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Myth busting natural mice repellents

Have you ever been tormented by a group of rats and mice mocking your DIY attempts to rid them from your home? You might even think, "Do natural mice repellents ever work?"

Natural mice repellents can work, but not frequently. No harm will come from them and maybe they will work for you. However, concern over the misuse or overuse of chemicals in many industries, not just pest control, means we are always intrigued to learn if there is a natural alternative that is better for us, our children, our homes, our pets and our businesses. There are risks to consider with DIY solutions.

Risk #1: The more time wasted on attempting to get rid of mice with natural deterrents, the more time your mice have to breed and multiply. The risk of food and water contamination also increases over time through increased exposure. (A pair of mice can produce up to 2,000 offspring in a year!)

Risk #2: It isn’t enough just to have these natural repellents, you need to know where to place them to be the most effective. How? Well, this is where having a basic knowledge of mouse behavior comes in handy. If you know where mice tend to commonly hide inside homes and what attracts them out at night, you can better decide where to sprinkle your cayenne pepper or other natural ‘weapon’ of choice.

Even if you achieve success and the mice leave, how do you know they will not return again? How did they get in in the first place?

Risk #3: Even after you repel mice, you need to prevent them from getting into your home again. Part of a permanent solution – natural, professional or otherwise – must include the task of proofing your property against any further infestations.

There are many myths surrounding which DIY mouse control techniques work the best to help evict your unwanted house guest. But which ones can do the job? If you have questions about mice, you can visit our FAQ page and get more information. If you feel that you have a potential mice infestation, contact your local Ehrlich mice control specialist and start a program to get rid of them and keep them away.

Natural mouse repellent

The majority of natural mouse repellent/home remedies people usually think of such as peppermint, moth balls, and ultrasonic sound waves don’t actually work at all. Other deterrents like cats, ferrets, cayenne pepper and tabasco sauce often times aren't practical and don't work all of the time either. 

It’s possible that you might see a temporary effect and perhaps not see quite as many rodents around, but these methods will not permanently remove mice and rats from your home or business.

Rats and mice are pretty smart creatures. They know that it’s a dangerous world out there for an animal of their size, so once they have found a home safe from predators, the elements as well as a constant supply of food they will not move out. They would rather put up with ultrasonic sound waves and peppermint than risk leaving their new home.

Do mothballs keep mice away?

To put it simply…No.

The reason why mothballs are regarded as an efficient DIY mouse control method is because they contain naphthalene.


Naphthalene is a strong smelling white, solid substance. When it is inhaled or ingested it can cause blood cells to lose their ability to carry oxygen. It is because of this that it was/is believed that moth balls would be a great deterrent for mice.

It was believed that by placing mothballs near a mouse nest you will get rid of your rodent problem. However this is not the case.

The amount of naphthalene found in mothballs is a small. It’s enough to deter moths and other insects, but for mice it’s no problem.  The levels of naphthalene needed to repel mice are the same needed for humans. There have been many cases where mice have walked over the mothballs paying no attention to them whatsoever.

Rats and mice are cunning creatures. Even if they were bothered by the smell from mothballs near their nest entrance they would soon find another. This would be either by fitting through a gap the size of a penny, or gnawing at a surface to create a new passage.

Peppermint oil and mice

Does peppermint oil repel mice? It makes your home smell nice and gets rid of mice, so that makes it the perfect mouse repellent right? WRONG!

It will make your home smell good, but it certainly won’t get rid of your unwanted lodgers.

The reason why peppermint oil is assumed to be a great mouse repellent is because in high concentrations peppermint can be quite potent, and mice (and rats) have a very sensitive sense of smell.

However, if you really think about it, logically, rats and mice live in all areas including sewers. If they can put up with the smell coming out from a stinky sewage system, then peppermint oil would be no problem.

Another reason why peppermint oil isn’t a sound mouse repellent is due to sheer physics. Most gases and fumes, especially peppermint, rise. Rats and mice are quite small and stay close to the ground, thus although (if it was possible) at the start the peppermint oil repelled the mice as it rose upwards it would no longer be of use (apart from making your home smell like you’ve stepped into a tub of breath mints).

Ultrasonic rodent repeller

There are a handful of ultrasonic rodent repeller devices on the market. However, the truth of the matter is, none of these are effective. They will keep rodents away for a short period of time, but they are not the most efficient and best solution to rid yourself of your unwanted house guests.

