Wacky Ways to Keep Mice Away

deer mouse (Peromyscus treui)
Tatiana Gettelman/FlickrAs cool and wet weather rolls in, mice invite themselves into your home,
That patter of little footsteps may be mice. Mice like to stay warm and dry, just like you. So as cool and wet weather rolls in, mice invite themselves into your home, chewing through electrical wires and making nests in your attic insulation. And since the gestation period for mice is about 20 days, once mice get in, they're birthing machines that will produce an infestation before you can say "cheese!"

The best way get rid of a mouse problem is to prevent one. Keep counters clean of food and crumbs, and throw out old newspapers and boxes of clothes that provide nesting material.

Also, keep mice from getting into your home in the first place. Seal up holes and cracks around your house, especially where cable lines and plumbing enter. Also, make sure your chimney caps and vent covers are secure.

But mice, like water, will find a way in, and then you've got to get rid of them.

You can call an exterminator, and spend $300 to $500 to wipe out the mice in your home. Or, you can get creative and try some of these "wacky" repellents that will chase the rodents away.

Warning: Anything that can kill mice, can probably hurt you and your pets, too. So make sure you put toxic repellents out of reach by kids, Fido and Mr. Fluffy. Safety first; getting rid of mice, second.

Peppermint: Mice don't like mint, so start cleaning with mint-scented solutions, or add a few drops of mint essential oil to your all-purpose cleaner. You also can pulverize peppermint Altoids, and sprinkle around mice nesting areas. To keep mice away from your house, plant mint around your foundation. But be warned, mint spreads quickly. So unless you want mint fields forever, plant the herb in pots with saucers, and place them around the outside of your house.

Soda Pop: Mice can't burb, so when they drink soda pop that makes them gassy, they eventually perish. Pour any sugary soda (not diet) into a shallow dish, and place where you think mice are nesting. They'll drink, and die.

Tabasco Sauce: This hot sauce keeps mice away in droves. Sprinkle the sauce around your home's foundation to deter mice from entering. Or add 2 tsp. Tabasco and 1 tsp. dish detergent to 2 cups hot water. Pour into a spray bottle, and spritz where you think mice are hiding.

Dryer Sheets: You may love their fragrance on pillowcases, but mice hate their strong smell. Stuff dryer sheets beneath attic doors, or press them into the baseboards around rooms where mice are living.

Ammonia: When animal urine decomposes, it produces ammonia, a smell mice avoid because they fear it's from large animals that could eat them for supper. To repel rodents, clean with an ammonia-based solution, or sprinkle drops of ammonia where mice are nesting. But don't go crazy and slop ammonia around the house. It can be harmful to the heath of humans and pets, too.

Strange Noises: Several companies sell gizmos that emit high-frequency sounds that mice supposedly find irritating, kinda like how you feel about your kids' rap music. But mice naturally communicate with each other at high frequencies that humans can't hear, and little evidence exists that mice truly are repelled by sonic or ultrasonic noises. These devices may be more whacky than effective.

Cayenne Pepper: This stinging seasoning repels mice. Sprinkle some on areas where mice enter your house. A horseradish and water solution will work, too.

Cloves: The strong scent of cloves is known to repel mice. Wrap whole cloves in cheesecloth, and place in attics, basements, and in front of walls where you've heard mice scampering about.

Toilet Bowl Freshener: You buy them to make your toilet bowl smell sweet, but mice hate the strong aroma of toilet bowl fresheners. Place fresheners on a tin plate, or hang clip-ons from a hook on walls to prevent leaking on or staining wood floors.

Antifreeze: As a last resort, place a dish of antifreeze in mice nesting areas. The sweet smell attracts the rodents, who then drown in or drink the poison. Antifreeze, of course, is toxic to other living creatures. So be careful when using this whacky method to get rid of mice.

