Many people are afraid of using poisons and don’t want to deal with traps. Instead, they prefer to handle the problem without the shedding of blood or harming the environment. We understand these priorities, and for this reason we have focused on an alternative solution — the use of mouse repellents. The main advantage of using rodent repellents is that they are clean, environment-friendly and they don’t leave behind the corpses of dead mice. Also, they won’t do any harm to people and pets. But what worries people is whether they are really effective. Here you’ll find the best and effective homemade natural mouse repellent recipes and ready-to-use sprays and ultrasonic repellers you can buy online.
Table of Contents
- How Do Rodent Repellents Work?
- Mouse Repellents Comparison Chart
- Best Mouse Spray Repellents
- Best Electronic Repellent
- Best Mouse Granule Repellents
TOP-3 Products to Repel Mice
Pest Venator Repeller (4-pack)
100% Peppermint oil
Cost-efficient and safe for using indoors. Repels mice by means of ultrasound.
Non-toxic & ready-to-use spray to keep mice away both indoors and outdoors. Short-term effect.
100% Natural. Old homemade way to repel mice. Short-term effect. Pleasant-smelling.
More mice control products you’ll find below in 10 Best Mouse Repellents
Do Mouse Repellents Work?
Mice are very clever and tenacious, they breed rapidly, and therefore it’s no wonder that they become subject to lab experiments, during which these rodents demonstrate their wit and persistence. Due to these features, rodents cannot be easily kept away from the house by deterrents. They are not cowardly rabbits afraid of a human hair and dry blood. Rats, for instance, are difficult to keep captive as they can gnaw through centimeter-thick wooden cages within less than an hour. Give them more time, and they will destroy the cement too.
Natural Mouse Repellents
However, rodents have weak points which are exploited by natural mouse repellents. In particular, mice don’t like the smells of fir, cinnamon, and cedar, lemongrass and peppermint oils, while rats can’t stand pepper and peppermint.
Repellent for garden
A large number of commercially available products contain the active ingredient thiram which is a type of sulfur fungicide and is effective in protecting fruit trees and ornamental plants from mice. To obtain desirable results, repellents should be applied at least twice a year: In late fall and in winter.
However, scientists warn us of the short-term effect these products cause: “Rodents have an initial aversion to some odors and tastes, but no repellents have been found to solve a rat problem for more than a very short time”. Scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison recommend applying chemical repellents to plants in the garden but point out that under conditions of insufficient food resources, mice can eat the bark treated with repellents, no matter what. This can be easily explained by the fact that when deprived of a shelter or source of food mice have no choice but to return to the house or garden. So when these animals face a matter of life and death, you really need a strong argument to stop them.
As for ultrasonic devices, although safe and environmentally friendly, they haven’t been scientifically proven to repel rodents permanently. Moreover, according to Matt Frye, an IPM Extension Educator, sometimes the frequency and intensity indicated by manufacturers don’t correspond to actual output. Also, scientists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln claim that as the distance increases, the effect of such repellents is losing intensity. Another drawback is that mice get accustomed to annoying sounds quite soon, although at an early stage ultrasonic devices really repel mice.
At the same time, a research conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln aimed at evaluating the impact of ultrasonic devices on mice and rats says that “Rodents under test could either leave the buildings or move to alternate non-ultrasonically treated areas.”
In view of the above, we can safely state that the better approach for an effective mouse control is a combined one: Repel mice and then block all access inside as soon as possible. Remember that the tiniest hole can become a gate for mice. They can enter your house even through a sewer or sink pipe, so check your house for gaps and openings and seal them with a spray foam insulation or hardware cloth. However, as Dr. Jim Armstrong, a wildlife expert with Alabama Cooperative Extension, put it, exclusion is not an easy task as mice can be of such a small size that they can fit through a hole not exceeding a quarter inch.
And yet, scientists claim that poisons remain the most effective way of dealing with mice. Unfortunately, nothing more of use has been invented yet. Read our manual Killing Rats and Mice with Rat Poison to learn how to use poisons properly.
