Have you been struggling with a mice infestation problem? Mice infestations are among the world’s most troublesome issues. And thankfully, there are a number of ways in which you can deal with it, from store-bought mice repellents to DIYs.
Are you wondering if natural mice repellents ever work? A short answer to this question is yes, they do work. But, are they the best methods to use? In this article, I’ll address most of your queries and concerns regarding the efficacy of natural mouse repellents, along with some alternatives to combat this worrying situation.
What Are Natural Mouse Repellents?
Natural mouse repellents are mostly homemade recipes and methods that use organic components and ingredients. They are usually non-toxic, easy to make, and safe to use when compared to some chemical products. This makes it most people’s preferred option for combating mice infestation.
Do Natural Mice Repellents Work?
Though the long-term efficacy of natural mice repellents has not been proved definitely, these are easy methods that are known to work. Mice hate the smell of natural repellents like cayenne pepper, cloves, and peppermint oil. So when used in strong doses, these methods can help in tackling your mice infestation problem.
Risks Associated with DIY Solutions
However, these natural and DIY solutions are not entirely free from side effects. They come with their own set of risks and hassles. Let’s take a look at some of these risks associated with DIY solutions.
#1. More the time spent trying natural DIY methods, more the time that mice get to multiply and breed. Also, with increased exposure to these natural repellents, there’s an increased risk of water and food contamination.
#2. It’s not enough to have these natural repellents handy. You also need to have a basic knowledge of mice behavior to place these repellents in the most effective places. Else, there’s no guarantee that they won’t return. Your permanent solution should include ways to protect your house against any future infestations.
#3. Using bleach is a popular DIY mouse repellent solution. However, the risks involved in this method overshadow the advantages. Not only does it have a bad odor, but the gases released by bleaches are harmful to people and pets. Excess use of bleach can cause potential health risks.
#4. Items like ammonia and naphthalene balls can be harmful to children and compounds containing cayenne pepper can cause skin problems.
#5. Some natural mouse repellent plants like amaryllis can be toxic to cats and dogs while lavender can trigger allergic reactions in pets.
#6. Rodents carry disease-causing pathogens. Hence, it can be risky to put yourself in a position where there are chances of coming in contact with their droppings or urine.
Choosing Between Chemical Repellents and Natural Repellents
How you deal with a mice infestation depends on various factors. You can opt for some handy DIYs or get a store-bought mice repellent. Before you decide on either of these options, take a look at both of their pros and cons.
Advantages of Chemical Repellents
Chemical repellents are often the most effective in keeping away rodents for a longer duration. They are easily available online as well as in your local stores in the form of spray and paste.
A major benefit of using chemical repellents is that you don’t have to put in too much time mixing up a concoction in your kitchen. There is also no hassle with storing and the usage is often very simple and easy.
Disadvantages of Chemical Repellents
Although most homeowners use chemical repellents to ward off mouse infestations as they tend to be very successful in getting rid of mice, they can be equally harmful to both people and pets if used incorrectly.
Advantages of Natural Repellents
A major benefit of using natural mice repellents is that you can experiment with different methods and see what works best for your situation. Besides, often the ingredients you will need can be readily found in your home.
Natural repellents can also be cost-effective if you find an effective method sooner and are also relatively safer than chemical repellents.
Disadvantages of Natural Repellents
Time is a significant drawback of using natural mice repellents. If the first method you try works, then great! If not, however, you may find yourself spending endless hours scratching your head and trying a wide variety of DIYs you find online.
Additionally, when mixing up different potentially harmful ingredients, you also expose yourself to them. This can be hazardous to you and your family.
Are Natural Mouse Repellents Better?
Owing to the worrying side effects of chemical mouse repellents, some homeowners try natural mouse repellent to control a mice infestation. These repellents may be plants like mint, amaryllis, and lavender or household remedies like naphthalene balls, ammonia, and peppermint oil.
These are comparatively better when compared to chemical repellents since their side effects are not as harmful as that of chemical ones.
