Looking for a natural mouse repellent that works? Clever you.
You already understand that you can read all the articles under the sun centered on poisoning mice, killing them off or dealing, effectively, with an infestation in the home.
But the one key facet that is often overlooked when talking about dealing with rodents is how to simply keep them from the door in the first place.
The Smartest Natural Mouse Repellent Methods
And why would you stress yourself out trying to vault that hurdle when you can just avoid it in the first place? Yes, that is my life mantra and no I didn’t learn to ride a bike without safety wheels until my 21st birthday. So what? I can do a sick wheelie now.
But let’s get on with the show. Here are the best mouse repellents to keep mice away!
Best Mouse Repellent #1. Cleanliness
You know what they say: cleanliness is next to
I know it’s not what you want to hear, especially from a faceless writer on the internet (I’m not getting on my high horse, my home is a mess too), but it is the best foundation for repelling mice: keep your home as clean as possible.
Despite what the cartoons might tell us, mice aren’t invading our homes for our expensive cheese boards and wine cellars; they want to get in amongst the filth and grime. They’re here for the food crumbs littering our floors, the leaky pipes and rusty puddles of water we’re too lazy to do anything about and the warm, shadowy corners of the home monopolized by clothes we don’t wear anymore and old school reports.
All you have to do is set a firm, manageable regime of cleaning up around the house and you’ll immediately start to put off any nosey mice in the neighborhood. Not to mention, a generally spic-and-span home also makes it easier to spot the signs of a mouse invasion right away.
Best Mouse Repellent #2. Lack of Food
Do a quick check through your pantry and kitchen cabinets for things that mice can get into: bags of flour, packets of sugar, instant ramen noodles, huge bags of pet food, and the list goes on and on.
Just remember: if mice can chew through the packaging, it’ll become a food source for them. And as long as the food source is plentiful, well, they have no reason to go elsewhere.
To repel mice, the easiest solution is to deprive them of food. Keep fresh and dried food sealed in airtight containers (especially fruits, cereals, oats and seeds), don’t let your garbage build up and clear away as much food crumbs and grime as you can, even if this means attaching that freakishly long vacuum attachment and getting at all those awkward nooks and crannies of your kitchen.
Hint: Under the fridge as well as around and behind the oven are popular places for lurking food crumbs.
Best Mouse Repellent #3. Keep the Trash Away
A quick follow up to the previous point: a hungry mouse isn’t particularly picky about where his next meal comes from. He’ll chew through all sorts of stuff to get to a tasty morsel of… something.
This is why we’ll often find mice and rats scurrying around bins, dumps and garbage trucks. So, it makes sense to keep your trash as far from the house as you can until pick-up day.
Try not to let your garbage build up any more than it has to and be aware of what you’re putting in there: anything that can rot, ferment or still provide a tasty meal for a mouse needs to be disposed of properly!
I know; heart-breaking isn’t it? Ratatouille was a bare faced lie.
Best Mouse Repellent #4. Seal it up
The best way to keep mice out of your home is to make sure they can’t find a way in. You want to build a solid wall of Jericho – without the marching and the falling down, of course.
It’ll take some time, of course, but it’s such an effective mouse repellent that you shouldn’t skip it: take the time to search through your house for any cracks and crevices that mice can sneak in from. This includes even the most minuscule gaps in the exterior of the walls, tiny spaces in pipework or roof tiles, even the actual functioning plumbing of the home
Mice don’t need much to find a way into your home – they have very bizarre bodies with a skeletal structure that allows them to squeeze through absolutely tiny spaces without causing any damage to themselves. It’s often through very small gaps in our exterior walls, under window sills and doors, through pipework, foundations, door frames and all manner of opportunistic holes that they set up their new homes.
Which is why one of the best things you can do to keep mice out is to mouse proof your entire fortress. But this works even better with a little reinforcement…
Best Mouse Repellent #5. Steel wool or copper mesh
A key part of keeping mice out of the house is to seal up every single gap and fissure you can find around the home. No matter how small it might seem, a mouse can probably squeeze through it.
