How to Repel Mice - Scents & Other Things Mice Hate How to Repel Mice - Scents & Other Things Mice Hate

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What Repels Mice? Scents & Other Things They Don’t Like

By: Rita Stadler

A surefire way to get rid of mice is to make sure your home is not filled with their favorite things. Doing so can be tricky since they like a lot of the same things as people. Having a few things in common with these tiny home invaders doesn’t mean you have to live with them, though.

Find out what kinds of things mice don’t like (and some of what they do) and how you can use that information to make sure they stay outside where they belong.

A Few Facts 

These critters can live up to two years in captivity but typically lead shorter lives in the wild. They can reproduce when they are just two months old. A female can give birth to a litter every 6-8 weeks, and each litter averages between 2-12 baby mice. This means if you notice one of these pests in your home, it can quickly lead to a big mouse problem.

Rodents are motivated by survival instincts, meaning they will do whatever they can to find food, water, and shelter. However, just like you and me, they have preferences; there are some things they love and some things mice hate.

Now that you know some facts about them, we’ll move on to explore things mice like and what they would prefer to avoid.

How to Repel Mice 

There are a number of ways you can keep mice away from your home in the first place. The most important approach is to keep a neat and tidy home with possible entry points sealed off. Reducing clutter means there will be fewer places for them to hide. If there aren’t crumbs available and they can’t find a way in, your house isn’t a good home for them. 

Here are some other things mice are scared of, things they don’t like, and repellent tactics homeowners often try: 

Botanical Repellents

A proven option is to use a plant-based mouse repellent in place of a trap or poison. Fresh Cab® and Stay Away® Rodent repellents are made from botanical ingredients, including plant fiber and balsam fir oil. These scent pouches contain essential oils that create an odor that is overwhelming to rodents, but pleasant to people. When rodents smell the pouch, they don’t want to come anywhere near it and will avoid treated areas.

By simply putting the pouch in your home, garage, or other problem areas, you will deter mice effectively, without the danger of harmful chemicals.

Will Keeping Lights on Keep Mice Away?

Although mice aren’t exclusively nocturnal, they tend to be more active at night for a few reasons. These creatures are sensitive to bright lights and have poor eyesight. Survival instincts cause them to avoid larger animals and being active at night helps mice avoid being seen by predators, as well as people. Because mice avoid danger, they may be scared off by bright, flashing lights or loud noises.

What Scent Will Keep Mice Away?

Another way a mouse avoids danger is by relying on its senses. Their keen sense of smell makes up for their weak eyes. They rely on their sense of smell to find food, detect danger, and follow scent trails as a way of navigation.

Some strong scents are known to help repel mice. 

  • The scent of another animal, such as a cat may repel them. 
  • The scent of another mouse may alert them to avoid an unfriendly neighbor.

Dryer sheets are often used as a DIY solution to keep house mice away. Some also claim natural scents like lavender and peppermint oil used by themselves work, but there aren’t clear instructions about how much to use, how to apply the scents, how often reapplication is needed, or how long the scents will remain effective. The results for both of these methods are inconsistent and inconclusive. 

Also, contrary to what cartoons may have led you to believe, mice don’t actually like cheese. If you think about it, cheese is quite stinky and the strong smell may actually keep them from coming close to a mousetrap. 

Sounds That Repel Mice

High-pitched noises may affect rodents, but research has shown the effects are often overcome within a day or so, regardless of whether the frequency is variable, intermittent, or random. There are sound-based deterrents available, however, you will need a consistent power source for these to work properly. While people may not notice the sounds, other animals such as household pets may find it irritating. Consumer reviews indicate that not all of these products work as advertised, and they have not been adopted by pest control professionals despite decades of availability.

What Attracts Mice?

In favorable conditions, such as spring and summer when the weather is warm, and food is abundant, these pesky pests will live mostly outdoors because nature can satisfy all their needs. When the temperature drops during fall and winter, they look for shelter in homes, garages, farm buildings, stored vehicles, and other places that offer protection from the elements.

These critters are omnivores and can eat almost anything. Indoors, they are attracted to food pantries, uncovered garbage cans, stored seeds, and pet food. They like to eat 15-20 times each day, meaning they must nest near a reliable food source. They are constantly chewing wiring, books, magazines, wood, cardboard, and plastic because it feels nice on their teeth which never stop growing.

Cleaning up possible gnawing and nesting materials, as well as any cluttered areas where they may find shelter, will reduce the chances of an infestation. Storing food in air-tight containers and using garbage cans with a fitted lid will also help prevent the little pests. 

Check out Stay Away® Rodent for a plant-based solution that repels mice without harming them. Stay Away® products are backed by a 100% money-back guarantee!

