What Really Repels Rats & Mice?

by | Feb 22, 2024 | Pest, Rodent Control

Did you see a rat outside… Or hear one inside? Before you go buying a bunch of DIY rodent repellents online, read this article to help you decide whether that’s right for your situation– or if you need to try something else.

How Do I Keep Rats Off my Patio?

Controlling rats outside is a tricky task that depends on a lot of factors. Is there a food source nearby– like a bird feeder? Is there overgrowth that provides hiding places for them?

Always keep your yard as clear of debris & hiding places as possible. And refrain from feeding birds, squirrels, or providing other food sources for rodents to thrive.

What Really Repels Rodents?

What really repels rats and mice is an unsafe environment with no food and nowhere to hide. If rats have a safe place to hide, and a little bit of food nearby, no amount of garlic, cinnamon, eucalyptus, clove, chili powder, or peppermint spray will repel them away.

Do Rodent Repellent Pouches Work?

Rodent repellent pouches really do work! But it is a one-time situation, and must be used in an indoor, enclosed space like an attic, pantry, car, or RV– and as part of a bigger control strategy. As always, you’ll need to inspect for entry points, and probably set some traps to help you monitor too.

Can You Spray Anything to Keep Rodents Away?

The short answer is probably not. Rats & mice have the habit of getting used to human related food–and waste– smells. Spraying the perimeter of your yard with garlic, clove, chili powder, peppermint, cat urine, or any other kind of rodent repellent outdoors might work in the short term.

But if you keep using the same spray the rodents will probably get used it as it wears off. Or sometimes they completely ignore it from the start.

diy homemade ant repellent spray ingredients with vinegar, tea tree oil and spray bottle

Does White Vinegar Deter Rats?

White vinegar has a potent smell that rats hate. If you’re trying to use white vinegar to deter rats, you should find how they’re getting inside your house first.

Spray 5-10oz. food-grade white vinegar about every 300 sq ft. in a normal crawlspace, attic, or unoccupied room to repel the rats away. Spray known runways or into wall voids and entry points.

*Note: Test on an inconspicous area for staining, and avoid contact with skin, eyes or inhaling the vinegar.

There is no guarantee you will repel all the rodents. So consider also setting baited–but unarmed– traps to monitor for activity. Then seal up the entry point with 1/4″ hardware cloth or metal flashing shingles when there’s no feeding on your monitors.

Does Irish Spring Soap Keep Mice Away?

Irish Spring soap is not likely to keep mice away from your house– and the strong fragrances could even be attractive to them. Rats & mice might initially be deterred by the overwhelming odor, but after a while they’ll get used to it, and may even take a nibble to test it as food.

Will Irish Spring soap kill rodents? Almost certainly not, as they’ll start to immediately feel sick after their test nibble– and never come close to eating a lethal dose.

Does Peppermint Spray Really Keep Mice Away?

Mice, rats, and even ants can be repelled with peppermint spray. No doubt. But it’s where they go after that is a bigger concern. Spraying peppermint oil in your kitchen might repel a mouse away from your kitchen– but it might just go back to living in your crawlspace or attic.

Spraying peppermint oil in your crawlspace or attic might repel the mouse outside. But it probably won’t send them packing up to leave the neighborhood.

It’s always best to start by searching every gap and seam and getting a plan to seal mice out.

If you’re spraying a peppermint repellent outdoors to keep rats & mice away from your yard, rotate the peppermint repellent with a different active ingredient every few weeks for best results.

Do Plug-in Pest Repellers Really Work?

Manufacturers of ultrasonic plug-in pest repellents make big claims about their products. And they are likely to help deter rodents in the short term.

But if plug-in pest repellers really worked permanently, then all the customers that have called me after trying one, probably wouldn’t have…

Norway rat eating bird seed.

Will Rats Leave if There’s No Food?

If you eliminate all food sources, rats will be much more likely to leave you alone. But it depends on the size and the severity of the infestation. If you’ve tried repellents, eliminating food & hiding, and sealing entry points and you’re still having rodent issues– it’s probably time to call an exterminator. 

If you’re in the Portland Oregon area and need help with an eco-friendly way to get rid of rats or mice, feel free to get in touch today.

Pest and Pollinator contact information phone 9712319945 email info@pestandpollinator.com