Sumo Gardener

How to Get Rid of Mice and Rats in the House

Are you looking for ways on how to get rid of mice and rats? Whether they’re in your house, or your garden, mice and rats are a problem – especially if you grow your own food.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at some humane ways to get rid of mice and rats but focus on the plants you can use to prevent them from entering your property in the first place.

With some of the organic methods below in particular, we’ve seen great results at deterring even stubbornly established colonies of mice and rats from our house.


How to Get Rid of Mice and Rats

Grow Plants that Repel Mice and Rats

Growing Plants that Repel Mice and Rats

The strong smell of bay leaves, basil, echinacea, garlic, clove, and thyme can deter mice and rats from invading your house. To keep them away from your garden, you can place a few pots randomly or create a border of herbs around the outside of the garden.

You can also grow these fragrant herbs in the kitchen area, which later on can be perfect ingredients for your meals.

Peppermint Mixture

The refreshing and pleasant scent of peppermint is beneficial to your house and rodent control. However, mint grows fast and very invasive so it should be grown in a container. You can either place them in the kitchen or sink the planter into the garden.

To repel mice from your house, infused mint oil is the best solution. First, chop or more preferable, crush them to release the natural oil. Second, pour the olive oil over and place the mixture into a jar.

Finally, after 24 hours, remove the leaves using the cloth to strain the oil. This easy-to-make mint oil is a good mosquito, ant, spider and rat repellent.

If you spot mice and rats inside your house and find the suspected areas, use the mint oil spray. The ratio between water and peppermint or mint oil is 16:1.

Spray this mixture daily to keep the rodents out of your sights. However, be careful with your pets as they have more receptors in noses. My dog will never enter spaces with so many strong scents including spaces sprayed with mint oil.

Have Cats as Pets

How to Get Rid of Rats

Cats, mice, and rats are natural enemies. If your house is a nest for rodents and you can’t find out where they are hiding, just count on their predators – cats.

If the vegetables in the garden disappear or are gnawed on with mouse or rat droppings scattering all around, they have undoubtedly invaded your garden. It takes time and effort to find out where the rodents are hiding whether in the house or in your garden. 

Select the right cat that live both indoors and outdoors as it is a natural mouse repeller. However, small kittens or chubby cats might not be keen on stalking and hunting mice and rats.

In case of lazy cats, consider encouraging them to visit high-activity areas of mice. Because mice have a sensory organ detecting their predators, they fear the smell of cats.

Therefore, all you need to do is place a used cat litter tray near the areas that mice regularly appear.

Use Mouse and Rat Traps

Use Mouse and Rat Traps

Use humane mouse traps with then you can easily release the small creatures into the wild far away from your house and garden. If you are too afraid of killing a living things, live mouse traps are designed to safely secure the creature inside.

However, the concerned disadvantages are the size and the efficiency of the traps. As they are large enough for easy movement inside, they take space and only catch one or a limited number of mice or rats each time.

Just be careful with sticky or glue traps as they pose potential threats to your children and pets. As trapped inside, the mouse also endures severe pain and suffocates to death.

What is more dangerous, their feces and urine can carry a number of diseases and spread them to the whole family.  

Chili Pepper

According to a 2003 study published in Pest Management Science journal, pepper is among the most promising home remedies to get rid of rats. It’s all because of capsaicin, an active compound found in peppers that could effectively act as a repellent against rats.

In the said study, capsaicin reduces feed contamination caused by rats and consequently, decrease incidence of Salmonella infection. All you have to do is to sprinkle pepper in areas where rats usually hang around. 

You can also dip cotton balls on peppermint oil and spread it in areas where rats hide. Doing this trick will make it difficult for rodents to stand the heat caused by pepper.

Owl’s Feather

How to Get Rid of Mice

Rats are smart creatures. They can adjust their behavior and movement according to their surroundings to avoid getting caught. Apparently, there is one animal that rats cannot stand: owls.

A research from Department of Zoology at Tel Aviv University found out that while rodents learn to adapt to their surroundings, they do everything they can to avoid owls.

Every time they see owls or at least signs of owls, rats usually flee away from those areas. Getting an owl may be an option, but this would mean maintaining them too.

What you can do is to use owl’s feathers and place it in areas where rats reside or created holes. Seeing any signs of owls will drive them away from your home.

Patching Holes with Steel Wool

Rats could munch on almost anything just to make a passage, except for steel. It is so hard for them to bite this material, thereby making it difficult for them to invade your home.

What you can do is to patch holes in the walls where rats come in and out with steel wool. This will serve as a barrier that will prevent rats from going in and out of your house easily.

Placing Slided Onion

Onion as Mouse and Rat Repellent

Humans can’t stand the smell of onions – and rodents are not an exception. In fact, the scent of onions is among the most effective natural repellents against rats and other rodents, thereby helping you to get rid of them.

Similar to other home remedies, place sliced onions on holes, attic, and other areas where rats are commonly found. Make sure to replace them every day since onions rot easily.

Sprinkling Baby Powder

A baby’s smell will never be complete without powder. As much as humans love the smell, rats cannot stand it. This is why you can try spreading baby powder in their hiding places to drive them away.

Is it effective? Some say it’s not compared to the other home remedies mentioned, but it is a good sign to tell them that you don’t want them in your home. Baby powder could also intoxicate them, which may lead to death.


You might recognize ammonia as a cleaning agent, but did you know that it could remove rats in your home? All you have to do is to mix two cups of ammonia, two to three spoonful detergent, and 100 to 200 ml cup of water. 

Place the mixture in areas where rats are frequently found since they can’t stand the smell and good enough to make them go away.

How to Get Rid of Mice FAQs

How do you get rid of mice and rats permanently?

Mice and rats are clever creatures, and will generally find a way into a property if they are determined enough, so a permanent solution needs to be durable and last.

Planting scented herbs provides a continuous deterrent, but should be coupled with strongly reinforcing any points of entry.

What do rats and mice hate?

Peppermint, basil, bay, and vinegar are particularly useful plants and organic remedies for rat or mouse problems. When you’ve reinforced entry points to your home or garden, plant, or wipe the fragrances around the entry points to stop them hanging around.

Does cat litter really deter mice and rats?

In theory, placing used cat litter around your garden should deter rats and mice as they can detect the pheromones in feces, and the ammonia from urine.

However, it is not a lasting solution, and the scents and pheromones do wear off in time, so either repeat this regularly or use it to take quick action before using other methods.

Do rats and mice hate a clean house?

Rats and mice couldn’t care less if your house is clean, and will nest wherever they feel comfortable. While cleaning your house and hoovering to remove dust bunnies will reduce potential nesting materials, it is not an effective way to get rid of rats and mice by itself.

How many rats or mice are there if I see one?

Rats and mice are social animals and tend to nest in groups. So when you see one mouse it is either nesting, preparing for a brood, or part of a larger colony. Either way, there will soon be more mice around.

Now You Know How to Get Rid of Mice and Rats in Your Home

For me, the answer to any pest problem is always to look for nature, but we know that sometimes that’s not enough, so strongly advise using humane traps and relocating rats and mice at least one km away from your house, where they’ll be able to find food, so they don’t find their way back.

If you’re just looking for a deterrent though, herbs and heavily scented plants have very, very, good results when it comes to stopping mice and rats from entering your garden or house though, so I always suggest planting basil and bay as the first step.

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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