DIY Mouse Repellent and Why You Might Need It

No one wants mice to create a breeding ground for their home.

But there must be other ways of deterring mice aside from the classic mousetrap, right?

There are!

Using a combination of DIY mouse repellents is a fairly reliable way of making sure that you don’t develop a mouse problem in the future.

I’m going to list the options and then explain why you should use them in combination with some other tactics.


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Key Points

  • Mice can be deterred naturally using things that they don’t like the smell of like peppermint, vinegar, cloves, pepper and cat urine.
  • But, it’s best practice to discourage as well them by making your home hard to access and keeping food and bedding sources sealed in hard plastic containers.
  • If you already suspect that you have mice present, put into practice both of the above points as well as installing some humane traps. A combination of actions is always the best solution when it comes to keeping mice away naturally.

Why Should I Consider DIY Mouse Repellent?

One mouse is cute, but two quickly becomes a crowd once they have ten babies a pop. And since one female can give birth up to ten times per year… that’s a lot of mice!

They make mess, they destroy things, they smell and they carry diseases. So rather than waiting until you have a problem, using DIY mouse repellents aims to prevent the problem in the first place.

mouse trap

The one caveat to using repellent is that it’s probably not going to be super helpful if you already have mice living in your house.

Once a mouse has decided that your home is a pretty sweet place to make its own home, it’s unlikely to be deterred by a repellent. You can try of course! But the aim of DIY mouse repellents is to prevent mice from being attracted to your home in the first place.

So if you’re wondering how to deter mice naturally, then DIY mouse repellents are a great option. But, you also need to take some other precautions:

  • Keep all food sources stored in air tight containers. Mice will be attracted to crumbs and easy-access food packaging, including what you might not think of as food – bird seed, grass seed and pet food. (You might not be too concerned about mice getting into your grass seed initially, but once they’ve peed in it a few times, it might not be any good anymore. Have a read of this article to learn more about whether grass seed goes bad.)
  • Keep all potential bedding material stored out of reach. This means any spare pillows or quilts folded away in the cupboard. Ideally, anything in storage that isn’t being used and therefore disturbed regularly should be in a hard plastic container.
  • Keep your house clean, especially the kitchen, and keep your trash contained and out of reach.
  • Think like a mouse – look for cozy warm places that a mouse would like to sleep in and make it impossible for them to access. This means blocking off any holes you find in walls or around plumbing, the foundations and eaves.

How to Make DIY Mouse Repellant


The smell of peppermint is not pleasant for a mouse’s sensitive nose. The menthol component is thought to create a burning sensation which they will choose to avoid.

You have a few different options when it comes to peppermint. Having mint growing outside your house might help deter mice from investigating further. Inside the home, you can diffuse peppermint essential oil, soak cotton balls with it, or spray it in dilute form in places that might be attractive to a mouse.

Cloves, Pepper and Cayenne Pepper

Similar to peppermint, mice don’t like the smell of cloves, pepper or cayenne pepper and find them irritating. You can use clove essential oil in the same way as peppermint, or make little cheesecloth bags with dry spices inside.

Another great way to use cloves is to make a pomander by studding an orange with cloves and then hanging it to dry.

Traditionally a Christmas decoration, pomanders make for a lovely smelling, natural air freshener all year round, and the clove smell will double as a mouse deterrent!

White Vinegar

White vinegar can be used in much the same way as peppermint oil. Simply spray vinegar in the offending areas, or soak cotton balls and place them strategically in places that might be popular to a mouse.

grass and leaves compost

Used Cat Litter

Obviously this isn’t going to be a particularly pleasant object to have in full view of places that you frequent. But, mice have a keen sense of smell so you wouldn’t need to include much for them to take note of the warning.

Kitty litter that has been peed on is all you need, stay away from the faeces.

Put a small amount in an open container or a container with holes in the lid and place the container in a place the mice might naturally be attracted to, but out of the reach of children.

Other Smelly Things

It is said that mice also don’t like the smell of mothballs, onions or ammonia. However, most people also don’t like the smell of those things and I for one don’t want to be getting frequent whiffs of ammonia each time I walk past a certain part of my house.

Added to that, onion will eventually go moldy so you’d need to be remembering where you left it and replacing it before that happens.

In saying all that, there usually is a little truth to old wives’ tales and ultimately, your house – your choice. Little pots of ammonia might work well in a garden shed or barn where it wouldn’t be so offensive.

Steel Wool

Steel wool isn’t a deterrent per se, but it is one of the few things that mice can’t chew through. This makes it an excellent material to plug any holes you might find that would allow mice access to your walls or house in general.

Get a Cat!

If all else fails, get a cat. I’m not even joking. Mice will not be a problem if you have a hunter on the prowl. Some cats are better mousers than others, but even the presence of a cat should be enough to deter mice.

If you really don’t want a cat, encouraging other natural predators like barn owls to your property is also an option.

Having natural predators in residence is easily the most reliable tactic if you’re wondering how to get rid of mice in your yard naturally.

A Final Note on Traps

There are some articles online encouraging things like instant potato flakes and cocoa powder mixed with plaster of paris as a means of mouse control.

mother with child working in garden

While these might seem like benign ingredients, they are not deterrents but cruel and inhumane ways of killing mice, who ingest them and then die slowly and painfully.

If you’re wondering how to get rid of mice naturally, I’m assuming by natural you mean without chemicals, you are better off using a classic mechanical mouse trap that will kill the mouse instantly. This is far kinder.

What About Other Pests?

You’ve got the low down on mice, but what about other animals that you don’t really want to share your living space with?

Many of the same tips above will work for other creatures too.

Keeping your trash well contained and stopping it from building up is especially important when it comes to creatures like rats and raccoons.

But there are also other things you can do to help.

I’ve got some great guides that might just give you the helping hand you’ve been waiting for.


Hopefully, you’re now feeling pretty confident that you know how to utilize DIY mouse repellents in combination with mouse-proofing your home for best results.

Natural mouse repellents are a tool in your kit. Some websites will claim they don’t work and try and get you to spend money on professionals.

While one natural repellent in one part of your house may not be enough by itself, the trick is to use a combination of them and take other measures to make your home hard to access and uninviting at the same time.

Have you tried any DIY mouse repellents? What were your results? I’d love to know what you did and whether you would recommend it!

Andy Gibson

My name's Gibson. Andy Gibson. I like to think of myself as the Bond of the backyard, that is if yard work ever became sexy. I write about everything about indoor and outdoor gardening and the dread-it-but-still-need-to-do-it chores around the yard, like cleaning out the gutter guards.

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