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 Mollie,

    Mice are opportunists and will gladly share any food or water you leave out for your pets. Our rodent repellent is made with ingredients that are safe around pets when used as directed, so you can simply place a pouch near the water bowl and rodents should stay away.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Krista

    Hi, so recently I left the window to my room opened on accident and I looked to see a mouse in my room I’m very much sure that, that is how it appeared in my room. I have my dog in my room with me to see if he acts any diffrent or maybe even catches the mouse but he seems to be acting fine. I found out that the window was open after I saw the mouse and I haven’t seen any evidence that it’s still around, but I’m kind of freaking out and I dont know what to do, but is it possible that it got scared because i freaked out and ran out of the window or is it still in my house?

    1. Rita Stadler

      Hi Krista,
      Mice are very sneaky and will steal any opportunity they can for free food and a cozy home to call their own! It is possible the mouse went out the same way it came in, but keep a close on your dog’s food – dog food is a mouse’s favorite snack. Watch for signs such as gnaw marks (mice chew on things constantly) and mouse droppings, these look like little black rice pellets. For extra peace of mind, keep a few pouches of botanical rodent repellent in your home – they are made with ingredients that are safe around pets when used as directed.
      Thanks for reading!

  • Davin

    I’ve been dealing with a bunch of mice recently . My mum thinks I’m over reacting but I have a huge fear of mice and they’re in my room. At 2:00 this morning I caught one trying to get onto my desk via climbing it’s ‘legs’. So I thought playing music on my phone while sleeping would be a smart idea. Would that work?

    1. Rita Stadler

      Hi Davin,
      That sounds really stressful! Playing music may help, but there are other steps you can take to make sure mice stay away. Make sure that you keep things neat and tidy so there are fewer hiding places for mice, and that there isn’t any food, drinks, or even used dishes or food wrappers around. If you do keep food nearby, make sure to store it in an hard-sided airtight container. For proven protection, get a few pouches of botanical rodent repellent to keep in the room with you. As an added bonus, your room will smell fresh and clean!
      Thanks for reading!

  • Leah

    So I started noticing Mouse droppings on my couch 😱 as I have a new born baby and we sleep in the living room. I lifted up the cushions and seen a little hole in the side. Mind you, I just bought this couch 4 months ago brand new. I’ve put traps everywhere around my couch and still nothing!! Helppppppp.

    1. Rita Stadler

      Hi Leah,
      That sounds very alarming, I’m so sorry you have to deal with mice at a time like this! Please review the CDC guidelines for cleaning up after mice, and then get a few pouches of rodent repellent to place in the area. You will need to find where the mice came from and block the entry point so they don’t return, so inspect doors, windows and utility lines for possible openings. Let us know if you have any additional questions.
      Thanks for reading!

  • Brian

    So is it possible for mice to get so Comfortable that they snuggle up to you in your bed? Moreover what about your clothes. even when you’re wearing them, like underwear? my wife thinks im absolutely crazy, but we live in a 600sq/ft apartment in Florida by the beach and the entire property is infested on a Biblical scale. We’re currently battling rat mites which also seem to fancy me more so than my wife. Ive seen the”smears” everywhere in our apartment and huge piles of feces by the gutters when it rains. I ask bc its not just visual evidence, but also the warmth of things in my bed, shorts, underwear , and towels after showers. Im loosing my mind. In addition to that I vacuum every 1 to 2 days and constantly and consistently see10’s of white babies in the canister when i flush them, please HELP!!!

    1. Rita Stadler

      Hi Brian,
      It sounds like you have a pretty serious situation. I would recommend contacting a pest control professional in your area, they will be more familiar with the specific pests that are local to where you live, and can give you the most accurate information. Once you have a plan in place to manage the current situation, you can include EarthKind’s pest prevention pouches in the plan to make sure the pests stay away. Please don’t hesitate to call (800) 583-2921 Monday–Friday, 8:00–4:30 ESTor email if you have any further questions.
      Thanks for reading!

  • Bobbiann

    Hi i live in a trailer i am very clean, i pulled everything out put mouse poison inside and out they are babies 2 so far my husband killed them both omg i hate them. Help

    1. Rita Stadler

      Hi Bobbiann,
      I’m so sorry to hear about your situation! Although keeping a tidy home helps control pests, mice are persistent little things and they will infest anyplace that offers food or shelter. Unfortunately, using poison is a little counterproductive because most poisons are designed to appear as food and actually attract mice. Even if they ‘work’ by killing the mice, you may end up having to remove dead and decaying rodents from hard to reach areas after they die. Instead, do everything you can to make your home unattractive to rodents by storing food in airtight sealed containers, using a trash bin with a fitted lid, and blocking potential entrypoints such as holes, cracks or gaps around doors and windows. For proven protection, use an EPA registered rodent repellent like Fresh Cab to keep mice outside where they belong.
      Thanks for reading!

