As we head into August, we start preparing for the upcoming season – Autumn. With all the beauty that this season brings, it also brings much cooler temperatures. With cooler temperatures comes a very common problem that most of us have encountered at least once — mice! If you live in the country as I do, preparing for the arrival of mice every year is a given.
Natural repelling methods are my thing because I have pets; plus, it’s just a healthier option for everyone — no harsh chemicals. With prior experience on this particular issue and my recent research, I would like to share with you the most common methods of naturally repelling these little guys. I will also cover other methods as well if the deterrent methods do not do the trick.
In addition, I’ll share ways to prepare your home to hopefully prevent mice from entering. In fact, let’s begin there first.
Preparing Your Home
The Exterior of Your Home
- Walk around the exterior of your home and look for any holes or crevices where mice may enter. Make any necessary patch ups. Also, inspect the exterior doors of your home. Once again, check for any gaps. Mice can enter your home through the tiniest of openings. Tip: If you make any repairs with caulking on the exterior of your home, place a dab of white mint toothpaste on the repaired area. Mice hate the scent of mint!
- Speaking of mint…if the temperatures are mild, you can place potted mint plants around your home. I recommend that mint be grown in pots because they are a fast growing herb and their roots can take over your flower beds. Also, with potted plants you can place them in different areas around the perimeter of your home as needed. Bay leaf plants have been known to repel mice as well. Also, remove any vines that may be growing on your home. Mice will climb vines and it’s just another way for them to access your home.
The Interior of Your Home
- Now that you have inspected the exterior of your home, inspect the interior. Again, check for any gaps, holes, and crevices and make the necessary repairs. Things to inspect: baseboards; behind appliances; and under sinks, cupboards and closets. Again, try the white mint toothpaste trick on any caulking repair. Tip: You can use steel wool to plug up gaps and holes within your home. There are a couple of theories using this method. Some say it hurts the mice's teeth so they turn away. The other theory is if the mouse does chew on or consume the steel wool, it damages their intestines which in turn will kill them.
- Inspect your attic, basement and garage as well and make any necessary repairs on holes and crevices.
- Another preparation tip, probably the most important one: proper food storage. Make sure that your bread, chips, cookies, etc are stored in airtight plastic containers over the fall and winter months.
- Wipe down your counters daily. Leave no crumbs behind.
- Mop often and vacuum daily.
- Remove any and all clutter. Don’t leave anything that they can use as shelter.
Natural Repelling Methods
Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and Spearmint Essential Oil
Place a few drops of peppermint, eucalyptus, or spearmint essential oil on a few cotton balls and position them where you suspect mice are entering your home. Mice may appear behind appliances such as a fridge, washer, or dryer. Mice will also reside in an attic, garage, and under kitchen cabinets. So, make sure you put these prepared cotton balls in these areas of your home as well.
Mice cannot stand the smell of mothballs! They are extremely effective in repelling mice. I have to admit, mothballs do stink but, it’s worth it. Place them behind appliances, under the kitchen and bathroom sinks, in the basement, in the attic, and the garage. Caution: they are toxic so keep them away from children and pets!
Mice also hate the smell of onions. Place onion slices on a plate, away from your pets, and place in mouse prone areas. The ideal place would be on countertops, under the kitchen sink, behind appliances, basements, attics, and garages. Since onions eventually rot, be sure to replace the onion slices often.
Mice stay clear of ammonia. My theory is this: Mice stay clear of cats. Cat urine scent resembles the scent of ammonia. So, therefore, ammonia is an effective method for repelling mice. Simply place small amounts of ammonia in small bowls around the mouse prone areas of your home. Caution: keep out of reach of children and pets.
Bay and Mint Leaves
This method has had great success! Mice cannot stand the scent of these two herbs! Simply place bay or mint leaves on a plate and place in mouse prone areas of your home. Caution: Keep out of reach from pets.
Other Methods – The Next Step
If, for some reason, the above methods do not work, you can take the next step and try the following methods.
Sprinkle a few tablespoons of instant potato flakes around the mouse prone areas. The mice will eat the potato flakes which will then swell in their stomachs which will kill them due to not being able to digest the flakes.
This is the most common method. A mouse trap is designed to instantly kill the mouse, therefore the mouse does not suffer. Mice are smart little critters and sometimes they can actually remove the food without setting off the trap. A couple of helpful tips: smear peanut butter or cheese that has been melted onto the trap. If the food on the trap is sticky or harder to remove, then you’ll have more success using this method.
Get a Cat
Last but certainly not least, get a cat — the number one predator to the mouse. People who live in the country have what they call a “barn cat”. This is a cat that is an outside cat only. Having an outside cat will reduce the mouse population dramatically.
I just want to point out that some cats will bring their “kill” to your doorstep. Don’t be alarmed — it’s actually a sweet gesture from your furry friend. It’s a gift of sorts. It’s their way of sharing a meal with you. Cats! You gotta love ‘em!