How to Get Rid of Mice Naturally?

Bill Swank
First Published: | Updated: February 27, 2024

There are several natural methods to deter mice, including using strong scents, eliminating food sources, and maintaining clean environments. Discover effective natural strategies for mouse control and why these can be preferable to chemical methods.

  • Natural mouse repellents such as peppermint oil, essential oils, citrus oils, household items like vinegar, and even certain spices can deter these pests. Mice have an exceptional sense of smell and using these pungent or unpleasant-to-mice scents can create a less inviting environment for them.
  • Certain food substances like instant mashed potato flakes, Plaster of Paris with cocoa powder, and durian can be lethal to mice. However, caution should be taken when using such substances in a house with children or pets.
  • Using physical barriers like aluminum foil or steel wool and setting traps can prevent and control mice infestations in a non-toxic and safe way. Always remember to search for and block all potential mice entry points to your house.
  • Proper sanitation and cleanliness in the home and garden can serve as the first line of defense against mice infestation. This includes storing food appropriately, removing easy hiding places such as clutter, and keeping the garden tidy to eliminate potential nesting grounds.
  • If a significant infestation is suspected despite applying natural repellents consistently, professional help may be required. Signs of a severe infestation include frequent sighting of multiple mice, consistent discovery of mice droppings, gnawing marks, signs of nesting, unusual smells or sounds in the house.

Table of Contents

What Are Natural Mouse Repellents and How Do They Work?

Natural mouse repellents serve as alternatives to traditional pest control methods. They enlist various household items, scents, food substances, and even predatory creatures that are known adversaries of mice. They work by exploiting the keen sense of smell that mice possess. Many natural repellents emit strong or unpleasant-to-mice scents that deter these pests, driving them off of your property.

How do natural mouse repellents compare to traditional methods?

Unlike conventional repelling methods which typically use poisons or kill traps that pose a potential risk to children, pets, and can also leave a nasty sight, natural repellents are non-toxic, and safe for both humans and pets. Moreover, they are usually less expensive, easily accessible, and simple to implement.

What are the advantages of using natural ways to get rid of mice?

First off, natural methods provide the safest option, posing no threat to your household or environment. They are also cost-effective as most remedies make use of common household items or substances.

Furthermore, they offer a humane solution by repelling mice, not killing them. Finally, in contrast to commercial pest control products that can foster resistance amongst mice over time, natural repellents continue to remain effective.

What Are the Effective Natural Scents That Mice Dislike?

Mice may have poor vision, but they compensate with an exceptional sense of smell. Exploiting this trait, here are some natural scents that can effectively repel mice.

Peppermint Oil

One of the most common natural mouse deterrents is peppermint oil. The strong, distinct smell of peppermint is repulsive to these pests. By spraying and soaking cotton balls in peppermint oil and placing them in areas where mice have been spotted or at suspected entry points, you can deter these rodents. Remember to replace these soaked cotton balls every few days to maintain the strong scent.

Essential Oils

Apart from peppermint, mice also detest several essential oils like sage, lavender, eucalyptus, citronella, and laurel. You can use these oils in a similar fashion as peppermint oil to prevent mice infestations.

Citrus Fruits and Oils

Citrus scents are refreshing to humans but not to mice! They find this potent smell particularly disagreeable. Using citrus oils or even fresh peels from lemons or oranges around your home can act as a deterrent. Remember to replace the peels regularly as they lose their potency over time.

How Can Household Items Act as Natural Deterrents for Mice?

Many household items, mostly found in your pantry, can be turned into effective mouse repellents. Let’s explore how you can transform some of them into your anti-mice arsenal.


The strong, pungent odor of vinegar disrupts the superior sense of smell in mice, making it harder for them to locate food and navigate. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray it around areas where mice are suspected to frequent. Just ensure you reapply regularly for optimal results.

Coffee Powder

Mice dislike the sharp aroma of coffee powder. Sprinkle some on countertops, especially in the kitchen or wherever food is kept. The tenacious smell of coffee would make the area a no-go zone for mice.


Onions are another household item that mice stay clear of. The strong odor can discourage them from settling into your property. All you need to do is slice up one or two onions and place them at potential entry points or hideouts.


