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5 Best Rodent Repellents That Actually Work

It only takes seeing one critter in your home or living space before you declare war. One of the first places people start is to invest in a rodent repellent. Unfortunately, repellants frequently don’t work well. You could waste your hard-earned money depending on which one you choose.

Today, we’re sharing the five best rodent repellents to keep pests away. Let’s get started so you can win the war against your pesky enemy.

Factors Attracting Rodents to Human Dwellings

Like humans, mice and other pests need food and shelter. Unfortunately, they can often find their way into houses, RVs, and other structures. Some people are far too hospitable and create an ideal environment for pests.

One of the most significant mistakes people make is leaving food so it’s easily accessible. Cleaning up crumbs, using plastic food containers, and securing your trash bins are all crucial. If you’re a pet owner, you must consider how you store your pet’s food. It’s best to invest in a tall trash can with a lid. This helps ensure critters don’t chew through the bag or turn it into a buffet.

Typically, complaints regarding mice tend to pop up during the fall, especially once temperatures drop. They’re looking for a warm and comfortable place to spend winter. Food may attract them, but a warm environment will cause them to stay. They’ll make a nest and live a relatively luxurious life.

Rodents often use scent markings to communicate with others. As they get comfortable, these scent markings could invite their friends and family to the location. Before you know it, your dwelling could face an infestation.  

Mouse in a house
Finding a mouse in your house is never a fun experience!

Traditional Methods of Rodent Control

Issues with vermin aren’t new. People have been battling these annoying and slightly disgusting creatures for centuries. Traps and poisons are the most standard methods. However, these traditional methods don’t do anything to address the core problem.

Many types of vermin can reproduce rather quickly. It’s not the best idea to wait until they enter your space. Instead, you want to do all you can to keep them away from you and your dwellings. 

One way to send critters running is through the use of mouse repellents. These are generally strong scents or noises that can drive them away.

Effectiveness of Rodent Repellents

While rodent repellents are an option, we’ve found that they’re relatively ineffective. They’ll often work in small areas for a short time. Instead of keeping them out, the pests move to a new location until the repellent loses its effectiveness. Once it does, they’ll often return.

They may work in small areas for a short period but typically last only a short time. Some swear by Irish Spring soap and other overly strong-smelling products. However, there have been cases where they’ve become chew toys and scratching posts for the invaders. Unfortunately, most repellents don’t live up to the hype. There are a few products, however that do work better than others if you are trying to keep mice out of a particular area. We will discuss these in a bit.

How to Get Rid of House Mice (4 Easy Steps)

Pro Tip: Keep your RV pest free with our tips on How to Keep Mice Out of Your Camper.

The Best Way to Keep Rodents Away 

Luckily, there are some things you can do to keep unwanted guests out. If you’re struggling, here are some things you should do immediately.

Remove Food Supply

In addition to sealing up the space, you must remove their food source. They won’t have any reason to look for a new home if you continue to fill their bellies. Eliminate or correctly store anything edible before using a rodent repellent.

It’s best to use thick plastic containers when storing food, whether for humans or pets. These reduce the odors and are much harder to chew through. It may require you to spend money, but keeping critters out of your food is worth every penny.

You also want to ensure your trash can is in good condition. The wind and other weather elements can cause cracks or damage. Your garbage may stink to you, but it’s practically an endless buffet for many critters.

Mouse inside a house
There are plenty of affordable rodent repellent options you likely already have in your home.

Remove Clutter

No matter what season it is, if you’re battling pests in your space, spring cleaning is a good idea. Remove any clutter or items that you no longer need. Keeping your area tidy provides fewer places for them to hide or make nests.

Many creatures like to stay hidden and out of sight. By removing clutter, you can make it harder for them to find a hiding spot. If one finds its way into your space, there’s a better chance they’ll pass through and not try to make it their home.

Keep Traps Active And Check Regularly

To win the war, you have to win one battle after another. The best way to do this is to be consistent. Set your traps and check them daily at first. If they are effective and neutralize your enemy, you must empty and re-arm them. When doing so its critical to clean gloves. The reason for this is that you do not want to leave your scent on the trap. This significantly increases the chance of a catch.

In addition, traps need to be set in the correct locations. Along walls and in corners where you have seen activity is best. Rodents rarely travel out in the open, so setting traps along walls and with the trap side toward the wall so they will cross it is best. As for bait, we have found peanut butter to be the most effective.

proper way to set a mouse trap

A dead animal is the last thing you want in your dwelling. It doesn’t take long before they start to stink and become a problem. You can avoid this by checking your traps regularly and emptying them as quickly as possible. You may use kill traps if you don’t check your catch-and-release traps for several days.

Remove Access

After you have done the above steps and had traps catching mice for a few weeks its time to seal up. Rodents are small, agile creatures that can squeeze into tight places. Look for holes in your foundation and gaps in doors, windows, or framing. You may need to crawl under your house or the dwelling. Remember to check for gaps around piping and wiring where they enter the structure.

As you locate these spots, you’ll need to start sealing them. You can use a simple spray foam to fill the gap. You can even find some with formulas against mice. Once it dries, you can sand it down or paint it to give it a professional look.

Tomcat 4418508 Rodent Expanding...
  • Tomcat Rodent Block Expanding Foam Barrier fills gaps and cracks...
  • Our spray foam is the pesticide way to create a rodent barrier
  • This expanding foam provides a long-lasting, airtight, and...
Sealing external home holes
Before you use a rodent repellent, look for any entry points around your home that critters can get inside from.

