Where do you put peppermint oil for mice?

Peppermint oil can be an effective natural pest deterrent for mice. When used properly, the strong scent of peppermint oil is unpleasant and overwhelming for mice, driving them away from areas where it is applied. There are a few key things to know about using peppermint oil for mice control:

Why Does Peppermint Oil Repel Mice?

Mice have a very strong sense of smell, much more acute than humans. The potent aroma of peppermint oil is very intense and irritating for them. Peppermint oil contains the organic compound menthol, which activates the cold-sensitive pain receptors in rodents’ nasal passages and overload their sensitive smell organs. This makes peppermint oil an undesirable scent for mice, motivating them to avoid areas where it is used.

How to Apply Peppermint Oil for Mice

There are a few different methods for using peppermint oil to drive away mice:

  • Cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil can be placed strategically in areas where mice are frequently spotted. The smell motivates mice to steer clear.
  • A few drops of peppermint essential oil can be diluted in water and sprayed along baseboards, entry points, attics, garages, sheds, and other areas prone to mouse activity.
  • Mix peppermint oil with a carrier oil like olive or almond oil and rub it directly onto surfaces, walls, floors, and doorways inside and outside the home.

Focus on using peppermint oil along walls, in corners, cabinets, pantries, garages, attics, basements, and anywhere else you notice signs of mice like droppings or nesting. Reapply every few days for optimal results.

Tips for Using Peppermint Oil Effectively

  • Use 100% pure peppermint essential oil, not synthetic versions which may be less effective.
  • Refresh cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil every 2-3 days as the scent starts fading.
  • Never apply undiluted peppermint oil directly as it may damage surfaces. Always mix with water or a carrier oil first.
  • Start with smaller applications first to gauge mice’s reaction and increase gradually if needed.
  • Combine with other natural mouse deterrents like black pepper, garlic, and citrus oils for added effect.
  • Make sure to eliminate all food sources and seal up any cracks and entry points to prevent new mice from entering.

Where Should Peppermint Oil Be Placed to Repel Mice?

Here are some of the best places to use peppermint oil inside and outside your home to drive mice away:

Inside the Home

  • Along baseboards and floor edges – Mice tend to travel along walls and edges. Apply diluted peppermint oil along baseboards, especially in corners, to stop mice in their tracks.
  • Doorways and near entry points – Doorways both interior and exterior are prime spots for mice to sneak inside. Place cotton balls with peppermint oil or spray diluted oil around doors.
  • Attics and crawl spaces – These warm, enclosed spaces attract mice but are hard to access. Place many cotton balls with peppermint oil throughout to make attics unwelcoming for mice.
  • Garages and sheds – Seal up any exterior entry points then spray or rub peppermint oil along the perimeter inside these structures where mice may enter and nest.
  • Pantries, cabinets, and closets – Any place that stores food is a mice magnet. Carefully place cotton balls saturated with peppermint oil out of reach behind stocks of food or on closet floors.
  • Behind appliances and furniture – Mice often travel unseen behind large appliances and furniture. Placing peppermint oil saturating cotton balls behind refrigerators, stoves, dressers etc. can flush them out.

Outside the Home

  • Along home’s foundation – Look for cracks or holes where mice may enter along the home’s exterior and foundation. Apply diluted peppermint oil around the full perimeter focusing on potential entry points.
  • Near compost piles and trash cans – Food waste attracts mice. Spray or wipe diluted peppermint oil onto and around the sides of compost bins and trash cans.
  • Inside garden sheds – Place cotton balls with peppermint oil hidden but strategically throughout garden sheds where mice may be nesting and eating shed contents.
  • Under porches and decks – The enclosed space under porches and decks are prime real estate for mice. Spray diluted peppermint oil onto the ground and walls under these structures.
  • Along fences and property edges – Mice can easily travel into yards and gardens from neighboring properties. Apply diluted peppermint oil along the bottom edges of fences or property lines.
  • Inside vehicles – Mice can sneak into unused cars, trucks, boats etc. Wipe down interior surfaces with diluted peppermint oil to send them running.

Focus on applying the peppermint oil anywhere you notice signs of mice like droppings, grease marks, or nesting materials both inside the home and along the exterior perimeter.

What Concentration of Peppermint Oil Should Be Used?

