Vinegar: Here’s How To Use It To Repel Mice

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

Mice might be cute in cartoons and cages, but they aren’t something you want hanging around your home. Luckily, theres an easy way for us to repel mice, and it’s by using vinegar!

Mice have a strong sense of smell and are irritated by the scent of vinegar. They specifically despise distilled white vinegar as it’s pungent aroma confuses their senses. You can soak cottonballs in vinegar and place them in areas where mice frequent to keep them away.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can use vinegar to have a mouse-free house. We’ll also look at some of the other uses of vinegar and alternative methods of repelling mice.

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How Vinegar Works To Repel Mice

Yes, vinegar repels mice. We wouldn’t be recommending it if it didn’t!

But don’t take our word for it. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense that vinegar works to repel mice. After all, if it’s strong enough vinegar, it can also work well to repel humans.

Mice have a much more developed sense of smell than humans. Given that mice are so small, it might seem surprising that their sense of smell is much stronger than ours, but a mouse’s brain is adapted for its size, and so is its nose.

Mice have some of the strongest olfactory glands of any animal on the planet.

They can smell much farther than humans, and they are much better at distinguishing between smells, meaning that where we might not be able to smell vinegar in a cleaning product unless it’s very strong, this would be very easy for a mouse.

Can Vinegar Eliminate Mice Too?

First, let’s distinguish between repelling and eliminating mice. Repelling mice means avoiding mice and preventing them from coming into your house, to begin with.

This is different from eliminating mice.

Eliminating mice is what you need to do if you already have mice in your house. There are plenty of ways to do this, and if you have a serious mouse infestation, this might be necessary.

In this article, we’re going to focus on repelling mice, which is the best way to go about keeping your house mouse-free. Repelling mice is much more sanitary and humane than eliminating mice, and it’s simply less troublesome than having to deal with the mice once they’re in.

Choosing The Right Type Of Vinegar To Keep Mice Away

There are many different types of vinegar, and you probably have several in your pantry. If you enjoy making salads or cooking, don’t worry, you won’t have to use your most expensive vinegar to ward off mice.

Mice aren’t as picky eaters as we are!

Vinegar can be made from essentially any product, from apples to rice. However, you need to be sure you’re using DISTILLED WHITE VINEGAR to repel mice. This is because other types of vinegar may actually attract mice due to their sweet scent, such as apple cider vinegar.

Vinegar has a very distinct smell, and some kinds of vinegar smell stronger than others. If you use a very strong vinegar, you’re going to be smelling it just as well as the mouse can, so it’s best to pick a scent you like.

Ultimately, using household vinegar is probably the cheapest and easiest option, but just make sure you have distilled white vinegar as your product choice!

How to Use Vinegar to Repel Mice

Composition with vinegar and lemon on table. Space for text

So, we know that vinegar repels mice, but how do you use it? Don’t worry, you aren’t going to have to douse your house in vinegar!

Using vinegar is a fairly simple method of repelling mice, but you have to know how to use it for it to be effective. However, this isn’t a guarantee, so if it doesn’t work, you might need to look into some other methods of repelling mice or consult an expert.

You can also view our full guide on the scents that mice hate for more repelling options!

Place The Vinegar In Areas Mice Frequent (Or May Frequent)

If you’ve already seen a mouse, then the best place to put vinegar is where you’ve already seen the mouse.

However, we aren’t necessarily trying to eliminate mice. We’re trying to prevent them from getting in the house in the first place, and the best way to do that is to think like mice.

Mice tend to hang out in cupboards and small spaces. If you have a wardrobe or closet, especially one that tends to stay warm, this is mouse heaven.

Placing vinegar in these areas will more likely ward off mice than if you put it in areas where they don’t like to hang out.

Mice also tend to stay on the ground floors. While they can get upstairs, this can be difficult for them depending on the layout, and you’re much more likely to find them in your basement or ground floor.

It’s not a bad idea to spread some vinegar on the upper floors, you’re likely to have more luck if you concentrate on the others.

For a full list of areas that mice like, you can check out our piece on the things that attract mice to your home.

Use Cotton Balls To Place The Vinegar

Now, how do you hide the vinegar?

The easiest way is to take cotton balls and soak them lightly in vinegar and spread the cotton balls throughout the house, particularly in areas where you’re worried about mice.

Spraying Vinegar Works To Repel Mice

Spraying vinegar is another good method of repelling mice. Mice hate the smell of vinegar, so if you spray a mixture of vinegar and water in places where they’re likely to hang out, they won’t come!

If you use vinegar in your cleaning products, this will also help in deterring mice.

The only downside to spraying vinegar is that the house will then also smell like vinegar, so if you don’t like the smell, this probably isn’t the option for you.

Luckily, most vinegar spray products have some added scents or have a fairly neutral smell, such as this Critter Warrior Rodent Repellent Spray.

This spray has a nice mixture of peppermint oil, cedar, and 50% vinegar, which will work well in repelling mice but also smells nice.

If you’ve found a mouse’s nest, you can pour diluted vinegar in or around the nest to make it uninhabitable. The mice will then have to find somewhere else to live, and hopefully, that place will be far away from your house.

