7 ways to keep mice away: scents, mothballs, dryer sheets, Irish spring soap

How to keep mice away

Mice infestations have always been a notorious problem in many households. Various solutions have been invented over the years, as well as many misconceptions and myths. While some of the “homemade” DIY suggestions might work perfectly, others might end up completely ineffective and worthless.

irish spring soaps

 In this article, we’ll showcase all the most popular methods for dealing with mice problems and tell you how well they work. Peppermint oil repels, vinegar repels, and cats. You’ll learn more about all these solutions and see if they’re worth trying. Keep reading, and you might save yourself loads of money on exterminators!

bounce dryer sheets

What attracts mice?

Before we even get to the repelling methods, let’s look at the factors that may make rats and mice enter your household. That way, you’ll know which behaviors to avoid and hopefully won’t even need the following advice. 

Food is the main thing they look for when searching for a place to settle in. It can include anything from sweet fruits and berries, nuts and meat, all the way to plants and seeds. If any leftovers are lying somewhere in your house for longer, mice will take an interest in them. To get rid of this issue, make sure you know where all the food in your house is located. Regularly clean the kitchen floors of any leftovers.

Another mice-inviting factor is warmth. Their instinct is to find places suitable for burrowing that are warm. It is one of the most important aspects of a good nest. This can be problematic, especially in the colder parts of the year It’s the case when the temperature outside drops significantly below your home’s temperature. There is no easy way to combat this problem, as all households need constant heat to prosper. Instead of dropping your temperatures, try to check places that regularly give off the most heat. It includes radiators, water heaters, and so on. 

Mice also love to hide in cluttered, tight places. They not only provide the warmth mentioned above but are a great place to hide. They will also encourage them to breed to preserve the existing rodents. It further increases the issue. Many spots around your house are prone to this problem: 

  • garages
  • attics
  • storages
  • compactors
  • and trash rooms 

They can all become a burrowing place for rodents. 

Even the more commonly used spaces around your house can be suitable if they’re not cleaned regularly. To tackle this issue, check cluttered spaces in your household and ensure things don’t pile up in a single place.

The last main thing that mice see as invitations to your house are cracks and holes. Every one of them is an opening that mice can and will use if not sealed properly. Vents are no exception to this and should be tended to periodically. Remember to deal with cracks as soon as they appear to avoid mice from taking over.

Main attractions for mice

Sugar Nuts and seeds Vegetables and fruitsCitrus foodsMeat

Do mothballs keep mice away?


There is a belief that mothballs are effective at keeping rodents away. These little scent balls are useful when dealing with moles and moths. Their effect on bigger enemies is pretty much nothing. They contain only a small amount of naphthalene, making them not strong enough to deter rats or mice. Even when used in larger amounts, they will only result in your house smelling bad rather than properly dealing with the issue. Moreover, naphthalene in larger quantities can be toxic to your pets. It makes it much more unsafe and unreliable.

Do dryer sheets keep mice away?

dryer sheets

Fortunately, it has been proven that dryer sheets have a negative effect on mice. They repel them quite efficiently. Although their strong scent isis unbearable and irritating for rodents, it is neither harmful nor unpleasant to humans and larger pets. It poses no risks or downsides and is one of the cheaper methods of dealing with rat infestations.

 However, it’s only a short-term solution. It loses its value when dealing with larger quantities of rodents. Mice can either adapt to live with the strong smell or wait for it to fade away inevitably. If you’re looking for a long-term, reliable method, this one won’t do it.


  • Effective on mice
  • Safe for humans and pets


  • Short term solution
  • Not effective on larger infestations

What scents and smells do they hate?

