What Smells Do Mice Hate?

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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.

Good To Know!

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 scent will keep mice away, do they really work as a repellent, and how can you use them to keep your house free of rodents?

First off, how can you tell if you have mouse infestation?

It’s important to note that while using certain scents can help repel mice, it might not get rid of them completely if they are already in your home. Therefore, 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)

5 Smells that mice tend to stay away from

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.

1. Peppermint

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.

Another great idea would be to plant and grow peppermint straight into your garden. Then, due to a keen sense of smell, mice and other rodents will quickly realize that they have stepped into the wrong garden and will look for food sources elsewhere. The downside? You have to have a lot of these minty leaves to be concentrated enough for mice to take action.

white pot and mug with peppermint leaves and tea


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.

2. Eucalyptus

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.

eucalyptus leaf branch


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.

3. Cedarwood

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.

cedar cones on a cedar tree


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!).

4. 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

yellow, green and red chilli pepper


How can you use chili to repel mice?

Try scattering cayenne pepper or chili powder 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.

An alternative to chili pepper powder would be chili oil. It’s causing irritation when inhaled. Thus, it’s an amazing substance to deter mice naturally.

5. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is another excellent option to keep mice at bay due to its strong scent. And more importantly, most people have cinnamon in their spice arsenal on the countertop. So, it makes cinnamon one of the most frequently used natural repellents to keep mice away.

image of cinnamon sticks

How can you use cinnamon to repel mice?

There are many methods and it depends on what kind of cinnamon form you have. You can simply make cinnamon sachets with the powder you have or take the lazy route – sprinkle the powder or put cinnamon sticks around the entry points where mice could crawl into your house, garage, attic, etc.

Or simply use cinnamon oil and cotton ball method.

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.

Frequently asked questions

1. Do mice despise the smell of bleach?

While there are cases where people seem to favor bleach as a mice prevention solution because of the strong smell – in most situations, it does not help at all. However, it can be sprayed on the mouse droppings to kill harmful bacteria.Fun fact: Thomas Leung and Seung Kim found that dilute-bleach baths could minimize the processes that age and damage skin in mice. After reading how scientists have given baths to mice and had a repairing effect on their damaged skin – bleach solution for mice control does not sound like the wisest choice. And we doubt that it can work as a mice repellent for the majority of the cases.

2. Can I use ammonia to kill or deter mice?

While many people believe that ammonia is one of the smells mice hate – it’s not true. Matter of fact, the studies have shown that it has a neutral effect on mice behavior. Meaning, the mice did not exhibit a clear preference for or aversion to ammonia. Even in high ammonia concentration levels, there was little to no effect on laboratory mice.

Conclusion – what scent will keep mice away?

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 to answer the question – What scent will keep mice away? Peppermint, eucalyptus, cedar, cinnamon and chili all have strong odors that can help to keep mice away.


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?

    H Garbutt

    Squirrels hate the smell of moth balls. I was able to remove squirrels from my loft by scattering mothballs


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.


    So the peppermint did help. My boyfriend tried moth balls and I sprayed some spray they say mice don’t like. How long after did u notice they were gone


Sibit makes so much sense we moved to a new place never had a mouse in the house they planted mint through the whole lawn we always thought it was because mint is a natural healer for people who have some diseases there is none by the barn and it is crazy with mice in there 🙂 food for thought smells nice when you mow it also.

Ruth Ansah

Thanks a lot for the good information. I will definitely try it.

    Kristiana Kripena

    Glad you found our article helpful, Ruth!


What would be the best bait for catching mice when using a good old fashioned mouse trap?


    You can take a look at our article about the best baits to catch mice. You’ll find both food and non-food items there.


Love this information! I wrote it down to keep just in case! Thanks for qinfo! Did you have anything for roaches? I have seen three or four at my dog’s bowl!

    Kristiana Kripena

    For combating cockroaches, please check out our article on getting rid of roaches. In this article, we’ve listed many products and strategies to help you get rid of cockroaches once and for all.

Sandra Hopkins

Mice love peanut butter we have cought many by baiting the trap with this,we never had mice but all of sudden last year they came in don’t know why but the peanut butter works fine….

Diana Monize

CATS! Mice hate their scent. If you don’t, or can’t, have a cat: borrow cat fur from a friend, or relative. Place liberally around their holes, the doors, or other places they frequent. Since we moved in with our cats, the mice have left us alone.

Mary Bennett

We have always used Irish Spring since we bought our camper; no more mice! I told my mother-in-law this trick since she lives on a farm (2 years ago)…no more mice! We now buy it in bundles!!!


