10 Ways to Get Rid of Mice Naturally: Repellents, Humane Traps, and Other Tips

Mouse released from humane mouse trap
Mouse released from humane trap.

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Mice and other rodents may be incredibly cute little animals, but they can cause an immense amount of damage in your home and carry more than 60 diseases that are dangerous to humans.

While traps and poisons will kill mice and eliminate the problem, there are more Earth-friendly (and mouse-friendly) alternatives, which are also a much better option if you have kids or pets at home.

Learn how to get rid of mice naturally and encourage them to head back into the great outdoors where they belong with these simple recipes and tips.

1. Peppermint Essential Oil to Get Rid of Mice

Peppermint essential oil bottle on marble table
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Strong smelling essential oils like peppermint have been shown to be effective for repelling rodents from an area. To use peppermint oil to repel mice, follow these simple directions.

You Will Need

  • Cotton balls
  • Peppermint oil
  • Small dropper


  1. Apply a few drops of peppermint essential oil to several clean cotton balls.
  2. Place the cotton balls near openings in your home where mice may enter.  
  3. Place additional cotton balls in areas where you have seen mice nesting in your home.

Another option is to place peppermint plants near entry points to your home, both indoors and outdoors.

2. Hot Pepper Spray

Close up view of chili flakes on wooden spoon. Dried chili flakes as background. Close up view of crushed red cayenne pepper. Top view of dried red chili flakes texture.
Nacho Mena / Getty Images

One thing mice really seem to dislike is the heat of cayenne peppers. Most hot pepper species contain a compound called capsaicin, which produces a burning sensation in the mouth and eyes of mammals. Because of this discomfort, it is often used as an animal deterrent for many rodent species.

You Will Need

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper flakes
  • 2-3 teaspoons of liquid Castile soap
  • Pot with lid for boiling water 
  • Strainer
  • Funnel
  • Large bowl
  • Spoon
  • Spray bottle


  1. Combine 1 gallon of water and 3 tablespoons of hot pepper flakes in a pot.
  2. Heat the mixture over high heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat, put the lid on the pot, and simmer the liquid for 15 minutes. Be sure to avoid getting the steam in your eyes.
  3. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it stand for 24 hours.
  4. Remove the seeds from the liquid by pouring the pot of water through a strainer and into a large bowl.
  5. Add 2-3 teaspoons of liquid Castile soap to the mixture to help it stick to the surfaces you are spraying it on. Stir gently.
  6. Place the funnel in the mouth of the spray bottle and pour the hot pepper solution into it.
  7. Spray this liquid around any entry points to your home to repel mice. 
  8. If using this mixture indoors, apply it only on hard surfaces. Do not spray fabric as it may stain.

3. Tabasco Sauce

Hot Sauce Spilled from the Bottle
Michelle Lee Photography / Getty Images

Since Tabasco sauce is a very concentrated form of hot peppers, it makes an easy mouse repellent.

You Will Need:

  • 1/4 cup liquid Castile soap 
  • 1 tablespoon of Tabasco sauce
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 gallon-sized container with lid
  • Spray bottle


  1. Combine the water, Tabasco sauce, and liquid Castile soap. The easiest way to do this is to use a clean, empty gallon-sized milk jug
  2. Rock the jug back and forth to mix the solution gently.
  3. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle (saving the rest for next time).
  4. Spray this mixture near the entry points of your home. 
  5. If using this solution indoors, be mindful to apply only on hard surfaces, as fabrics may stain.

4. Used Kitty Litter

Cat in shelter
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Cats are a natural enemy of mice. Use this to your advantage by placing used kitty litter in areas where mice are known to hide.

Since mice are repelled by the smell of cat urine, they will quickly find a new place to call home.

If you don’t have a cat yourself, ask a few friends and neighbors if you can have some used kitty litter. Since they would probably just throw it away, they will most likely be happy to hand it over. 