Peppermint oil should always be diluted before applying directly to surfaces. Using undiluted, concentrated peppermint oil can risk damaging materials inside the home. Here are some recommended dilution ratios:

  • For a light concentration, mix 5-10 drops of peppermint essential oil per 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. This can be safely sprayed onto most household surfaces.
  • For a stronger concentration, mix 10-15 drops of peppermint oil per 1 cup of water. Use this only on sturdy surfaces like concrete, wood, or metal.
  • To make a rubbing oil, mix 8-10 drops of peppermint oil per 1 ounce of carrier oil like olive, almond, or mineral oil. Rub this onto surfaces where mice activity is noticed.
  • For cotton balls, soak each ball with several drops of undiluted 100% peppermint oil. The cotton absorbs the oil and slowly diffuses the scent.

Always start with a lighter application and increase concentration gradually as needed. Monitor to see if mice are deterred or not bothered by the current concentration.

Does Peppermint Oil Damage or Stain Surfaces?

When used properly diluted, peppermint oil is safe for most household surfaces. Here are some guidelines:

  • Painted walls and trim – Diluted peppermint oil may temporarily stain some paints and finishes. Test on a small hidden area first and immediately wipe off any drips or spills.
  • Wallpaper – Diluted peppermint oil is usually safe on most wallpaper. Still test first before spraying as oil can potentially stain more delicate wallpapers.
  • Wood furniture and floors – Properly diluted peppermint oil should not harm most finished wood. Avoid getting excess oil that could seep into unfinished wood and cause spotting.
  • Tile, concrete, metals – Heavily diluted peppermint oil will not damage these very non-porous surfaces. Rinse off tiles or concrete after some time passes.
  • Plastics and vinyl – Spray very light concentrations of diluted peppermint oil onto plastics. The oil can potentially damage or stain some types of plastic and vinyl.
  • Clothing and fabrics – Avoid getting even heavily diluted peppermint oil onto clothing, upholstery, drapes, and other household fabrics as oil may stain.

Test on a small hidden section of any surface first when in doubt. Place cotton balls with peppermint oil in strategic locations rather than directly spraying porous, delicate, or easily stained surfaces.

Are There Any Risks or Dangers When Using Peppermint Oil?

Peppermint oil is generally safe when used correctly, but there are some risks and precautions to be aware of:

  • Ingesting peppermint oil is very dangerous, even small amounts. Keep all applications out of reach of children and pets.
  • Undiluted peppermint oil can irritate skin and eyes. Always mix with a carrier oil or water before applying topically.
  • The menthol in peppermint oil may aggravate respiratory issues for some people when inhaled. Ensure adequate ventilation when using.
  • Overpowering scents of peppermint oil can potentially irritate or deter beneficial animals like pets, pollinators, and predatory insects that eat other pests.
  • Some surfaces like latex paint, fabrics, wallpapers etc. can be damaged by exposure to oils. Test on a small hidden area first.
  • Mice may adapt to the scent over time and no longer be repelled. Rotate using other scent deterrents along with peppermint oil.

Take precautions when using peppermint oil and never ingest it internally. Monitor applications carefully and adjust as needed to repel mice while avoiding risks.

Can Peppermint Oil Be Combined With Other Natural Mouse Deterrents?

Using peppermint oil alongside other natural scents and substances that deter mice can increase effectiveness. Some options to combine with peppermint oil applications include:

  • Cayenne pepper – The spicy scent drives mice away. Sprinkle powder along baseboards and entry points or combine with water and spray bottles.
  • Cinnamon oil – Similar to peppermint, the strong cinnamon smell repels mice. Use cotton balls soaked in the oil or mix with water to spray.
  • Cloves – Whole and ground cloves also have a strong scent. Place along walls, in pantries, or use clove oil on cotton balls.
  • Garlic – Rubbing garlic oil or finely chopping cloves into a spray deters mice.
  • Citrus peels and oils – Orange, lemon, grapefruit peels contain oils mice dislike. Place peels or use citrus essential oils.
  • Ammonia-soaked cotton balls – The strong odor drives mice away. Never mix ammonia with other cleaners or oils.
  • Moth balls – The napthalene or paradichlorobenzene repels mice but use caution around children and pets.

Rotate using different scent deterrents to prevent mice from adapting. Combine with sealing up entry points and removing food attractants for best results. Monitor to see which combinations work best for your particular mouse problem.