The main way of dealing with rodents is by smell, no matter the method. Rats are colorblind, so colors don’t negatively affect them. Their strong sense of smell makes them especially vulnerable to all methods of using smelly things. Here are some of the scents that all rodents will avoid:

  • Ammonia
  • Cinnamon
  • Tea Bags
  • Vinegar
  • Citrus
  • Pepper
  • Dryer Sheets

These are some of the aromas that will make mice avoid your house. Remember that some of these smells can be unpleasant to humans too. Using them as a deterrent might end up working on you more than the rodents themselves. 

Does peppermint oil keep mice away?

peppermint oil

Peppermint oil does produce a pretty powerful smell when used. Especially in its condensed form, this essential oil can create a smell unpleasant for both you and the rodents invading your home. However, that doesn’t necessarily make it a good repellant against rats or mice. The problem with it is that even if you manage to accumulate a smell strong enough, it will quickly dissipate before it can do its job. Additionally, rodents have adapted to these solutions and can avoid strong smells while nesting in houses. Using peppermint oil won’t do anything more than keep your house fresh. 

Do cats keep mice away?

cat house

Cats have always been the go-to when dealing with rodents of all kinds. Long ago, every rural household had a cat for the sole purpose of hunting down mice before all of the artificial scents were invented. Even nowadays, owning a cat is one of the most effective ways of getting rid of rats. Not only are they very successful at hunting these small animals, but their scent alone is enough to make rodents avoid your home. 

The main disadvantage of this solution is the fact that bringing a cat into your family is a big responsibility. Maybe you want a feline that stays in good health and can always help you with mice infestations. You will probably spend a lot of time and money on keeping him healthy. Mice and rats carry various diseases. As your cat eats them, it eats the diseases as well. Additionally, you have to provide regular food, vet check-ups, and more for a potential cat addition. Not every house is suitable to host a cat, with some being too small or too cramped to give the pet full freedom. Before you get yourself one, remember that you’re bringing a living being under your roof that you’ll have to take care of.

On the other hand, getting a cat may result in benefits other than just keeping out rodents. Cats cheer the household up, can hunt down other small pests, and will generally make your life more lively. This solution is by far the most thought-requiring one and carries the most consequences.

Does vinegar repel mice?

vinegar bottle

Even among the strong smells hated by mice, vinegar is the strongest. Especially when left undiluted, it provides a scent so intense that it will inevitably repel mice and rats. This method has been proven to be quite effective at making rodents avoid your house and dealing with other small animals. The main plus of this solution is its availability and cheapness. Vinegar can be bought in every grocery shop for a low price. It will never go to waste, as it’s used extensively in cooking. 

Unfortunately, this method does have some drawbacks. First of all, the scent of vinegar is not only irritating to mice- humans dislike it too. Having your whole house smell like vinegar for an extended period is certainly something you’d like to avoid. It makes it not a good long-term solution. Additionally, getting the scent in every corner of your house can be problematic. 

To combat these problems, try to dilute the vinegar with water slightly. Put the mixture inside of a spray bottle. Use the spray bottle in places where you have either seen mice or expect them to show up. If you balance ingredients properly, you can create a powerful repellant that’s harmless to both your family and your pets. It will only be harmful to rodents. 

Irish spring soap and mice

irish spring soap 2 boxes

There exists a common misconception that soap will help you keep mice away. Unfortunately, that’s all it is- a misconception. No kind of soap can repel mice, even Irish spring soap. This myth is rooted in the belief that by eating one of the soap’s main ingredients, animal fat, mice will get harmed due to consuming and inhaling chemicals used in soaps

This belief is simply untrue. Not only would the rodents have to consume abnormal quantities of soap for it to be harmful. They also aren’t even likely to eat it in the first place. Mice can recognize harm, even if they try to eat the soap once. They’ll know to keep away from it. Additionally, placing the soap in random places around your house is exactly as pointless as it sounds. For it to be any good, you’d have to liquify the soap somehow and spray it in your house. As it is right now, Irish spring soap is utterly useless in keeping away mice. 

irish spring soap

Will sleeping with lights on keep mice away?