One of the main issues when using an ultrasonic rodent repeller is the placement of the device. These repellers rely on electrical sockets to work. If there is no socket near where the rodent activity is in your home then the device will be completely ineffective.  

As previously stated in this blog mice, and rats, are pretty resilient, as well as adaptable, creatures. Much like naphthalene, it is suggested that the frequency of ultrasonic sound waves needed to successfully repel rats and mice fully would be strong enough that it would cause damage and harm to humans and domestic animals. Because of this, commercial ultrasonic rodent repellers commonly available do not admit sound waves of this frequency, so they can be safe for human usage.  

Using an ultrasonic mouse repeller may work for a short period of time, until the mouse learns to avoid the area affected by the ultrasonic sound waves, or simply adapts to the background noise.    

Is it a mouse or rat?

Are the signs you saw indicative of a rat or a mouse? Find out here.

How to repel mice

When it comes to repelling mice, and rats, the best course of treatment is prevention.

If you do already have a mouse problem you should contact a professional as they will be able to successfully manage your pest problem.

DIY mouse control

That being said, there are some techniques you can use to secure your home and prevent any unwanted guest from squatting in your home.


A great way to protect your home and/or business from rats and mice is to repair any damages, both exterior and interior. This will help prevent any mouse from finding easy access to your home. This includes small gaps as mice can fit through the tiniest of holes.

A good material to use is sheet metal. Rats and mice can climb, and chew, through almost anything besides sheet metal.

Steel wool and mice

Mice are known to be able to chew through almost anything, especially if they think food is on the other side. But there is one thing they can’t chew through… Steel Wool!

A good mouse prevention technique is to fill any holes in your home with steel wool. This can be anywhere from air vents to hole in your kitchen cupboards. This will stop any mouse from trying to enter your home.

Keeping clean

Giving your house a good clean will help keep mice away. They have an amazing sense of smell so keeping food in airtight containers will make sure that these home invading pests won’t follow the food scent to your home.

How to catch a mouse

As previously mentioned, if you have seen a mouse in your home then you should contact a professional. If you have spotted one mouse then it’s family is always somewhere nearby.

However if you are determined to evict your unwanted house guests by yourself here’s a few tips to help get the job done.

What is the best bait for mice?

First of all if you are going to try a catch a mouse you need to know what bait to use.

Do mice like cheese?

Stereotypically, when you think of mice you think of cheese. Well in actual fact mice aren’t that fond of cheese, that’s not to say they won’t eat it, they just won’t go out of their way to nibble on this dairy goodness.

If you really want to attract mice, then peanut butter is your best option. They love the stuff!

Homemade mouse trap

Looking to make a humane mouse trap to solve your rodent problem? Then here’s one you can try out.

How to make a mouse trap:

  • Take an empty toilet or kitchen roll tube and place a teaspoon full of peanut butter at one of the ends.
  • Place the roll on the edge of a table or surface with the peanut butter end hanging off the edge. 
  • Below the roll place an empty plastic container with the lid nearby. 
  • Wait for the mouse to take the bait. 
  • When the mouse enters the empty toilet roll to eat the delicious peanut butter their weight will cause the roll to drop into the plastic container.  Once this has happened place the lid on the container and set the mouse free in a safe area away from your home.

Professional mouse control

The reason why it is advised that you leave managing a mouse or rat problem to a professional is due to the skills and knowledge needed in doing so, as well as the time scale.

You know by now mice are cunning creatures. This can make relocating them from your home a bit tricky.

In terms of baiting it takes a while for a mouse to accept the product laid down, because the item is new and alien to them. Tests carried out on mouse behavior showed these rodents were far more receptive to bait laid out in a dirty tray, which they have used before, rather than a new one. This is because they would rather gather food from a location they are used to and know is safe.  

Our specialists know exactly how to efficiently control a mouse, or rat, problem. They use specific techniques and products that have been tried and tested in order to make sure your home is completely rodent free.

Although there are mice in rural an unpopulated areas, they are very common in more densely populated areas. So cities like New York, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburgh and other cities such as those.

Need help getting rid of a mouse problem in your home? Call the Ehrlich professionals using our online form.

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