Homemade Mouse Repellents & Baits: {DIY Recipes & Tips}

Comments 42 Comments   Print Print    Email This Tip Email

IngredientsIf you’ve spotted mice or their droppings inside and around your home, you’ll need to get rid of them asap before they multiply and do damage to your house.

They can also carry disease or be infested with fleas and mites that will eventually find their way to your pets, magnifying the problem even more.

Here are a couple recipes I’ve collected for natural repellents that can be used around the yard as well as tips for baiting and using mousetraps indoors.

For Outdoors

For Moles & Mice:

2 TBS Castor oil
6 TBS liquid dish washing soap
1 tsp Tabasco
1 minced garlic clove
1 quart water

  • Directions: Mix a fresh batch before use, pour around the rodent hole. Reapply after each rain. Source: Natural Alternatives for You and Your Home by Casey Kellar.


1/2 cup liquid detergent
1 TBS Tabasco sauce
1 gallon of water

  • Directions: Mix and spray around rodent holes and in areas where they’ve been spotted. Apply after each rain.

Plant repellents: Peppermint, sage. Plant these in your garden and in flower beds along the house if you routinely have a problem.

For Indoors

Instead of using repellents indoors to encourage the critters to move along, you’ll want to trap them with inexpensive commercial mousetraps (otherwise they’ll just set up shop somewhere else inside the house).

First remove any food sources they have found (look for bags or cardboard boxes chewed open somewhere along the bottom), scrub clean all food storage areas and make sure there are no other food sources for them (other than what you’ve set out for them).

Effectively contain food and pantry items in sealed plastic containers, metal bins and glass jars. Do not leave any pet food sitting out and make sure pet feeding dishes are washed thoroughly after the last feeding of the day. Wash up any dirty dishes and wipe down food prep surfaces before going to bed at night.

Bait Suggestions:

  • Peanut butter
  • Pieces of banana
  • Raisins
  • Small pieces of bacon or pork fat


Dry cement powder

  • Directions: Mix 50/50 and place in a shallow dish or station in the path used by rodents (can be used for inside control). After feeding the mouse will seek water outside which causes the cement powder to react, quickly killing it. Source: ahc.sa.gov.au.

Tips from a vintage homemaking book:

Position traps close to floor boards in areas where mice or feces have been spotted. If children or pets are in the home, choose locations where they won’t have access to the poison. Keep setting a fresh batch out each night for at least a week to ensure they all have been snagged.

They are inexpensive and if enough are set, often a dozen or more, an entire colony may be wiped out in one night. Mice are creatures of habit and, as a rule, travel over the same routes night after night. If their paths can be discovered, set traps along them. Sometimes they may be fooled by making a runway of boxes and putting the trap at the end. Set traps around any secluded areas, under sinks and around possible food sources, such as garbage cans and cupboards. Set them in the kitchen, pantry, larder and cellar, or wherever signs of their presence have been noticed. Place the trap with the bait next to the wall (or pail, etc.).

For bait, use other foods in addition to cheese. They really prefer fresh bread, cake or doughnuts. They are also fond of peanut butter, chocolate, freshly fried bacon, sardines, nuts, bananas or apple parings. Another option said to be excellent is a mixture of peanut butter, rolled oats and chopped-up raisins, seasoned with a dash of aniseed oil.

To set the trap, press or tie the bait firmly onto the trigger. Set it so the trigger is released at the slightest disturbance.

Source: Woman’s Home Companion Household Notebook (1948)


  • Remove any nesting hot spots such as piles of newspapers, cardboard, wood, weeds and debris.
  • Keep trees trimmed away from the house (at least three feet).
  • Did you know: pet feces can attract rodents? Keep your yard clean.
  • Tracking them: they typically move around similar paths, if they’re inside try spreading talcum powder along the floor boards where you think they may be, you’ll see their footprints and may find their hiding spot.
  • Seal any holes, cracks or openings to the home with tightly packed steel wool and make sure all window screens fit snugly and have no rips or tears.