It might seem like an obvious solution. Mice don’t like lights. If you keep them on, you should have no problem with rat infestations, right? Well, not quite. Mice tend to avoid bright lights as much as they avoid strong scents and will try to keep away from lit-up spots. They also prefer much darker spaces, as these tend to be much more cluttered. It makes better places for burrowing. In theory, keeping your lights on should be a pretty effective method of keeping rodents away.

pendant lights

In practice, it’s not that simple. Firstly, you can’t keep all of your house bright at all times. Your common lights and lamps won’t reach every corner. Placing an abundance of flashlights around your house misses the point. With that in mind, even the smallest dark spot is sufficient for rodents to nest in. If they can’t find it normally, they’ll just go inside your walls, crawl spaces, or ceilings. Secondly, keeping your lights on for an extended period can be extremely money-consuming and annoying. You’ll eventually turn the light off for a bit, and that bit will be enough for mice to make your home their home as well. 

A much better approach to this problem is to not worry about keeping your house bright and instead focus on the perimeter of your household. It’s much simpler to light up fully and can be kept bright at all times with much smaller effort. Setting up lamps outside your house will greatly reduce the number of rats you’ll have to deal with.

Does bleach keep mice away?

Bleach is able to harm living organisms if consumed greatly. It’s highly toxic, and digesting it even in small quantities will result in significant health problems. I if used against rodents, it will get rid of them without question. Knowing all this, using bleach to get rid of mice and rats is highly advised against. Why?

Even though it’s effective, bleach has a lot of downsides and dangers that overshadow its benefits. First, it’s associated with a putrid smell. It irritates you and your pets. Second of all, and most importantly, it creates dangerous fumes. When inhaled, it poses a risk to the health of everyone in the house. Especially when used in larger quantities, it’s dangerous to leave bleach in your home. Knowing how many harmless and safe ways there are to get rid of rodent infestations, risking your health by using bleach is pointless and not recommended.

Natural ways to keep mice away

There are many natural ways to combat rat infestations. These homemade solutions are not only perfectly safe but also easy to set up and relatively cheap. They won’t require you to call specialized exterminators or buy dangerous chemicals. Here are some of them:

  • Instant potatoes- One way to get rid of mice is to sprinkle your house with instant potato powder. Leaving it where you think the rats might be will result in the small animals eating the powder. Then, the flakes will swell up inside of them and eventually kill them.
  • Hot pepper flakes- another food-based way of combatting rat infestations are spreading hot pepper flakes around your house. When consumed, it irritates the eyes and skin and releases an unpleasant smell that rodents will try to avoid. Unfortunately, hot peppers are quite costly. It is one of the most expensive solutions you can use.
  • Owl’s feathers- mice are naturally conditioned to sense threats in their surroundings. They will associate an owl’s feather with incoming harm and try to run away. Placing them around your house should scare them, although they may just come back later after realizing there’s no threat.
  • Human hair- for some reason, rats can’t stand the sight of a human’s hair. They’ll actively avoid it, no matter how healthy the hair is. Place a couple of strands in holes or places where rats tend to gather, and you’ll be pleased to see how quickly they leave.

Pros and Cons of natural remedies

EffectivenessSafety for kids and petsCheap
Instant potato powder
Human hair
Owl feathers
Hot pepper flakes


Do mice bite humans in their sleep?

Mice will rarely bite humans in their sleep. However, they may do so if they feel threatened. They may feel you’re trying to hurt them if you’ve invaded their space. They may bite at that point.

Do mice climb in bed with you?

Mice do not seek to jump into bed with you, but it doesn’t mean they can’t do it. If you have a habit of eating in bed, there may be leftovers they want to snack on. Make sure food stays in the kitchen not to attract unwanted bed friends.

What repels mice fast?

Peppermint and clove oil are great places to start when you want to repel them quickly. However, follow all the other tips in this article. You’ll be well on your way to a house without an infestation.