Types of Mouse Repellents | Effectiveness | Comparison Chart
|Product / Ingredient||Advantage||Disadvantage||Effectiveness|
|Ultrasonic device||Environmentally friendly; safe for humans and pets; time-saving and when installed does not require human participation; no need to remove dead mice||scientifically proven to repel rodents permanently; indicated frequency may not match up with actual output; lose intensity with distance; mice get accustomed to noises||9|
|Mothballs||Easy to use, inexpensive and available in many stores; can be placed in hard-to-reach areas||toxic; can be hazardous to pets and small children; are not effective outdoors due to the effect of rains and winds; not scientifically proven to be effective||8|
|Thiram (sulfur fungicide)||Distasteful for rodents; according to EPA tests, this pesticide is not dangerous to human health when properly handled; scientifically proven mice repellent; recommended for the protection of crops and ornamental plants from rodents;||can be toxic when inhaled; for outdoors use only; should not be applied to buildings or paintwork as it can stain them.||9|
|Fresh Cab||EPA-registered plant-based rodent repellent; its efficiency is proven in many laboratory tests; works through emitting the odor; green product; safe for humans, pets and environment; clean scent;||short-term effect, it is rather a preventive measure;||7|
|Ammonia||Based on a substance contained in predators’ urine which frightens mice; has a strong scent||short-term effect; mice urine contains ammonia as well, therefore the solution may not work; poisonous when ingested; not safe for kids and pets||8|
|Castor oil||Natural, non-toxic, safe for children and pests; recommended for using in gardens; can be used in the rainy season||short-term effect; moves animals from one location to another, not expel them.||7|
|Cayenne pepper||The smell of the pepper is supposed to drive mice away; safe for children and pests; does not include poisons||short-term effect; moves animals from one location to another, not expel them.||7|
|Peppermint oil||It is said to repel mice, especially as a preventive measure; safe for children and pests; does not include poisons; smells fresh unlike many other natural repellents; masks the pheromone trails of mice; menthol is irritating to mice||the solution should have a high concentration to be effective; should be reapplied every few days; short-term effect; moves animals from one location to another, not expel them.||7|
|Tarragon||Natural, safe, aromatic to humans; the scent and flavour of tarragon is hated by a number of pests; good for the use in a garden; enhance the flavor of eggplants||It is not scientifically proven to repel mice; short-term effect||6|
|Diatomaceous earth||Environmentally friendly; does not contain poisons||it is not effective when the product gets wet; can cause skin irritation.||6|
If you have decided to try using repellents, have a look at a review of the typical ones which we have prepared. There are few types of them available: ultrasonic devices, sprays, granules and pouches. Below you’ll find natural ready-to-use repellents consisting of a variety of ingredients, including pepper, mint, tarragon, various essential oils, castor oil and diatomaceous earth.
Best Mouse Spray Repellents
The advantage of using sprays is that this option allows to cover all parts of the object or plant, easy to apply and is recommended for household use. Drawbacks include a low concentration of the active ingredient, the fact that sprays are less cost-effective compared to concentrates, and that the substance can be dispensed in areas which do not require application.
Essential oil mouse repellents
The sprays we will review below are based on natural oils and include such active ingredients as the oils of peppermint and cinnamon — Harris Mice Repellent Spray.
Some sprays like Rodent Defense also have garlic & rosemary oil in their formula. Eco Defense has the third active ingredient — castor oil, while Grandpa Gus’s Natural Mouse Rodent Repellent contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. The latter is a chemical which can be found in many hygiene products and is intended to enhance the product’s efficiency.
The manufacturers claim that these repellents can be used against all types of rats and mice both indoors and outdoors. One of the key advantages of the products is that you can spray them in any site of your house, vehicle wiring, trash cans without worrying about harming pets or small children.