There’s only so far some liquid sealants and caulking will go, though – a desperate mouse can chew its way through most of our blocking substances…Until you fire some reinforcements into proceedings.
High quality steel wool is a popular, effective way to keep mice out. Mice can’t chew through it and when mixed with a caulking compound, it works beautifully. The only downside is that the steel can degrade and rust over time, meaning you’ll have to repeat the process.
Another catch is that in order for it to be maximally effective, you need to use a caulking compound along with the steel wool so the mice can’t simply pull the steel out of the hole.
This is why copper wool, aka copper wire mesh, might be a better choice. It won’t degrade or rust over time so less work for you and it’s more finely woven so it’s much harder to chew through or pull out.
For deep holes and cracks, go ahead and tightly cram several layers of copper mesh into it and reinforce it with caulk for good measure. For more shallow holes and cracks, it’s definitely recommended that you combine the mesh with caulk or another kind of sealant.
No mouse, no matter how badly it wants into your home, is going to be able to chew or claw its way through a tangle of steel wool and sealant, making this one of the best ways to mouse proof your home.
Best Mouse Repellent #6. Aluminum foil
Speaking of metal…aluminum foil seems to be one of those near-mythical substances that works for all manner of different problems. I think, maybe, it’s the one true universal element (beyond things like oxygen and other things that don’t really matter).
We’ve all accidentally chewed on a piece of aluminum foil in our time and my word, just typing that out makes my fingers curl in on themselves. The thinking is that mice experience something similar to this sensation when they scamper over the metallic sheeting.
It could also be something to do with the rat-atatat noise, too. I once shook a bag of loose change near my hamster and was surprised to see it go insane as a result. A boring anecdote from my life for you there, but the principle is the same I think. They hate the noise of metally things.
Cover the floor/counters/shelves in aluminum foil and mice will learn not to venture near. Of course, this can make food preparation difficult for you.
Best Mouse Repellent #7. Essential Oils
When it comes to affordable, DIY, natural and safe repellents for any kind of unwanted guest, you rarely do any better than essential oils. And this is true for mice as well, perhaps because they tend to have a fairly well attuned sense of smell.
Some of the most popular essential oils used to repel mice include peppermint oil, citrus oils and cedar wood oil – all three of which are generally despised by pest populations.
But the hands down best essential oil to repel mice? It’s gotta be the lesser-known Balsam Fir oil. You may not have heard of this stuff but the oil of Balsam fir trees – which smells like Christmas, by the way – works beautifully as a natural mouse repellent.
You can use it by itself or combine with one of the other mice repellent oils and use it in a number of ways:
- Soak cotton balls with the essential oil(s) and scatter them around entryways or cabinets, closets or any other nooks and crannies mice may be tempted to hide out in
- Fill cotton bags with cedar shavings to create mice repellent sachets that you can place in locations around the house
- Use the essentials to enhance any of the other mouse repellent strategies, i.e. mix the oils with some water when you mop or wipe down the countertops
The beauty of the essential oils is their flexibility; who’dathunk you’d be getting creative with ways to repel mice?
Best Mouse Repellent #8. Ultrasonic repellers
If you want to go down a more technical route without getting your hands dirty (both in a literal and moral sense), then ultrasonic repellers could be the answer for you.
These devices work in a fairly self-explanatory manner: they emit an incredibly high pitched noise – which shouldn’t be heard by the human ear, generally speaking – which rodents, pests, insects and all manner of unwanted jerks find off-putting.
Different brands and devices will work for longer, emit stronger frequencies, offer more customization and promise greater distances in terms of effectiveness; but the point is that these ultrasonic repellers are cheap, safe alternatives to toxic insecticides and lethal mousetraps.
Think of it kind of like hosting a never-ending rave that you can’t hear. There’s only so much thumping bass and spilled drinks a mouse can handle before he just needs to get the hell out of Dodge.