Another method is to simply pour vinegar into some cups and spread the cups around your house. This is fairly effective, but it’s also easy for the cups to get knocked over, which can destroy your floors.

If you already have mice inside, I encourage you to take a look at our step-by-step guide on what to do if you find a mouse in your house!

What Else Can You Use To Repel Mice?

Vinegar might not work 100% of the time, and if you don’t like the smell or are out of vinegar, you might need to try something else. Luckily for you, there are plenty of other cost-effective ways to repel mice.

In addition to this list, you should also check out this article on how black pepper can be used to repel mice!

Cinnamon Can Repel Mice

cinnamon powder and sticks isolated on a white background

Cinnamon is another cheap, environmentally friendly way of repelling mice, and you probably already have some in your spice cupboard.

To use cinnamon to repel mice, scatter cinnamon sticks around in areas that you’re worried about mice showing up, or use a product like Grandpa Gus’ Mouse Repellent Spray.

This spray has cinnamon and peppermint oil, which is great because it keeps your house smelling nice while warding away mice!

Cayenne pepper can also repel mice as well!

Stuffing Holes With Aluminum Can Keep Mice Out

Mice love hiding in holes, but they hate aluminum, so if you have any holes in your walls where you think mice like to hang out, try stuffing some aluminum foil to keep them away.

This is also a good trick if you have a problem with mice chewing on your wires.

However, keep in mind that this isn’t totally full proof as they’ll eventually make their way through the foil. You should instead look to place steel mesh so mice don’t chew through the holes you’re trying to cover.

Cold Temperatures Repel Mice

This sounds surprising since you’ll normally find mice in winter, but that’s because the temperature of your house is warmer than the temperature outside, and mice hate the cold.

If you keep the temperatures low, it’ll ward off not only mice but insects and other animals trying to escape the cold.

Unfortunately, you probably WON’T be keeping your house freezing, but it’s good to know of!

This is a great method if you’re trying to keep mice out of your shed!

Air-Tight Food Containers Prevents Attracting Mice

Keeping your food in air-tight containers is probably a good idea, to begin with since it will keep other animals and insects away.

Mice are attracted to food because they have such a strong sense of smell, but if you keep your food in an air-tight jar, they won’t be able to smell it, and most importantly, they won’t be able to eat it!

Cats Will Catch Mice And Keep Them Away

beautiful cat fun and cleverly plays with the captured mouse in the summer garden

If you’ve ever wondered why farmers like to keep cats around, it’s because they are the most natural predator for rodents and just the smell of cats wards off mice.

If you keep your cat outside, they’ll most likely look to catch mice and rats in your yard and property. It’s a great natural way to keep your mouse population low.

Additionally, the smell of cat droppings, in particular, repels mice. You can train your cat to frequent the areas where mice go and live during the day.

So, maybe it’s time to get that pet cat!

Why Use Vinegar To Repel Mice?

Any of these options will probably work well, and none of these methods are 100% effective. Depending on where you live and what you have at hand, your preferred mice repellant method might vary.

Vinegar is something you probably already have in your pantry, and it’s not very expensive. It’s also more environmentally friendly and humane than using a pesticide.

You Can Use Vinegar Around The House Too!

You probably already have some vinegar lying around, perhaps even so much you don’t know what to do with it. Luckily, there are plenty of other uses for vinegar if you don’t have any problem with mice.

The most obvious use of vinegar is for food, but regular household vinegar isn’t designed for consumption, and it doesn’t taste very good anyway. Household vinegar is designed for cleaning, and it has fewer chemicals than most cleaning brands you’ll find in the store.

If you’re looking for a natural vinegar cleaner, check out this 9-Elements Lemon-Scented Vinegar CleanerUsing vinegar is the most natural and environmentally friendly way of cleaning your house, and this particular cleaner has a fresh lemon scent, meaning you won’t have to worry about your house smelling too strongly of vinegar.

In your house, vinegar can also be used for unclogging shower drains, cleaning out the dishwasher, and cleaning your coffee pot. For most of these tasks, you’ll have to mix the vinegar with a bit of water so it isn’t too strong.

Vinegar is also a good weed repellant. If you have weeds in your garden, spray some vinegar around the weeds to keep them from taking over your garden. Be careful, though. Vinegar will also repel the plants you want.

That’s A Wrap!

By this point, you’re probably eager to grab some vinegar from your pantry and test this out. If you’re still a bit skeptical, you can check out some of the references below for science-backed evidence.

Don’t forget that this advice isn’t a guarantee to a mouse-free house, and if you’re wanting to increase your chances at warding off mice, the more methods you use, the more likely they are to work.

If you’re still having trouble with mice, it’s probably best to talk with a professional and get some expert advice.


Li, Quian and Stephen D. Liberles. “Aversion and Attraction Through Olfaction.” Current Biology, Vol. 25 Iss. 3, 2,.

Nollet, Leo M.L. and Hamir Singh Rathore. “Essential Oil Mixtures for Pest Control.” Green Pesticides Handbook, CRC Press,.

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