The buyers stress the necessity first to clean up the site eliminating the sources of food and only then apply the repellent. Another customer advises applying the stuff to cars in order to get rid of mice. He notes that after being sprayed his car smells like the repellent, and describes the odor as “weird” but not unpleasant.
Grandpa Gus’s Natural Mouse Rodent Repellent, another popular natural spray repellent targeting mice, is cheaper than the previous one. Many customers indicate the pleasant scent of the stuff and find it helpful but note that it has to be sprayed at least twice a day to obtain positive results. One of the users laments that the spray settings cannot be changed so it is extremely hard to shoot directly into a hole.
Harris: Check the current price
Have It At Hand to Make Your Own Mouse Repellent
Having these products at hand you can easily make your own repellents.
Ammonia, peppermint and castor oil are universal repellents targeted at a wide range of pests, including insects and animals. They have been proven effective against 100+ pests which commonly cause a damage or nuisance to households. It is a wise investment to buy these products which are cheap and available to handle several pest problems simultaneously. Apart from that, they may come in handy in the household.
Let’s take a peppermint oil. Mix it with a household cleaner in the bottle and shake it up. Wipe down the area where mice have been detected with a cloth moistened with the liquid. The mixture will help you to eliminate the traces of pheromones left behind by mice.
Peppermint Oil. 100% Pure Peppermint Essential Oil (Large 4 Ounce) is a pleasant-smelling stuff and very effective in repelling lots of species of pests. The product comes with a pipette to help you measure the amount of oil for application. This stuff will make you feel better, ease your nerves and, at the same time, keep mice away.
Ammonia. JAMES AUSTIN CO 50 Multi-Purpose Colorless Cleaner Liquid is designed to clean such trouble spots as a garbage disposal or trash cans. What you need is to apply the solution, wait for several minutes and then wash away. The product’s active ingredient is ammonia which is also contained in the urine of mouse predators, so mice detect this odor and stay away. Keep your kitchen clean and mice away!
Castor oil. Lawn Mole Castor Oil is safe for pets, plants and the environment. It repels rodents with its taste and smell. Just buy a gallon of this solution and that’s will be enough for a long period of time.
Best Electronic Mouse Repellents
Like the previous solutions based on natural oils, this device is environmentally friendly, safe clean and non-toxic, and provides a good alternative to dangerous poisons and deadly traps. Another advantage of using ultrasonic devices is that they are relatively inexpensive and do not consume much electricity. The main drawbacks are that their effectiveness has not been proven yet and opinions vary as to whether such devices really work and, if they do, what kind of pests they surely affect. Also, its short range does not seem to support the approach.
Nevertheless, ultrasonic repellents have been widely used both by household and commercial consumers in their pest control strategies.
What do buyers say? “Plugging the product in the socket, I did not hear any noise. The number of mouse activity has decreased significantly after i using it for 3 weeks. The most important thing is that it appears to be no adverse reaction to the dog,” one of the buyers writes. However, as in the case with sprays, the consumers stress that the house first should be cleaned up and mouse droppings removed.
Best Mouse Repellents | Granules
Rodent repellent pellets (granules) are another alternative and non-toxic way to get rid of rats and mice. All such granular products are quite similar and contain almost the same ingredients: diatomaceous earth granules, impregnated with the mix of essential oils: Rosemary, cinnamon, cedar, lemongrass, mint, etc. Some of them are intended only for repelling mice and rats, while others are supposed to get rid of parasites, rodents and other creatures.
Taste repellents have an impact on mice. For instance, Ro-pel repellent spray was popular for a long time. According to the University of Nebraska – Lincoln experts, it has long been registered “for use in repelling house mice and other rodents from gnawing on trees, poles, fences, shrubs, garbage, and other objects.”
It contains Denatonium benzoate which set the Guinness record for being the bitterest substance ever. Ro-pel is now available in the form of repellent granules (Check the current price), but its effectiveness against house mice has not been scientifically proven as there is too little information available.
