9 Scents That Mice Hate (and How to Use Them)


Mice Crawling on Bookshelf

As you are probably very aware, rodents like mice can be quite a pain when dealing with them on your property. If you are looking for some quick, cheap, and easy solutions that will not harm these little critters but will keep them out of your space, this is the piece for you!

Mice have a very keen sense of smell that is much stronger than what humans experience. You can use this trait to repel mice and use scents that mice hate like cinnamon, vinegar, dryer sheets, clove oil, peppermint, tea bags, mint toothpaste, ammonia, cloves, clove oil, and cayenne pepper.

Before we continue our discussion of what exactly mice hate and how to use them in the correct way to repel these little nuisances, let’s dive into why you need to repel mice from your property to begin with.

But they’re so cute, surely they can’t be that bad… right? Wrong. 

Why Do You Need to Repel Mice?

Mice are part of the rodent family, along with rats, squirrels, prairie dogs, porcupines, beavers, guinea pigs, and hamsters. 

Rodentia is the single largest group of mammals, characterized by a single pair of incisors in each jaw, as well as some other muscular and size features. Mice specifically are recognized by a pointed snout, large rounded ears, and a long hairy tail.

So, take a moment to be grateful that at least you are dealing with mice and not rats. 

Good, now that that’s done let’s move on to the negative aspects of having mice in your space. What exactly are you up against if these furry little troublemakers become a little too comfortable on your property?

Simply put, mice can:

  • Cause damage to siding
  • Carry in fleas from outside
  • Contaminate surfaces
  • Chew through electrical wiring

Aside from the above, mice are also quite pesky little critters. Their teeth, one of their key traits and identifying features, are very strong and durable. 

Mice can chew through materials such as vinyl, plastic, wood, rubber, fiberglass, and even stainless steel mesh

This is great for mice, it makes them adaptable and able to find resources like food in the most inconvenient of places. For you, on the other hand, it is not so great. 

Mice’s ability to chew through all of these different materials makes them very apt to cause significant damage to your home, outdoor space, and anywhere they end up staking a claim. 

It is for this reason that we highly recommend preventative measures as opposed to solutions after the fact. 

While anything can be fixed, controlled, or cleaned up (especially by a professional), we know that there are a lot of disasters just waiting to happen before that point arrives. 

Imagine you are putting off dealing with those pesky mice that live under your back deck. Then, one day, you go to plug in your decorative outdoor string lights to enjoy a nice evening get-together with friends. 

Uh-oh. The lights won’t turn on, and you realize that the cord has been chewed through near the base. This is inconvenient, right? 

Think about how much more frustrating this would be if it was a light inside your home, or a piece of your wall or your favorite couch, or the screen door. Aside from the electric costs, reupholstering the couch, patching the wall, or having to deal with insects and other potential pests getting into your home is not an ideal situation.

We will leave it at that, but trust us when we tell you that prevention really is the way to go!

Deter Mice Using These 9 Recommended Scents

Mouse Chewing on Wire in House

Bum bum bum… the moment you have been waiting for is here. The scents, the smells, the solutions. The 9 scents that we recommend because mice hate them, but you’ll probably love them, and that will aid you in your quest to get rid of those pests. 

Here are a few scents that you can use to help repel mice and keep them away from your home, property, and yourself. 

Like anything else, these are not going to be 100% guaranteed. But they are some pretty foolproof ways to avoid this annoyance from turning into a full-blown problem.

Please note that these recommendations are all based on the evidence that mice do not like any of these scents and will surely avoid them. This does not mean, however, that any one of these individual measures of prevention will last forever. If you have any concerns or would just rather not deal with this alone, consult with a professional

With all of that being said, here are the 9 scents that we can recommend for best results at home.

Cinnamon

Our first recommendation is a scent with a strong, spicy aroma that mice hate and you probably already have in your pantry. 

Mice are very strongly opposed to the smell of cinnamon, so grab the powder from your spice rack and keep them at bay!

There are many ways to use cinnamon to keep mice away, and it really just depends on what you are hoping to do, the amount of work you want to put into it, and which products you already have at home.

Stash some cinnamon sticks in drawers, closets, cabinets, underneath furniture, and anywhere else that you see fit. This will repel mice and will also give a nice aroma to your home without needing to buy lots of expensive candles and wall plug-ins. A win-win!

If you’d rather use a product with actual cinnamon oil, take a peek at Grandpa Gus’s Peppermint & Cinnamon Oil Rodent Repellent Spray!