Much like vampires, mice can’t tolerate garlic. Smash a few cloves, spread the pulp around the house, block rodent pathways, or even make an easy-to-use garlic spray by mixing chopped garlic with water. You can also sprink garlic powder on areas where you see mice frequent.

Dryer Sheets

The fabric softener sheets you use in your dryer can act as a natural deterrent for mice. These rodents dislike the smell of these sheets, so tuck a few in the corners of your house, behind appliances, or any other location you suspect mice are frequenting.


While mothballs aren’t entirely natural, their potent smell can discourage mice. However, be aware that mothballs contain naphthalene, which can be harmful to both humans and pets when inhaled in large amounts. Therefore, use mothballs sparingly and in areas not frequented by children or pets.


Ammonia’s strong smell can drive mice away as they mistake it for a predator’s urine. Soak cotton balls in ammonia and place them at mouse entry points or suspected hiding spots. Be cautious when using ammonia, as it can be hazardous to both human health and the environment if handled improperly.

Baking Soda

Baking soda acts as a natural poison for mice. Here’s why: after consuming baking soda, it reacts with the gastric acid in the stomach of the mice, subsequently releasing carbon dioxide gas. This leads to bloating and discomfort, eventually causing the mouse’s demise. To apply this method, sprinkle baking soda in areas where mice frequent. For a more targeted approach, mix baking soda with various mouse baits, such as cereal, dried fruit, or peanut butter. However, avoid using this method if you have pets or children, as they might be tempted by the bait.

What Plants and Spices Can Naturally Keep Mice at Bay?

Just as certain scents can deter mice, there exist specific plants and spices with smells that mice tend to avoid. Incorporating these into your home may help keep mice at bay.

Bay Leaves

Mice can be easily fooled by bay leaves. Its inviting scent masks the reality that it’s an unsafe edible for these pests. Once they take a bite, they choke and die. To implement this method, sprinkle dried bay leaves in corners or entrance areas.

Cloves or Clove Oil

Similar to other essential oils, mice find the smell of cloves unpleasant. To drive mice away, you can use either the whole cloves or clove oil. Both can be strategically placed in areas of infestation to repel these critters.


Capsaicin, found in hot peppers like cayenne and jalapenos, naturally repels mice. You can either sprinkle the powder around the areas frequented by these rodents, or dilute it in water and spray it around. Be cautious using capsaicin around children and pets as it can cause eye irritation.

Tabasco Sauce

Just like capsaicin, mice are repulsed by hot sauce. The fiery sensation and extreme discomfort upon sniffing or consuming hot sauce will discourage mice from lingering. Use this method predominantly outside around your house’s foundation to repel mice.

Hot Pepper Spray

Taking capsaicin a step further, make a spicy hot pepper spray using cayenne or jalapeno peppers. Mice sniffing or coming in contact with this spray experience a burning sensation in their eyes and nose, making them extremely uncomfortable and driving them away.

Planting Natural Deterrent Plants

Some plants naturally repel mice with their strong aromatic properties. In your garden or pots, plant mint, lavender, pennyroyal, garlic, and onions to deter these pests. Not only will these additions beautify your garden, but they’ll also create a mice-repellent aromatic barrier.

What Food-Based Substances Can Naturally Get Rid of Mice?

Interestingly, certain food substances can lead to the elimination of mice without resorting to harmful chemicals or brutal traps.

Instant Mashed Potato/Potato Flakes

This remedy is among the top natural ways to get rid of mice. When mice consume instant potato flakes, they become severely thirsty. If they drink water shortly after, the flakes swell up in their stomach, leading to their demise. To apply this natural poison, place the potato flakes around your house, especially near infested areas.

Plaster of Paris and Cocoa Powder

Plaster of Paris and cocoa powder make a deadly mixture for mice. The enticing scent of cocoa attracts the mice to gobble up this mix, while the plaster of Paris hardens in their stomach upon hydration, suffocating them eventually. Sprinkle this lethal combo around areas frequented by mice.