You Will Need:

  • Used kitty litter
  • Small open containers


  1. Place the used kitty litter in several small, shallow containers without lids.  
  2. Put the containers near entry points to your home, including near exterior doors and windows, as well as in basements and attics.
  3. If using this method indoors, keep in mind that cat urine does smell. Don’t place containers of used cat litter anywhere you don’t want odors to accumulate. 

5. Humane Traps

Humane mouse trap
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Traps do not have to kill mice to remove them from your home. There are many varieties of humane mouse traps available today that will simply restrain your home invader so you can release him outdoors (far away from your home).

Be sure to release the mice at least a mile or so from your home. Putting them in your backyard will just encourage them to come back in as soon as you close the door.

6. Ultrasonic Units

There have been numerous studies that look at the effect of ultrasonic sounds on rodents. While effectiveness depends on the type of unit being used, as well as the size of the area being treated, this may be a humane way to repel mice from your home.

Sounds made by ultrasonic rodent repellers cannot be heard by human ears and are safe to use inside the home, as long as the manufacturer states that it can be used in this manner. 

Depending on the size of your home, you may need to install several of them to encourage the mice to leave.

7. Get a Cat

Cat waiting for mouse
GoodLifeStudio / Getty Images

If you have an extensive mouse infestation and are open to bringing a pet into your home, consider getting a cat.

While adding a cat to your family won’t ensure the safety of the mice currently living there, it will definitely decrease the overall population size.

In time, you should find fewer mice in the house. They can sense that a predator is around and should find less dangerous places to make their home.

Tips to Keep Mice Out of Your Home

Once you’ve figured out how to get rid of mice in your home, make sure you keep them out.

8. Make Your Home Inhospitable

Mouse peeking out of the hole
Dejan Kolar / Getty Images

There are three main things that mice are looking for when they enter your home: food, shelter, and a place to nest. Eliminating those three items will help keep mice from setting up residence in your home.

Seal all food in plastic containers with a tight-fitting lid. Be sure to wipe down counters daily to help get rid of crumbs.

In addition to sealing up food, store spare blankets, and material in mouse-proof containers. A cedar chest for winter blankets is one way of eliminating nesting material. 

Once you begin to take away food and potential nests, your home won’t seem like such a great place to live anymore. 

9. Seal All Entry Points

Dryer exhaust fan on side of house with plastic white trim with silicone
photovs / Getty Images

In order to keep mice out of your home, seal any and all holes, cracks, and entry points they may use to come inside. 

Plastic draft barriers at the bottom of doors and caulk around exterior pipes are great ways to eliminate mouse entry points so they have no choice but to stay outside.

10. Aluminum Foil and Steel Wool

Physical barriers are a good way to keep mice out of your home. The first step will be to figure out where the rodents are coming in.

Look in cabinets along the exterior wall of your home. If you find mouse droppings, this is a good indication that mice are living there. 

Aluminum foil and steel wool are both good materials to block holes around your home. Pipes leading to the outside are often not well sealed. Plug the holes around them with aluminum foil or steel wool and keep them in place with duct tape.

Once you have blocked access to your home, your mouse problem should slowly improve. Make sure to check on these physical barriers occasionally to make sure they remain in place. A determined mouse may be able to push it out of the way.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Can mice find their way back to your house?

    If you simply release a trapped mouse in the garden next to your house, it will almost surely take the same route it used to get inside the first time, and your mouse problem will persist. Experts say to drive the trapped mouse at least a couple miles away to ensure it won't come back.

  • Are ultrasonic mice repellents ethical?

    Many people deter mice with ultrasonic mice repellents that plug into the wall, but the ethics of these repellents is up for debate. The sound isn't just insufferable to mice but all animals—including pets, insects, birds, and other wildlife in its range.

  • Why shouldn't you kill mice?

    Besides general animal welfare, you shouldn't kill mice because they're considered a keystone species in every ecosystem that includes them. Mice are a vital food source for coyotes, foxes, bobcats, owls, bears, weasels, skunks, and more.

Originally written by
Chanie Kirschner
Chanie Kirschner is a writer, advice columnist, and educator who has covered topics ranging from parenting to fashion to sustainability.
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