To stop mice setting up home in your home, thoroughly clean and tidy your house, especially the kitchen. Mice and other pests are attracted by the prospect of a free lunch, in the form of crumbs and other easily accessible food. Your house doesn't need to be either messy or dirty to provide mice with snacks. After you've tidied and put food in mouse-proof containers, try other ways to repel mice, especially if you know they are prevalent in your area. Natural mouse repellents don't hurt you, your pets or the environment, but they could make mice reconsider moving in.
Fresh mint leaves repel mice, and mint extracts, such as peppermint essential oil, are even more effective. Spearmint leaves have been used for centuries to repel mice. Peppermint is more commonly used now, probably because it has a stronger scent and is more unpleasant to mice. Put peppermint leaves or tissues soaked in peppermint oil in cupboards, closets, under furniture and near any holes in the skirting or beside pipes in the kitchen and bathroom.
Lavender is another strong-smelling herb that mice are not usually fond of. Lavender is a good choice to repel mice from bedrooms simply because the sweet smell of lavender is soothing and relaxing to humans. Try fresh lavender, dried lavender or lavender essential oil dripped onto paper, and place the paper near places mice could get in.
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends mixing a tablespoon of hot pepper with 2 quarts of water. Pour this down mouse holes. Dry pepper is also effective positioned near or in mouse holes and under furniture and appliances in your kitchen. Any kind of pepper -- the hotter the better -- is worth trying, especially cayenne pepper.
Mice dislike cloves. Sometimes, however, whole cloves do not have a strong enough scent to effectively repel mice, so clove oil works better. You can use clove oil by itself or in conjunction with peppermint, pepper or lavender.
Judith Willson has been writing since 2009, specializing in environmental and scientific topics. She has written content for school websites and worked for a Glasgow newspaper. Willson has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.