What Smells Do Mice Hate?

Mice are common home invaders all over the world, and many people will battle infestations more than once. This is far more likely during wintertime when rodents are motivated to come indoors by the cold, outside temperatures.

Dealing with mice can be a long, drawn-out process, especially if you’re facing a large infestation.


The best way to keep your house mouse-free is to discourage rodents from moving in in the first place.

Sealing up cracks and holes, disposing of and storing food correctly and placing traps here and there can all help, but none of these methods are guaranteed to keep them out.

One effective way to make sure mice stay a respectable distance from your property could be by using certain scents. Some people claim that there are particular odors mice can’t stand, and can deter them from setting foot in your house. So, what smells do mice dislike, do they really work as a repellent, and how can you use them to keep your house free of rodents?

How can you tell if you have mice?

It’s important to note that, while using certain scents can help to repel mice, it won’t get rid of them if you’re already into your home. The following methods should be used as preventative measures only – if you find mice in your home, they can be used as part of an integrated pest management plan.

If you think you may have mice, keep an eye out for the following telltale signs:

  • Mouse droppings (especially in cupboards, where food is stored and behind furniture).
  • Chewed items (including wood, furniture, food packaging, and books).
  • Nibbled food.
  • Scampering and rustling sounds.
  • A ‘mousy’ odor (usually caused by droppings).

What scents do mice hate?

Rodents like rats and mice are repelled by certain odors, which you can use to keep them out of your house. Several essential oils like peppermint and eucalyptus and other natural substances like cedarwood and chili peppers have this effect and make excellent natural rodent repellents.


Peppermint oil is widely believed to repel mice and rats. One study found that rodents can’t stand the minty smell of the oil and will try to avoid it where possible. Impregnating your home with this scent is, therefore, a reliable way to make it less appealing to mice, making them less likely to move in.


How can you use peppermint oil to repel mice?

Try applying a liberal sprinkle of peppermint oil to cotton balls and place these in areas mice are most likely to gather (like in the back of cupboards, in crawl spaces and behind furniture). This should help to deter them from moving into these spaces and prevent infestations from taking hold.


Eucalyptus oil is another smell mice hate and has been proven to have strong repellent effects against rodents. This means it has excellent potential to repel both mice and rats from your home, and can significantly reduce your likelihood of an infestation when applied around your house.


How can you use eucalyptus oil to repel mice?

Try mixing up a simple, DIY eucalyptus oil spray to use around your home. Combine two teaspoons of pure eucalyptus oil with one cup of water and a few drops of liquid detergent in a spray bottle. Mix well and use this concoction to spritz areas of your house where mice are most likely to be found. Repeat this process once a week to keep the scent fresh and the mice at bay.


Cedarwood oil is toxic to rodents and has a fragrant, woodsy scent that is very unpleasant to them. This is another essential oil you can use to make your home smell bad to rats and mice, hopefully dissuading them from coming indoors.


How can you use cedarwood to repel mice?

One really simple way of using cedar to repel mice around your home is to get your hands on some cedar chips. Scatter these around the outside of your house, especially around garbage cans, to keep rats and mice away. As an added bonus, cedar is a natural deodorizer and can help to keep your trash cans sweet-smelling (to humans, at least!).

Chili peppers

Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a spicy compound that’s responsible for giving these plants their fiery heat. It’s also a powerful rodent repellent, and may be used to keep mice away from your house this winter


How can you use chili to repel mice?

Try scattering cayenne pepper around outside your house, paying particular attention to places where mice may gain entry (such as around drains and other holes and cracks). You can also apply it in areas of your house where mice may like to hang out, like behind furniture or in crawl spaces.

Other ways of using essential oils to repel mice around your home

Look for candles impregnated with essential oils

Candles infused with peppermint, cedarwood or eucalyptus oil can release vapors into the air around your home, giving it a scent that will make mice turn tail and run.

Set up an oil burner

An oil burner can be used to heat the essential oils until they evaporate. The vapors are then released into the air, impregnating your house with the scent and helping to keep rodents away.

Use a reed diffuser

A reed diffuser is an easy way to fill the air in your home with the scent of mouse-repelling essential oils. Set a few up around your house to keep rodents outside.


Protecting your home from a rodent invasion is a full-time job, as these furry pests are common in almost every country on the planet. Preventing infestations is the best way to keep your home free of mice, and you can use certain scents to help you do just that. But what do mice hate the smell of? Peppermint, eucalyptus, cedar, and chili all have odors that can help to keep mice away


odette nieuwoudt

very interesting but i have lot of spiders in my house. What can i do to get rid if them.


    You should take a look at our article about controlling spiders in your home for some ideas of what your options are. You can also use the search bar to look up other articles about getting rid of spiders.

Robbie malone

I have used the pepperment oil and it really does work


If they are already in the house how do you get rid of them? Also any ideas on how to get rid of squirrels?


Peppermint oil got rid of chipmunks and mice in our motorhome.

    Tadhg O'Donovan

    Food for thought.
    Would growing mint work?

    Kristiana Kripena

    Although mice don’t like minty scents, just growing mint probably won’t help much since the scent won’t be concentrated enough to actually keep mice away. Applying peppermint oil in or around your home, as stated in the article, will be much more effective.


    My solution for mice and rats is cats. One or two of them will deter rats in the house. Scent of cat’s body is annoying to mice and rats.

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