Mice are repelled by the strong and pungent smell of this “king of fruits”. While it is not toxic to mice, the sulfur compounds and other volatile chemicals in the fruit are unpleasant enough to drive them away. Dried durian skin, particularly, can be crumbled and placed in mouse-infested areas.

How Can Physical Barriers and Setting Traps Contribute to Natural Mouse Control?

Physical barriers and traps work well to prevent and control mice infestations in a natural way.

Aluminum Foil

Mice are troubled by the sound and smell of aluminum foil. This common kitchen material also presents a slippery surface, making it hard for mice to grip. To repel mice, wrap aluminum foil around objects or place balls of foil around your home.

Steel Wool

Utilizing a material that mice can’t chew through is a clever approach. Steel wool fits this criterion perfectly. Use this abrasive material to block any holes or gaps that mice might use to access your house or apartment.

Setting Traps

Setting traps is a classic way to control a mice infestation. There are various types of traps, such as snap traps and live traps. Live traps, particularly, offer a humane solution. After capturing the mice, they can be released away from your property.

Sealing Entry Points

Proactively inspect your home for cracks, holes, or gaps in walls and around windows or doors where mice can enter. Aim to seal any opening larger than a pencil’s width to effectively cut off access for these tiny invaders.

How Can Proper Sanitation and Storage Deter Mice Naturally?

Maintaining cleanliness and proper storage habits in your home can have a significant impact on preventing a mice infestation.

Good Sanitation

Cleanliness is key when it comes to deterring mice. Sealing leftover food, cleaning up crumbs and spills immediately, and managing garbage in secure bins can discourage mice from making your home their feeding ground.

Proper Storage

When storing food, especially grains or animal feed, use heavy plastic or metal containers with tight lids. This measure helps to deny mice any access to potential food sources.

Removing Easy Hiding Places

Removing hiding places adds another hurdle for the mice. Declutter your home, clear out thick vegetation around your property, and avoid keeping soft, fluffy material like old rugs or blankets in open areas where mice can nest.

Keeping Your Garden Clean

Just as maintaining indoor cleanliness is crucial, tending to your garden can also keep mice at bay. Regularly trimming dense shrubbery, clearing out weeds, and removing debris will eliminate potential nesting grounds for these rodents.

Do Natural Predators Provide a Reliable Solution for Mice Infestation?

Having natural predators for mice around can significantly aid in controlling a mice infestation.

Mice Natural Predators (Cats, Dogs, and Owls, etc.)

Cats are renowned mouse catchers, and their reputation proceeds them, often deterring mice simply by their presence. Dogs, especially terrier breeds, can also deter and catch mice. Owls, snakes, and hawks are natural predators of mice, and providing a suitable habitat for these birds can help control the prey population for outdoor infestations.

Kitty Litter

You can use used kitty litter to give an illusion of a cat’s presence. This could be particularly useful if you are allergic to cats or can’t own one for some reason. Mice pick up on the smell of their predator from the litter and are driven away. However, ensure the litter is kept out of reach of children and pets.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Ultrasonic Devices?

Ultrasonic devices emit frequencies that are uncomfortable for mice. The noise is imperceptible to human ears but causes a conspicuous disturbance to mice, driving them away.

However, there’s an ongoing debate about their effectiveness. While many claim ultrasonic devices have worked well for them, scientific studies have yet to definitively prove their efficiency. Moreover, mice can get used to these sounds over time, rendering the device ineffective.

What Are Some Unconventional Natural Mouse Repellents?

You may find them repelling, but certain unconventional items can work wonders when it comes to deterring mice.

Dried Snake Feces

If you happen to have a pet snake, you’re in luck. Similar to kitty litter, dried snake feces can be placed at entrances or frequented mouse regions to create an imitation of a predator threat.

Cow Dung

Equally unpleasant, cow dung is lethal to mice. Mice are attracted to its smell, and upon consumption, they endure severe stomach inflammation – usually lethal. This method is effective for outdoor infestations in gardens or farms, given the unpleasant smell and potential unsanitary conditions it may introduce indoors.

Remember to use gloves when handling cow dung to avoid any potential bacterial or viral infections.

How to Implement Natural Mouse Deterrent Strategies Effectively?

