Country Lore: Peppermint Oil for Mice

One reader reports using peppermint oil for mice as a repellent was effective for her.

| December 2010/January 2011

I live in a 102-year-old house, on a small acreage, which helps explain why I had a problem and needed to know how to get rid of mice in the walls. (It sounded like they were having a party in there!)

The young lady that works where I shop recommended peppermint oil for mice. She'd heard from her grandma that all you need are peppermint-soaked cotton balls scattered about, and mice will split!

So I placed small, peppermint-soaked cotton balls all around the kitchen. I unscrewed two wall plugs and carefully slipped some in behind the sockets and, like magic, no more sounds of mice. Twenty-four hours later, no sign of the mice at all.

Norm Noe
Vancouver, Washington

Gwyneth Chenoweth Knolls
1/8/2011 2:22:47 AM

Awesome. Now how do you get rid of rats? And racoons? In my town it's illegal to trap a racoon (even if he's living in your attic or under your house) and relocate him down to the stream or to kill him. They're not so squeamish about rats. I have cleaned up all the fallen fruit, the wood piles and anything else that looks tempting for a rat. I've tried rat traps, but they ignore them. My dog doesn't even bark at them. They use her shed hair for their nests, so I've been brushing her more and disposing of her fur. I do have a suggestion if you have bees in your chimney. I did have this problem once and a beekeeper told me what to do. Place a large bow/pot/open container of Ammonia in the fireplace, block off the entrance into the room with a large piece of plywood (to make sure odors, and bees all go upwards) and wait for about a week. They will move on.

1902 Victorian
1/7/2011 10:07:38 PM

I would not use cotton in any concealed spaces, as it is flammable and poses a fire risk. Suitable materials would be fiberglass, cellulose insulation, or steel/copper wool. Never let any of these materials come in contact with electrical components (e.g. placed inside outlet boxes). My experience is that mice will use everything except steel/copper wool as nesting material.

Suzanne Horvath
1/7/2011 8:14:44 AM

The only thing you have to be careful about is getting the pure peppermint oil. I mistakenly bought what I thought was pure oil - evidently it was not. I think it was for cooking, which meant it had other additives (sugar?). My mice loved it - made a nest of the cottonballs under my stovetop! Good thing I heard a little noise and removed everything. I could have had a fire, and some very happy mice. :-}

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