  • kaia

    I have had several exterminators come to my home to get rid of mice that we have found in the basement, behind the stove and in my bedroom, it’s been a few months and i hear one currently behind my desk in my room. please help

    1. Rita Stadler

      Hi Kaia,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your situation! To make sure the mice stay away, you will need an integrated pest management plan – that means getting rid of the mice that are currently there, getting rid of what is attracting them AND blocking the routes mice are using to get inside. This blog post covers some of the most common places where pests like to hang out inside your home, and how to prevent them. If you have regular pest control service, ask your provider about exclusion tips – ways to keep mice outside where they belong. Little things like making sure dryer vents are in good repair, checking for gaps under doors, and inspecting a building’s foundation will make a big difference. Then you can keep a few pouches of rodent repellent wherever you’ve seen or heard mice to make sure they don’t come back. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any more questions!

      Thanks for reading!

  • Skye

    My partner and I are in bed at the moment and we heard a sound of something trying to get into a packet. My partner put a packet (that hasn’t been opened) into our bed side table. We open it to see what it was and it’s a mouse. We have been hearing it running around my room for a couple of days now and mice is my phobia I absolutely hate them. What should I do?

    1. Rita Stadler

      Hi Skye,

      Musophobia (fear of mice) is more common than you may realize. You’ll want to start by making sure any food is securely stored in airtight, chew proof containers — glass or metal canisters work best. If you are able to find where the mouse came in from, block the entry point with steel wool, hardware cloth, or silicone caulk. For guaranteed protection (and peace of mind) keep a pouch of EarthKind’s botanical rodent repellent in any areas where you’ve seen rodent activity.

      Thanks for reading!

      1. l

        IF MICE AVOID THE HUMAN SMELL, WHY IN THE HELL DO THEY COME INTO HUMAN HOUSES/APTS??

        1. Rita Stadler

          Hi there!

          Mice know that living alongside humans provides them with food and shelter. Rodents will usually avoid direct contact with people, but enjoy living nearby.

          Thanks for reading!

  • Brittany V

    I’m sitting in my bed scared out of my mind to go out to the kitchen to get something to eat because there is a damn mouse that is the smartest little rascal ever. Please keep in mind that i have no eaten all day and i’m very hungover along with angry from not eating. I know mice are suppose to be more scared of you then you are of the mouse but lemme tell ya i’d piss and puke at the same damn time if i saw this mouse in the trap or just in general. I can’t deal with this, i need someone to drop off some pizza too me please. im hungry

    1. Rita Stadler

      Hi Brittany,

      I hope you’re feeling better and have made it off of your bed by now! For an immediate solution, I would recommend flipping the light switch a few times and then leaving it on, making a lot of noise, and maybe spraying a bottle of perfume or can of air freshener in the direction of the mouse — all of the commotion should send it scurrying away. To make sure it doesn’t come back, stop by your local ACE Hardware store (or check our store locator to find a different store near you) and picking up a couple pouches of EarthKind’s botanical rodent repellent. Please feel free to call us at (800) 583-2921 Monday–Friday, 8:00–4:30 EST, send us a Facebook message or email customercare@www.earthkind.com anytime for more information.

      Thanks for reading!

  • Chesle

    Can they get in ur bed? If so.. short or tall?

    1. Chanel C

      Hello Chesle,

      A mouse can jump as high as a foot, and climb 13 inches up smooth, vertical walls, so technically they could get into your bed if they wanted to. However, the good news is that mice generally tend to avoid high-activity areas where you and your family frequent. This is why you usually find mice hidden in areas like the basement, the attic, the pantry, or behind appliances. If you are concerned about a mouse getting into your room, or even your bed, be sure to keep an eye of for signs of a mouse like chew marks or droppings in that area. Mice can’t control their bowels, so they leave a trail behind as they move around.

      Feel free to check out this article to learn how to identify and safely dispose of rodent droppings: https://www.earthkind.com/blog/what-does-mouse-poop-look-like/

      Good luck, and thank you for reading!

      1. Teresa

        I have mostly been staying in bed a few days because of being sick and while straightening out the pillows I saw a small dark shape fall to the floor. Thinking it was part of my phone charger (near-sighted), reached for it only for it to run under furniture. Moved furniture to see baby mouse run away. I need a way to drive it out of room until I can get live traps.

        1. Rita Stadler

          Hi Teresa,

          Oh my gosh that sounds very scary! Please review the CDC guidelines for cleaning up after mice, and use our botanical rodent repellent pouches to drive the mice out of your room. Contact us for more advice on how to resolve the issue if needed: Call (800) 583-2921 Monday–Friday, 8:00–4:30 EST or email customercare@www.earthkind.com anytime.

          Thanks for reading!

        2. Ellicul

          YIKES!!!!
          I did that Auth a snake once! My little bit had realistic bug and reptiles & I reached over on the laundry table to put it in its bugrtrapper & it FLICKED it’s tongue at me!!!!!! Omgsh my heart 😵🥴

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