What Scents Do Mice Hate?

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Field mice are tiny visitors that can cause a big problem.

The sight of a mouse in your home can send chills up your spine. Rodents will often come into a home when the temperature outside is at either extremes. Many people feel uncomfortable trapping or killing mice, and most would prefer to just deter them from ever entering the home. Fortunately, the mouse you saw does not have to be a permanent house guest, as there are a few scents mice absolutely hate.


Mice hate the smell of peppermint, according to Tips and Tricks. No one seems to be sure why they can't stand the smell of the mint plant, but they have been known to vacate the premises when fresh mint has been scattered about. Get a few plants from your local home supply or garden store, and keep them potted for occasional pruning and sprinkling. Just having the plants in the room probably won't suffice, grind up some of the leaves to increase the smells potency.

Cat Hair

Many people are allergic to cat hair and, perhaps understandably, mice seem to not be fans of the stuff. If you have a friend with a cat, or a feline friend of your own, take some of their hair harvested with a cat comb to the area you want to keep mouse-free. Sprinkle the hair around and you are unlikely to see any of the rodents hanging around.


Mothballs simultaneously keep moths away from your favorite wool sweater and make your whole wardrobe smell like grandma's house. One more useful application for the stinky little things is as a deterrent for rodents, according to The Fun Place. If you have a mouse in your wall, drill a few small holes and drop the mothballs in there to make the space a little less hospitable for your unwelcome friend.

Bay Leaves

In a similar fashion to peppermint, bay leaves can be used to persuade mice to choose a new cupboard, according to Grandma's Home Remedies. They are more expensive than peppermint, and more difficult to grow at home, but if you have access to some fresh bay leaf, crumble it and sprinkle it around where you would wish mice not be.

Cayenne Pepper

All mammals can taste, and smell, the chemical compounds that make hot peppers hot, according to The Fun Place. Sprinkling some cayenne pepper around will keep any little rodents from venturing in to the area. However, if you have pets, it will also keep them from feeling comfortable in the room and can cause eye irritation for cats and dogs.


Andrew Leahey

Andrew Leahey has been a writer since 1999, covering topics as varied as technology how-to guides and the politics of genetically modified organisms to African food supplies. He is pursuing his J.D. while renovating an 1887 farmhouse located in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.