Peppermint Oil and Mice

Well, it’s that time of year again when mice are looking for a reliable food source and warm shelter in order to get out of the cold. It’s only natural for mice to make their way into your home – it provides both for them. I’ve talked about a couple times on this website before, but for people that are just now stumbling upon this site, I thought I’d highlight one of the most effective and natural methods for getting rid of mice: peppermint oil.

Peppermint oil and mice is like oil and water, they don’t mix. One of the natural abilities is their very good sense of smell. They have very poor vision, which is why they often run tracks along the sides of your walls and the baseboards, but they have a very keen sense of smell that enables them to both find food and avoid danger. As you’re probably aware peppermint oil has a very strong scent that can be overpowering for humans if not diluted or handled properly, and our noses are not nearly as sensitive as that of a rodent mouse.

When a mouse comes across the scent of peppermint oil, it overpowers its sensitive nose and repels the mouse. It is important that the peppermint oil is strategically placed around your home in areas that are likely to attract mice. I would suggest such places as your pantry, your cabinets, or any other place a mouse would find convenient to build a nest or as a food source.

To use the peppermint oil to get rid of mice, your best bet is to put a few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton swab and distribute the cotton balls where necessary. If you have pets or small children, you’ll want to hide the cotton balls so that they cannot gain access to them. It kind of defeats the purpose if you’re dog goes and eats all your cotton balls, or your cat uses them as a toy… I guess if you have a cat though, it is not doing a very good job of keeping mice out if you’re deploying peppermint oil throughout your home. It’s really as simple as that.

Many people have written in asking where they can find peppermint oil, so I have provided a link for you to Amazon where you can purchase it and have it sent to your home: 100% Peppermint Oil.

Good luck with your mouse prevention efforts!

9 Responses

  1. Anonymous March 9, 2011 / 8:05 pm

    can spearmint be substituted for pepermint?

    • Jim March 10, 2011 / 12:41 am

      It’s not quite the same… if you’re going to try this method, you definitely want to stick with the peppermint oil. Its scent is stronger than that of spearmint.

  2. York February 12, 2012 / 3:52 am

    I have both cats and dogs in my home. Dogs have a very strong sence of smell too. Will the smell harm or bother the dogs or the cats.

    • Jim February 12, 2012 / 4:19 pm

      York –

      I don’t think that it would necessarily be harmful for your pets. You may find that your dogs try to eat the cotton balls, or you cats play with them as toys though. It may also affect their ability to smell other things in the area because the peppermint overwhelms other scents, but that would be true for people as well.

      For this method to be effective, you really need the smell to be concentrated where the mice are likely to be at or the point at which they may enter your home.

      Really, most effective use of peppermint as a mice deterrent is to grow the plant around your home. Unfortunately this is not always practical, and the plants may start to overtake your yard.

  3. Anonymous March 16, 2012 / 12:02 am

    pepperment oil does NOT work as well as people believe it does. we live out in the country and placed the cotton balls throughout our house and they are still here. So what else do you got for me to try???

    • Jim March 16, 2012 / 2:37 am

      Thanks for sharing your experience with peppermint oil. As you’ve discovered, it’s definitely not a magical solution to the problem of mice. I consider it as one method in your bag of tricks. If it works, great … if not, on to the next tactic. One thing I’d suggest to folks who try this method is to make sure that they put the peppermint oil in the right places. Throwing some cotton balls on the kitchen counter isn’t going to do the trick. You need to put them at places where mice are most likely to enter your home, or areas where you’d frequently find mice (pantries, cabinets, etc…).

      Living in the country puts you at a disadvantage because you’re located smack dab in the middle of their habitat where mice flourish. You can do everything right, and you still might have mice. The key is to make sure you don’t let it get out of control.

      Mouse traps are still the most effective at controlling mice. Sealing access points is equally effective. If mice can’t get in, you don’t have to catch them. Keep in mind, that mice are excellent climbers (and jumpers too!). They don’t need a hole on the ground to get into your home. They also don’t need a big hole.

      As the weather starts warming up, take the opportunity to survey your home. Look carefully and think about what serves as a potential entryway for mice. Then do what you have to do to eliminate it.

      At the same time, keep setting traps, and stay on top of emptying them. I wish peppermint oil was a silver bullet to the mice problem, but the truth is – it isn’t. It works to a certain degree, but it’s not going to free someone from a persistent problem and the scent fades with time, so its effective range decreases too.

      Best of luck!

  4. rustygroks March 27, 2012 / 9:37 pm

    I am about to try the peppermint oil on a very wily mouse. We get one mouse at a time and just catch them around the sink in short order. This mouse is different and we’ll have to heard it out into the open, or at least keep it out of the pantry.
    The CAT is the one who brings the mice in, and presents it to the dog, and they make short order of it. Not this little critter, I’m finding his trail all over and I am tired of inspecting boxes and disinfecting everything.
    Thanks for your article.

  5. Anonymous March 30, 2012 / 11:11 pm

    If ingested, the peppermint plant and its oil could indeed potentially cause harm to your cat. Cats are especially sensitive to peppermint oil, and effects such as gastrointestinal upset, central nervous system depression and even liver damage could occur if ingested in significant quantities. Some peppermint oil formulations also contain aspirin derivatives, which could result in additional toxicity. Furthermore, if inhalation of the volatile oil were to occur, aspiration pneumonia may be possible. Based on this, we would not recommend using peppermint leaves or oil in areas where your cat is allowed access.

  6. Jeff June 12, 2015 / 10:35 am

    I have closed up holes in my apartment in the radiator. I have also placed window screens in front of the radiator very tightly, and closed back the radiator cover. Any thoughts on this method?

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