in a resealable bag to keep them fresh longer.
To make cleanup easier, you can put your whole cloves in small breathable bags. These Disposable Tea Bags work great to hold your whole cloves together in place. When it’s time to replace your whole clove, you’ll be able to easily pick them up and dispose of them.
Mice Hate The Smell Of Ground Cloves
Ground cloves work just as well to repel mice from your home. It produces the same repelling odor as the whole clove but may be easier to work with in the long run. You can sprinkle it around in the same places you would whole cloves to keep mice away.
Just like with whole cloves, place ground cloves anywhere mice can enter your home to repel them.
With ground clove, you avoid the issue of needing to pick up and dispose of it when you reapply. Since it is ground up, it is washed away easily by rain and deteriorates more quickly. In other words, it won’t end up piling up as whole cloves do.
On the other hand, ground cloves do have to be replaced more often than whole cloves. Ground cloves don’t hold as much clove oil as whole cloves so their scent disappears more quickly.
So while you will save time not having to clean it up, you’ll spend a little more time applying it than you would with whole cloves.
The Spice Way Ground Cloves are a great choice to use as a mouse repellent. It comes in a 1 pound bag which will last a good while. The bag is also resealable which will help keep your ground clove from losing its strong scent before you use it.
How To Use Clove Oil To Repel Mice
Clove oil works the same way as cloves to repel mice. However, it is more concentrated than cloves so it may work better and last longer.
One way to use clove oil is to soak cotton balls in the oil. You can then place them near areas where mice can enter your home. This will help to deter them from the area.
You’ll want to replace the cotton balls every few days to keep the clove oil smell strong.
You can also make your own mouse-repellent spray by combining clove oil with water. Simply combine about 10 drops of clove essential oil per cup of water in a spray bottle. You can then spray your homemade repellent on cracks and crevices around the outside of your home.
You’ll have to reapply the spray frequently for it to work since the smell will eventually disappear. If it rains, the spray will be washed away and needs to be reapplied.
We recommend using Siva Clove Bud Essential Oil to repel mice. It’s made of 100% clove oil which will work well against mice invaders.
Another way to use clove oil that lasts longer is clove wax melts. The wax keeps the oils from drying out allowing them to last longer than cotton balls or spray.
You can simply place them around your home as needed and won’t need to replace them for a couple of weeks.
Eventually, they will lose their smell so check them once a week to make sure they don’t need to be replaced.
Clove and Cinnamon Wax Melts work great for repelling mice. You get 8 melts in each pack so you can spread them out in multiple places. They also have cinnamon oil in them which is repellent to mice as well.
Will Cloves And Clove Oil Repel Mice Long Term?
While cloves and clove oil work great to repel mice, they aren’t the best long-term solution. They have to be replaced often to maintain their repellency. This can be time-consuming and costly in the long run.
However, there are a few promising studies about how cloves impact mice populations in the long run. One study showed that pregnant female mice that consumed cloves had a higher rate of cell death.
Another study on the effects of male mice that consumed cloves. It showed that females who mated with males that consumed cloves had fewer offspring. So while cloves may not be great for repelling mice long term, they may help reduce their populations around your home.
When it comes to keeping mice out of your home long-term, exclusion methods often work better. Excluding mice from buildings works best if you use concrete, metal mesh, or hardware cloth. Mice and other rodents have strong teeth and they can chew through just about any other material you use.
To exclude mice, start by looking around windows and doors. Seal any gaps wider than ¼ inch with either concrete or metal mesh to keep mice out. It’s also a good idea to install door sweeps to keep mice from getting in.
Next check around your home for areas where utilities enter. This includes electrical lines, cable lines, HVAC lines, and water lines. Fill any gaps around where these utilities enter your home to keep mice from entering.
Another place you’ll want to cover is the vents around the exterior of your home. This can be the vents that lead to your attic or come from your bathrooms. You can cover them with a wire mesh that way air can still move through but mice can’t get in.
Other Pests Cloves and Clove Oil May Repel
Mice aren’t the only things that hate cloves and clove oil. While there isn’t much research about the repellency of cloves on mice, it has been studied abundantly as a repellent for insects.
According to Cornell University, the eugenol found in cloves has most often been used to repel mosquitos. Eugenol shows great potential as an all-natural mosquito repellent that lasts almost as long as products like DEET. Their repellency effect has been shown to work on a wide variety of mosquito species.
Purdue University discusses the usefulness of eugenol from cloves for controlling bed bugs. The study conducted compared how effective 15 different essential oils were at controlling bed bug infestations. The results showed that eugenol was the most effective essential oil to use against bed bugs.
A wide variety of other insect pests can be repelled or controlled using the eugenol that is produced by cloves.
Below is a table that summarizes some of the insects which can be controlled using cloves. We’ve listed the common name of the insect and the effect that eugenol has on them. If you’re dealing with any of these pests, cloves may be a great natural insecticide you can use against them.
|Insect Pest||Effect of Eugenol|
|Argentine ants||Repellent and causes mortality|
|Bed bugs||Repellent and causes mortality|
|Cat fleas||Causes mortality|
|Carpenter ants||Causes mortality|
|Cockroaches||Inhibits mobility and causes mortality|
|Human head lice||Causes mortality|
|Japanese beetles||Attractant, makes trap more effective|
|Mosquitos||Repellent and causes mortality|
Will Other Household Spices Repel Mice?
The short answer is yes! There are a variety of spices that may be in your pantry right now that you can use to repel mice. Some of the best spices you can use include:
You can use any of these spices alone or mix them together. Many commercial rodent repellents actually mix several different natural repellents together to get better results. You can do the same thing with your own homemade mouse repellent!
Make sure you do your own research on what you’re mixing together, though!
Check out our article on scents that mice hate to get the full list of the scents you can use to keep mice away.
That’s A Wrap!
Yes, cloves and clove oil can be used to repel mice from accessing your home. They can be used as an organic and humane way to deter these pesky critters.
You can place whole cloves around the outside of your home or ground cloves. Whole cloves will last longer but will need to be cleaned up to prevent them from piling up over time.
Similarly, you can use clove oil to keep mice away. You can place clove oil-soaked cotton balls near areas mice might enter your home to repel them. Or you can make a repellent spray instead.
Clove oil-infused wax melts also work great for keeping mice at bay. They often last much longer than most other options.
Keep in mind, you can also repel many different insects with cloves too!
Don’t forget, cloves and clove oil aren’t great long-term mouse control options. They are great for short-term use but you should ultimately make sure you implement exclusion methods as well. Sealing up entry points permanently will help ensure you don’t deal with mice in your home.
Domaracký, M., Rehak, P., Juhás, Š., & Koppel, J. (2007). Effects of selected plant essential oils on the growth and development of mouse preimplantation embryos in vivo. Physiological research, 56(1).
Gurney, J. E., Watkins, R. W., Gill, E. L., & Cowan, D. P. (1996). Non-lethal mouse repellents: evaluation of cinnamamide as a repellent against commensal and field rodents. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 49(4), 353-363.
Mishra, R. K., & Singh, S. K. (2013). Reproductive effects of lipid soluble components of Syzygium aromaticum flower bud in male mice. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 4(2), 94.
Xu, H., Delling, M., Jun, J. C., & Clapham, D. E. (2006). Oregano, thyme and clove-derived flavors and skin sensitizers activate specific TRP channels. Nature neuroscience, 9(5), 628-635.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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