Safer Brand 51703 Diatomaceous Earth is a good absorbing material. Therefore, when combined with essential oils, such as peppermint, you get a highly powerful mouse repellent. This solution is much more efficient than soaking cotton balls in oils as in the case of DE the effect lasts much longer. Just mix a cup of DE with one-eighth of a cup of water and add there few drops of a peppermint oil. And you get a ready-to-use solution.
The granular particles are normally made from clay or some other materials and are covered with an active ingredient. Sometimes, the active ingredient is absorbed by granules, but either way it does not exceed 15% of the product’s total weight. Granular repellents are widely used, either for protecting gardens when applied to the soil around around plants or repelling pests from the house when distributed in hard-to-reach areas. This solution is applied even at aircrafts.
Granular repellents have a number of advantages: they are easy to use as the product is sold with ready-to-use packages. Unlike dust and spray, granules cannot be ingested by the applicator or pets. There is a low risk of granules’ drifting as they settle quickly enough. However, there are some drawbacks. Namely, granules cannot be stick to the surfaces which are not flat or the leaves of plants. Also, these small balls may be mistaken for food by pets and eaten what creates a risk for them.
Fresh Cab review
Earthkind Botanical Rodent Repellent is a set of all-natural repellent pouches which look like herb sachets. The main active ingredient of the repellent is balsam fir oil which is considered to be a botanical pesticide. Among passive ingredients you’ll find corn chips and various essential oils. The manufacturer promises that a single pouch will repel rodents for 100 days with a “woodsy scent” which is pleasant to humans but offensive to rodents. However, some customers claim that its effect lasts no more than two months, which clearly is appropriate.
First of all, take preventive measures, such as storing the food away, washing the dishes, cleaning the apartment often, repairing cracks or holes in the walls of your house. You might also find helpful some tricks when using such Repellent. Here’s what experienced customers advise:
- Remember that pouches work better in poorly ventilated spaces, therefore it’s more effective to use them during cold winters than in summer when you keep the windows open.
- Use 2 pouches for a medium-sized room. For a better result, the smell in the room has to be intense, so you can put one pouch somewhere along the mice trail, and the other one near food should it be stored in the said room.
- Don’t put Fresh Cab near radiators and heaters as the smell will be too strong.
- Mark the expiration date on each pouch so that you don’t forget to replace it in time. As soon as the pouch stops smelling, its contents can be used by rats.
- Use additional rat traps and other products indoors, if there are too many rodents.
This product can also be used in closets, a garage, other auxiliary areas, and even inside the car as it is proven effective from the customers’ experiences. This can become an irreplaceable element in a complex rodent infestation treatment wherever. “Overall, a great and useful product for non-living spaces such as attics, garages and under bath tubs and backs of cabinets,” one of the customers says.
Fresh Cab: Check the current price
Mouse Repellent to Protect Crops | For Gardeners
Many commercially available repellents include the active ingredient thiram (a type of sulfur fungicide) which is considered by scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an effective solution to protect crops and gardens from mice. Bonide 142 Sulphur Dust Fungicide can be applied to fruits and vegetables as well and is used both as a dust and spray. The product has a multi-purpose use: it repels pests and keeps your plants healthy. Upon contact with a mouse, large doses of thiram cause labored breathing, convulsions and other disturbing symptoms. A drawback is that when got wet the powder washes off with rain quite easily.
Consumers recommend adding some washing-up liquid to the stuff to enhance the product’s performance. “This product is, indeed, pure sulfur. Worked great for other applications requiring pure sulfur not just as a fungicide and insect repellent,” one of the customers noted.
Bonide 142: Check the current price
Pest Venator – Ultrasonic Pest Repeller – Electronic Repellent for Mice and Rats
So let’s have a look at a good ultrasonic repeller targeting a wide range of pests including mice and rats, affecting their nervous system. It has quite favorable price for a technological solution. The manufacturer promises tangible results in a month or so after the installation of the device. Ultrasonic Pest Repellers by Pest Venator is non-toxiс, human & pet-safe, suitable for using in living rooms, attics and basements, outbildings, warehouses and offices. It covers up to 3200 sq.ft.
