Jumping in the swimming pool is perfect on a hot summer day. However, as many pool owners know, finding a rodent in your pool is far from perfect. It’s an unfortunate and unpleasant surprise when you find a mouse in your pool, but, the good news is that we know how to keep them out of your swimming pool!
Above-ground barriers are one of the most effective options for keeping mice out of your swimming pool. Using scented pellets, keeping your stored items in the yard elevated above the ground, and cutting tree limbs that may hang above your pool, can also help repel mice from pools.
Mice are often a burden to pool owners, but that doesn’t mean you have to just accept it. There are plenty of different ways to prevent them from getting into your pool area – many of which are easy and inexpensive. Let’s get to it!
Remove Branches That Hang Over Your Pool
While rodents may not be able to climb out of your swimming pool, they can certainly climb other things to get into it. One of the more common ways a mouse can get into your pool is by climbing trees with branches over the water.
Sure, it’s nice to have a shady spot when you’re swimming on a hot day. However, if you’re really struggling with mice in your pool, you may have to give that up and cut back the limbs that hang over your pool.
You won’t need to do this often, but it is something you’ll have to keep up with. It’s a good idea to cut back on these branches as you prepare to open up your pool for the summer.
Create A Physical Barrier To Keep Mice Away From Your Pool
Sometimes whether or not you choose to have a fence around your pool is a matter of taste. Other times, it can be for safety; sometimes for privacy.
When you have a rodent problem, you can prevent mice from getting into swimming pools by putting up a fence designed to keep them out.
Often, a typical fence surrounding pools may have larger gaps between posts. So if you plan on using a fence to keep mice out of your swimming pool, make sure the posts are close enough together to prevent mice from slipping through.
Mice can fit through gaps bigger than 1/4in – so really make sure that any fence you consider installing has gaps smaller than that!
Remove Tall Grass And Thick Shrubs Near Your Pool
When you have a swimming pool, you need to create some balance with your landscaping.
The fact is, mice are out in nature, and that includes your landscaping. Of course, we’re not suggesting you tear up your lawn to keep mice away from the pool – but you may simply need to adjust some areas.
The first thing you need to know is that mice love to hide in tall, thick grasses.
In lieu of that, they’re perfectly happy to hide and nest in other similar vegetation. If you can’t bear to part with those ornamental grasses in your yard, at the very least you should try to move them (if possible) as far from the pool as you can.
The same applies to other thick shrubs and plants.
If you love gardening, you can still fill your yard with plenty of plants. Just keep them in areas that mice won’t easily access them to hide or nest in. Elevated planters and stands are solutions that can give you the best of both worlds.
Keep Your Yard Clean To Deter Mice From Getting Near Your Pool
Just as mice flock to tall grasses to hide, they also make homes and hiding places of untended clutter in the yard.
If you have a lot of tall grasses, and overgrown shrubbery, cutting the grass and pruning the shrubbery is a must!
Elevate Your Firewood
Further, if you have a lot of piles around your yard, clean them up and stack them neatly on an elevated platform.
Or, choose to keep them in another area away from the pool, like a shed or storage area. The clutter that we don’t think about in our yards can be endless – and often attracts unwanted pests.
However, anything with spaces that mice can fit and hideout in can become a nest. That can even include stacked planters, toys left in the yard for an extended period of time, or areas where you store pool equipment (but we’ll go into detail with that later on.)
Use Scents That Mice Hate
Most small critters have fairly sensitive noses. So why not use that keen sense of smell to keep mice away? In fact, some of the more popular rodent deterrents rely on this keen sense to work against mice and rats.
There are mouse repellents such as the Victor Scent-Away Packs that work by producing a scent that is particularly unpleasant to rodents – which in this case, is peppermint.
Mice actually hate quite a few scents, luckily for us. Scents work to repel mice by overpowering their sense of smell, causing them to stay away from a given location because they can’t sense the thing that would typically attract them in the first-place
For a full list of scents that mice hate and how to use them – head on over to our in-depth article! And guess what, most of the scents may already be in your pantry!
Keep in mind, using scents is highly variable – it’s up to you to make sure the scent stays strong and is applied properly! Vinegar, black pepper, and cayenne pepper are all viable options to repel mice from getting into your pool.
Use Fake Snakes To Keep Mice Away From Your Pool
Who says you can’t have a little fun while you problem-solve? Not us! So it’s only fair that we throw in a fun, but still fairly effective, way to keep mice out of your pool. As a bonus, this is one of the cheapest ways to prevent mice from getting into your pool area.
What do you need to do? Head to your local dollar store and pick up a pack of fake snakes. Scattering fake snakes around works because mice instinctively know that snakes are their natural predators. A mouse has to be pretty desperate to run right into a place filled with snakes!
This idea might sound a little silly, but even the University of Arizona backs the research behind it. And, you don’t have to stop with snakes. As owls (and other predatory birds) are naturally driven to mice, you can install owl decoys in your yard to enhance the effect.
If you’d like a pretty realistic option, take a look at this Fake Rubber Snake to place in areas where mice may enter near your swimming pool. Just make sure to get a few if you do go this route so that all areas are covered.
Pro tip: Move the snakes around frequently so the mice don’t get used to them!
Use A Pool Cover So Mice Can’t Get In The Water
If you don’t have one already, a pool cover is an absolute must-have for any pool owner. However, a pool cover keeps more than just leaves, frogs, and bugs out of your pool. A pool cover is also important to keep mice out of your swimming pool.
