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Things Mice Don’t Like – What Scares & Repels Them

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 mice 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 keep mice outside where they belong.

First, a few facts about mice:

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

The common house mouse is small, furry, has a pointed nose, big ears, and a tail. Mice 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 mouse can give birth to a litter of mice every 6-8 weeks, and each litter can consist of 2-12 mice.

Now that you know more about mice, you’ll be able to understand what kinds of things they like and what they would prefer to avoid.

Things that repel mice:

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

cheese mouse trap

Another way mice avoid danger is by relying on their senses. House mice have poor eyesight, but a keen sense of smell.  Rodents rely on their sense of smell to find food, detect danger and to follow scent trails as a way of navigation.

Contrary to what cartoons may have led you to believe, mice don’t actually like cheese. If you think about it, you’ll realize that cheese is quite stinky. Some smells repel mice. The scent of another animal, such as a cat may repel mice. Even the scent of another mouse may alert a rodent to avoid an unfriendly neighbor.

Plants and trees have understood this for a long time, using fragrances to attract helpful insects like bees and repel pests.

Things that attract mice:

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

Mice are omnivores and can eat almost anything. Fruit, seeds and grains are a mouse’s favorite foods. Outdoors, gardens, farm fields, and places where people leave food scraps behind are the best places to find mice. Indoors, mice will be attracted to food pantries, uncovered garbage cans, stored seeds and pet or animal food.

Mice like to eat 15-20 times each day. Because mice eat so frequently, they like to make their homes and nest near a reliable food source. Rodents also find pleasure in chewing wiring, and research has found that 8% of all household fires are caused this way.  Some materials mice might gnaw on include books, magazines, wood, cardboard, or plastic. When moving around, mice enjoy following ‘runways.’ You might see them running alongside the back of a couch, a row of boxes, or next to the mop boards and walls.


How to get rid of mice:

If you are worried about a mouse in the house, you can do a quick inventory around your house to make sure you aren’t attracting rodents. Cleaning up the materials mice use for nesting and gnawing, 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 prevent mice too.

For more information about how to prevent mice, and how you can use a scent-based repellent to protect your home, click below.  

Shop Stay Away® Mice


40 responses to “Things Mice Don’t Like – What Scares & Repels Them”

  1. Two questions.

    One: I spotted a mouse in my bathroom. I have a couple of glue traps in there but the mouse doesn’t get caught. In fact, I saw the mouse again while the traps were already set. What can I do to make sure it gets captured?

    Two: I’ve been very afraid of going into my own bathroom. I’m terrified when I’m in there and, it may be my imagination, but I think I hear noises. Will the sound of running sink/shower water be too scary for the mouse and make it not want to come out? I want some assurance that the mouse won’t come out while I’m in there.

    • Hi Al,
      Please consider removing the glue traps immediately. Most traps contain some type of attractant to lure pests onto the glue board. Even if the trap does what it is intended to do, then you will have to remove the rodent once it is stuck the trap, and it may still be alive. An easier solution is to keep EarthKind’s botanical rodent repellent pouches in areas where mice have been seen so the mice will stay away. Please feel free to call (800)583-2921 M-F 8-4:30 EST or email customercare@earthkind.com anytime if you have more questions.
      Thanks for reading!

    • Hi Nichole,
      Mice, like most animals, have a strong will to survive and can be quite evasive. Instead of using traps, which are designed to attract pests, you may find greater success with a repellent that is designed to make sure mice stay away. Placing a few pouches of Fresh Cab Rodent Repellent or Stay Away Mice in the areas where you’ve seen signs of mice will provide you with proven protection from mice. Plus, all of our products come with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
      Thanks for reading!

  2. I have a house mouse in my sister’s bedroom inside a wall. How can I get rid of it inside a wall? Also, does Dog food super glued on mouse trap really works?

    • Hi Carlos,
      Dog food is a favorite food for mice, but we typically advise against feeding mice, even if it is used on a trap. When trying to get rid of mice, attracting them with food is counterproductive. If you have any access to the void in the wall, you can place our rodent repellent pouches in there. However, try tying a string around the pouch so that it can be retrieved after about a month (when the scent has begun to diminish) and replace the old pouch with a new one to make sure the mice don’t return. Check out this video for more info: How to get rid of mice in hard to reach areas.
      Thanks for reading!

  3. So what’s the fastest most effective way to kill as many mice at once as possible? I lost my cat this summer and they know and have since invaded my house and eve made friends with my dog, she’s useless in this mission. Seriously like how to I just wipe them out and send a message to the ones outside that this is the wrong home to infest? Thanks

    • Hello there!

      We are sorry to hear about your home invasion and the loss of your cat. That sounds very stressful. I believe you when you say that your dog is not suited for this mission; mine is not either!
      Finding a pet friendly pest control solution can be challenging, which is why EarthKind products aren’t made with any harmful chemicals. Instead of killing pests (and potentially harming pets), we’ve created botanical repellents that cause the target pest to avoid treated areas. We find repelling pests to be a safer and more effective solution so that you never have to come in contact with messy, disease-carrying rodents. You will never have to worry about a rodent that ate poison before crawling into a wall void and decomposing either — not only can that attract other insects, but it is a smell you will never forget!

