Mice have a way of plaguing the homes of every society, and chances are, this will continue for thousands of years. But you can pass on advice on how to get rid of mice naturally to your kids and grandkids in an effort to keep future homes free of mice with a natural mouse repellent.
We assume that you’ve already done the basics to keep mice away:
- Remove any and all food from the reach of mice
- Remove garbage and any “lures” that attract mice
- Filled in any entry holes into the home
Keep in mind that even small holes that are 1/4” – 1/2” are big enough for mice to squeeze through.
If you’ve cleaned up, removed food and fixed all of your holes, you can enhance your efforts by getting rid of mice naturally – no poisons necessary.
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Help! There’s a Mouse Infestation
We’re going to be talking a lot about how to get rid of mice through repellents and deterrents, but if you have an infestation, you’ll find that there is really only one way to stop the problem: traps.
Rodents hate things like peppermint oil, but there are other smells that repel mice (more on this soon), too. However, once they’ve made your home their home, mice will overlook these smells. And some seem to even like the smell or ignore it to the point where you’re left scratching your head, wondering why so many people recommend some of these solutions.
If you have a mouse infestation or repellents don’t work, trapping mice is your only option.
Trap to Kill
Trap-to-kill traps are inhumane, and they may not kill the mouse initially. This can lead to prolonged pain and suffering, which some homeowners would rather avoid when possible. If you don’t care what happens to the mouse, you have a few options:
- Snap Trap: Spring-loaded traps that snap on the mouse’s head (ideally). These traps will break a mouse’s neck, but if not positioned properly, you can break bones or cause other massive injuries without killing the mouse.
- Electric Trap: A rather new invention, the electric trap will electrocute mice that enter. Some traps are able to kill 150+ mice with one battery.
All you need to do is bait the mice, and let the traps do the rest.
Trap to Release
There are traps that are meant to catch the mice without killing them. Multiple options are available. This can be a commercial product or a homemade mouse trap that closes the gate on a mouse that takes the bait in a cage.
There is only one issue with this method: release.
You can’t just take the mouse into your backyard and release it. If you do choose to catch and release mice, release the mice several miles from your home so that they don’t make their way back into your home.
Glue traps are available, too, but proceed with caution when using these traps. When the mice get stuck in the glue, they’ll live, but when removing them, they often lose a limb in the process, which is equally as inhumane.
Help! I Want a Natural Mouse Repellent or to Deter Mice
There are a number of things you can do to repel mice. Let’s take a closer look at the most effective methods, and one deterrent that works wonders: cats.
What Deters Mice?
Cats. If you want to deter mice, you’ll find that nothing works well, and if it does, it doesn’t work for long. But if you have a cat (the ultimate predator against mice), they’ll think twice about entering your home.
Cats will pounce on mice before they can skitter into their holes.
Rumor has it that mice also despise the smell of cats, but I’m not sure about the validity of this claim. It’s far more likely that mice are petrified of the agility, speed and deadliness of a cat, and don’t want to live near such a ferocious predator.
Nothing works better than a cat as a mice deterrent.
What Repels Mice? 7 Methods You Can Use Today
Maybe a cat isn’t a practical option. Is there another way to keep mice away? Yes. In fact, there are plenty. Some methods work extremely well for some people, and hardly at all for others. I find it’s best if you incorporate several repellents to get rid of mice.
- Peppermint Oil, Mice Hate It: Peppermint oil and mice are not a match made in heaven. Mice hate the smell of the oil, and it helps to mask the scent that mice follow when traversing your home. Placing peppermint oil on a mouse track will work to eliminate the scent used to traverse the home, or dip cotton balls in the oil and place them strategically around the home to keep the mice away. You need pure oil that has a very strong smell for this method to work.
- Ammonia Works Well: Filling small bowls of ammonia and placing them in areas where mice frequent is said to work well as a repellent.
- Mint Toothpaste: Minty toothpaste isn’t just a proven way to enhance the smell of your breath – it keeps mice away, too. Smear the toothpaste on places where mice enter or frequent, including the baseboards in your home.
- Ultrasonic: An ultrasonic mouse repellent is a rather new invention, but a lot of people claim that they work well. You plug the devices in, and using ultrasonic waves, the mice are kept away. These devices work on a variety of different pests, so they work very well for mice, mosquitoes and other annoying pests.
- Used Kitty Litter: Cats have been a natural predator of mice since the beginning of time. Mice have learned to fear cats, so one method to repel these pests is to actually get a cat. But a lot of people don’t like cats. One trick that a lot of people swear by is placing kitty litter in key areas where mice frequent. You want the litter to be used, and it’s the urine that the mice will smell that keeps them away. It’s one method of how to repel mice that may seem extreme, but it does work well.
