Without a doubt, mice are among the most notorious household pests. But while there are a lot of commercial products that promise to repel them, peppermint essential oil is also effective.
This oil is extracted from the peppermint plant and captures the plant’s powerful scent, which helps repel mice indoors and outdoors.
Peppermint oil does work as mice repellent. This essential oil has an intense minty smell that irritates and repel mice. The vibrant smell is one of the strongest scents from essential oils, making it a very popular mouse repellent. Despite this, the result is very unpredictable and should not be solely relied on.
Scientifically known as mentha piperita, peppermint contains menthol, which most mammals and insects hate. Although it has lots of health benefits to humans, mice find the scent very offensive.
In this article, you will learn how peppermint oil can be used to repel mice, as well as alternatives that you can try.
Will Peppermint Oil Keep Mice Away?
Peppermint oil will keep mice away, but not permanently. This eco-friendly essential oil contains very potent menthol compounds that mice cannot tolerate. But just like any kind of scent, the strong smell of peppermint oil will eventually run out. Therefore, mice are likely to come back unless you apply this oil again.
Will Peppermint Oil Get Rid of Mice?
Peppermint oil will get rid of mice but only for a limited time. Although its strong aroma smell is enough to irritate mice, this is not long-lasting. As time goes by, the scent will gradually subside until it is completely gone. With that, you should closely monitor the area and may need to spray from time to time.
How Does Peppermint Oil Repel Mice?
Peppermint oil repels mice by releasing an intense smell that these pests cannot withstand. Since mice have a strong sense of smell, they will not go near the areas where you have sprayed this essential oil.
The duration of the smell mainly depends on the amount you sprayed, the concentration, and the surroundings.
How to Use Peppermint Oil for Mice?
There are two ways to use peppermint oil to repel mice. First, dip cotton balls in 100% pure peppermint oil, and place them or rub them in areas where there are mice activities. But aside from being time-consuming, mice may also get the cotton balls once they are dried and will use them as materials for their nest.
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On the other hand, using peppermint oil as a spray is more convenient and can be more effective. Peppermint essential oil should be diluted in water before using as sprays. Nevertheless, they can reach hidden areas that cotton balls cannot. However, you need to spray more often than replace the cotton balls with oil.
How Do You Mix Peppermint Oil for Mice?
To mix peppermint oil, you will need to mix it with water. Add 2 teaspoons of peppermint oil to 1 cup of water in a clean, empty spray bottle. Shake well before using. If there are lots of mice, you can add a few drops of dish detergent or rubbing alcohol to make the solution stronger. Keep out of reach of children.
How Often Should You Spray Peppermint Oil for Mice?
Peppermint oil sprays can repel mice but not for a long time. Since the smell will soon run out, you have to spray again. The frequency of spraying depends on the severity of the problem. But ideally, you can start twice a week. If necessary, increase the frequency until the mice are all gone.
How to Make a DIY Peppermint Spray for Mice?
If you prefer making your peppermint oil spray for mice, you can grow peppermint in your garden or indoors. With proper care, peppermint plants can grow leaves within 90 days outdoors. Indoor peppermint plants may grow slower if there is not enough light. Here are the steps to make DIY peppermint spray:
- Pick some fresh peppermint leaves from the plant. Don’t cut the stems.
- Wash them thoroughly with cool, clean water and remove foreign substances.
- Dry the leaves completely. If necessary, wipe them using a clean cloth and shake them well.
- Gently crush the peppermint leaves. You can use your hand, the back of a spoon, or a mortar and pestle.
- Place the crushed leaves inside a colored glass jar with an airtight lid. Using clear jars will cause the essential oil to deteriorate due to light.
- Add carrier oil of your choice (such as olive oil) a6nd submerge the leaves.
- Cover the jar tightly and leave it in a cold, dark place for 1-2 weeks. If possible, shake the jar every 12 hours so the dilution will be faster.
- Strain the extracted peppermint essential oil into a spray bottle, and throw away the leaves.
- If you need more essential oil, simply repeat the entire process.
Essential oils do not expire like food does but rather changes their state. Typically, peppermint oil has a “shell life” of 3-6 months. Once the smell is already strange, stop using it.
What Other Essential Oils Make Mice Go Away?
Fortunately, peppermint oil and lavender oil are not the only essential oils that make mice go away. These plant-based oils are generally safe when used topically but are toxic when ingested and inhaled. This is also why mice tend to avoid their strong smell. Therefore, here are the other essential oils that can repel these pests:
- Aniseed essential oil
- Bergamot essential oil
- Cedarwood essential oil
- Cinnamon essential oil
- Citronella essential oil
- Clove essential oil
- Eucalyptus essential oil
- Geranium essential oil
- Lemon essential oil
Note, however, that more scientific studies are needed to be done to confirm their effectiveness. They are also not permanent solutions against mice and will not work in heavy mice infestation.
What Do Mice Hate the Most?
There is no single smell or thing that mice hate the most. But aside from the ones mentioned above, mice avoid loud sounds, sudden movements, bright flashing lights, and predators such as cats and humans. Although known as nocturnal animals, mice may also come out during the day but will avoid being seen.
Will Vinegar Repel Mice?
Vinegar repels mice. Both the white vinegar and apple cider vinegar have a very strong odor that mice cannot take. To create a vinegar solution, simply mix one part of vinegar with one part of water. Like peppermint oil, you can spray it on areas where there is mice activity. But then, spraying only once is not enough.
Do Mice Hate Aluminum Foil?
Mice hate aluminum foil but not because of its smell. Mice dislike aluminum foil and tend to avoid it for three reasons. First, these house pests hate the sound of aluminum foil once they step on it or get into contact with it. Second, mice cannot chew through aluminum since it has sharp edges. They also cannot grip it.
Third, aluminum foil has a shiny surface, which is an unfamiliar view to mice and rats. A 2021 YouTube video shows a pet rat owner leaving the cage open but placing an aluminum foil at the opening. Despite the treats, rats avoid them and try to find another way to get out. But later, some of them become accustomed to it.
Do Mice Hate Lavender?
Mice hate lavender just like they hate peppermint because they also cannot handle its smell. Therefore, growing lavender plants in your garden will help you make mice away. You can also sprinkle some lavender leaves in mice-infested areas. As expected, lavender essential oil spray also helps repel mice and rats.
Related: Mice Control: How To Get Rid of Mice?
Essential oils and other scents can repel mice, but they cannot kill these pests. They are also only effective if the scent is present. This is why you should replenish them again and again. With that, essential oils are not always dependable. Therefore, you should try other ways to get rid of stubborn mice.
List of Sources
Baker, B. P, Grant, J. A., and Malakar-Kuenen, R. Peppermint & Peppermint Oil Profile. New York State Integrated Pest Management, Cornell University.
Rodents. (2010). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Potter, M. F. (1994). Control of Mice. University of Kentucky.
Protect Your Health- Keep Rats and Mice Under Control. Government of Western Australia.