At What Time of Day or Night Should Peppermint Oil Be Applied?

Mice are most active at night when applying scent deterrents like peppermint oil can be most useful:

  • Set out cotton balls soaked with peppermint oil or spray diluted peppermint oil along baseboards and other areas in the evening when mice are just becoming active.
  • Reapply peppermint oil every 2-3 days in the evening to renew the strong scent. The smell will dissipate with time.
  • Focus on areas where mice activity is spotted at night such as kitchens, pantries, and garbage areas.
  • For outdoor applications, evening is also best when mice begin foraging. Peppermint cotton balls in sheds can be applied anytime.
  • The strong scent of peppermint oil overwhelms mice’s sensitive noses as they become active at night.
  • If entry points, nests, or droppings are seen, directly apply diluted peppermint oil in the problem areas at night.

Daytime application can also help deter mice but the scent will likely fade faster when mice are not active or present. Reapply daily if using peppermint oil during daylight hours. Evening applications timed when mice become active tend to be most effective. Monitor activity and adjust application times as needed.

How Long Does Peppermint Oil Take to Repel Mice?

The strong scent of peppermint oil can encourage mice to avoid and flee treated areas quite quickly:

  • Mice will likely detect the strong scent of peppermint oil within 1-2 hours of application and avoid those areas.
  • Lingering peppermint odor on surfaces can deter mice for approximately 24-48 hours before fading.
  • Cotton balls soaked in pure peppermint oil release scent for 2-3 days before needing to be recoated.
  • Quick departure of mice depends on having sufficiently strong concentration of peppermint oil based on level of infestation.
  • Continue using peppermint oil for 1-2 weeks to fully motivate mice to leave and discourage return.
  • Sealing up entry points prevents new mice from coming back once current mice vacated after smelling peppermint.

The quick departure time of only a few hours demonstrates why nighttime application of peppermint oil is most effective when mice first become active. Results will also depend on properly diluting and applying the oil in adequate concentrations and areas.

Will Mice Eventually Get Used to the Smell?

Mice can adapt to scents over time, eventually diminishing the repellent effects of any single odor deterrent like peppermint oil:

  • With prolonged exposure to the same scent daily, mice can become desensitized within 2-3 weeks.
  • Switching between using different natural scent deterrents helps prevent mice from adapting.
  • Combining peppermint oil with garlic, citrus, cinnamon etc. makes scents more difficult to grow accustomed to.
  • Stopping use of peppermint oil for a week then reintroducing the scent can make it seem new again to mice.
  • Increasing concentration of diluted peppermint oil when efficacy seems to decrease can overwhelm mice’s senses again.
  • Sealing up home entry points prevents new unfamiliar mice from entering who aren’t adapted to the local scents.

Be prepared to rotate scent deterrents, concentrate, and locations to keep mice on their toes. Eliminating food sources and sealing cracks shut works hand in hand with repellent scents.

How to Make Homemade Peppermint Oil Mouse Deterrent Spray

It’s easy to make your own peppermint oil mouse deterrent spray at home:


  • 1 cup water
  • 10-15 drops 100% pure peppermint essential oil
  • Spray bottle


  1. Add 1 cup water to a clean spray bottle.
  2. Add 10-15 drops peppermint essential oil to the water then close spray top tightly.
  3. Shake bottle vigorously to mix and fully dilute the oil into the water.
  4. Test spray a small amount on inconspicuous surface and let sit 5 minutes to check for any damage.
  5. Spray along baseboards, walls, and other areas mice frequent. Reapply every 2-3 days.

Adjust oil concentration up or down based on mouse repellency needed. Always test surfaces first before spraying. Keep spray bottle out of reach of children.


Using peppermint oil is an easy, natural way to drive mice away from homes, sheds, garages, and other areas they infest. The strong scent overwhelms mice’s sensitive noses motivating them to flee treated locations. Focus on applying diluted peppermint oil along baseboards, entry points, attics, cabinets, perimeter fences, and anywhere else mice are active. Reapply every 2-3 days. Combining with other natural scent deterrents can increase effectiveness. With strategic use of peppermint oil, mice can be driven out of areas they’ve invaded within only a few hours without the need for traps or toxic chemicals.

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