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DIY Mice Repellent: What Works and What Doesn’t

a homeowner using a cat as DIY mice repellent

The most effective way to keep mice out of your house and yard is to contact a pest control professional. These experts have the experience and tools to help keep you and your family safe from pests like mice. They can also provide ongoing rodent control services, so you do not have to worry. However, homeowners sometimes prefer to try to take care of pest problems on their own before reaching out to a professional.

A quick search of the internet will show that there are many different ideas out there on how to repel mice. Before you try any of these DIY methods, it is important to know which ones are most likely to work. This could save you from wasting time and money on something that will never work. It is also important to understand the dangers of certain DIY mice control methods. Otherwise, you might accidentally endanger your family and pets while you are trying to protect them.

Tidying up the Home and Yard

A top way to repel mice is to make your home less attractive to these pests. First, reduce clutter in areas where mice might hide. Get rid of things you are not using like cardboard boxes, old newspapers and extra magazines. Also, clean up any materials like cloth, cotton or paper that mice could shred and use to build a nest. For example, store blankets and fabric in containers made from sturdy materials like metal or heavy plastic.

Next, make it more difficult for mice to find food and water in your home and yard. These creatures can chew through paper and cardboard packaging, and mice will eat almost anything. Make your indoor trash cans have a cover, so mice cannot just climb in and grab dinner. Additionally, store pet food, birdseed, grains and other food in your pantry in sealed containers. Also, be sure to empty any uneaten food from your pet’s dish as soon as they finish eating. Likewise, clean up any crumbs or food scraps on the counter, table and floor soon after you eat or prepare food.

It is also important to clean up areas around the outside of your house. For example, make sure to clear away thick vegetation that is close to your home and move firewood piles away from the house. Also, cut back branches that touch the side of your house or hang over your roof. If tree limbs are too close to your home, then mice could get into your attic. Another tip is to clean up anything that mice might eat. This includes picking up any fruit on the ground of your garden or seed that falls from your birdfeeder. Lastly, only use outdoor garbage bins with lids that are tight-fitting and made from rodent-proof materials.

Essential Oils

Many DIYers say that using essential oils will keep mice away because mice do not like the way these oils smell. Some of the oils that people use most often include peppermint oil, cinnamon spray, lavender and balsam fir oil. This is a natural option that is safe for people and generally smells good to humans.

To try this method, spray essential oils in the areas where mice usually run or hide. Areas you might consider treating include inside your garage, along walls or under beds. You can also soak cotton balls with essential oils and put the cotton balls in common mice hiding spots.

There is some evidence that essential oils can help repel mice. Unfortunately, this method usually only works for a short amount of time. For one, the scent of essential oils fades quickly. This means that you might have to spray an area multiple times each day for this to work. However, even if you do spread essential oils around your home several times, there is still a chance this will not keep mice away for long. Mice can get used to the smell, so it could stop working as a repellant. Even worse, they might steal the oil-soaked cotton balls and use them as nesting materials.

Sealing up Cracks

You might want to make your home inviting to guests but not mouse guests! Mice especially like to come inside when it starts to get colder outside, and they are looking for food and shelter. One of the best ways to keep mice out is to make it hard for mice to get inside your home in the first place.

A main thing you can do is to install screens on windows and doors, and seal up any cracks around them. If you have any unscreened windows and doors, keep them closed as much as possible. This includes keeping the garage door closed when you are not going in or out.

In addition, seal up cracks along the outside of your house with materials that mice cannot chew through like steel wool. A mouse can squeeze through any opening that is larger than the size of a pencil eraser. That is why it is essential to seal possible entry points, including:

  • cracks in the foundation;
  • open piping;
  • broken or missing bricks;
  • gaps around the dryer vent;
  • loose shingles;
  • damaged siding or boards;
  • openings in the basement, crawl spaces or attic;
  • an uncapped chimney;
  • spaces around electrical lines, cables, drains or wiring and
  • loose fans and vents.

Ultrasonic Pest Repellers

A common DIY method is to use an ultrasonic pest repeller. These devices put out a high-frequency sound that mice hate. There is some evidence that ultrasonic devices might control mice for a little while, but they usually do not work well.

For one, the sound cannot go through walls, so you might need to use several devices to get any effect. Additionally, mice might hate the noise, but they can get used to the sound. Meanwhile, the sound might irritate your dogs and cats. It can also seriously harm smaller pets like guinea pigs, hamsters, fish, birds or lizards.

Kitty Litter

Some people put used kitty litter in different areas of their home to try to repel mice. While used kitty litter might not smell great, this method has not been scientifically proven to work in repelling mice.


Another idea is to use ammonia to keep mice away. Some DIYers suggest placing capfuls around the outside of your house in areas where mice might try to get in. They also recommend putting ammonia in areas inside your home where mice might try to build nests or hide.

However, this is a bad idea. Ammonia is toxic for both humans and animals. It can be very harmful if your children, guests or pets touch, breathe or swallow it.

Moth balls

Some DIYers also recommend using moth balls to keep mice away. However, the risks of trying this approach are much worse than the possible benefits. It is not recommended to use moth balls to kill anything but moths.

You should only use moth balls as directed. Place them inside a closed container with the clothes and other fabric items you are trying to protect. Otherwise, if they are out in the open, moth balls release toxic gases in the air that can cause serious respiratory, liver and kidney problems. These fumes can harm anyone who breathes them, including your family and pets.

Professional Preventative Services

Of course, the easiest way to repel mice is to let a trusted pest control professional take care of everything for you. These experts have the experience and tools to inspect your home and help you keep out mice and other unwanted pests.

ABC Can Help With Rodent Problems

Dealing with a rodent infestation is an exhausting experience. Fortunately, the professionals at ABC Home & Commercial Services can help. We can identify early signs of rodent infestations and can create a plan to get the problem under control. This way, you and your family members can be comfortable.

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