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What Will Keep Mice and Rats Away?

Updated on: October 23, 2020

With the holidays just around the corner, rats and mice are scrambling to find refuge in the cold winter. That’s why rodent infestations increase around this time of the year – and if you’re unlucky, they might decide that your house is the perfect place to set up nests.

So what will repel mice and rats away from your home? Simple solutions like keeping a cat, sealing the food, using peppermint oil, blocking entry points, and cleaning the place can keep mice away from the home. Home remedies like essential oils, apple cider vinegar, ammonia, steel wool, and fabric softener can also help in repelling mice at home.

How to Keep Your House Rodent-Free

Protecting the home is a lot easier than trying to get rid of mice. Rodents will continue to thrive if they are provided with favorable living conditions. Luckily, there are a few simple steps to take that will keep mice away:

Keep a Cat at Home

An active cat who loves to hunt is one of the best natural rodent controls you can hope for. Just make sure that the pet is not too domesticated to get rid of mice. One way to keep the cat motivated to hunt is to limit the pet food given to them before you want them to hunt.

Seal Pet Food and Bird Feeders

As much as pets are helpful in repelling mice, pet food is also a good target for rodents. Seeds, ground grains, and dry pet food are some of the rodent’s favorite treats so leaving them exposed is an open invitation to these pests. Keep the pet food sealed in thick containers and bird feeders as far away from the home as possible.

Use Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is known to repel pests like mice and rats because of their strong menthol smell. What’s great about this essential oil is that it is also available online and in most grocery stores. One way to use it is by putting three to five drops on a cotton ball and leaving it in areas where rats and mice pass through. It can also be diluted and sprayed around the home to repel mice.

Block Entry Points

There is no better way to keep mice away than blocking their entrance to your home. Inspect all the walls inside the home to look for gaps and openings that mice can use as an entry point. Block all these cracks using masonry materials. Steel wool can also be used to cover the openings since rats and mice can’t chew through this material.

Clean the Place Frequently

Leftovers, crumbs, and scraps in the kitchen can invite mice into a home. That’s why it’s important to clean the mess as soon as it’s spotted. You should also clean the area surrounding the house including the lawn or yard. The tall grasses and overgrown vegetation can be a hiding spot for these pests.

What Attracts Mice and Rats in Your Home

Mice and rats have similar base needs as humans. By leaving your home open and making these available for them, mice will take the opportunity to be comfortable inside the house. Although they usually keep themselves hidden and only need little food and water for sustenance, rodents can still damage the home’s interior by gnawing through wood and wires.

Here are four ways you are unknowingly inviting rodents into the home:


When the temperature starts dropping during the fall and winter months, mice will begin seeking shelter. If they see wall openings, they will take that as an invitation and get inside the property.

It’s normal to find a nesting spot for mice or rats around water heaters because they provide a source of heat. These areas are also hidden from people’s sight, making it an ideal place for rodents to burrow.


Commercial properties that have a constant supply of food and leftovers like restaurants, homes, and groceries are also a good target for rodents. This is because they can’t resist the food open for the taking.

Although they are omnivores, mice prefer eating foods that have high carbohydrate content. They also don’t need to consume much to survive since they only need an ounce of food and water to get through the day. Aside from grains, fruits, and seeds, mice will also chew on paper and electrical wiring.


Cluttered areas are good places for a mouse or rat to set up a nest. Since clutter will provide them with warmth and a hiding place, mice are attracted to these areas. Clean up the clutter before it builds up and invites more vermin.

Mice could build their nests in attics, garages, small storage spaces, and trash rooms because these areas can be great sources of food. Stacked boxes in storage rooms also create nesting opportunities for these furry pests.


Keeping wall gaps unsealed is basically telling the rodents to come inside the home for some food and shelter. If you don’t want them to get comfortable inside, then don’t give them an entry point in the first place. Inspect the home carefully and patch up all foundation, fill any holes, and seal up all the wall cracks to keep these rodents away.

Home Remedies to Keep Rodents Away

Some chemical repellents are also harmful to humans and pets as they are to mice; in the U.S. alone, 7802 unintentional rodenticide poisonings were recorded in 2018.  That’s why more homeowners are turning to natural mice repellents. Although home remedies won’t get rid of a severe infestation, they can certainly help keep mice away from your home.

What’s great about these methods is that they’re effective, non-toxic, and a more humane way to repel mice. Here are some of the most effective ways to keep them away naturally:

  • Peppermint Oil – Peppermint produces a strong menthol scent that can be nasally unpleasant for rodents. Just pour a few drops of the peppermint oil into a cotton ball and place it in rodent entry points and passageways. Planting peppermint around the vicinity of the house can also help keep mice away.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar and Water – Aside from disinfecting the home, a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water can also help repel mice. Clean the cabinets, countertops, and floors with a 1:1 solution so that the rodents will avoid those areas.
  • Ammonia – Ammonia mimics the scent of predators that’s why rodents will want to avoid an area if they smell it. Fill a small container with some ammonia and place it in an area of the home where there have been rodent sightings or obvious rodent activities.
  • Steel Wool – This tough material is an ideal plug to gaps and openings that rodents may utilize. Since they can’t chew through steel wool, mice will need to find other gaps to enter the home.
  • Fabric Softener – If the smell of peppermint or other repellents bothers you, a fabric softener might do the trick. Aside from keeping the home smelling clean, fabric softener is also a smell that rodents can’t stand.

Expert IPM By Permakill Exterminating

One or two mice inside the home isn’t a big deal but these pests breed rapidly. There’s a chance that they’ve already formed a colony by the time you see them.

Whether the infestation is just starting or it’s already quite severe, it’s never too late to call for mice extermination services to get rid of these pests. For safe and smart solutions to your mouse problems, contact Permakill Exterminating now. We provide tools and techniques to get rid of mice and keep them away for good.

Read more: What's the Best Home Remedy to Get Rid of Rats? 


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