What Scents Do Mice Hate, Hunker

What Scents Do Mice Hate?

The sight of a mouse in your home can send chills up your spine. Rodents will often come into a home when the temperature outside is at either extremes. Many people feel uncomfortable trapping or killing mice, and most would prefer to just deter them from ever entering the home. Fortunately, the mouse you saw does not have to be a permanent house guest, as there are a few scents mice absolutely hate.


Mice hate the smell of peppermint, according to Tips and Tricks. No one seems to be sure why they can’t stand the smell of the mint plant, but they have been known to vacate the premises when fresh mint has been scattered about. Get a few plants from your local home supply or garden store, and keep them potted for occasional pruning and sprinkling. Just having the plants in the room probably won’t suffice, grind up some of the leaves to increase the smells potency.

Cat Hair

Many people are allergic to cat hair and, perhaps understandably, mice seem to not be fans of the stuff. If you have a friend with a cat, or a feline friend of your own, take some of their hair harvested with a cat comb to the area you want to keep mouse-free. Sprinkle the hair around and you are unlikely to see any of the rodents hanging around.


Mothballs simultaneously keep moths away from your favorite wool sweater and make your whole wardrobe smell like grandma’s house. One more useful application for the stinky little things is as a deterrent for rodents, according to The Fun Place. If you have a mouse in your wall, drill a few small holes and drop the mothballs in there to make the space a little less hospitable for your unwelcome friend.

Bay Leaves

In a similar fashion to peppermint, bay leaves can be used to persuade mice to choose a new cupboard, according to Grandma’s Home Remedies. They are more expensive than peppermint, and more difficult to grow at home, but if you have access to some fresh bay leaf, crumble it and sprinkle it around where you would wish mice not be.

Cayenne Pepper

All mammals can taste, and smell, the chemical compounds that make hot peppers hot, according to The Fun Place. Sprinkling some cayenne pepper around will keep any little rodents from venturing in to the area. However, if you have pets, it will also keep them from feeling comfortable in the room and can cause eye irritation for cats and dogs.


What Do Mice Hate?

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The list of things mice hate includes things found in nature as well as others created by mankind. A mouse’s hatred of certain things may come from being fearful of it, being repelled by it or even being allergic to it. Anyone who wants to get on a mouse’s bad side only need try a wide array of activities that will surely turn them off.


Mice abhor lots of things, and there are several way to deter them from scrounging around your house. One way is to keep it clean, well swept and free from food particles and crumbs. This is especially important under appliances in the kitchen where foodstuff is known to congregate. In a clean house, mice have nowhere to hide.

Mice are also not particularly fond of peppermint, camphor and pine tar, according to the book «Grandmother’s Critter Ridder.» The book says mice are actually allergic to peppermint, and cannot tolerate it saturated on cotton balls or even growing fresh in the garden.

Planting certain plants will also make mice run for cover, the book said, including daffodil and hyacinth.

Steel wool and fabric softener sheets are also on mice’s hate list, the fabric sheets for the smell, the steel wool because it’s impossible to chew through.


While fabric softener sheets have not been around since antiquity, ways to repel mice have.

Folks who lived along the Nile around 3000 BC used to believe they could convert mice and other pests into non-pesky, harmless creatures, according to an article posted on the site Cat.Instit.fr. The article says early hieroglyphics illustrating mutated animals proves that people honestly thought they were transforming the vermin into another type of critter.

Mutating the mice didn’t seem work for everyone, since other methods were used around 1413 BC in the Orient. Their methods included burning certain resins and drugs, which served a two-fold purpose, according to the article. This practice helped with both the people’s spiritual ceremonies and fumigating out unwanted pests. The article says mice and rats were particularly offended and repelled by the fumes that spewed forth from heated gazelle dung.


Mice also have a hatred of, or at least flee from and fear, animals that see the mice as a tasty snack.

Cats are well known for catching mice, although not all cats get into the groove. Dogs, too, are usually up to the task of catching and killing a mouse, especially those specifically bred to hunt and kill small animals like rat terriers.

Animals that feast on mice in the wild include owls, hawks, weasels, raccoons, snakes and skunks.

Mice are not all that loving towards people, whether in the home or in the wild, because they, too, are big, loud, clunky and often go out of their way to kill the furry little creatures.