  1. Rita Stadler

    Hi Kaitlyn,
    That sounds really stressful! Stay Away Rodent is a natural alternative to harmful chemicals like an exterminator might use. It’s made with plant fiber and botanical oils, so there’s no need to worry about using it around your dog. I would suggest keeping a pouch nearby where your dog eats, another pouch where your store the dog food, and if you have any idea where the mice are coming from, put a pouch there too. Once you notice that the rodent activity has calmed down, make sure to seal any potential entry points with hardware cloth, steel wool, or silicone caulk. If you have more questions, feel free to contact us: or call (800) 583-2921 Monday–Friday, 8:00–4:30 EST

  • Tyshawn

    im only 13 i just heard a mouse in my room, ive seen it before during the day time. it was really tiny and fat but it was really nasty and i need to clean my room but im terrified of anything non human. I dont want to accidentally come across it while im cleaning or its droppings and urine. You saying they can climb 10 foot tall walls isnt making it any better, its only making me more scared because now i know they can come onto my bed if they really wanted to. Now im freaking out. i need sleep its only 3am and i want to enjoy my day tomorrow so i highly suggest if you didnt say anything? i dont know if you’re bluffing or not but either way i dont like it.

    1. Rita Stadler

      Hi there!
      I’m sorry to hear you’re stressed out and having trouble sleeping. Cleaning your room is the best thing you can do to make sure there are no mice hiding anywhere. There are a few things you can do to avoid any surprise rodent run-ins when you’re cleaning. First, have lots of light in the room, which will make it easier for you to see what you’re doing, and mice tend to avoid well-lit areas. Next, play some music, the noise and vibrations will cause mice and other common pests to avoid the area. Strong scents also cause pests to avoid the area, so try using an essential oil diffuser, or even some scented cleaning spray or a homemade mix of vinegar and water in a spray bottle for cleaning surfaces will help. It might help you feel a little better to have a plan for what you’ll do if you see a mouse such as having an empty shoebox nearby that you can cover it with, then place something heavy on the box and go get an adult to help you remove the rodent, or you may want to keep a broom nearby so if you see anything scary, you can sweep it out your door.
      I really hope this helps, and if you still feel stressed, send us a message on FB or IG – we’re here for you! <3

  • Amy

    Came home friday to find a dead mouse on my floor an my cat at side of it really proud of her self never seen any signs of having mice came back today an there we go again another mouse does this mean I av a nest of them any help plz x

    1. Rita Stadler

      Hi There! Unfortunately, when you see one mouse, there are usually more nearby. It sounds like your cat is doing a great job, but getting rid of mice is important for your health as well as the health and safety of your pets. Our rodent repellent doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals and can be used in your home and around your pets. We suggest placing pouches in the areas where you’ve seen mice, or signs of mouse activity. Then you’ll need to see if you can find what is attracting mice to the area; they may be sharing your pet’s food, or taking advantage of another food source such as an uncovered trash can or items stored in your kitchen. Make sure all food is stored securely in airtight, chew proof containers such as glass cannisters; try only giving your pet a single serving at meal times instead of leaving a full dish of food out all of the time if that is an option. Next, you’ll need to inspect your home for any holes, cracks or gaps that mice may be using to get inside. Pay special attention around doors and windows, and look at the places where plumbing and utility lines pass through the floor or walls – if you see any openings, fill them with steel wool and silicone caulk so the mice can’t get inside.
      Thanks for reading!

  • Mike Mickley

    We have a mice infestation in our basement. I’ve been using live traps and have caught over 20 mice in the past 3 weeks. We’ve just received your rodent repellent and fresh cab, and have some questions:
    1. Our basement is ~800 sq. ft. If we repel them in the basement, will they come upstairs? So far we have no evidence they’ve been in or near the upstairs.
    2. If we place the pouches around the basement perimeter, where will they go? We believe they came in thru the crawl space, but have sealed that off now, so they can’t get out where they came in.
    3. The outside walls in the unfinished basement have insulation. We see that they’ve been chewing insulation, so are likely nesting there. What’s the best way to position the pouches?

    Thank you for your help.

    1. Rita Stadler

      Hi Mike,
      It sounds like you have made an excellent assessment of the situation, nice job!
      1. Mice can climb stairs so you will want to be on high alert that they don’t leave your basement and end up in another area — using Fresh Cab throughout the home will prevent this and give you peace of mind.
      2. Mice are pretty resilient and may still find a way out even if you blocked the original entrance, but you can also use the live traps in unison with Fresh Cab, relocating and releasing the caught mice a safe distance from your home.
      3. If possible, you can place Fresh Cab inside the wall voids, but try tying a string of some sort to the pouches so you can retrieve and replace them when the scent has worn off.
      For more support, give us a call (800) 583-2921 Monday–Friday, 8:00–4:30 EST.
      Thanks for reading!

  • Bernice

    Deep clean my home and cover the area where there coming clean cupboards got new foods and still finding ways still coming in bleached the floors an cupboards . Need to clean under home really stink of rat or mices urines still help plz . I got food for me not them.

    1. Rita Stadler

      Hi Bernice,
      What a frustrating situation! It sounds like you have taken all the right steps, but we’d love to talk to you if you’re able to call us(800) 583-2921 Monday–Friday, 8:00–4:30 EST Make sure you’ve stored your food in airtight, chew-proof containers and are using our rodent repellent pouches in areas where you’ve seen signs of mice.
      Thanks for reading!

  • Luis

    They don’t climb just 13in I’ve seen them climbing the walls in my backyard 10 foot high like lizards and my walls are smooth doesn’t even have a texture..

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