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 Mouse Ultrasonic Repellent
- Best Mouse Granule Repellents
How Do Rodent Repellents Work?
Rats and 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 mouse 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.
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. 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: "Rats 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 rats. 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 and rats. 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.
Mouse Repellent 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;||10|
|Ammonia||natural; 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.||10|
|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.||8|
|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.||10|
|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.|
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 - Grandpa & Eco Defense Mice Repellent
The sprays we will review below are based on natural oils and include such active ingredients as the oils of peppermint and cinnamon. Eco Defense Mice Repellent 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 without worrying about harming pets or small children as they are natural.
Both products have scored 3.8 out of 5 stars in reviews on Amazon.com. It is noteworthy that the buyers of Eco Defense Mice Repellent, the Number One best selling rat & mouse natural repellent spray, stress the necessity first to clean up the site eliminating the sources of food and only then to apply the repellent. “I have not seen a mouse since I bought this product. I'm ecstatic,” one of the satisfied buyers says. 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 on Amazon.com 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.
Eco Defense Mice Repellent. Price: ~$19.05 Check the current price
Grandpa Gus's Natural Mouse Rodent Repellent. Price: ~$14.99 Check the current price
Have Universal Repellents At Hand to Make Your Own Mouse Repellent
Having these products at hand you can easily make your own repellents. 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. More homemade repellent recipes can be found below.
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.
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.
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.
JAMES AUSTIN CO 50 Multi-Purpose Colorless Cleaner Liquid, 32 oz. Price: ~$6.67 Check the current price
Lawn Mole Castor Oil, MolEvict, Gallon. Price: ~$54.25 Check the current price
Best Peppermint Oil (Large 4 Ounce) 100% Pure Peppermint Essential Oil (Mentha Piperita). Price: ~$9.99 Check the current price
Best Mouse Ultrasonic 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. So let’s have a look at the Number One bestselling ultrasonic repeller targeting a wide range of pests including mice and rats, affecting their nervous system. To date, the manufacturer offers a 51-percent discount on Amazon.com reducing the price to some $39.99 (6-pack). Quite a favorable price for a technological solution given that a lifetime warranty is provided as well! The manufacturer also promises tangible results in a month or so after the installation of the device and claims that pests are not getting immune to the emitted sounds.
Pest Control Ultrasonic Repeller rates 4.4 out of 5 stars in reviews on Amazon.com, with 97% of the consumers giving it the highest ranking. “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, and only then can be installed the device.
Pest Control Ultrasonic Repeller. Price: ~$39.99 (6-pack) Check the current price
Best Mouse Granule Repellents
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.
Safer Brand 51703 Diatomaceous Earth, 4 lb 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 product rates 4.1 out of 5 stars in reviews on Amazon.com.
Price: ~$13.57 Check the current price
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
The name of the product is Earthkind Botanical Rodent Repellent, a set of all-natural repellent pouches of long-term effect which look like herb sachets. A pack for ~$37.99 contains 4 such pouches. 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 Amazon customers claim that its effect lasts no more than two months, which clearly is appropriate.
The product rates 3.6 out of 5 stars in reviews on Amazon.com. According to the feedback, this solution works well and really repels mice and rats both indoors and outdoors. A combined approach is recommended in this case as well. 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 Fresh Cab Rodent 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 Amazon customers says.
Price: ~$37.99 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, 4-Pound 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.
The product has scored 4.4 out of 5 stars in reviews on Amazon.com. 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.
Price: ~$16.79 Check the current price
Mice Repelling Products: Comparative Chart
Eco Defense Mice Repellent
|active ingredients the oils of castor, peppermint and cinnamon; spray|
Grandpa Gus's Natural Mouse Rodent Repellent
|active ingredients the oils of peppermint and cinnamon, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate; spray|
Pest Control Ultrasonic Repeller
Earthkind Botanical Rodent Repellent (Fresh Cab)
|active ingredient is balsam fir oil; pouches|
Bonide 142 Sulphur Dust Fungicide, 4-Pound
|active ingredient is thiram; dust|
JAMES AUSTIN CO 50 Multi-Purpose Colorless Cleaner Liquid
Lawn Mole Castor Oil, MolEvict
|castor oil; liquid|
Best Peppermint Oil 100% Pure Peppermint Essential Oil
|peppermint oil; liquid|
Safer Brand 51703
|diatomaceous earth; dust|
Natural Mouse Repellents: 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.
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.