It contains BOTH cinnamon and peppermint oil spray (which, peppermint, is coming up on our list!)

If you have spotted mice and only have the cinnamon you use on your oatmeal handy, sprinkle a bit in any area you’ve spotted them such as counters, in cupboards, and even along your baseboard. 

Vinegar

We know now that mice hate strong scents due to their intense sense of smell. Vinegar just may be the strongest scent out there, especially when it is left undiluted.

This strong, sour aroma is good for repelling many creatures, and mice are no exception. 

As we all are aware, it is nearly impossible to cover your area fully with this mixture. Similarly, it is not going to be an easy feat to keep your area smelling like vinegar. 

It isn’t really an ideal scent to have all over your house for a prolonged period, nor is the dispersal of vinegar in every nook and cranny going to be a fun process.

Mix some water and vinegar in a spray bottle to mist any areas where you have seen mice as well as locations you expect them to go. Using this method around doors, floorboards, countertops, and closets is recommended. 

Dryer Sheets

For whatever reason, mice really do not enjoy the scent of dryer sheets. This is great news because this is another product you might already have laying around. The best part? It takes even less work than spraying, sprinkling, or misting other scents. 

Just stick a dryer sheet in your small spaces that mice may be drawn to and leave them for up to a week at a time.

Leaving them longer will have no negative impact, they just lose their scent after a while and will need to be replaced to continue being effective in that given area. 

Basically, stick a dryer sheet under furniture, in closets or cupboards, and anywhere you suspect that your furry frenemies may try to show up.

To us, dryer sheets give off a pretty mild smell but to mice, it is pungent and unavoidable. Bounce dryer sheets have been proven to have the best results when repelling mice from a given area.

Peppermint Oil

Mouse Outside on Wet Leaves

Salt Lake City Sustainability notes that peppermint oil is one of the best alternatives to pesticides.

You can dip cotton balls, rags, towels, whatever you please, into your peppermint oil before placing them around your home. This can be done indoors and out, wherever your problem is occurring. 

However, it would take a lot of time and a whole lot of oil to cover your entire space this way and the scent will eventually fade. Instead, you can try mixing 10-15 drops of the oil with water to create a spray.

Better yet, take a look at Mighty Mint’s Peppermint Oil Rodent Repellent Spray to save yourself even more hassle. Above all else, it smells great too and is all natural!

Tea Bags

Another household item, tea bags can be used in the same way as oils, cinnamon sticks, and dryer sheets. 

Peppermint tea is the most highly recommended option. Simply boil water and make the tea, let it sit, and place the teabag in different corners of your home. 

This will instantly repel mice due to the strong scent of the tea.

This may be the easiest method yet, especially if you are a regular tea drinker. You just make your daily cuppa, essentially recycle your tea bag, and sit back and enjoy your drink knowing that you are taking a step toward keeping your home rodent-free. 

Mint Toothpaste

Are you sensing a trend yet? If not, let us help. Peppermint, peppermint, mint. Yes, that’s right! One of the most common scents that we use in daily household items is also the one that mice truly cannot stand.

Use this newfound knowledge to your benefit and you won’t have to spend a ton of money on prevention. This, in turn, will save you more money (and headache) because you will likely avoid dealing with a larger rodent problem later on!

Simply do what you would do with any of the oils we have mentioned, and rub some toothpaste along baseboards, near doorways, next to any cracks if you happen to have them, and any mouse holes. 

Again, this method works indoors and outdoors so that you can easily smear some of this minty paste anywhere you please to keep the mice at bay!

To be transparent with you, this might be a little tedious. That’s okay, there are many other methods you can use. 

However, this is worth a shot especially if you are serious about trying to keep these pests away from your space.

Ammonia 

This scent mirrors that of predators’ urine and is a surefire way to keep mice out of the area. Their natural instincts kick in and your space is clear of rodents. 

This method will help prevent them from coming back since they will think of your space as somewhere that hosts predators and is no longer a safe place to return to.

Just be sure to reapply when the scent seems to have faded, as mice will start to learn that the area is opening again and get back to being uninvited guests.

Cloves and Clove Oil

The strong scent of cloves is one that mice really do not like. 

Keep in mind that if you plan to sit a whole clove out, it may not have a scent that is quite strong enough to repel mice. If this is the case, there is another method that is a more surefire approach. 

Instead, use can clove oil itself to keep rodents at bay. 

Not only is it a great repellent, but this oil actually has many benefits that you can use in your daily life. So, when this method is successful and you no longer need a mouse repellent, you can continue to make use of your clove essential oil. 