Of course, we already know that rodents are tricky critters, and they can fit into spaces that look much smaller than themselves.
That’s why it’s so important to get a pool cover that fits properly. The right pool cover should fit snugly over the top of your pool.
Don’t just order any pool cover, though. Make sure you properly measure the dimensions of your pool. If you’re only estimating, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with a bulky pool cover that does cover your pool but doesn’t fit snugly enough to keep rodents out of your pool.
Keep Your Pool Equipment Protected
Okay, now you’ve got the pool itself covered. But what about all that other pool equipment and those storage areas you need to keep it in?
Mice don’t stop at the pool water. They also get into your pool equipment. And, as bothersome as pulling a rodent out of your pool is, it’s a much more complicated situation when you have a major piece of equipment destroyed due to mice getting into it.
Storage areas for pool equipment are ideal areas for mice to hide away in. And if your pool has a heater, you can imagine how tempting it is for rodents to sneak in on a cold night.
Now if you live in an area where you may use your pool during the chilly months, take a peak at our guide on where mice go during the winter for some general mouse repelling tips during the cold season.
Seal Off All Areas
The first thing you should do is seal off all areas where you keep your pool gear. Ideally, you’ll keep your gear in a shed or another fenced-off area.
Spaces that are at least 1/4in or even larger, should be sealed to avoid rodents getting in.
If you choose to use a shed, make sure it’s thoroughly closed whenever it’s not in use. Make sure you inspect it regularly for any cracks where mice could sneak in.
Further, the barrier should be tight enough that small rodents can’t get through.
Use Steel Wool To Close Gaps
You can also use steel wool to seal up any gaps in your pool equipment.
The reason you should use steel wood rather than another material is that it’s one thing that mice can’t chew through.
Steel wool is a miracle material when thinking about repelling mice! For more information on why steel wool is hard for mice to get through, check out our article!
Use Natural Ways To Keep Mice Away From Your Swimming Pool
If you’re particularly averse to drastic measures to keep mice away from your pool, there’s good news. Read on to learn about more natural ways to deter mice and other rodents.
P.S. If you’re an avid gardener, you’re going to love these tips.
Not every mouse deterrent needs to be unsightly. In fact, some of the easiest and most trusted methods actually enhance the look of your outdoor area. So, what’s the trick?
Grow Plants Near Your Pool That Repel Mice
There are well-known plants that you can use, so plant these around your yard and near your swimming pool. There’s another bonus here: some of these plants are herbs you can bring straight from your garden and into your kitchen.
Let’s look at what you should plant, and what you definitely shouldn’t. That is to say, there are plants that rodents are neutral about, those they avoid, and others that they absolutely love feasting on.
- Peppers (especially black pepper)
- Onions and chives
- Marigolds (especially certain varieties which are designed as rodent repellents)
- Green beans
- Cauliflower (and broccoli)
Mice aren’t always attracted to edible plants. If there’s another option (such as grains or fatty foods or meats), they’ll go to those first. However, if they aren’t presented with other easy options, they’ll gladly flock to these plants if you have them in your garden.
A Note About Traps And Pesticides Near Swimming Pools
Many people turn to traps or chemicals at the first suspicion of a mouse.
We recommend contacting a professional before setting up any traps on your own. While they can be effective, you have to hope that the mice take the bait. This might solve the problem if there’s a present infestation, but ideally, the goal is to prevent problems with mice before they occur.
Not only that, but you also have to deal with the cleanup when using traps. Moreover, pesticides can present other issues. They can leach into the surrounding environments, and aren’t always the most ‘eco-friendly’ choices but are necessary in some instances. Just probably not needed for your pool.
If you are having mice problems in your house, we want to help you too. There’s a chance that your swimming pool problem can be stemming from mice being in your house. Head on over to our guide to learn a few tips to get mice out of your house for good!
That’s All We’ve Got!
One of the best things you can do to keep mice out of your pool is to prevent them from getting there in the first place. It takes a little work, and some preparation, but it’s far easier to accomplish than trying to get rid of an infestation.
The best ways to keep mice out of your pool are to:
- Utilize scent-based repellents
- Place rodent-proof barriers
- Keep your yard clutter-free
- Elevate items in your yard
- Trim branches over the pool
- Use fake predators
- Add plants that keep mice away
- Use steel wool to cover gaps
Now, that may seem like a long list, but you don’t have to use all of these methods.
However, it’s a good idea to use a couple of them together to make sure you’re thoroughly protecting your pool from mice. The best part is, some of the most effective methods require little time, and little investment to make a big difference.
Happy mouse repelling!
Glendinning, J. I. (1993). Preference and aversion for deterrent chemicals in two species of Peromyscus mouse. Physiology & behavior, 54(1), 141-150.
Singla N, Thind RK, Mahal AK. Potential of eucalyptus oil as repellent against house rat, Rattus rattus. ScientificWorldJournal. 2014 Jan 12;2014:249284. doi: 10.1155/2014/249284. PMID: 24523633; PMCID: PMC3913499.
Willoughby, I. H., Jinks, R. L., Morgan, G. W., Pepper, H., Budd, J., & Mayle, B. (2011). The use of repellents to reduce predation of tree seed by wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus L.) and grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis Gmelin). European Journal of Forest Research, 130(4), 601-611.
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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