If you're looking for a natural way to deter mice from running riot in your home, peppermint oil may be worth a try. Mice really don't like strong peppermint smells and will go out of their way to avoid them.
Make Your Home a Minty Fortress
Peppermint oil won't harm a mouse, but it might repel it. If you can work out where the mouse is coming in to your home, placing oil by the entry point may be enough to convince the mouse that it doesn't want to come in after all.
Typically, the best way to make things too minty for mice is to saturate cotton balls with peppermint oil. These should then be placed close to the holes or gaps through which mice are entering. You can also use a homemade peppermint oil/water dilution, or a commercial spray, to spray around areas of your home where you have mouse traffic. For example, if a mouse is using your kitchen as a restaurant, you could spray your counters and cupboards. A spray may also be useful in areas where it isn't practical to put down cotton balls.
Tip: Use peppermint oil rather than an essence or food flavouring. Essences don't tend to have a strong enough smell to put off a tenacious mouse. You can buy oils online, and you may also be able to find them in your local health food store.
Keep Your Weapons Loaded
Your cotton balls won't deter mice permanently, as the peppermint smell will wear off over time. Once that happens, mice may start to come in again and may even steal the balls for nesting material. Depending on the environment in your home, the smell may last a couple of weeks or months. Check your cotton balls regularly and resaturate them as soon as they start to lose that strong peppermint smell.
While you're keeping mice at bay, it's worth taking other steps to keep them out of your home more permanently. For example, try the following:
- If you know where the mice are coming in, block the gap or hole with sealant or caulk. Stuffing a ball of steel wool tightly into a hole may also keep mice out, as they can't chew through it.
- Make sure you aren't encouraging mice to visit by keeping your kitchen counters, cupboards, drawers and floors crumb free. Store foods in plastic containers that mice can't chew through, rather than in cardboard boxes or plastic bags.
Tip: If you can't work out how mice are entering your home, it may be worth consulting a pest control specialist to get advice on possible entry points and how to block them.