How to Get Rid of Mice with Peppermint Oil (Maybe)
The topic for today is how to get rid of mice with peppermint oil. That may seem a bit random, but as “how to” tips go, I think it could be pretty useful. Honestly, when it comes to having mice in the house, if I have to deal with it, I want them gone… Immediately, if not sooner. I tend to go for the approach of getting rid of them for good (more on that later). Some people however, prefer kinder, gentler methods of rodent control, so today I thought I’d consider one of those options. The thing that actually got me thinking about this was a friend who mentioned that he had heard something about peppermint oil and mice. He couldn’t remember the whole story, so I started looking around for information about peppermint oil and mice. I don’t really think peppermint will help much if you already have a mouse problem, but it could help prevent one.
The Problem with Traditional Mouse Traps (Must Watch!)
Does Peppermint Oil Repel Mice?
It turns out that peppermint oil is seen by many as a viable option for repelling mice. The idea is that mice and other rodents have extremely sensitive sniffers on them. The ultra intense peppermint scent is supposed to be too much for them to bear. You put out the peppermint oil and mice do their best to get away from it. Simple. The little vermin get one snootful of peppermint oil and they decide to move on to your neighbor’s house, where it smells like old beef and cheese or something similarly attractive to mice.
Peppermint Oil and Mice Procedures
The process for using peppermint oil to repel mice is pretty straightforward. You have to get yourself some peppermint oil and mice. You’ll have to buy the peppermint oil, but the mice tend to show up on their own. Everything I have read says that it must be the pure OIL, not peppermint extract. You simply put some of this on cotton balls and then place the tasty smelling pieces of fluff where you think mice might be entering your home. This might include any small openings around garage doors or pretty much any space where a mouse’s head could fit since it is pretty much accepted that if a mouse can fit its head someplace, it will be able to squeeze its entire body through without much effort. If nothing else, this should motivate you to get started on some home improvement projects like sealing cracks around doors.
Safely Stopping Mice
As a parent, what I like about the idea of using peppermint oil is the fact that it is relatively harmless. It is non toxic and at worst it is going to make your garage smell nice. Now this is all well and good, but I believe it is really only useful for keeping mice out. If you already have the furry little visitors hiding inside your house I would imagine it would be pretty tough to herd them out the front door using smells that offend them. I’m still a big fan of the more traditional methods of actually getting rid of mice, but assuming our home is mouse free when the weather starts to turn cold again this year, I’ll probably put some minty fresh cotton balls around the garage (at least until the dogs try to eat them).
If you are thinking of buying peppermint oil to try this in your own home, be aware that you can end up spending more than you would think if you don’t shop around. I found some people selling large bottles for around forty bucks. Really, I can’t imagine you would need nearly that much to start. I found smaller bottles for sale online with prices that weren’t too bad.
How to Get Rid of Mice in Garage and Home Spaces
Now the idea of preventing an infestation of mice with peppermint oil sounds great, but as I mentioned above, sometimes the mice show up early to the party and prevention isn’t really an option. Here is something I started writing about last fall just as winter was about to kick into gear. If the peppermint oil for mice doesn’t work, you might want to try something listed here to keep the mice away from your house…
How to Get Rid of Mice in Your House
Have you ever had a house guest that you just couldn’t get rid of? We did recently. The problem was that this guest was actually a real pest, and we got a crash course in how to get rid of mice in your house.
We figured out that we had a mouse problem when we found a hole chewed into the bottom of a bag of dog food that was sitting on the floor. Finding holes chewed through boxes and bags containing food is usually a pretty good sign that you’ve got mice living with you. Another common sign is mouse droppings (Yuck!). If you suspect you have mice, you can sprinkle a little bit of flour around the area you think they’ve been visiting, and then check for paw prints. We didn’t go that far. Seeing further evidence of their existence would have just freaked everyone out a little bit.
Now, my first instinct would normally be to put down a traditional mouse trap. You know the kind I mean. A small slab of wood with a spring loaded mouse smasher attached. We couldn’t go that route though because we have two dogs who are instantly attracted to anything that resembles, or smells like, food (including mouse bait). We would have had two dogs with swollen noses long before we actually managed to catch a mouse. We needed a safer way to get rid of mice.
How to Catch a Mouse
Since we couldn’t just go with the el cheapo Victor mouse traps because of the dogs, we had to get creative. We actually were going to have to figure out how to catch a mouse without resorting to methods that could hurt the dogs. That left us a few choices that I had never really considered before. Honestly, I still like the efficiency of the old traps, but when you’ve got pets or small children around, you do have to be careful. We headed off to the hardware store just down the road, and got a quick lesson in the latest methods for getting rid of mice.