In addition to repellents, predators and a clean house, mice have a high dislike for a number of treatments.

Picking a mouse up by the tail is sure to make an enemy of the critter. He will be startled and immediately try to wrap around and climb up your hand so the pressure is relieved.

Folks who wish to keep mice as pets should know they do not appreciate being squeezed, crunched or crushed or stuck in a cage without little tunnels and other hiding places. Rolling them too quickly or over harsh terrain in those little rolly balls is another way to get mice on your bad side.

Mice are sneaky and nocturnal, which means they despise bright lights, wide open spaces and any place they feel open and vulnerable.

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Expert Insight

Just as mice hate a number of things, they, too are hated.

The longstanding legend that elephants are deathly afraid of the little critters as actually true, according to several sources.

The mythbusting Web site YesButNoButYes.com has a video it says proves this theory once and for all where a massive, powerful elephant goes out of his skin, or at least his way, to avoid a mouse.

People, too, can develop such a hatred of mice that they actually fear them. This phenomenon is known as musophobia, murophobia or suriphobia and, although mice may hate being clumped together with their larger cousins, the phobia label also covers the fear of rats.


Wacky Ways to Keep Mice Away

Tatiana Gettelman/FlickrAs cool and wet weather rolls in, mice invite themselves into your home, That patter of little footsteps may be mice. Mice like to stay warm and dry, just like you. So as cool and wet weather rolls in, mice invite themselves into your home, chewing through electrical wires and making nests in your attic insulation. And since the gestation period for mice is about 20 days, once mice get in, they’re birthing machines that will produce an infestation before you can say «cheese!»

The best way get rid of a mouse problem is to prevent one. Keep counters clean of food and crumbs, and throw out old newspapers and boxes of clothes that provide nesting material.

Also, keep mice from getting into your home in the first place. Seal up holes and cracks around your house, especially where cable lines and plumbing enter. Also, make sure your chimney caps and vent covers are secure.

But mice, like water, will find a way in, and then you’ve got to get rid of them.

You can call an exterminator, and spend $300 to $500 to wipe out the mice in your home. Or, you can get creative and try some of these «wacky» repellents that will chase the rodents away.

Warning: Anything that can kill mice, can probably hurt you and your pets, too. So make sure you put toxic repellents out of reach by kids, Fido and Mr. Fluffy. Safety first; getting rid of mice, second.

Peppermint: Mice don’t like mint, so start cleaning with mint-scented solutions, or add a few drops of mint essential oil to your all-purpose cleaner. You also can pulverize peppermint Altoids, and sprinkle around mice nesting areas. To keep mice away from your house, plant mint around your foundation. But be warned, mint spreads quickly. So unless you want mint fields forever, plant the herb in pots with saucers, and place them around the outside of your house.

Soda Pop: Mice can’t burb, so when they drink soda pop that makes them gassy, they eventually perish. Pour any sugary soda (not diet) into a shallow dish, and place where you think mice are nesting. They’ll drink, and die.

Tabasco Sauce: This hot sauce keeps mice away in droves. Sprinkle the sauce around your home’s foundation to deter mice from entering. Or add 2 tsp. Tabasco and 1 tsp. dish detergent to 2 cups hot water. Pour into a spray bottle, and spritz where you think mice are hiding.

Dryer Sheets: You may love their fragrance on pillowcases, but mice hate their strong smell. Stuff dryer sheets beneath attic doors, or press them into the baseboards around rooms where mice are living.

Ammonia: When animal urine decomposes, it produces ammonia, a smell mice avoid because they fear it’s from large animals that could eat them for supper. To repel rodents, clean with an ammonia-based solution, or sprinkle drops of ammonia where mice are nesting. But don’t go crazy and slop ammonia around the house. It can be harmful to the heath of humans and pets, too.

Strange Noises: Several companies sell gizmos that emit high-frequency sounds that mice supposedly find irritating, kinda like how you feel about your kids’ rap music. But mice naturally communicate with each other at high frequencies that humans can’t hear, and little evidence exists that mice truly are repelled by sonic or ultrasonic noises. These devices may be more whacky than effective.

Cayenne Pepper: This stinging seasoning repels mice. Sprinkle some on areas where mice enter your house. A horseradish and water solution will work, too.