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I've tried Peppermint Oil in the past when I moved into a house that had a rodent problem badly. I could tell it worked because I would find less droppings where I put the most oil, but it didn't totally get rid of them because I think the problem was so bad. Fast forward a year and I'm in my new home for a year with no sign of rodents. But I was always paranoid from my last experience. In the past few weeks my paranoia was on 10 without having seen any droppings or hearing any noises, and lo and behold it gets cold and a mouse scurries under my bedroom door at 2:30 am. I went peppermint oil crazy again. Also bought ammonia, Tabasco sauce and Pepsi. I'm hoping it works, because the mice have my nerves bad. Lol. Last time they peed all over the furniture so much that when I moved I left most everything. I'm trying to not go through that again.
I also did something that people may find disgusting. In my last house the first thing I noticed was that a waterbug that my sister killed (and I was going to sweep up after work) was gone when I got home from work. And sure enough a rat had eaten it. So when I moved here and killed a waterbug I purposefully left it in the corner of my bathroom (no kids or pets) just so that I would know if a mouse had been in my home. It was there until two nights ago (about 8 months total). Which I didn't notice it was gone until the mouse scurried under my door and was hiding in a laundry basket filled with books. I hope all these remedies are of some help to me, because I don't want to see another mouse.

November 09 2014 at 9:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have a Cat. I keep my Apt clean. But we have mice. In my building for over. 5 yrs
Plan to put a blocker under my door to prevent mice from coming. Inside
Great helpful.hints.

October 26 2014 at 4:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How about owning a CAT ?

October 16 2014 at 6:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good article. I wanted to share my experience. Last year I had a really bad mouse problem but not wanting to kill them I bought a humane mousetrap which worked great. After the 30th release though, I realized it wasn't correcting the problem. Went online and read that peppermint oil was effective. Bought some at GNC for $6.00 and splashed drops around and behind the stove where they were taking up residence. Within a couple days, NO MORE MICE! They moved out and I haven't seen a mouse since. No noises that go bump in the night - no pans rattling - no incriminating mouse poop anywhere! I was so thankful because I really didn't want to kill them but it is so unhygienic and unhealthy. I think the peppermint oil works because the fumes stings their eyes. Plus it makes your house smell great, so two for one!

October 16 2014 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Lisa, you need to invest in a good dictionary and actually USE it once you learn to spell to look up words to find out their definitions. Doing this may help you to not look like an ignorant detriment to society in the future by not knowing the difference between "wacky" and "dangerous". Additionally, when an alleged "journalist" decides to write about something, it would behoove you to actually learn about the subject before you just spout off about. Your version of journalist might be called "Myths I Have Heard About But Know Nothing About" on a certain game show's list of topics.

October 16 2014 at 11:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pdoh45's comment

wow, it must be really difficult being married to you. lots of anger issues.

October 16 2014 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Mice can't burb..." Huh? Try "burp" and then get a proofreader. And ammonia doesn't seem to do a thing against mice; our room with the cat litter box gets mouse droppings all the time.

October 16 2014 at 7:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Give a feline a home, no mice just remember to empty the litter box.

October 11 2014 at 4:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

i wouldn't recommend antifreeze and i am surprised this article referred to it as a way to kill them. This is a nasty death and can be to dogs and cats and its painful excruciating to see your loved one get sick by this. It basically binds to the hemoglobin the oxygen caring carrier unit in red blood cells and can be diagnosed by ultrasound and simple urinalysis. Even worse is the treatment cause we basically have to give them alcohol IV to the point they are drunk off their but cause the alcohol binds to the antifreeze . So if that doesn't kill them and treatment is successful you will have your baby back just with a monkey on its back

October 02 2014 at 7:47 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

We used to swear by the dryer sheets in the dorms at Yellowstone. As for now...well, when my fiance and I moved into our new place we quickly discovered a mouse problem. However, since the stove had to be replaced, my wonderful man plugged the few holes we could find behind it with tin foil and ducttape and since getting the new stove we've not had any issues! We're guessing they were living IN the bottom of the old, disgusting appliance that was here when we moved in ><

October 02 2014 at 7:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply