With the arrival of the cold winter weather, it’s common to start seeing mice in and around your home.

Due to their warm-blooded nature, rodents need to constantly eat to survive the winter.

Unfortunately, their stealthy nature may make it difficult to know they’re present until it’s too late.

While mouse traps and baits are effective at getting rid of mice once they’re already in your home, what about prevention?

One source of mouse prevention you may not be aware of is the use of smell to keep mice away. Here are eight smells that keep mice away, plus some proactive prevention tips.


One scent mice are said to dislike more than any other is ammonia. Simply place a few ammonia-soaked cotton balls inside your drawers and cabinets to keep mice at bay. It may also be useful to place these cotton balls inside any openings you suspect mice have created in your walls or floors.

Peppermint Oil

While this scent is typically pleasant to humans, mice are also said to hate the strong smell of peppermint oil, making it the perfect essential oil to deter rodents from your home. Peppermint oil can be used in a variety of ways, from diffusing it to diluting the oil with water and using it to wipe down your countertops.

Citrus Oil

Like peppermint oil, citrus oil is another scent that is known to be too strong for mice to handle. Citrus oils such as lemon and orange can be found in many household cleaning products, but you could also try making your own DIY solution to get rid of mice. Adding a few drops of the citrus oil of your choice to a spray bottle may be effective in deterring mice from your home, as well as diffusing the oil in rooms where mice are most active.


Another method of mouse prevention involves the use of mothballs to deter these critters from your home. However, mothballs are not known to be the most effective when it comes to getting rid of mice, as the scent is often not powerful enough. If you do decide to try this method, be sure to carefully read the instructions, as the chemicals in mothballs can be harmful to humans when inhaled.


Mice are known to dislike the smell of bleach, which is good news for homeowners who already use it to clean their homes! Incorporate bleach into your regular cleaning routine, especially around kitchens and bathrooms where these critters tend to hang out.

Chili Powder

Chili powder contains capsaicin, which is known to irritate the eyes of mice, making this another effective rodent control. To use chili powder to ward off mice, simply sprinkle it in places where mice frequently travel, such as behind the refrigerator and in kitchen cabinets. When rodents smell or ingest the chili powder, they will be less likely to return to that area.


Like chili powder, cinnamon is another rodent-repellent spice that you may already have in your pantry! To use cinnamon to get rid of mice, sprinkle cinnamon powder around your home or burn some cinnamon-scented incense. Diffusing cinnamon essential oil or burning a cinnamon-scented candle may also be effective in getting rid of these pests.


Citronella is a scent known to repel many different pests, including mice. To utilize citronella as a rodent deterrent, try burning a citronella candle or adding a few drops of citronella oil to a spray bottle and cutting it with water to create an all-natural rodent-repellent solution.

Natural Rodent Prevention Tips

If strong smells don’t work, there are many things you could do to naturally prevent rodents from entering your home, including:

  • Eliminating food sources
  • Sealing entry points
  • Applying DIY traps
  • Fill small holes with steel wool
  • Keep your yard clean and clear of debris
  • Adopting a cat

Ultimately, keeping a clean home and insulating your house from the outside will make mice less liable to enter your home. The CDC recommends cleaning up any rodent droppings after you immediately spot them to prevent disease transmission.

When to Call a Professional

Due to the sneaky nature of mice, as well as the number of harmful diseases they carry, it is imperative that you contact a pest control professional at the first sign of an infestation. An experienced exterminator will be able to assess the infestation and create a unique plan of action to get rid of the mice in your home and keep them out for good.

For year-round protection, be sure to ask your local exterminator about a pest prevention plan.


Do Mothballs Harm Humans?

The chemicals in mothballs, particularly naphthalene, can cause a variety of side effects in humans when inhaled, including headaches, nausea, coughing, and eye and nose irritation. Because of this, it is imperative that anyone handling mothballs carefully read the instructions to ensure they are being used safely and correctly.

How Often Should You Reapply Repellents?

How often you reapply rodent repellent will depend on the specific method you use. For example, certain essential oils like peppermint and citrus may need to be reapplied or diffused regularly for maximum effect, while other methods may last longer.

What Are the Signs of a Mouse Infestation?

When determining if you are dealing with a mouse infestation, there are several telltale signs to look out for. Some of the most common signs include seeing rodent droppings around the house, footprints and tracks, gnaw marks, and noise coming from inside the walls. If you notice any of these signs of a possible mouse infestation, be sure to contact a pest control professional promptly.

Are There Smells That Attract Mice?

There are certain scents that mice are drawn to, with some of the most popular being chocolate, meat, peanut butter, and fruits and berries. Because of this, it is crucial that you properly seal and store any food in your kitchen and pantry to avoid attracting any unwanted visitors.