I Used Peppermint Oil to Get Rid of Mice — Here’s How It Went

updated Oct 31, 2023
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A bottle of peppermint essential oil is next to a spray bottle

I lived in New York City for 12 years, during which I learned that city life means you’re always going to have some kind of kitchen pests. At one point, I started seeing more mice than normal. What had been one or two mice a year somehow turned into a four-mice-a-month situation. Not good. When I told a few of my friends about the pest issues in my apartment, they all recommended I try peppermint oil for getting rid of mice — so, that’s exactly what I did.

Instead of using traps, I wanted to try to stop the mice at the source. I’d heard all kinds of sneaky (and natural) ways to get rid of pests, like using lemon peels to deter ants or making a DIY fruit fly trap by punching holes in the lid of a jar. Now, I was ready to determine whether or not peppermint spray would really work on mice.

Quick Overview

Does Peppermint Oil Repel Mice?

Yes! Mice find the smell of peppermint overwhelming and confusing, plus it disguises their natural pheromones, so if you place it where you’ve seen mice, it can help keep them away.

Why does peppermint oil deter mice?

Mice find the smell of peppermint overwhelming and confusing, so it will deter them from entering your house. Essentially the strong scent of the peppermint disguises their pheromones on pathways they’ve taken. It should be noted, however, that if mice are actually living in your house, the smell of peppermint isn’t going to make them abandon their happy home (and yours).

How do you use peppermint oil to deter mice?

In a spray canister, combine two teaspoons of 100% peppermint oil for every one cup of water and spray the solution around where you have seen any mice. You can also dab the oil on cotton balls and place the balls in your home’s mice-prone areas.

So, did peppermint oil work to repel mice?

Our SVP of content (and former editor-in-chief of the Kitchn), Faith Durand tried using peppermint oil to get rid of mice in the past with no success. I was, however, determined to give anything a shot and so I bought a plastic spray bottle and 100% peppermint oil and prepared for battle.

Before using the peppermint spray, I wanted to figure out exactly where the mice were coming from. To my horror, the superintendent of my apartment building pulled out our oven and revealed a rather large hole in the wall. So that’s where they were coming from — eek!

We were able to use foam to patch up the part of a hole that was behind the oven (where the mice were presumably coming in), but it also wrapped around to the sink area which we weren’t able to move. So, I sprayed the kitchen with the peppermint oil and, lucky for me, the mouse sightings stopped!

How long does it take for peppermint oil to repel mice?

At least in my case, using the peppermint oil spray was effective from day one. I’m assuming this success is a combination of the hole patching and the peppermint spray, but with mice in New York City (and honestly everywhere!), you have to use everything you got.

In other words: The best medicine for keeping mice away is a strong pest prevention strategy. Be sure to patch up any obvious holes in your home and pair it with a good product and you should (hopefully) see pest-free success. And worst case, make sure to reach out to an exterminator or other pest professional.

Have you ever tried using peppermint oil to get rid of mice? What was your experience?