5 Best Rodent Repellents That Actually Work

Rodent repellents can be effective in localized areas. They won’t keep them out forever, and you’ll need to replace them regularly to maintain effectiveness. However, they can be a valuable part of a larger defense plan.

Peppermint and Cinnamon Oils

Peppermint and cinnamon are powerful odors that can be effective for mice. An additional benefit is that these are relatively appealing smells for humans. Your house doesn’t have to smell like a chemical factory to keep critters away.

Soak some cotton balls or pads in the oils. You can place them near entry points. Unfortunately, you can’t simply leave these and forget about them. How long they will last will depend on various factors, but you’ll want to check them regularly. Once they lose their scent, they’ll no longer be effective.

8oz Peppermint Oil Rodent Repellent Spray (2)
  • Naturally Safe for People and Pets When Used as Directed - Smells...
  • Extra-Concentrated Strength for Long-Lasting Protection
  • Locally-Sourced, High-Grade Peppermint from the Pacific Northwest

Vinegar 

Keeping your house clean is essential to have a mouse-free home. Vinegar is not only a fantastic cleaning agent, but it also leaves an odor behind that mice hate. The intense smell of the vinegar can be a rodent repellent.

Vinegar is an excellent option for cleaning up messes. Use a 50-50 ratio of vinegar to water. Wiping down surfaces with this mixture can help eliminate scent markings. 

Again, this is an effective option when you combine it with a larger defense plan. Simply spraying or cleaning with this solution isn’t enough. Accompany it with several other methods to win the war.

Natural homemade rodent repellent
From vinegar to garlic, plenty of pantry staples can be used to keep critters out of your space.

Garlic

Vampires aren’t the only creatures that hate garlic; rodents do too. Placing garlic around your dwelling will keep the critters away. However, it’s often easier and more effective to use garlic oils. Some manufacturers create residential sprays that include peppermint, cinnamon, and garlic.

Using garlic can be temporarily effective. Most products recommend reapplying every 30 days. However, some users recommend reapplying every few weeks to ensure the scent stays fresh and effective.

Sale
Tomcat Rodent Repellent Oil for Indoor and Outdoor...
  • Tomcat Rodent Repellent Spray prevents rodent entry, nesting, and...
  • Our rodent repellent is formulated with an essential oil blend...
  • This rat and mouse repellent is rain-resistant and long-lasting...

Mint

Mint is another strong scent that can be an effective rodent repellent. In addition to smelling good, mint is also safe for people, pets, and plants. You can find plenty of quality sprays like Mighty Mint that you can spray in areas where you see evidence of mice or other animals.

Many users spray it under sinks and on their plants to keep unwanted guests from damaging their stuff. If you’re having issues with pests, this is a solid option to consider adding to your plan of attack.

Mighty Mint 16oz Peppermint Oil Rodent Repellent...
  • Naturally Safe for People and Pets When Used as Directed - Smells...
  • Extra-Concentrated Strength for Long-Lasting Protection
  • Locally-Sourced, High-Grade Peppermint from the Pacific Northwest

Dryer Sheets 

Dryer sheets are cheap solutions you might already have. They can be useful in small areas, but only when new. Rodents hate their strong scent and will do anything to avoid them. The more you can use, the better.

Unfortunately, dryer sheets can quickly lose their effectiveness. You’ll need to replace them frequently. Additionally, dryer sheets are very soft and can make ideal nest-building materials. If you’re not careful, you may accidentally help them create a cozy home in your space.

Bounce Pet Hair and Lint Guard Mega Fabric...
  • 3x more pet hair repelling power vs. Bounce dryer sheets
  • Reduces wrinkles and static, adds softness
  • Lint roll less

Do Electronic Repellents Devices Work?

Electronic devices typically emit high-frequency ultrasonic sounds that humans cannot hear, but animals can. The theory is that rodents dislike the loud buzz they hear and avoid it. However, functional evidence of their effectiveness is limited. It seems that mice may initially be deterred by the sound as it’s new but quickly get used to it and ignore it.

We have personally tried multiple of these devices, yet our traps still catch the buggers. We would not recommend purchasing these types of devices and saving your money for proven methods of eradication.

electronic mouse detector not working

Keep Pests Away with Rodent Repellents

You can keep pests away from local areas by using rodent repellents. However, it requires a consistent effort with a multi-level plan of attack. The longer you wait to take action, the harder it will be. If you’re experiencing an infestation, take action as soon as possible. However, severe cases may require a professional. With some intentional effort, you’ll be rodent-free before you know it.

Have you tried any of these methods before? Tell us in the comments!

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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Karen

Monday 14th of August 2023

We live in Ontario cottage country and mice are always an issue. Keeping your cabin area clean and uncluttered is the best idea. We have had issues with mice getting into our generators. A small opening was all that it took for them to get in and chew wires. We put metal lath around the opening areas....mice cannot chew through this and don't even try as it is very sharp. This has worked for us. We have not had much luck with the oils. We did recently buy garlic spray for mosquitoes so I wonder if this would deter them in the area of the cabin. Ongoing battle and part of living rural.

MOTM Editor

Monday 25th of September 2023

Hey Karen! Thanks for the metal lath tip – that's a great idea for keeping mice out.