Does peppermint oil really work? Can it be used as an effective natural mouse repellent? The answer is YES. It really does work, but it has to be used correctly.
We show you how to get results using this time-tested natural method to keep mice out of our homes and gardens.
Some folks claim that using peppermint to keep mice away is just a myth. The problem is they are just doing it wrong or are expecting a few peppermint leaves to make the mice run the other way.
5 Tips To Use Peppermint Oil To Repel Mice
Here are some ways to make sure you are doing it right.
Table of Contents
1. Buy The Right Stuff.
Make sure to use pure 100% peppermint oil or a product that is specifically formulated to repel mice.
Here are 2 popular options for you available from Amazon that are said to be effective in repelling mice. Note: Always look for 100% pure peppermint oil.
4-ounce bottle of 100% pure peppermint oil.
Essentially KateS Peppermint Essential Oil
Includes a glass dropper and instruction e-book.
You can also purchase peppermint oil from your local health food stores. Just be sure to let the sales staff know you want to use it to repel mice. They can let you know if the peppermint oil they carry is suitable for that purpose.
2. Make Sure You Use Enough Peppermint Oil.
The scent needs to be strong enough to act as a deterrent. More is better in this case. I personally use at least 5 drops of oil on a cotton ball. Don’t skimp on the mint!
3. Select The Right Location.
These are in the order of importance.
a. You want to place the peppermint soaked cotton balls in the areas the mice are likely to enter your home. This is a very important step that cannot be overlooked.
Wool balls can also be used as recommended by the Humane Society International.
The mice need to smell the peppermint oil BEFORE entering your house, so they do not come in. This is the trick most people miss.
If the mice are already in your home, they will not leave because you have peppermint in a few corners, they will just find a spot without the scent.
b. Peppermint oil is also an effective way to mask the pheromone trail mice leave within your house. These trails are used to tell the other mice where to go. You can locate these areas by the telltale droppings or grease marks they leave.
Place a few cotton balls in these areas to prevent the mice from exploring further in your home.
c. Finally, you can also leave the cotton balls in areas where you don’t want them to explore. While you are catching mice with other methods, use peppermint oil to deter the mice from hiding in new areas such as your child’s bedroom or coat closet.
4. Refresh The Cotton Balls Frequently.
The fragrance will wear off over time and stop working as it gets weaker. Make sure to keep the peppermint oil fresh to maximize its effectiveness.
At a minimum, you should replace the peppermint soaked cotton balls once a month. If you are dealing with a recurring problem, change them out every 2 weeks.
5. Know Its Limits.
Peppermint oil can be an effective mouse deterrent, but it is not an effective way to remove mice that are already living in your home.
If the scent is strong enough, it will prevent them from making a new home in the area where you place the cotton balls. But if you place the mint where they are already living, this will probably not make them go running for the hills.
Another way to use the oil is to mix it with water & spray the solution on doorways or other entrance areas to your house. This is more practical in some cases such as if you are using it along hallways.
You can spray the entire area much more easily than placing multiple cotton balls along their trail. Just make sure to make the oil spray strong enough.
How Does Using Peppermint Oil As A Pest Control Solution Work?
Mice find their way in the world by using their sense of smell. They don’t see very well but rely on their nose instead to travel back and forth from their nests to food sources.
The menthol in peppermint oil irritates the nasal cavities of the mouse. This irritation acts as a deterrent, forcing the mouse to choose another path.
Keep this in mind as you are applying the peppermint oil solution. You need to use it strategically so the mouse doesn’t simply walk around the irritation. Focus on the entryways where mice are trying to get inside your home.
Using peppermint oil to get rid of mice is one of the more popular pest control home remedies. And it works on more than just mice.
According to the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program in Cornell, peppermint oil has several pesticide uses. It can also be used as an “Insect repellent, insecticide, and acaricide; vertebrate animal repellent”.
Wondering Where to Buy Peppermint Oil?
You can buy peppermint oil at your local grocery or health food store. There are also many online stores that will ship it to you. The important thing to remember is to make sure you buy 100% pure peppermint oil. Don’t buy a blend unless it is specifically created to be used as a mouse repellent.
Also, peppermint extract will not work, it needs to be the oil of the peppermint to be most effective in repelling mice.
There are several reliable brands available online. NOW Foods is a well-known company in the essential oils market that has been on the market for a long time.
The Essentially KateS brand is unique in that it includes an e-book with simple how-to instructions for the many ways to use peppermint oil including repelling mice, as well as insects, mosquitos, and spiders!
Here are a few links to buy peppermint oil, to make sure you get the right stuff!
- NOW Foods Peppermint Oil
- Essentially KateS Peppermint Essential Oil (includes instruction book)
- Majestic Pure Therapeutic Grade Peppermint Oil
Mouse Repellent Pouches – A Ready-Made Solution Using Peppermint Oil.
If you are worried about the mess of using pure peppermint oil (hey, we’ve all had the occasional spills!), another way to use the same concept as with the pre-made pouches. One fun brand is Uncle Gus’s Mice Repellent Pouches.