What Attracts Mice
During warm weather, such as in summers and springs, these rodents and mice prefer living outdoors as nature can satisfy their requirements. During winters, however, they go in search of sheltered places like garages, homes, and farm buildings that can provide them food and warmth.
Another popular mouse nesting spot is water heaters since they are a constant source of heat and generally hidden from sight.
Since mice and rodents are omnivores, they can eat and survive on almost any food. However, they eat nearly 20 times a day and hence need a constant source of food.
Some foods that attract mice are nuts, grains, fruits, meat, and dinner leftovers.
Most indoor mice are attracted to freshly cooked meals, stored seeds, pet food, food in pantries, or open garbage cans. Plastic, paper, book, wood, or electrical wirings are some other sources that constitute food for mice.
3. Cracks and Clutter
Most mice seek out cluttered areas like attics and storage spaces because not only are they warm but they also offer sufficient hiding places to burrow and nest.
Additionally, firewood, desk drawers, and empty cardboard boxes can create plentiful nesting possibilities. Cracks and openings in doors and windows also act as an open invitation for rodents and mice.
13 Different Kinds of Natural Mouse Repellents
1. Peppermint Oil
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Peppermint oil is one of the essential mice repellent oils that work best and is generally found in most places.
You can use peppermint oil in the form of spray-on areas where you suspect rodent activity. Fill up a spray bottle with around 30 drops of undiluted peppermint essential oil in 10 ounces of water.
In case you don’t wish to use a spray, soak some cotton balls in peppermint oil and keep them in mice-frequented areas. Make sure to replace the cotton balls after a week or two when you find the scent fading.
You can also use a peppermint plant as an outdoor repellent.
2. Mashed Potato Flakes
Using mashed potato flakes is probably one of the most economical mouse repellent methods. It’s also pet-friendly since most pets don’t consider potatoes as food.
Place 2-3 tablespoons of mashed potatoes in a shallow container in areas where the mice were found. Once the mice consume it and drink water, it’ll cause the flakes to swell in their stomach and kill them.
Since mice and rodents have a sensitive sense of smell, they can’t bear the pungent odor of onions. Hence, it acts as the most effective natural mouse repellent. You can place onion peels or full onions in the kitchen or other corners to keep mice away.
However, you need to be more careful with this method as it can be toxic to pets like dogs and cats. Onions also tend to rot quickly. Make sure to periodically change them with fresh ones.
4. Pepper, Cloves, and Cayenne Pepper
Rodents and mice have a natural aversion to things that have a strong odor. Pepper, cloves, and cayenne pepper give out a strong, unpleasant, spicy odor, making them the best natural mouse repellents.
Wrap these spices in a thin cloth and place them in areas where you suspect the mice to be. You can also sprinkle the spices in cracks or holes.
5. White Vinegar
The uses of distilled white vinegar are multifold, including as an affordable natural mouse repellent. Take some cotton balls and pour some vinegar drops into them. Place the soaked cotton balls in a container and keep them near the holes and crevices.
6. Plaster of Paris and Cocoa Powder
Take some cocoa powder, water, and plaster of Paris, and mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Let the plaster of Paris harden. These blocks can serve as effective mice repellent as the mice confuse it for food and eat it. The plaster of Paris in the mixture is fatal to mice.
7. Steel Wool
Steel balls can serve as a cheap and affordable mouse repellent product. Tear it apart and place them in crevices, holes, and small gaps. Mice can’t chew through them, making it an effective repellent. Especially if you don’t wish to kill the mice as in previous cases.
8. Use Natural Predators
Can there be a better natural mice repellent than a cat? Getting a cat home can rid you of this problem within days.
If you own a cat, place its litter box in areas where mice frequent. If you don’t own a cat, however, placing used cat litter in a shallow container near suspected mouse entry points can help turn the mice away.
Barn owls can also be the best outdoor mouse repellent as they are natural rodent predators. Hence, if your mice problem only affects your yard or barn, you can get a barn owl on your property.
9. Naphthalene Balls or Mothballs
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Naphthalene balls can be an effective mouse repellent. However, it can be hazardous to kids and pets. Hence, I recommend you place mothballs in places that are less accessible to them.