This product is actually most commonly used to relieve pain from toothaches, so removing the headache that is a rodent problem is just an added benefit!

If you prefer a different scent, combine clove oil with lavender, pepper, or peppermint for a similarly effective mixture with a bit of a twist. Just make sure to dilute any mixture you create properly with carrier oils and water, similarly.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne is a type of chili pepper that gives off a strong, sharp scent that goes along with the heat of this particular pepper. 

Mice hate the scent and taste of cayenne pepper, and so do many other rodents and insects. 

Like you would with cinnamon, just sprinkle some cayenne anywhere that you’ve seen mice, expect them to be, or know that they might enter. 

In essence, cayenne pepper infuriates the senses of mice. So it’ll do wonders making them sniffle and stay back!

Keeping Mice Away Long Term

Wood Mouse in Home

Those powerful scents that work against mice are highly recommended as effective solutions. But keep in mind that with any scent there is variability. 

The amount you use, where it is located, how often you reapply the scent, how strong the oil, powder, or other material is, to begin with, all greatly impact the effectiveness of these approaches. 

You might get lucky if you follow the steps and really spend the time to keep these rodents away. You also might get unlucky and still need to contact a professional (which is okay and totally normal.) 

For this reason, it is important to remember that relying on scents alone is not recommended. Combining methods and approaches is always going to yield a better result than picking one simple solution and expecting it to be a fix-all. 

A backup plan is always going to come in handy, even if you don’t think you’ll need it.

Still, the most effective way to deter pests is to modify the habitat (your space) to not allow them to enter at all. 

Here are some practical ways you can use to keep mice from getting into your space in the first place. Before you use our recommended methods of repelling them, try these preventative measures and make your life even easier!

Eliminate Mice’s Food, Water, and Shelter

The biggest things that rodents are looking for in your space are those that meet their immediate and deepest survival needs. Penn State Extension reminds us of this as they share their research about integrated pest management.

Without food, water, and shelter, they will have no reason to stick around.

Scraps, crumbs on counters, and food left outdoors will attract mice. Shelter areas that provide cozy nest sites include the spaces under porches and decks, in attics, basements, and even inside your walls.

We recommend maintaining your yard by mowing grass, picking up any garbage or food scraps that may be left out (utilize that compost bin, not your beautiful backyard!), and fixing any leaking pipes that may be used as a source of water for mice. 

Practice Exclusion Methods to Repel Mice

Keeping mice out in the first place will save a lot of time and effort in the long run. There are several exclusion techniques that you can try to keep these critters out of your home.

Mice can fit through the smallest of spaces, literally the size of a coin. Check your property for any cracks and holes that may serve as an entry point for these pesky rodents.  

Another point to think about may or may not have crossed your mind by this point… pet doors. If they fit your cat or dog, they will certainly welcome mice (pet doors are just a little bigger than the coin-sized entryways that mice often employ.)

Again, this is a great example of a situation where combining tactics works out well. You can keep your pet door, but spray some oils or wipe some toothpaste around the edges. 

Just check if there are any scents that your pets don’t particularly love, and avoid those so that your pets feel comfortable coming and going as usual.

That’s A Wrap!

Well, that is pretty much all. For what it’s worth, this could be a much more difficult-to-solve situation, but we hope that you can make use of these 9 scents to quickly get back on track!

It is frustrating to have rodent issues at home, but mice can be repelled when you use the following scents.

  • Cinnamon
  • Vinegar
  • Dryer Sheets
  • Peppermint Essential Oil
  • Tea Bags (Peppermint is best!)
  • Mint Toothpaste
  • Ammonia
  • Cloves and Clove Oil
  • Cayenne Pepper

But again, to yield the best results from all of your hard work, don’t forget to maintain your space and keep rodents out in the first place. Other than that, use the scents listed above and sit back and watch the magic happen!

I hope this piece helps you in keeping these little critters away from your space so that you can enjoy your home without any trouble. 

References

Nollet, L. M., & Rathore, H. S. (2017). Essential Oil Mixtures for Pest Control. In Green Pesticides Handbook (pp. 509-522). CRC Press.

Nolte, D. L., & Barnett, J. P. (2000). A repellent to reduce mouse damage to longleaf pine seed. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation, 45(3-4), 169-174.

Yang, P., & Ma, Y. (2005). Repellent effect of plant essential oils against Aedes albopictus. Journal of vector ecology, 30(2), 231.

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