Cloves: The strong scent of cloves is known to repel mice. Wrap whole cloves in cheesecloth, and place in attics, basements, and in front of walls where you’ve heard mice scampering about.

Toilet Bowl Freshener: You buy them to make your toilet bowl smell sweet, but mice hate the strong aroma of toilet bowl fresheners. Place fresheners on a tin plate, or hang clip-ons from a hook on walls to prevent leaking on or staining wood floors.

Antifreeze: As a last resort, place a dish of antifreeze in mice nesting areas. The sweet smell attracts the rodents, who then drown in or drink the poison. Antifreeze, of course, is toxic to other living creatures. So be careful when using this whacky method to get rid of mice.


Deterring Mice: What Smells Do Mice Hate?

Besides humans, mice are the most common mammal species in cities. They can use their sense of smell to sniff out our food and make themselves right at home. To get rid of these rodents, many sources suggest using rancid smells to repel them. So, what smells do mice hate? Here’s what you need to know about the commonly believed smells that mice hate.


Many believe that ammonia is one of the scents that deters mice. This may be due to the unpleasant smell that it emits into the air. Iowa State researchers set out to examine the effect of ammonia on mice. They found that mice neither averted nor favored the ammonia. In other words, it had no impact on mice activity. Even high doses showed very little effect. It is not advised that you use ammonia, especially in high concentrations. As a compressed gas, ammonia can cause extreme side effects. This can include skin burns, eye damage, inflamed airways or even death. As a best practice, contact a wildlife professional to get rid of mice in your home.


Mothballs are bundles of fabric soaked in Naphthalene. This chemical may cause severe health effects if too much is inhaled. This can include nausea and dizziness as well as kidney and liver damage. Researchers from the National Toxicology Program conducted a study to determine if the same dramatic effects occurred in mice. Results showed that Naphthalene caused an increased risk of tissue breakdown in the nasal canal as well as inflammation of the lungs. As such, this may not be enough to deter mice from the location of the mothball. In fact, hindering their sense of smell may only worsen the problem. For example, mothballs may cause any future odor methods to be ineffective if their sense of smell is impaired. To prevent worsening deterrence efforts, avoid using mothballs.

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Chili Oil or Powder

Chili oil is a common ingredient known for causing irritation when ingested or inhaled. As so, it is believed that these irritating effects may be enough to help deter mice if inhaled. Chulalongkorn University researchers tested the effects of natural fragrances, like chili, on mice. Their study revealed that chili did repel the mice from returning to the lure. That said, researchers admitted that this may not be practical in real-world situations. Conducting experiments in a controlled environment favors the results. Thus, chili oil may not be a dependable solution to help deter mice in your home.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is also a frequent recommendation for deterring mice in the home. Like other essential oils, peppermint oil has shown varied repellent effects on wildlife. Results are commonly affected by formulation, concentration, and frequency. For example, peppermint oil showed more success when applied daily and in high doses. That said, high concentrations of the oil have shown side effects like skin and throat irritation. Take caution when using peppermint oil in your home. For more dependable deterrent success, contact a pest control professional.


So, if mice aren’t bothered by any of these smells, then what do mice hate? Upon identifying the species living in your home, a Terminix® specialist can customize a plan to deter mice from your home environment. Schedule an appointment with Terminix today to get started.

The Best Mouse Trap Method

Everyone has seen the cartoon mouse trap: A big wedge of cheese perched precariously on a small wooden rectangle, just waiting for an unsuspecting mouse to come along. Most modern mouse traps don’t use pieces of cheese, although they can still use food as bait. One of the most popular baits, believe it or not, is peanut butter. There are still versions of the snap trap from cartoons, but there are also other kinds like electronic traps. Because these traps usually mean dealing with dead mice, plenty of people wonder if there’s a way to help get rid of mice without classic mouse traps. Although mouse traps are the most effective in helping to get of mice, you can also try the following natural methods to see if they help remove these pesky rodents.

How to Help Remove Fruit Flies from Your Home

Fruit flies are one of the most common household pests and they can be a huge nuisance for homeowners. Not only that, but researchers have found that fruit flies can “transfer bacteria from a contaminated source, food, or waste to surfaces or ready-to-eat food.

How to Naturally Get Rid of Bugs on Plants

Buying houseplants can put you at risk for harboring unwanted pest infestations. Before these bugs cause damage to your new plant, know how to take care of them using natural remedies.

How to Help Prevent Mosquito Bites

Itchy bites and illness may occur after exposure to some arthropods such as mosquitoes and ticks. The bites can cause discomfort and, in some cases, transmit pathogens (bacteria, viruses and protozoans) that can cause a variety of diseases. Some examples of diseases that are of concern in the United States include: (mosquito) chikungunya, dengue, La Crosse encephalitis, West Nile fever, Zika; (tick) Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The good news? There are many precautions you can take to help avoid bites from mosquitoes and ticks.


Spices That Mice Hate

Mice will roam into any area where they believe there is food. They’re attracted to food left out on counters, in trash cans and even crumbs on tables. Cleaning typically solves the issue, but sometimes repellents are necessary. Some herbs can serve as natural repellents; mice are not attracted to areas with strong spicy odors and pungent smells.

Cayenne Pepper

Too much cayenne pepper can bring tears to anyone’s eyes. It can also deter mice. Sprinkle the spice around your home in areas where mice have made their presence known. Make a spray for outdoor use by filling a spray bottle three-fourths of the way with water. Add a few drops of dish detergent, a tablespoon of vegetable oil and 1 or 2 tablespoons of powdered cayenne pepper. Substitute chili powder or dried peppers for cayenne pepper.


Cinnamon has a strong spicy aroma that mice will not come near. Make cinnamon sachets using cinnamon sticks to store in drawers and closets. Also, a few drops of cinnamon oil on a cotton ball can repel mice. Sprinkle cinnamon around counters or in cupboards where you’ve spotted mice.

Red Pepper Flakes

Sprinkle red pepper flakes in areas where mice have been seen. A thin line of flakes should be enough to keep mice from invading your space. Tie a tablespoon of flakes in cloth squares and place in drawers and holes where mice may sneak in.


A dash of garlic powder in cracks and corners can deter mice. Use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic for a longer lasting repellent; fresh garlic will dry out more quickly than the powder. The pungent smell irritates mice and causes them to scrounge elsewhere for food. Plant garlic cloves in an herb garden if outdoor mice are a problem.

Scatter dry or fresh mint leaves on counters to keep out mice invaders. Plant mint plants around your home to keep mice at bay or place potted mint plants inside. The sweet smell is pleasant for humans, but noxious to mice. Put mint tea bags in drawers and hang them in closets, or dampen cotton balls with mint oil. Peppermint can be substituted for mint.

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Meredith Burgio

Meredith Burgio began writing professionally in 2010. She has written for «VOX» magazine, «RELEVANT Magazine» and «Jefferson City Magazine.» Burgio has a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.


Rats! Here’s what to do about these pesky critters

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The first time I saw my dog flush a furry critter with a thin, bald tail from under a shrub by my patio, I told myself it was just a mouse. A few nights later, the dog drove a slightly larger, furry, bald-tailed critter from the same spot, and I had to face the horrifying truth.

Rats are vermin in a class by themselves. The sight of one on your turf is more likely to prompt a bloodcurdling scream than a mere «Eek!» Highly adaptable, they can live most anyplace, eat most anything and breed, well, like rats. They may spread disease, do serious damage to your home and even bite.

Unless you’re of a live-and-let-live philosophy, a rat infiltration calls for a speedy counterattack. That means an emergency call to an exterminator or, if you’re not too squeamish, going after them on your own. If you do, here are some of the options:

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Common rat traps include snap traps, bait boxes and glue traps.

Snap traps are usually inexpensive and easy to bait with peanut butter, whole nuts, raisins and rolled oats — or, to catch nesting females, tufts of cotton. Rats especially love peanut butter, and it’s harder than cheese to get at without setting off the trap.

The downside: Snap traps should only be set where no children or pets can get to them. If children and pets are a concern, the snap traps can be placed in a trapping station, said William Kern Jr., a rat expert and associate professor of entomology and nematology at the University of Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center.

Poison, either boxes of it or bait boxes filled with it, tends to be inexpensive and can kill multiple rats. A poisoned rat could stagger off and die anywhere, however, undetected until it starts to smell.

«Traps are always recommended because that way you don’t have a poisoned animal getting into someplace inaccessible like a wall void or attic and then causing an odor problem,» Kern said. «With a trap you know where the dead animal is.»