Note: An ultrasonic repeller can be helpful to keep stray mice away from your home but if your home is already harboring a mice infestation, it probably won’t make them move out, especially if you have plentiful food lying about.
Repellers can also be a little season-dependent – in the summertime, the annoying sound may make mice think twice about setting up shop in your house but in the cold, dreary months of winter, well, they may be tempted to take whatever warm lodging they can get.
Best Mouse Repellent #9. Dryer sheets
You know those dryer sheets you always buy and forget to use? Every time you spot them on the supermarket shelf, your shirt suddenly feels about ten times rougher than it actually is?
Well, there’s some other uses for those sheets beyond softening your undergarments.
As you might be aware, most dryer sheets are also perfumed to make your clothes smell a bit less…washing-machiney. And, for whatever reason, mice don’t like these scents. Again, this is one of those repellents that may not be strong enough to deter desperate mice but can cause wandering mice to think twice.
How use this mouse repellent? Lay the sheets out around areas you absolutely do not want some mouse activity, or places you’ve seen mice before. Good places include in cabinets, closets, as well as the space between your trash can and the trash bag. Our tailed friends will be notable for their absence.
I wonder if Stuart Little was the exception to this rule… His shirts always looked pretty crisp to me.
Best Mouse Repellent #10. Mouse traps
Obviously, we can focus on the more traditional mousetraps here, but I’m not so sure if that would technically count as a deterrent, seeing as the poor sod would be too dead to be deterred in the future.
There are different kinds of mousetraps, though, such as non-lethal and humane systems which basically capture the mouse in a little cage or box, ready for you to dump in the wild a long way from your cereal.
Glue traps are another option, but you run the risk of A) killing the mouse via starvation (if you set them up in far-away places and forget to check back in) and B) harming any pets you may have in the home, seeing as these traps are very, very sticky.
Best Mouse Repellent #10. Cat(s)
Speaking of pets; get one. Specifically a cat.
Although this isn’t a completely serious tip (it’s hardly fair to bring a cat into your home as a prospective employee, rather than a beloved family member) there is some merit to the idea. If you were already thinking of getting a cat and want to kill two birds with one stone then you want to find one that isn’t too comfortable lazing around in your living room all day.
The problem is, the more vicious the cat the less likely you’re going to want it spending any time around you. Plus, if you pour all of your mouse deterrent hopes into one single pet, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
That said, kitty litter is a handy middle ground. Mice aren’t stupid: they know when a cat is around, and there’s no clearer sign than some stinking cat litter left in choice positions.
Speaking of that kind of thing…
Best Mouse Repellent #11. Snake feces
Mice really aren’t stupid – it might seem like a joke, but snake feces is actually regarded as one of the most effective forms of mouse repelling. Actual snake poo, yeah.
Now, you don’t necessarily have to go around hunting for the stuff yourself. Many pet stores will actually sell you snake droppings if you ask (although make sure to explain why…There might be some funny looks coming your way otherwise).
Again, just leave it around places mice seem to be attracted to and you’ll quickly notice a drop in your visitors.Now, carrying on with this theme…
Best Mouse Repellent #12. Encourage predators
Similar to the cat and snake idea but with much less involvement on your end: try encouraging mouse-hating predators into your garden… namely birds.
This is very much a long con. You’re not going to be able to attract flocks of birds to your back yard furniture in a matter of hours, but it could very well be worth the effort over time.
Try fastening some bird houses and seed dispensers around your garden and home’s exterior (but make sure the seed is out of the way of any hungry mice) and make sure to replenish on a regular basis.
Eventually, birds – and preferably owls – will start to remember your garden as a decent local eatery and start taking dates there for a night out. The mice will hate that. Nothing worse than seeing someone in a happy relationship, right?
Okay, you’re now armed with a solid arsenal of the best mouse repellents! Roll up your sleeves and get busy with some mouse proofing!