Pest Venator: Check the current price
Mice Repelling Products: Comparative Chart
How to Make a Mouse Repellent: Homemade Recipes
One of the advantages of using natural repellents is that you can make your own solutions selecting a combination of ingredients of your choice. Moreover, this option allows to save money as most of the active ingredients can commonly be found in the kitchen and if not, the purchased product is most likely to be used for other purposes as well. So here are some recipes on how to make mixtures repelling mice.
- Place 5 drops of a 100% peppermint oil on cotton balls and spread them in the areas you want to be avoided by mice. Reapply the oil to the balls on a monthly basis. Although this solution may not drive the rodents out of your house, it can be surely used to protect certain places in the house from the presence of mice.
- Make a spray to cover larger areas. To this end, mix water and peppermint oil in a one-to-one ratio and pour the liquid in a 50ml bottle. Shake up the mixture every time before application.
- Add two tablespoons of castor oil, six tablespoons of liquid dishwashing soap, one tablespoon of tabasco and a minced garlic clove into a quart of water. Mix and apply to areas where mice have been noticed. This solution is recommended for using outdoors.
- Place uncovered containers with a household ammonia in the infested areas. You do not have to spray or wipe down the surfaces. It will evaporate, and that’s enough.
- Soak cotton balls in ammonia and distribute them where mice have been noticed.
Many people are afraid of dealing with poisons or traps, and this is also the case with natural and safe mice repelling solutions.
How can I prevent mice?
However, in case you don’t trust repellents, you’ll have to have lots of patience. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, for example, lists only 3 ways as an answer to the question “How can I prevent or control house mice?”. These are the following:
- Direct control (setting traps or rodenticide baits in multiple locations wherever mice or their signs are observed).
That is why, if you are ready to exterminate mice and have decided to get rid of them with the help of poison baits and traps, read our guides and products reviews:
- Getting rid of rats and mice using natural & poison baits
- Selecting the Best Rat Trap: Snap, Live Catch & Electronic Rat Traps
If you want to find out more about getting rid of mice, read our Step-by-step manual, where we’ve covered the scientific experience of studying their behavior and devising ways of getting rid of them and compiled all of the treatment approved by the scientists.
When Mice Repellent is a Good Choice:
- You have a small infestation
- You’d like to try the power of the repellents: you’ve got time, money, determination, and stamina to make it all work
- You use it in combination with other more effective methods, like traps, baits, etc
- You use it as a short-term solution before you’re fully ready to combat your mouse problem with real stuff
How to properly use mouse repellents?
The proper usage of a repellent depends on its type. For example, if you choose to use a natural repellent, then you have to be more or less consistent in its application, and strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions. As outlined earlier in this guide, the natural repellents are better to be applied at least twice a year, in fall and in winter. However, during both fall and winter, you have to apply them consistently to see any results. In the case of electronic deterrents, aside from following the advised instructions, switch them on whenever you notice that the rodents are active. They pretty much have to be turned on at all times to prevent mice from returning back to your dwelling.
How long will effect last?
The sprays and such have to be reapplied every time the rain falls, in case you’re using it in the garden or yard, or whenever you feel the smell of a repellent has dissipated. Many consumers related the positive outcomes with the sprays only when they used them twice a day or more.
How often to apply?
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions both for safety and effectiveness. In the case of sprays, just apply them wherever you notice a rodent activity; and in the case of essential oils, they often need to be diluted in the proportions outlined by the manufacturer. The powers and granules are applied around plants in the garden, or on the floor along the mice highways.
Are mothballs a good repellent? Safety & Precautions
While mothballs are an inexpensive and quite effective way to get rid of mice, it’s not safe when used around pets and children. Since the active ingredient in mothballs is naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, it can become hazardous when someone gets exposed to it. When a person smells mothballs, he or she essentially inhales a pesticide. Mothballs become even more dangerous if accidentally swallowed. In case you think your child or pet has been inadvertently exposed to mothballs, please, call 911 or poison control at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.