This is another all-natural mouse repellent formula made from a combination of peppermint & cinnamon oils. The pouches are made from recycled coffee bags and include a time-release formula. You can use it the same way as peppermint oil by placing them strategically around your house.
Using a Peppermint Oil Spray
While the peppermint soaked cotton balls work best to tuck in small areas, some folks prefer using a spray bottle. The spray is much more convenient for larger spaces such as along baseboards, in car engines, for outdoor use, or in an area that is hard to reach.
One good choice is Rodent Defence by Exterminator’s choice.
For a few additional recommendations that are said to have good results, see our article on the 6 Best Peppermint Sprays to Keep Mice Away.
Growing Peppermint to Repel Mice
Another natural way to get rid of mice is to grow peppermint around your home. In the warmer months, mice may live outside, then as it gets colder, they slowly migrate indoors looking for some shelter against the weather.
The goal is to make the surrounding area as unattractive as possible for them. If you can keep the mice from building nests close to your house, they are much less likely to come inside.
Mint is a rapidly spreading perennial herb. It prefers a semi-shady location with more than average moisture. If mint is grown in the right environment, it will spread into a dense mat. But watch out, it spreads quickly & may encroach into other garden areas or your lawn. On the positive side, it smells wonderful when you are cutting the grass.
Mice will avoid nesting directly in an area with very pungent & fragrant herbs such as mint. And as a bonus, mint also repels flies, fleas & ants. So you will be keeping other types of pests away from your home as well.
Make Your Own Peppermint Essential Oil For Mice
Can’t find any peppermint essential oil in your local shops and don’t like to shop online?
You can also make your own peppermint essential oils with either a plant from your garden or the supermarket.
- Fresh Peppermint
- Light Base oil (Grape Seed or Almond Oil works well)
- Mortar & Pestle
- Jar with Lid
- Cheese Cloth or another strainer
- Small dark bottle to store the oil (or spray bottle if you are making the peppermint spray)
- Collect peppermint. The best time to harvest herbs to capture their essential oils is in the morning when the oil is at its strongest.
- Rinse with cold water & pat dry.
- Place the mint in the mortar & pestle and gently bruise the leaves to release the oils.
- Heat the oil slightly in a saucepan.
- Add the oil to fully cover the leaves.
- Use a spoon to mix well and ensure the oil is equally spread throughout the leaves.
- Seal the jar & allow it to sit for 1 month.
- Slowly pour the oil through the cheesecloth into the storage bottle. The cheesecloth is used to strain out the leaves. Squeeze any excess oil into the bottle. A coffee filter can also work for straining if needed.
Note: If you do not want to wait a full month to use the oil, you can use several batches of mint to increase the flavor faster.
In this case, allow the first batch to sit for 1-2 days. Remove the old mint leaves & replace them with freshly bruised leaves. Repeat this process three or more times and your mint-infused oil can be ready in under a week.
Why Do People Say using Peppermint Oil is a Myth?
The debate on whether peppermint oil really works to repel mice has been going on for years. The reason most people say it doesn’t work typically comes down to one of the following reasons:
- Not using Pure Peppermint Essential Oils or diluting it to a weaker strength.
- Not using enough oil or not refreshing the oil every few weeks to keep the scent strong
. Expectingit to work like magic – a little dab & poof all the mice are gone.
Tossing a few peppermint leaves where mice like to nest won’t work. They may not love it, but it’s not a strong enough deterrent to make them leave an otherwise comfy home.
The plants are also not nearly as strong as the oil. But, if given a choice of 2 homes – the mice will make their nest in an area that is not overrun with mint.
The same holds true for using the oil. If your house is already overrun with mice, you will have to trap them or call a pest control company to get rid of the infestation.
Once the mice are gone however & the area has been thoroughly sanitized, this is the time to use the cotton balls or peppermint oil spray. The oil will help to overpower the pheromone trail mice like to leave behind and it will DETER them from returning.
Can Mint Be Used to Keep Mice Out Of My RV?
Yes, this is a very popular use of peppermint oil. A parked car that doesn’t get used very often is a common nesting place for mice. Mice also love to wait out the winter months in the warmth of an RV. Even better when there may be a few crumbs on the floor.
Peppermint oil spray can be used around the wheel wells and other entry points to keep mice from coming inside. It can be sprayed inside the vehicle as well, so if they do get inside, they won’t want to stay.
The pre-made spray – Rodent Defense works well for this time of application to keep mice out of RVs and parked cars.
Summary: Does Peppermint Oil Keep Mice Away?
Mint is a preventative measure, not a cure. The bottom line with using mint as a natural mouse repellent is it should be used for prevention. It is very effective in preventing mice from coming into a new area, but less useful in getting them out once they have moved their family in.
So if you already have mice in your home, use one of the more effective ways to get rid of mice fast such as traps, bait stations, or hiring a pest control expert. Then use the mint to complement these efforts during the removal process and to keep them from coming back.