Ridding your home of mice naturally is not just about knowing what repels them, but also how to implement these repelling tactics effectively.

What keeps mice away permanently from indoor and outdoor spaces?

Consistency is key to keeping mice away permanently. Regularly check and seal any potential entry points. Keep your dwelling clean and devoid of easily accessible food sources. If you’re using scent-based deterrents, ensure you refresh them every few days to maintain their repellent properties.

What strategies can be combined to enhance the effectiveness of natural mouse repellents?

Combine several strategies for best results. For instance, you could use scent-based methods like essential oils or vinegar alongside physical deterrents like aluminum foil or steel wool. Consider adding a natural predator, if possible. Cats are the most common natural predators you can bring in to deter mice.

How to ensure the efficacy and consistency of natural repellants?

Regularly check and replace natural repellents to maintain their efficacy. For example, change the peppermint oil-soaked cotton balls every few days to keep the smell potent. With physical barriers, check and reaffirm their placement regularly.

What are the considerations for safety and effectiveness when using natural remedies?

Always consider safety first, especially if you have children and pets. Avoid methods that might pose a risk like the use of Plaster of Paris with cocoa powder, mothballs, or ammonia. Opt for human-friendly methods like essential oils, aluminum foil, or a simple vinegar-water spray.

Are There Effective Natural Solutions for Specific Areas in the Home?

Certain areas of your home like the basement, garages, and attics are often the preferred dwellings for mice due to their quiet, undisturbed nature. Here’s how you can ward off infestations naturally in these specific areas.

How to get rid of mice in the basement naturally?

For basements, use a combination of physical barriers, scent repellents like peppermint or essential oils, ultrasonic devices, and traps. Seal any cracks, holes, or crevices in the walls or windows. Also, clear out any clutter to reduce potential nesting areas.

What natural remedies work best for apartments?

For apartments, focus on sealing all entry points. Frequently clean to prevent crumbs or food droppings that can attract mice. Use scent-based repellents that are safe for indoor use, like essential oils or vinegar spray.

How to keep mice out of your house naturally, including attics and garages?

For attics and garages, remove any food sources or nesting materials. Use traps alongside scent deterrents. Consider ultrasonic devices if the infestation is severe. Always ensure to secure any openings in these areas.

Addressing Challenges with Natural Mice Repellents

While natural remedies are beneficial, they may exhibit some challenges.

What are the limitations of natural ways to get rid of mice?

One limitation is that some natural repellents lose their efficacy over time, requiring regular replacement or application. Also, some home solutions may not be powerful enough against a large infestation, requiring professional intervention.

How often should natural repellents be replaced or reapplied to maintain their deterrent effect?

The frequency of replacement or reapplication depends on the method used. Scents usually diminish after a few days and should be refreshed.

When should professional pest control be considered despite natural remedies?

If mice continue to frequent your dwelling despite consistent usage of natural repellents, this points to a large infestation. In such cases, consider seeking help from professional pest control services.

What are the signs of a significant infestation that may require more than natural remedies?

While occasional sightings of a single mouse or two can be handled with natural remedies, there are signs that may indicate a heavier infestation. These include:

  • Frequent sightings of multiple mice: While a single mouse might signify a lone intruder, frequently spotting several mice at once is a red flag for a significant infestation.
  • Mouse droppings: If you routinely come across mouse droppings, especially in similar locations, this suggests a continued presence of these pests.
  • Gnaw marks on food items or objects: Mice, having affixed teeth, need to regularly gnaw on items. Frequent signs of gnawing could mean a large infestation.
  • Signs of nesting: Shredded paper, fabric, or plant matter hidden away in quiet corners point towards possible mice nests.
  • Unusual smells: An unusual, musky odor along with urine trails could indicate a severe mouse problem.
  • Sounds in the walls: Scratching or scurrying sounds, especially during quiet times like the night, signal a potential infestation in your house.

Remember, natural remedies are not fail-safe, and sometimes you might need professional pest control assistance. Always ensure the methods you’re using are safe for the household, bearing in mind children and pets. It might take some time to get rid of mice naturally. However, with patience and persistence, success will eventually be yours.

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