There also is a risk that children or pets will get into the poison, or that pets will eat a poisoned rat.

Electronic boxes that are baited to lure the rat in, then electrocute it, are another option. They often have an indicator that shows when there is a dead rat inside. Some kill only one rat at a time, and in that case the box must be emptied before it will work again. They tend to cost a bit more than some other types of traps.

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Glue boards are cheap and meant to literally stop a rat in its tracks. The main con: They are unlikely to kill the rat, unless it is stuck there a long, long time. That means dealing with a live rat rather than a dead one.

Noxious fumes

Rat «bombs» that emit noxious fumes can be stuck down a hole to gas out the rats. They tend to be inexpensive. The cons include making sure you seal the hole and run away fast enough to escape the fumes yourself, and the possibility that rats will simply move back in after the fumes clear.

One household-pest expert swears by oil of peppermint, available at natural-food stores. Put some on cotton balls and place them anywhere you’re having a problem, or put some in a spray bottle with water and spray around the house, said Myles Bader of Port Charlotte, Fla., who wrote a book called «Club the Bugs and Scare the Critters.»

Rodents hate it, said Bader, who has used it to drive rats out of his attic. The key is to get oil of peppermint rather than the alcohol-based peppermint extract found at the supermarket, which would result in «drunk rats running around your property,» he said.

A negative with peppermint oil: It’s more effective indoors than out, where rain will quickly wash it away.

Homeowners also can plant peppermint or other plants that rats dislike, such as daffodils and hyacinths, around the house and yard, Bader said.

‘Killer mashed potatoes’Other natural remedies include what Bader calls «Killer Mashed Potatoes.» Leave a bowl of potato flakes and a small bowl of water out. Rats that eat the flakes and drink the water will be killed when the flakes expand in their stomachs, he said.

Ultrasonic devices

These range from inexpensive to expensive and can be found online and at hardware stores. They typically plug into an electrical outlet and are supposed to emit ultrasonic signals that repel rats, other rodents and insects.

The University of Florida’s Kern said rats can hear it, but the devices will only be effective if the rats are out in the open. It might be possible to position the device to drive rats into traps, since they may try to get behind an object to escape the sound, he said.


Cats, dogs, snakes, owls and ferrets may be useful in rodent control.

The typical cat or dog is most likely to come across a stupid young rat; older rats are usually too savvy to get caught, Kern said. In addition, cats are more likely to go after mice than tangle with rats, which are fierce fighters, he said.

Some dogs, such as several types of terriers, were bred to kill rodents. But terrier and dachshund owner Jo Ann Frier-Murza said she wouldn’t recommend that homeowners adopt a ratter to try to deal with a rodent problem. Rats live in inaccessible places, come out at night and are stealthy, so the dog could do a lot of damage and make a lot of noise trying to get at a rat without succeeding, she said. The dog’s presence might disturb rats to the point that they move off the property, but there is more to consider, she added.

«The dog is going to be controlling the rat problem a tenth of a percent of their time,» said Frier-Murza, who lives in Chesterfield, N.J. Terriers, whose prey drive tends to come with an independent streak, can be challenging to own and aren’t recommended for everybody, she said.

Snakes can be useful because they can go all the way into a rat hole and eat all the babies in a nest, Kern said. A big downside: Once snakes move in and run out of rats, they may start eating things you don’t want them to, such as birds.

Ferrets also will go into rat holes and have been used for pest control. But they emit an unpleasant musky odor, Kern said.

Owls can be handy rat hunters, especially in the country or near golf courses or parkland, said Kern, who recommends putting up owl boxes to attract them.

A good offense

Even if you have never spotted a rat, it’s wise to take steps to make your home unattractive to them. Eliminate ground cover and outdoor sources of water and food, and seal possible avenues into your home.

Lucky for me, I haven’t spotted another one since my Australian shepherd chased away Rat No. 2. I moved the shrub, so there is no foliage against the house; stopped filling my bird feeder; tidied my storage shed; and installed an ultrasonic unit in my sunporch.

Lastly, I gave my best weapon, my fearless Australian shepherd, an extra biscuit and lots of praise after her rat chase. It would take a pretty dumb rat to show its face when she’s around.


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