getting rid of mice naturally

I have a very lazy cat. Actually, since I am currently cat-sitting for my mother, I have two. We’ve been finding evidence of mice in our spice cupboard and amongst the pots and pans, and the cats were showing no signs of waking up and taking control.

The mice also seem to be wiley enough to evade the traps that we set out for them. We check the traps in the morning only to find them licked clean of peanut butter and cheese, but not smicked mice (my technical term). So, I did a little research and decided to try peppermint oil since it was something I had on hand.

Apparently mice don’t like strong smells, so I sprinkled some peppermint essential oil in the drawers and cupboards affected. First, though, I cleaned them out, vacuumed up the mouse droppings and rinsed the affected areas with soapy water. Then I sprinkled the oil. I read that they recommended soaking cotton balls in the oil, but I had none and didn’t see any harm in sprinkling the oil directly into my old cupboards. The kitchen definitely smells minty fresh.

I also made sure that there is nothing that the little pests can get into. All spices are in mason jars and all food has been moved to cupboards that they can’t get into.

And here is the thing.. it worked. No signs of them. I did find one drowned in my toilet, but the cat was finally chasing something around the house the other day, so I think it chose its own end. I know he couldn’t possibly have been the only one, but the others seem to be staying away. Maybe he left a warning note before his final plunge.

Linked to The Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Wednesday Blog Hop
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8 thoughts on “getting rid of mice naturally

  1. EcoCatLady says:

    Hi there… found your blog through the Tuesday Tips links and popped over to check it out. That sounds like a marvelous idea for mouse control, I may have to give it a shot. I’ve also heard that spiders don’t like mint, and you can keep them out of the house by planting it near your basement window wells.

    You reminded me of a little story so I hope you don’t mind my blathering…

    We’ve got 4 cats, and one would think that this would be enough to keep the mice away, but every once in a while one decides to risk it. A few years ago we had a pair of adopted kittens who were about 6 months old at the time. The two of them had been fascinated by something behind the bookshelf, and I was hoping against hope that they’d just lost a toy back there. But then one of the kittens made a diving leap behind the bookshelf and emerged with a squirming mouse dangling by its back leg from his little kitty mouth. I wasn’t sure what would be worse, for him to let it go or to kill it right there before my eyes, but before I really had a chance to worry about it he dropped it and it scurried off behind the sofa.

    I’m not generally freaked out by this sort of stuff, in fact, I think mice in the garden are adorably cute… but somehow seeing the thing run across my living room I was reduced to a blithering mass of “eek a mouse!” Anyhow, my brain suddenly filled with visions of this mouse nesting and breeding inside the couch, so there was just no way I was gonna rest until I had gotten rid of it. So I started pulling all of the furniture out from the walls… I have no earthly idea what I thought I was gonna do if and when I uncovered the thing, but somehow it seemed like the thing to do.

    So there I am, piling all of the furniture into the middle of the living room, and the kittens were just going crazy… they were literally bouncing off the walls with excitement. I guess all of the noise woke the lumbering 13 year old fat cat, because he appeared on the scene just as I pulled the couch out from the wall revealing the mouse. So the kittens are at one end of the couch, and I’m at the other… trying not to scream, and the mouse is running back and forth between us against the wall, and then, suddenly, with seemingly no effort whatsoever, lumbering fat cat comes around the corner and in about half a second has the thing caught. He didn’t even hurt it – well, the fact that he has no teeth left might have something to do with it, but it just totally blew me away. I mean the kittens were going bonkers, and I was so worked up I felt like I was about to puke, and he just waddles up and catches the thing like it’s no big deal. Anyhow, I brought over an old yogurt tub and he spit it out into the tub and I took it out to the alley with strict instructions to tell all of its brethren that this was NOT a good house to invade!

    Guess it just proves that experience trumps enthusiasm every time!

    OK… sorry to leave such a long blathering comment… I think peppermint oil might be easier in the long run.

  2. Amy says:

    Haha, love the story in the comment, thought I’d share mine..

    We had issues with mice and two outside only kittens. Stupid things wouldn’t go away and I was getting angry. One day I saw the foil torn up, pulled the whole tray out into the floor and told my then 5yr old to grab the vacuum.
    One mouse ran out, I screamed. And started vacuuming up the mess. Knocking the alfoil tube another mouse ran out…

    So I sucked it up the vacuum cleaner.. Totally worked!!

    I then sucked it up, bought the poison I’d been trying to avoid, demanded kids not to touch the stuff if they found any and the nice all died…
    Until yesterday, kid said he saw a live one in the oven *cries*..

    Off to write peppermint oil on the shipping list

  3. Dorothy says:

    Given that I recently found a whole bunch of peppermint tea packets that had been chewed up and eaten by the mice in my kitchen, mint might not be as effective as you think. The cleaning up of everything and packing of food in mouse-proof containers is more likely to be the part that worked. If they can’t find food or water, they will go elsewhere.

    • Mine couldn’t find food or water, so they ate a drawer full of candles. The peppermint oil is really strong smelling, much stronger than tea leaves, and more off putting. The tea leaves looked like food to them, probably.

  4. 'Becca says:

    I’m with Dorothy–I had both peppermint tea bags and super-minty toothpaste gnawed by mice, and furthermore we tried soaking things in peppermint oil and it seemed to have no effect. Maybe only some kinds of mice are repelled by mint. At any rate, I’m glad it seems to have worked for you!

  5. Emily says:

    Hi there, just thought I’d leave a tip for the traps…
    If you can, stick with chunky peanut butter and try to wedge the peanuts in the little holes on the “cheese” part of the traps. The mice will try to work them loose, setting off the trap. I will be trying peppermint though!
    We just moved into what (what we thought was) a fabulous home, only to find mice coming up from the basement into our kitchen! ARRRGGHHH!!!

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