What to Do When you have Mice
While mice are definitely a lot cuter than spiders or other insects, they can create their own kind of havoc in your home. For one, they can chew through electrical wires and can cause fires. They’re also known for getting into your pantry and chowing down on anything they can get at. If that wasn’t enough, these tiny rodents not only leave behind considerable amounts of urine, feces and saliva, but they are also carriers of a variety of diseases and bacteria. Some viruses can be passed along by simply smelling the saliva or urine of these pests (8).
If you don’t want to resort to poisons like warfarin or inhumane traps that maim or kill the pesky invaders, mint is the perfect solution.
How Does Mint Deter Mice?
Concentrated essential oil from peppermint works by masking the pheromone trails mice leave behind. It also masks the smell of their food sources. The menthol in peppermint essentially irritates their sensitive nasal cavities, so they will avoid it and move on. While there is much debate about this method, a study was done on the effectiveness of various natural repellents, including peppermint oil and it was scientifically proven that peppermint oil does, in fact, deter rodents (9).
Using Mint to Repel Mice
The first thing you should understand if you decide to use mint to repel mice is that it is not a miracle fix. While it will definitely work to repel any new mice from taking up residence in your home, if you already have an infestation, it may not be as simple. You will likely have to call a professional to remove them humanely.
Once the infestation is gone, and you have thoroughly cleaned and sanitized the area, however, use peppermint to keep them away.
4 Ways to Use Mint to Repel Mice
The trick to using mint to repel mice is to use a high quality, undiluted essential peppermint oil. Nothing else will do. Once you have your oil, you can use one of the following methods to end you rodent problem for good.
1. Cotton Balls
This is one of the easiest and most effective methods for deterring mice with peppermint. Simply place about 5 drops of pure peppermint oil on several cotton balls. Determine where the mice are entering and leaving your home. Put a cotton ball in each of these areas. The key to using this method is definitely location.
If you already have mice, you will want to mask the pheromone trails they leave by placing cotton balls near these areas. A good way to find where the mice are going is to look for their droppings. Putting a few peppermint soaked cotton balls in these areas can prevent the mice from continuing to explore further.
It’s also a good idea to keep some in your pantry or storage area, where they may be tempted to make their nests.
To assure you keep the mice out, you will need to refresh the cotton balls every month or so.
2. Mix a Little Peppermint Oil in Your Cleaners
Just add a few drops of essential peppermint oil to any of your regular household cleaners such as your floor or bathroom cleaner. Now, every time you clean, you will add a little peppermint oil that will keep the little critters at bay.
3. Peppermint Spray
To freshen your air and add a little essential peppermint oil to larger areas, you can simply make up a solution of water and essential oil. All you need is a few drops (about 10-15) in a spray bottle. Shake well before each use. If you have fresh peppermint, simply steep up a strong batch of tea, let it cool and pour it into a spray bottle instead. This is not only a great way to keep mice away, but it serves as a natural air freshener you can use anytime. You can even lightly spritz your sofa cushions or blankets to keep them smelling fresh!
Why is Peppermint not working for me?
Studies do show that mint is an effective remedy to deter mice, so if it is not working for you, there are a few things you should check:
1. Are you using a pure, undiluted essential peppermint oil? With the growing popularity of aromatherapy, there are a number of companies that sell cheaper, diluted oils to save money. These inferior oils will not be as effective at deterring mice. These animals are persistent and unless the odor is strong enough to bother them, they will continue to make your home their own.
2. If you do have the correct oil, are you using enough? Are you changing the delivery method routinely to assure it has a strong enough aroma to deter the mice?
3. Do you have a bigger mouse problem than you originally thought? If so, you will have to call in a professional to remove them as the oil may not be enough to deter them.
If you already have an infestation, the mice will simply move to an area where there is no peppermint. So, unless you are able to cover every area in your home, you will still have a mouse problem. Peppermint works better to repel new mice than to remove an already situated infestation.
How to Make Peppermint Essential Oil
While you can buy a readymade peppermint essential oil, if you prefer, you can make your own without too much trouble. You can use this basic recipe with any herb or flowers to create your own essential oil (10). For a natural pest control recipe using mint, you can use a store bought plant or one you grow yourself.
- Fresh peppermint
- Base oil (olive oil works well)
- Mortar and pestle
- Jar with lid
- Cheese cloth
- Small dark bottle to store the oil
- If you are using your own plant, the best time to collect your leaves is in the morning when the peppermint oil is the strongest.
- Clip the sprigs then rinse them with cold water and gentle pat them dry.
- Take your mint leaves and place them in your mortar and pestle. Gently push on the leaves to release the oils (bruise them).
- Warm your oil in a saucepan, but do not let it boil.
- Place your leaves in a jar and then pour the warm oil in to fully cover them.
- Use a spoon to stir the mixture well and ensure the oil is equally spread throughout the leaves.
- Seal the jar and allow it to sit for 1 month at room temperature.
- Slowly pour the oil through a cheesecloth or coffee filter, allowing the infused oil to fill a storage bottle.
Tip: To infuse your essential oil faster, you can add more fresh mint leaves and replace them every few days with new ones. Make sure to release the oils first with your mortar and pestle. Repeat this process at least three times to have an essential oil in about one week.