What Smells Do Mice Hate?

What smells do mice hate? And can you keep mice out of your home using scent alone?

We get these questions a lot! They’re understandable. Many homeowners (and renters) are looking for a quick, simple, and inexpensive way to solve their mouse problem or avoid a mouse problem entirely.

Today, we’re exploring this topic in depth. Keep reading to learn about the signs of mice, whether scents and DIY mouse control work and when you should call a pro.

Let’s get into it!


You’ll want to watch out for signs of mice. When autumn and winter approach, mice are more likely to find food, warmth, and shelter in your home.

Often, the signs are fairly obvious (unlike some other pests):

  • Mouse droppings
  • Objects that look gnawed on or chewed
  • Mouse tracks
  • Nests (mice make nests out of paper and other trash)
  • Torn-open or chewed-through food containers
  • Sounds of scratching at night when the house is quiet 

Likely, you’ll even catch a glimpse of a mouse. Mice can be curious and bold, so you might see one scurrying through your home! It’s good news that you can spot mice easily, because the sooner you know of a mouse problem, the sooner you can deal with it.


We’ve seen quite a few DIY mice pest control articles online. These articles usually center on the smells that mice “hate.” Here are just a few of the scents mentioned:

  • Peppermint (we talked about this in a previous blog post)
  • Vinegar
  • Eucalyptus
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Ammonia
  • Dryer sheets

That’s a lot of different smells! One thing that all of these smells have in common is that they are quite strong. The logic behind most of these “smells that mice hate” lists is that mice have a great sense of smell and sensitive noses. 

As a result, many people assume that the strong smells will turn off mice —enough to stay out of your home. But is that true?

The answer is, unfortunately, no. There are no smells that mice hate. 

There are a couple of problems with using scent to deter mice from entering your home. First, there is no evidence that strong smells actually keep mice out of homes. A mouse’s need for food and shelter is going to outweigh any protest from its nose!

Second, there are significant limitations to using scent as a deterrent. Remember that mice are extremely small and flexible, capable of squeezing through the tiniest holes and crevices to enter an area. As a result, mice can easily avoid a heavily scented area and find another way into your home. What’s more, scents eventually wear off, leaving you with no “deterrent” against mice.

Third, strongly-scented products like essential oils can be hazardous when misapplied! Small children can be harmed by ingesting essential oils, and certain essential oils—like peppermint and cinnamon—are toxic to pets.

Because of these issues, we never recommend using essential oils or other DIY scent-based methods for mice pest control.

So, what smells do mice hate? None. At the very least, there are no smells they hate bad enough to stay away long enough to solve your mouse issue. 


You might be wondering, “If I can’t count on using smells that mice hate, what am I supposed to do to prevent a mouse problem?” Great question!

To prevent mice from entering your home and to make it less attractive to mice, we recommend taking a few steps:

  • Sealing holes and cracks in your foundation and walls
  • Removing overgrown landscaping next to your home
  • Cleaning up spills and crumbs promptly
  • Keeping dry goods in airtight containers

For more detailed information, read our previous blog post about keeping mice out.

In addition to the steps above, you can use a few carefully placed mouse traps. These traps may be enough to handle the occasional stray mouse that wanders into your home.

However, if mice have set up camp inside your home, it’s time to call in the professionals. A pest control expert has the knowledge, experience, and tools to eliminate a mouse infestation. They can help you determine mouse entry points, locate mouse nests, and offer targeted, effective solutions to fix a mouse problem.

If you’re having trouble getting rid of the mice in your home, we’re here to help! Call us today to talk to a pest expert.