    We too use Irish Spring and we also use whole cloves which we wrap up in old nylon stockings. Don’t know which one is doing the trick but we no longer have a mouse problem at our cottage.


Our family cottage is vacant over the winter and so mice have always gotten in until we discovered WHOLE CLOVES. We scatter them everywhere before locking up for the winter and have not had any real problems since. Put them in cupboards, vanities, pantry areas, across the floor, everywhere. Works great!

Anastasia Charlow Huber

I live in the Bahamas and this Summer we have been having problems with rats…all the mentioned remedies sounds workable Will try the mint and cloves….Tks


Peanut butter work good for mice.


Moth balls have a repugnant odor that does not go away, so make sure you can stand it before putting it out inside your home. I much prefer other scents. Thanks for the ideas. I will be planting mint plants next spring!


Conkers in the corners of your rooms , deters spiders entering into your home. It’s something to do with the oils . The mice/rats problem we have, I’ll try the above mentioned. Thanks.

Ramona L. Bermudez

I live out in the country and we had desert mouse making a home in my son’s car engine. It was packed all over. I finally sprayed tabasco sauce and diluted it with water and used a spray bottle. It took like 3 days but I believe it went away. Note: The tabasco sauce is pretty strong. It makes you cough and sneeze a lot so use a face mask. ) I did not measure sauce but it was like 1/2 inch high in the bottle and I put some water and mixed it.

Donna Bowen

I have used peppermint oil didnt wotk they just went right on through it and i sprayed it heavy mouse traps baby mice are too little to spring it. Have tried irish spring they ate it. I am going to try cloves and spray peppermint oil on cotton balls see if that helps thanks

Beverly Lemle’

I’ve heard warnings that essential oils are harmful to dogs. Does this include peppermint and eucalyptus oils? I have 2 small older dogs.


    Yes, dogs can have reactions to essential oils, including but not limited to these two. It’s not something that’s absolutely about to happen, though, we do suggest picking a different method of prevention if you have dogs at home. Especially, when it comes to elderly dogs or puppies.


Not sure about Irish spring! Do you put it outside ? Please advise a! Thank you!


Mice hate Irish spring body soap.


I live in Florida and we can’t get the rats out of our trailer. Please help! We have tried traps, poison, oils, candles, spraying foam in the holes and they eat right through it? Help me!!!


Thank you for all these tips and hacks .. I have an on and off going fight with mice from season to season and hate trying poisons will try these new tips


I used poison…bad idea. It killed the rats they died in the heat ducts, then comes the smell, then blow flies. We had to remove and replace the ductwork. I asked the guys replacing the ducts if they had any answers.They recommended Irish Spring soap. I bought a case cut each bar into 6 chunks and placed them every 2 or 3 feet, the length of our park model. Pray it’s working.


Try stuffing your holes with steel wool. They don’t like chewing on this item. I used it in our storage shed outside and it worked.


What does it mean when a mouse leaves something in your bed every evening not droppings actually there was a lemon drop animal cracker goldfish some rappers to some thing etc. This is no joke . If trued a lot to get rid of them . Now they are showing off Like a cat . My house is clean but is a old farm house


    This is a rather interesting behavior for a mouse, I’ve never heard of it before. Is there any chance it might be a pet doing this, perhaps a cat, if you have any? If not, then I’m not sure how to explain it. To solve your problem, you can give this article a try for some tips.

Barry Evans

Yes i have had some thing eating my tomatoes at night. Don’t know what it is!
But lose about 6 a night. Can anybody throw any light on what it could be!
Regards Barry.


    There are plenty of things that might be snacking on your tomatoes. Different rodents, raccoons, deer, etc. Have you tried looking for any marks left? Such as footprints? Those might help you identify the intruder.


Sometimes mice will eat irish spring soap. Mice invaded my car, built a nest in the glove box. I cleaned that out and put a bar of irish spring soap in there. They started nibbling on the soap! Finally got rid of them with good old fashioned traps. Then sprayed peppermint oil around and no more so far.

Susan Tanner

Thanks for the good information I am going to try it


Very informative thank you.


I just wanted to comment and maybe someone else already has but some essential oils are toxic to cats and dogs. For those wanting to give it a shot, please look up what is toxic for your pets before using the essential oils.


I have raccoons living in my roof they come down late evening and go back up early morning
Can someone help me please, I am desperate!


    Are they on your roof or in your attic? What you need to do is make sure you’re not providing them with shelter. If they’re on the roof, remove all the branches, seal all the gaps on the roof (install steel meshes), etc. It’s very likely they’re looking to get into your attic if they haven’t already found their way. If they’re already in the attic, you should consider trapping. But you need to check for signs of babies as well. If the raccoon has a litter, it needs to be removed with the mom, or else the pups will die an awful death. You can also contact a professional wildlife removal service for help.