- Cayenne Pepper: One of the substances that I recommend that you keep in your home at all times. The pepper can be placed in areas where mice frequent. Dry cayenne works very well, and you can also mix with other substances, such as cloves to keep mice away. Some people have also filled a bottle with water and cayenne pepper and use the substance as a spray. You must ensure that there’s a lot of cayenne so that the smell deters mice.
- Instant Mashed Potatoes: Instant mashed potatoes seems like an odd item to add to our list, but it does actually work to kill mice.You’re not going to kill a rat, but a small mouse may die using this technique. What you’ll want to do is sprinkle the mashed potatoes flakes near the mouse nest. If the mouse eats the flakes, the flakes will eventually expand in the mouse’s stomach often killing it.
But, I have no idea where the mice enter or frequent! A lot of homeowners don’t know where the mice are coming from in their home. A trick that many grandmothers recommend is to use baby powder or flour as a way to keep track of the mice.
The idea is to place the powder or flour along baseboards, entryways and even the counters.
Keeping the powder in place overnight, you’ll wake up to little mice footprints that will lead you to their entryway. These tracks will be areas where you’ll want to put the deterrents we talked about previously.
Deterrents That Actually Don’t Work on Mice
If you want to know how to get rid of mice naturally, you also need to know what methods do not work. There are some methods that people try, and try again even if they don’t work, and then they get upset because their infestation grows.
The problem is that there are a lot of mice deterrent myths that people believe are true..
What types of deterrents fails?
Mothballs Don’t Deter Mice
A lot of people, including my owner grandmother, have told me that mothballs have some magical way to deter mice. I personally hate the smell of mothballs, and they certainly can be used to deter me.
But mice are not really deterred.
Naphthalene is the key substance found in mothballs. The substance, when inhaled or ingested, can be deadly. The substance can cause blood cells to stop carrying oxygen, so this can obviously kill anything that has their blood cells altered.
But, you need a massive amount of naphthalene to actually impact a mouse – the same level as a human.
Mice have been witnessed crawling right over mothballs, but they do work well against moths and other small pests. There’s also the fact that mice are actually very smart, and if they were that bothered by the smell, they would find another way to get in and out of their nest.
Try the deterrent that you believe will be most effective. If it doesn’t work, try another until you’ve exhausted all of your options.
And if all else fails, place traps in these areas. Just make sure that traps are out of your animal’s and child’s reach, so they don’t get hurt in the process.
If an infestation is so bad that nothing works, it may be time to call in a professional to remedy the problem.
DIY Mouse Control Methods That Can Keep Mice Away
Your home, if it was properly sealed and not begging for mice to enter, shouldn’t allow mice inside. It’s a problem that everyone has, so don’t think that there’s something wrong with you or your home.
Mice are very resilient pests, and as such, they will try to enter a home and won’t stop unless you take action.
Mice are after food, water and shelter – what every pest seeks. And it’s up to you to keep the home clean and free from food that mice will be attracted to in the first place. Mice are not picky eaters, so you’ll want to make sure that all food is out-of-reach of mice.
If you have kids, this can be very difficult.
A few tips to keep mice away through cleaning are:
- Keep all food bits off of the floor or counters where mice seem to traverse
- Ask children to put dishes away and never leave them out
- Do the dishes often to keep mice from being attracted to food bits
Keep your home clean and also ensure that there’s not an abundance of trash outside. If you have a dumpster filled with food, mice will stay nearby and will often take up residence in your home as a result.
Once you’ve cleaned up properly, it’s time to take other measures.
You’ll want to fill holes where mice are coming into the home. I recommend watching this YouTube video for a DIY approach.
But let’s assume that you don’t have the budget for the supplies or you need a faster solution. Steel wool is one of the absolute best ways to keep mice away. Mice can chew through a lot of substances, but one substance that they cannot chew through is steel wool.
Steel wool can be placed in key areas that mice traverse:
- Air vents
If mice do come in contact of the steel wool, they will not be able to enter the home because they cannot chew through it and enter. While this is a quick fix, it is not one that you want to use to ignore repairs. The repairs should be made as soon as possible to patch up the holes properly.
You’ll also benefit from being able to keep other pests out of the home – a major bonus if you have spiders, ants or other pests crawling around your home.
One final step that I recommend is to place all of your food in jars if it’s in your cupboard. You may have the food in a box in your cupboard, but this isn’t enough to stop the smell from attracting mice.
Place the food in a jar or Tupperware and the mice will not be able to smell it.