Place 4-5 mothballs inside a sock or any cloth piece and place them in mice-infested areas.
10. Bay Leaves
This natural repellent can work wonderfully for the pantry. Just crush a few leaves and place them on the shelves, floor, or in the corners.
11. Vitamin D and Zinc Tablets
Crush 2–3 vitamin D or zinc tablets into a fine powder, and mix it with some tablespoons of peanut butter. When mice consume them, the increased calcium levels from vitamin D can cause calcification in the heart and kill them, while the acid in the rats’ digestive system reacts with the zinc and creates a poisonous phosphine gas. Keep these mixtures away from pets and kids!
12. Chili Powder or Oil
When inhaled or ingested, chili powder and oil can irritate the mice, thus acting as a natural mouse deterrent. However, its efficacy is not well established, so it may not be a dependable solution in the long run.
13. Homemade Mouse Trap
If you don’t wish to cause any harm to the rats and you want to create a homemade mouse trap to solve your mice problem, here’s how you can try to make one.
• Take an empty toilet roll tube and smear it with some peanut butter or chocolate mix at one end.
• Keep the roll on a table’s edge such that the end with the peanut butter hangs off.
• Place an empty deep container underneath and let the lid be handy and nearby.
• Wait for the mouse to get lured.
• As soon as the mouse enters the empty roll to consume the butter, its weight will make it drop inside the container.
• After this happens, close the container with the lid and let the mouse free in an area that’s away from your house.
If you don’t have time for making a trap by yourself, you should read the information about more humane mouse traps.
How to Prevent Mice from Entering Your Home?
Let’s take a look at some effective mice prevention and control methods to protect your home from rodent infestation.
1. Seal and Repair Cracks
Mice can fit through the smallest of holes, making it extremely convenient for them to gain entry to your house. These tiny entrances can be in your walls, windows, or attics and can easily be missed by untrained eyes.
Take extra measures to identify these entry points and properly seal them with caulking guns or wire mesh.
2. Trim Bushes and Shrubs
Overgrown bushes and shrubs can act as a protective pathway for rodents to enter your house. It also acts as a shield from predators like owls, snakes, and cats.
Make sure to regularly trim the trees, shrubs, and bushes around your home to prevent mice from entering easily.
3. Maintain Cleanliness
Since leftover food debris is one of the top reasons for mice to enter homes, make an effort to keep your kitchen area spotlessly clean. Take care to clear away the pet food immediately and store food in sealed containers. Clear spills and crumbs to avoid inviting rodents inside.
4. Seek Professional Help
DIY solutions can never be as effective as seeking an expert’s help in rodent prevention. Consult a professional rodent exterminator to seal rodent entry points, trap existing rodents, and protect your home.
Do High-Pitched Sounds Keep Mice Away?
Electronic mouse repellents make use of high-frequency sounds to keep mice away from nesting grounds in houses.
It’s alleged that the sound emitted by these ultrasonic devices can keep mice and rodents away as they find the sound unbearable. These sounds are supposed to discourage the mice from nesting or feeding in affected areas.
However, there is no specific data surrounding this claim. These sounds also can’t pass through walls or any other hard materials.
What Smells Do Mice Dislike?
Mice rely on their senses to avoid danger, detect food, and follow scent trails for navigation. Though they have weak eyes, their strong sense of smell makes up for it.
Some strong odors are said to keep away mice. The scent of predators like cats can also repel them. Contrary to what’s shown in cartoons, cheese chunks can also repel mice since they have a strong, stinky odor.
Mice also detest some strong-smelling natural oils like lavender and peppermint. However, results with these oils are not guaranteed and often inconsistent.
A Few Parting Words
When it comes to fighting mice problems, there are several methods that you can use. Whether you prefer chemical or natural mouse repellents, there are numerous products and techniques that are known to be effective.
I hope the methods presented in this article were helpful to you. However, for long-term effects, I recommend you seek a professional rodent exterminator’s help. And make sure to maintain cleanliness inside your house and on the premises.
Featured image source: Pinterest