If you’re suffering from rodent infestation, and the use of mouse traps or poisonous bait is weighing heavy on your conscience, you may be searching for household alternatives to effectively repel mice and rats from your home without seriously harming or killing them. Moreover, as if the struggle of rodents invading your home isn’t already enough, there’s thousands upon thousands of contradictory articles online, leaving it up in the air whether these do-it-yourself mouse and rat repellents actually work. 

In this series we will explore various household products rumored to repel mice and rats, and include video proof provided by Youtuber Shawn Woods to finally bust the myths of what household products are actually effective in keeping rodents away.  

Do Moth Balls Repel Mice And Rats?

While moth balls are most traditionally used for keeping moths out of closets, it is suggested on most alternative rodent repellent sites that these balls of chemical pesticides work wonders in keeping rats and mice out of confined spaces.

Sadly, this is not the case, especially when trying to get them to steer clear of places with food sources. Moth balls do not work to repel mice and rats. 

In the following video, four moth balls are placed in each corner of a small, concealed box, the box containing sunflower seeds and one small opening for entry and exit. Via spy cam, overnight the rodents can be seen entering the space with ease, casually making their way around the box to feed without any inhibitions. In a last ditch effort, the following night an entire container of moth balls are put into the box, unfortunately yielding the same results. These rodents do not seem to be affected by the moth balls in the slightest, nor do they shy away at the toxic smell that it emits into the air. If anything, long term exposure to the moth balls could eventually kill the rats or mice frequenting treated areas as the pesticides invade their lungs. Even then, moth balls do nothing to actually keep mice away. 

Does Mint Oil Actually Repel Mice?

Next on the list of homemade rodent repellent contenders is the use of mint oil, advertised that the strong, potent scent of the mint scares away mice due to their keen and sensitive sense of smell. Typically, these DIY pest control sites direct users to put peppermint oil extract on cotton balls and scatter them all throughout the house, repeating this process often as every 2 weeks to keep the smell fresh. 

Amongst the array of natural repellent sprays and cleaning solutions, there is a product called Victor’s Scent Away Natural Rodent Repellent Drops. This product is a small white capsule, with both an adhesive back and a hook on top for easy placement, that contains a strong concentration of mint oil, acting similar to an air freshener as it puts the smell of mint out into the air for up to 60 days after opening. 

This product was put to the test as a scapegoat for the alleged war between rodents and peppermint oil. Youtuber Shawn Woods placed two of Victor’s Scent Away capsules into a box with sunflower seeds that the mice infesting his barn usually sneak into every night to feed from.

Surprisingly, with the strong peppermint smell ever present that night, zero mice entered the box, steering clear of the enclosure’s entrance despite the fact that there was easily accessible food right inside. With this observation, it is safe to say that mint oil actually works to repel mice from the home. Although it may be a hassle maintaining the smell of mint in your home, it is a worthwhile investment of your time and resources when it comes to keeping mice away in a humane manner. 

Do Ultrasonic Rodent Repellers Work?

After seeing such success using Victor’s peppermint rodent repeller drops, next in line for the testing is Victor’s Ultrasonic Pestchaser. Ultrasonic rodent repellers are portable devices that, when plugged in to an outlet, emit high frequency sounds meant to keep both rodents and insects away. These ultrasonic waves supposedly sound so loud to mice, rats, and even insects that it scares them from the area, all while being completely silent and undetectable to the human ear. The ultrasonic waves in these devices constantly vary in size and frequency, so that unwanted pests are unable to acclimate to the sound. Additionally, these ultrasonic waves do not affect typical house pets such as cats or dogs, so they are safe to use in pet friendly homes. 

Similar to the previous experiment with the peppermint oil, the ultrasonic Pestchaser was plugged into a power cord and placed into a confined box full of sunflower seeds that mice like to sneak into throughout the night to get the food. The sunflower seeds were even placed directly next to the Pestchaser device. 

Unfortunately, the ultrasonic waves seemed to have no effect on the mice, as mice freely came into the box and took their time leisurely eating all of the sunflower seeds. At one point in the video, it seems like perhaps the mouse hears a sound and flees momentarily, but albeit, by the morning all the seeds had been eaten. The device did nothing to keep the mice out of the box or prevent them from eating all the food. 

After so much hype about it being a great rodent repeller, it is concluded that ultrasonic waves do not repel mice or rats at all. 

Do Dryer Sheets Repel Mice & Rats?

Similar to the way peppermint oil targets sense of smell to repel mice and rats from the home, it is also said that using scented dryer sheets can have the same repellent effect. In theory, placing scented dryer sheets around the house at popular mice hideout locations and possible entry holes will keep mice away from the area. The pungent smell of the dryer sheets is meant to aggravate a mouse’s senses and cause them to relocate elsewhere. When using this method, it is recommended to continually swap out the dryer sheets so that the smell never wears off, each sheet typically needing to be replaced every 2 weeks or sooner. 

The big question is, with such tedious weekly management and the constant lingering scent of perfumey laundry in your home, do dryer sheets actually get rid of a rodent problem? 

Youtuber Woods once again put this to the test and came out empty handed, as dryer sheets do not repel mice and rats. In the video below, it is blatantly obvious that rats and mice do not even flinch at the presence of dryer sheets, even in large quantities. The rodents were seemingly unaffected by the smell of the dryer sheets in both the open air and tight, enclosed spaces. The placement of the dryer sheets made absolutely no difference in the effect they had, and did nothing to repel the rodents from the food or even make them hesitate on entry. This myth is considered busted! 

What To Takeaway: Peppermint Oil For The Win

Moth balls are a pesticide best used for their original intentions- keeping moths out of closets. Ultrasonic pest repellers appear to be nothing but a convincing scam for your money. Although many of these household products seemed hopeful for repelling rodents in a natural way, using peppermint oil to repel rats and mice was the one method that came out fruitful. 

This method is something both easy and versatile, giving you multiple options to keep the repellent smell of peppermint fresh in your home. As mentioned previously, the more tedious version is to put peppermint extract onto cotton balls and scatter them throughout the house in susceptible locations. 

In alternative, you can buy or create your own household cleaners and sprays containing peppermint oil for everyday usage that naturally implements the smell of peppermint into your daily cleaning routine. Using this method of pest control can even be as simple as buying Victor’s Scent Away Natural Rodent Repellent Drops and being committed to replacing the capsules every 60 days. 

For more on mice and rat repellent do’s and don’ts, make sure you check back on our website next week for the next part of this series, where we will take another in depth look at some of the rodent repellent myths and whether or not they actually work. 

Tags: , , ,
Dusty Showers has been in the urban nuisance wildlife and pest control field since 1993. Taught by Garon Fyffe, a pioneer in humane nuisance wildlife management, Dusty has a passion for finding humane solutions to human & wildlife conflicts. Dusty was the only individual invited by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission in the lat 1990's to help write legislation for legal protection of Florida bats. With an instinct for solving wildlife, Dusty found pest control to be an easy "add-on interest". Dusty started his first business "Animal Instincts Wildlife & Pest Management" in the Tampa Bay, Florida area in 1995. Eventually selling Animal Instincts in 2002, Dusty went on to start Creepy Creatures Termite and Pest Control in 2009, which he still owns and operates today in Palm Harbor, Florida.

Related Article