      Try placing Fresh Cab Rodent Repellent pouches in the areas where you have seen signs of mice. The scent of botanical oils drives rats and mice away. You can order online directly from us, or find it locally; use our Store Locator

      Read more here How to get rid of rats: Is it Best to Kill or Repel? Is it best to Kill or Repel?

      Thanks for reading!

  4. Hi Rita,
    Our neighbor had an exterminator out and sure enough, within a few days we found a mouse in the laundry basket. I have always heard that you never have just one mouse, but we have only seen one sneaky little guy (or girl) for the past month; and though we have found only a couple of droppings in any location, they have been found in multiple locations (slippers, linen closet, atop a chair cushion). We have tried products that will allow us to catch and release, but he’s not having it. How exactly does stay away mice help me get rid of the mouse? I understand the scent repels it from an area, but won’t it just move to another? Sorry, we’re trying to be humane, but even the one mouse is an unsanitary nuisance and potential health hazard. Help!

    • Hi Erin!
      That is a great question. We recommend placing the pouches in the areas where you have seen the droppings. Start with the areas where you saw the droppings and areas less frequented by your family such as: attics, basements, behind appliances, pantries, closets, etc… Areas frequented by people are slightly less hospitable to mice. Like you said, the scent will keep them away. Mice will not congregate or nest in areas where they cannot smell predators or detect danger. For currently infested areas, use 1 pouch per 25 square feet of floor space.

      Here are some quick recommendations:
      -Look for entrance points into the home and block them with steel wool and silicone caulk (Tip: avoid the foam spray type, they can chew through it). Mice can squeeze through openings about a quarter of an inch in size!
      -Get rid of clutter and debris mice may use to hide behind or for nesting material. Make sure there is nothing attracting pests by storing food in secure containers and emptying pet food dishes between feedings.
      -Follow CDC guidelines when cleaning up after rats and mice to prevent rodent related diseases Cleaning Up After Rodents
      -Avoid the use of baited traps or pesticides since they are designed to attract mice. Rodents will eat anything to fill their tummies and you’ll be left cleaning up the mess.
      -Pouch up with Stay Away Mice or Fresh Cab.

      Please signup for our newsletter to get DIY tips and tricks to prevent pests, plus special discounts. In the meantime, these articles may help provide some more insight about mice prevention: Rodent Prevention

      Thanks for reading!

  5. Hello,
    I recently saw mice droppings in one of our bedrooms. We always keep that door closed, I bought a pack of snap traps and was able to get 2 mice. We have 2 dogs, and they haven’t made any concerns about seeing mice (in fact I haven’t seen any except for when they were caught.)
    We also live in a duplex and our neighbors have a cat. Since I got the 2 mice, I’ve kept traps out in that bedroom just to be safe and the bait is getting ate, but I no longer see droppings nor mice getting caught! I’ve also looked everywhere in the room for any signs of nesting, droppings, and nothing. I even checked furniture and the closet. There aren’t any holes in the bedroom that I can see. There have not been any droppings in any other room, not even the kitchen.
    Is it possible that they are coming from the neighbors because they’re afraid of the cat? Or should I be concerned of other critters? I am wanting to get some of the repellents mentioned also.

    • Hi there!

      That sounds like a frustrating situation! You seem to have done a thorough job inspecting the area, but it is possible the mice are nesting and/or moving around through the wall voids. Pet food is a mouse’s favorite, so with your dogs and the neighbors cats, the mice probably have plenty to eat (not to mention the snacks mice are stealing from your traps). The walls provide a safe place to hide.

      We would suggest keeping a pouch of rodent repellent in areas where you’ve seen signs of mice. You may want to suggest the same to your neighbor as well. Use one pouch in smaller rooms and closets, and increase the number of pouches for larger, open areas. The scent will repel rodents for up to 30 days without any harmful chemicals that could harm your pets.

      Thanks for reading!

  6. Great post and informative as well. After reading this post I came to know that cheese repels mice as before I used to think that with the help of cheese I would get rid of them. I would like to share it with my friends too. keep sharing such posts.

    • Hi there!

      I’m glad you found the post informative. Although stinky cheese might offend sensitive noses (like mice), it is still food and could be attractive to a starving mouse. Make sure to keep all food stored in air tight containers to protect against mice.

      Thanks for reading!

    • Hi there!

      That’s an interesting question. Generally speaking, mice have poor eyesight, so it is unlikely that they would be reliably scared away by holographic material or any other visual deterrent. Mice have an exceptional sense of smell however. They use it to sniff out danger like predators and unfriendly territory, as well as to find food and potential mates. Try using a scent based repellent like Fresh Cab to scare away mice around your home.

      Thanks for reading!

    • Hi Mitzi,

      Mice are known as commensal pests, meaning they have adapted to live alongside people. They may be intimidated by people because of we are so much bigger than they are, but I’m guessing they don’t hate us since they are specially adapted to live alongside us, enjoying our food and shelter, etc… If you would rather not live alongside these furry freeloaders, we recommend using our botanical rodent repellent to make them stay away 🙂

      Thanks for reading!

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