How to Keep Mice Out for Good
The best thing you can do to eliminate mice is to prevent the infestation in the first place. According to the researchers from the National Pesticide Information Center, there are a few prevention steps you can follow:
- Declutter your house and garden (or yard) from any debris, where mice can hide, nest, or thrive
- Store your garbage outside your house in a tightly closed metal containers
- Do not leave your pet food on the floor overnight. In fact, always clean up your pet foodstuff, after it has been consumed
- Remove the dense vegetation around your house, so the mice won’t sneak inside your house through tree branches
- Install metal doors to prevent mice from gnawing the way inside your property
- Inspect your house for any cracks or crevices, openings or holes, and seal them shut
What do consumers say about electronic repellers?
Consumers have mixed results from using electronic repellents, but one thing can be said for certain is that whenever a tester fails to see the positive results, he would blame everyone but himself. That said, many have abandoned the use of a repellent too soon, or have not read and followed the instruction closely, have not cleaned the debris or any other objects that can prevent ultrasound from traveling freely, and overall made many other mistakes that led to their unsuccessful use of a repellent.
Others, however, who followed all instructions and advice, saw the fruits of their hard work. See, for example, what this guy has to say about his use of the Pest Venator:
Funny enough, the repeller was pretty potent not only against mice but also against ants. So I think, you’d better see and try it for yourself. However, do not rely on a repellent alone. Use prevention methods, and maybe natural repellents, just to be on a safe side.
Before an experiment made by X-PEST ultrasonic rodent repellent started, mice in the aquarium were quiet and felt comfortable. After the ultrasonic device was switched on, they became anxious, restless and wanted to run away.
Product suggestions for different situations
Mouse repellent for cars, RVs, tractors, garage
The best way to get rid of rodents in cars is, perhaps, using an electronic pest repellent for cars, like the Loraffe Under Hood Rodent Repeller .
You can also try to install Pest Venator in a garage along with this Fresh Cab Botanical Rodent Repellent placed along the mice highways. This bestselling Exterminators Choice spray is also fantastic at doing its job.
Mouse repellent for campers
It might be best to use natural sprays, like Eco Defence Spray. They don’t require plugging in or batteries and are pretty potent when used consistently.
Mouse repellent for boats
Same as for cars, use ultrasonic and natural repellents for best results.
Mouse repellent for home
Mouse repellent for garden
What are the alternatives, according to scientists
Alternatives are numerous, really. As technology progresses, we will see even more of the alternative ways to get rid of mice. But as of now, the best and most effective ways, according to scientists, are traps and rodenticides.
In fact, trapping is the most preferred method of controlling or reducing the mice population in the household, as said by the researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. You can read all about mouse traps in our extensive guide here: Mouse Traps.
As for the poison baits: although, they are super effective, their use is to be avoided especially around kids and pets, due to their high toxicity. However, if used with caution and with the help of special bait stations, rodenticides become an effective mice killer. You can read more on that in our guide on poison baits here: Mice poison. According to the scientists from the PennState Extension, the foggers are not very effective against rodents.
When is the time to hire a professional exterminator?
In case you own a restaurant, a hotel, a school, or a kindergarten, you answer not only for yourself, but for the safety and health of your visitors, guests, or children, for that matter. In this case, we do not recommend you use DIY methods. Please, call a professional pest control company to take care of your pest problem.
Also, when you see your DIY attempts failed miserably, please, seek a professional help.
Need to hire an exterminator? Find the best licensed professionals in your area.
Conclusion: which one is best?
The repellents are better to be used in combination with either each other or any other method for best results. That said, we advise on using ultrasonic pest repellers, like Pest Venator, along with other repellents, like James Austin made of ammonia, and Thiram (sulfur fungicide).