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Does Peppermint Oil Repel Mice?

The short answer is it may help, but the effectiveness of using peppermint essential oil to repel mice is unpredictable. It could possibly help deter rodents from an area, but it will not always work and the overall effectiveness is not proven. Homeowners have tried using peppermint oil for years as an environmentally friendly, DIY way to help deter mice from entering homes, garages, and barns, however, it is not shown in independent comparisons to be the most effective way to get rid of mice infestations. 

Mice have a strong sense of smell, so the very strong, minty scent of peppermint oil can overwhelm their senses and cause them to leave an area. The problem is, depending on how it’s applied, the scent doesn’t always last very long and they may just come back. The other issue with this method is the strong scent may work to deter pests away from a specific area but it could just cause them to move to another area in your home that isn’t treated. 

Peppermint essential oil bottle next to peppermint leaves with text: Does peppermint oil repel mice?

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.

How to Use Peppermint Oil for Mice

Homeowners employ various methods to use pure peppermint extract as a natural way of keeping mice away. 

Cotton balls – One popular approach is soaking cotton balls in the oil and strategically placing them in areas prone to mice activity, such as nearby entry points, in the corners of rooms, or in the attic and basement. 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 smell of peppermint quickly wears off from them. 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.

Peppermint oil spray – Another method is to blend a few drops of the peppermint oil with a cup of water in a spray bottle and mist it around baseboards, corners of rooms, doorways, and other potential entry spots for rodents. 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.

Should You Use This Method?

Though this is a natural method for rodent control, it simply may not work. As mentioned above, the natural extract does produce a strong smell that’s easily detected by these pests, but the scent may not last long and the effectiveness is somewhat inconclusive and inconsistent. 

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 and how much square footage it should cover. You don’t know exactly how often it needs to be reapplied, but it will be often. The oil can also be messy if spilled! 

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 don’t have to bring harmful chemicals, pesticides or mouse 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 

Placing dryer sheets in areas where mice activity is noticed is a common tactic used for rodent control, but the results are inconsistent. These sheets also contain questionable chemicals and have a short-lived fragrance. Once the scent wears off, rodents may use the sheets as nesting material. 


Homeowners may also try placing mothballs around the home to keep rodents away, however they are not a proven method for mice prevention. They are also made from harmful chemicals that are known to cause health problems — especially for children and pets.

Buying a Cat

Having a cat is not for everyone, and there is no guarantee your cat would be motivated to interrupt their 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 rodents, so you might as well invite pests in for an all you can eat buffet.

Fresh Cab Rodent Repellent on a shelf next to dry goods

A Guaranteed Solution for Getting Rid of Mice

The debate over which mouse 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 away and prevent them from coming back. They are also safe to use around children and pets when used as directed. 

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