The first thing the hardware store guy suggested was getting a cat. Well, we’re about at our pet threshold right now, so that was out. After I explained that, the nice gentleman with the red vest on, I think his name was Harold, began to show off his arsenal of “humane mouse traps”. Some were more humane than others. I’ll share what I learned…
Sticky Mouse Traps are Stupid
If you ask me, sticky mouse traps are just plain stupid. These traps get put down in the areas where mice make their nightly rounds. When they try to scamper across these traps, they get stuck on the sticky surface.
I don’t know who thought of these, but I don’t believe that they really thought the whole thing through. When I asked Harold what you did after the mouse got stuck, he just replied, “Kill it!” That didn’t seem like an attractive option. Having to deal with an angry/terrified mouse, is not something any of us is interested in doing. I think these were invented by a lazy cat.
Ultrasonic Mouse Repellents
These are the things that you plug in to the wall. They are supposed to produce ultrasonic sounds that drive the mice batty (haha). I guess I have a problem trusting that these actually are doing anything. Besides, I wanted visible results (a captured mouse). These might be nice to put up when everything is mouse free, as a preventative measure, but I’ve seen a lot of so/so reviews of these, so we passed on these electronic rodent repellers, and continued down the aisle with Harold. If you are living in a mouse free house and want to try these in combination with some peppermint oil soaked cotton balls, I don’t see any harm in that. I do wonder though if the ultrasonic noises might bother some other pets like dogs or guinea pigs.
Electronic Mouse Traps
Next we came to the electronic traps for mice. These are not, by any means, the same as the repellents. These are traps that lure the mouse into the “death chamber” and then dispatch it with an electric jolt. They use the term “humane” in the description of these, but that doesn’t mean that the mouse gets to leave in same condition that it entered. It just means that it is “dispatched” efficiently. One good feature of these is that they can handle rats too, just in case you were wrong about what was raiding your food supplies. I was actually OK with the idea of trying these, but the thought of one of the dogs doing something harmful to itself interfered again, and we moved along.
Finally… The Smart Mouse Trap
By the time we reached the “Mice Cube”, I was about ready to just buy anything, and I think Harold was starting to run out of patience with us. I liked the name of this trap, it didn’t look like the dogs could get hurt by it, and it wasn’t expensive. We had a winner! This did turn out to be one of the cheaper alternatives, and it did work. We followed the instructions, caught a mouse two days in a row, and that was the end of our mouse adventure. This is a simple little trap that lures mice in and then slams the door shut behind them. You find the mouse still alive and kicking (as long as you don’t forget to check the trap). At that point, you can take it someplace away from your home and set it free. The dogs can’t get into the trap, or hurt themselves with it, and it catches mice. Now, if you think you might have a rat, be aware that these larger rodents might just steal the bait, wait for you, and then throw the butter dish sized trap (2″x2″x 5.75″) at your head.
How Do Mice Get in Your House?
The Final Analysis
If it wasn’t for the dogs, I still would probably go with the old fashioned spring traps. You have to have the stomach for it though. They can be messy, and if the trap manages to just injure the mouse, you have to finish the job, which is not pleasant. That’s why my next choice would have been the electronic trap that zaps the critters. We went totally humane though, and I suppose the walk to the woods to set the mice free didn’t do me any harm. I entertained myself along the way by thinking of funny scenarios that involved me putting the mouse somewhere besides the woods, but the little angel on my other shoulder won out in the end.
By the way, when you place these traps, you want to put them up along the walls where the mice will come across them during their regular travels. You should also ignore the bit about using cheese. Try a cracker or something else with peanut butter smeared on it instead. Someone told me that years ago, and it seems to be true. Apparently peanut butter is the natural prey of mice in the wild or something.
How to Prevent a Mouse Infestation
Besides making sure that every possible point of entry to your home is sealed, there are some other things you can do to keep the mice away. Keep clutter away from your house. Have you ever seen the show Hoarders? Don’t let your house get that way on the inside or outside. If you have a wood pile for a fireplace, move it away from your house too. Anyone can end up with a mouse in their house, but you don’t have to live with it as a permanent resident if you don’t want to if you take care of the problem early. Oh yeah, there is also the option of calling an exterminator of course. This is more of a do it yourself post though and I didn’t want to get into spending money on professionals if we only had the beginnings of a small problem. If you actually have an established mouse problem, dealing with pest control professionals might be a good idea. Mice can breed quickly, so you’ll want to get rid of them as quickly as possible.