Raccoon repellent?? They actually remove the lids from my garbage cans.


    To repel raccoons, you can try Natural Armor Animal & Rodent Repellent Spray. Meanwhile, try to keep the territory free of any other things they could feed on. We also suggest looking into animal-proofing your trashcans, so raccoons can’t open them.


I heard dryer sheets work. They come in various scents.
I’m trying them out for the first time in my camper. Will see in the spring when I open for the season if they work.


Colgate toothpaste is poison to mice. slice a tube open and leave in a suitable location.
A saucer with 50/50 cement powder and flour and a water dish somewhere else works, just make sure the water is outside. When they stop taking the powder mix the problem should be sorted.


How do you get rid of a skunk? I have a nightly visiting skunk the destroys the garden looking for grubs. Tosses the soil out of pots, uproots the plants in the pots & eats my Basil plants. I have seen him so I know it is a skunk & not a raccoon.


    First of all, make sure to remove all your trash, compost piles, etc. Skunks dislike the smell of citrus, ammonia, and mothballs. So you can use those to make the area less attractive to them. The urine of their predators can also be used.
    You can try looking for the holes they live in to fill them up (just make sure there are no babies inside!) or set motion-triggered lighting in your garden during the darker hours. Skunks are nocturnal and the lighting might scare them off.


If mice hate peppermint why did they chew a hole in the bag of white chocolate Peppermint candy and started eating it (the candy center is creamy) I can’t stand mice and need them gone ASAP. Thank you!


    While generally mice dislike the smell of peppermint, they also like the smell of chocolate. So it’s hard to say how they would react to your candy. Also, did they just chew the bag, or did they eat the candy itself?
    For getting rid of mice, take a look at this article for some tips.


Those that use Irish Spring – do you recommend the green or the blue bar? And instead of cutting the soap bar into pieces or chunks could you just use something like a potato pealer and peal like a potato then spread the soap that way? Thanks

Faye Bancroft

I took the idea of oeppermint oil further,by adding a few drops to the filter in my vacuum cleaner before each vacuuming session.


I put peppermint oil on peppermint tea bags. I found one of their nests made up of 6 tea bags. Maybe the mice in Australia have different tastes ‍♂️


I have Cockroaches coming indoors in the Winter months and not leaving at
all when the seasons change, they hide in small holes and cracks.
I am desperate to be ride of the little blighters. Can someone help me please!


If wasps get in your house or shed how can you get rid of them?
Thank you, I’ll wait for your reply.


Mice love chocolate. Bait a mouse trap with it and no more mice, just pickup the trap and toss it away

Kapt. K.

WARNING! Mouse droppings killed my friend! He swept out the barn on his newly bought property. Breathing the dust into his lungs gave him Hunta Virus, his doctors said. He was a non-smoker, marathon runner, but he died waiting for a lung transplant at age 55. DO NOT sweep up, or vacuum, or disturb droppings. Wear an N95 mask and using a damp paper towel, GENTLY wipe up droppings and seal in plastic bag.


    You can read more about it in this article.


Do you have advice on how to get rid of voles- larger field mice that burrow, tunnel and eat the grass roots- destroying lawns, brickwork landscaping etc. They are brutal!


Can you use spearment oil to repel mice?


    Yes, spearmint oil should work.


I have used peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, moth balls, steel wool, mice repellent granules, exterminator, but so far the only thing that seems to work are glue traps. SMH


We have a very old house that is settling and I know there are probably many places mice can get in. I reorganized my pantry so there is no food available (I put everything in sealed containers). Have been using no-kill traps but I cannot find anything effective for making them leave. What, in your opinion is the most effective substance I can spray or use to get them out? We have 3 cats but that doesn’t deter the creepy critters. Thank you for your help!


    We suggest taking a look at our article on getting rid of mice. You’ll find loads of advice there.


My fiancé made a great mouse trap using a 3-5 gallon bucket of water, an empty plastic water bottle with a lid on it and a wire through it vertically so it made it like a rolling log. He attached it to the bucket by bending the wire over the edge. He then put peanut butter on the water bottle and a cardboard ramp up the bucket to the water bottle log. The mice try to reach the peanut butter but lose balance and fall into the water and drown. Bye bye mice! This works great when they get around the mouse traps or other deterrents as they can smell and want water and peanut butter. I hope this helps someone.


Glue traps always work for me.Be sure to CK every day,a dead rat or mouse is horrible.

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