What Repels Mice? Scents, Sounds & Other Things They Hate
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, mice have preferences; there are some things they love and some things they 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 repel 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.
It’s good to take a proactive approach with deterring these pests and put other methods in place, as well.
Here’s a list of common tactics homeowners often try to help keep mice away:
- Bright lights
- Strong smells
- Loud sounds
We explore the effectiveness of each of these tactics and natural solutions to consider below.
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 Scents Will Keep Mice Away?
Strong, fresh odors tend to overwhelm rodents and their sense of smell, scaring them off. They avoid danger by relying on their keen sense of smell, which makes up for their weak eyes. They rely on this sense to find food, detect danger, and follow scent trails as a way of navigation.
Some strong scents people often use as a natural mouse repellent include lavender, peppermint oil, other natural essential oils, and vinegar solutions. These tactics can work when used by themselves, 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 strong smell of peppermint and other oils can quickly disappear when simply applied to a cotton ball (a common approach). This means the results for these methods can be inconsistent and inconclusive. That’s why we recommend Stay Away® Rodent, which utilizes these scents to effectively keep mice away and provides continuous protection for 30 days.
Placing dryer sheets around the house is another common DIY solution, however, the smells don’t last long and the results are inconsistent.
The scent of another animal, such as a cat, can sometimes scare mice away. Again, their goal is to avoid danger, so the smell of a cat or their litter box may cause the pest to go elsewhere. The scent of another mouse also may alert them to avoid an unfriendly neighbor.
Lastly, contrary to what cartoons may have led you to believe, mice don’t actually like cheese very much. 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
Loud sounds suggest danger, which these pests want to avoid. Mice prefer to be alone, away from humans and animals, so being around a lot of noise is not ideal.
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 them 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 Them?
Now that we know mice hate strong, fresh smells, loud noises, bright lights, and anything that signifies danger, it’s important to consider what attracts them.
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.