The effectiveness of using peppermint oil to repel mice is unpredictable, meaning it will not always work. Even though this is an environmentally friendly way to help deter mice from entering your home, garage, or barn, it is not shown in independent comparisons to be the most effective way to get rid of mice infestations. 

These pests have a strong sense of smell, and the very strong, minty scent of peppermint oil doesn’t always last long enough to keep them away. This popular DIY method may work to deter the pests (and other pests) away from a specific area for a bit, but the effectiveness may not last and the strong scent could just cause them to move to another area in your home that isn’t treated. 

Peppermint leaves on a plant

EarthKind founder, Kari Warberg Block, tested using peppermint oil for pest control extensively in her farm equipment over a 3 year period. Kari says, “It would work for a couple of weeks, and then just lose its scent. Sometimes it didn’t work at all, costing us super expensive repairs from wiring damage and torn up seat cushions. So frustrating, because I liked the smell of mint and we could grow it right there on our farm!” Additional testing has revealed that peppermint oil loses its scent in freezing temperatures too, making it ineffective for repelling mice in seldom-used vehicles or storage units.

Problems with Using Peppermint Oil for Mice

As mentioned above, though the natural extract does produce a strong smell that’s easily detected by these pests, the scent may not last long and the effectiveness is somewhat inconclusive. Also, like other home remedies, the instructions on how to use peppermint oil to keep mice away are vague. There’s no formula for figuring out exactly how much to use for a particular area, how much square footage it should cover, and you don’t know how often it needs to be reapplied. The oil can also be messy if spilled! 

Typically, when homeowners try peppermint extract as a DIY solution, they follow steps similar to these.  

  1. Pour the pure peppermint extract onto cotton balls and place them around your home. Another option is to add the essential oil to a spray bottle mixed with water and spray it in the corners of your rooms. 
  2. When it comes to how long the oil will last, generally the cotton balls will need to be replaced 1-2 times per week as the peppermint smell quickly wears off from them. If using the spray method, that will likely need to be completed 1-2 times per week as well, or whenever the smell of the oil wears off.

Aside from requiring a lot of time checking and replacing the cotton balls, there is a risk that rodents will use the cotton as nesting material once the scent has worn off.

You’ll also want to keep children and pets away from any applications to avoid any possible harmful effects. 

Other DIY Solutions

The idea behind natural repellents, dryer sheets, mothballs, and peppermint oil is the same — rodents rely almost exclusively on their sense of smell, so putting something smelly out will offend their complex olfactory sense and make them go away.

These alternatives are appealing because you likely don’t want to bring harmful chemicals, pesticides or traps into your home. However, many home remedies and DIY solutions don’t come with instructions so you don’t know how much is needed or how long they will last. The results end up being unreliable and are not guaranteed.

Dryer Sheets and Mice 

Dryer sheets are a common tactic used to repel mice, but the results are inconsistent. These sheets also contain questionable chemicals and have a short-lived fragrance.

Buying a Cat

Having a cat is not for everyone, and there is no guarantee your cat would be motivated to interrupt his nap to catch a mouse. Even if your cat is a good mouser, it could lead to other issues if you leave pet food and water set out all the time. This is a great food source for them, so you might as well invite pests in for an all you can eat buffet.


Mothballs are not a proven method for prevention. They are also made from harmful chemicals that are known to cause health problems — especially for children and pets.

Discover a Guaranteed Solution for Getting Rid of Rodents

Fresh Cab Rodent Repellent on a shelf next to dry goods

The debate over which control methods will actually get rid of these critters has been going on for decades. Beyond what we covered above, other common methods include traps, poison, glue boards, and exterminators. 

There is another option, though, that’s made with all plant-based ingredients. Fresh Cab® (for farms and industrial settings) and Stay Away® Rodent (for homes and personal use) are botanical mouse repellents that are 100% effective, guaranteed

These rodent repellent pouches from EarthKind are made with herbal extracts, including lavender oil, and other plant fibers. They produce a smell that’s offensive to rodents, yet not to humans. They are packaged in a convenient pouch that is easy to place in mouse-prone or already infested areas. The pouches are fast-acting and provide 30 days of continuous protection to keep these pests from coming back.  

No one wants to get rid of mice just ‘some of the time’; you need something that’s effective that you can rely on. Shop EarthKind® repellents online or find them at a retailer near you