Print Print    Email Email

Published: June 1, 2011

What Readers Are Saying:
42 Comments to “Homemade Mouse Repellents & Baits: {DIY Recipes & Tips}”
  1. Charles P says:

    I live in a pretty thatched house in the Cotswolds area of the UK. Its great living in the countryside but with a roof made out of water reed we get lots of mice trying to share our warmth in the Winter.

    In order to stop being nibbled out of house & home I have to catch these (50 or 60 a year) and my favourite method is a metal trap baited with…. chocolate! Mice love it and if you use a flame to warm the metal bait tines on the trap before pushing the chocolate onto them they can’t get it off even with a really good tug and….>SNAP!<

    Their real favourite is chocolate with nuts in it if you want to pamper them in their last moments :^)

  2. Nikayla says:

    Mice really enjoy coming into my 80 year old house during the winter. We’ve lived here for 4 years and total i have killed close to 30 mice. I keep finding holes around the house and tend to fill them with balled up aluminum foil and then packed again with soil. One bait i’ve had great luck with is olives! That and peanut butter works great! I stay away from poisons since i have 2 dogs. Didn’t know that dog feces could be attracting them, i’ll try to keep up with the yard cleaning better.

  3. twistedhippie says:

    We were told to set out a small lid or bowl filled with pepsi. I was told that mice can’t burp and when they drink the pepsi the gas causes an internal explosion and they die. My neighbor used this method but I have not because they are inside our house I did not want them to get into the walls or somewhere I could not get to them, I did not want to smell the decay.

    • lena says:

      We’ve had mice problems often enough – mice really don’t start to smell. We even had a dead one we found in the basement – no smell. There might have been enough to cause a smell up in the attic, we never go up there to check. Would probably take many, many mice to stink.

      And we had a bad enough problem once to have to call in an exterminator with really good poison – the mice died where ever they died, and no smell.

      • Grace says:

        We usually can tell that we have a mouse because of the chewing and scurrying sounds, but sometimes they are in a part of the house where we don’t hear them. Instead, we smell them. Some people might not be able to detect the odor, but we do. It is repulsive to us. It smells very similar to a propane leak.

        • whimbrelgirl says:

          We knew we had a mouse problem in our garage because of the smell. It’s like an uncleaned hamster cage. Had mice a couple of months. Tried removing old sheets etc because found evidence of nest but they have moved to behind cupboards.

  4. Ladyredfox says:

    I live opposite fields and mice come in winter. I would not use wooden traps as I hthink they are cruel. Instead I have used a humane catcher: a flat box with a perspec lid and 2 tunnels. I bought it on line. and have caught 3 mice in it, then single ones.They love salted peanuts, birdnuts and museli. Always wash out the box thoroughly afterwards – do they smell the fear of previous residents? We also have electronic repellants.

  5. Delaine says:

    Every year, no matter where I live, I get a mouse or two in the beginning of April. When this began, I was living in public housing complex, so I had a hard time accepting their presence in my home. I didn’t think my home was dirty, since the year before I was on bedrest and barely any cleaning had been done for a month at a time. The building maintenance man actually showed us residents where the mice had chewed threw a cinderblock wall in the basement. The neighbors problem spread to me. This year, my home is a 120 year old building, so time has helped the mice find weak spots in the walls. My mother told me to wedge a Skittle onto the trap. She caught 10 mice once on one piece of candy. Hmmm, I don’t know how true that is, but since the candy itself sticks to teeth, the mice will either snap the trap when they bite down, or when they are trying to get their teeth free. Sometimes peanut butter dries out or can be licked off without setting off the trap.

    • Grace says:

      Some years, we have caught dozens of mice in Victor traps in our house. We have seen many mice do a lot of damage and can’t imagine a mouse being able to do any damage to a cinder-block wall. They have never gotten into our metal pantry cabinet. They have gotten past our cinder-block foundation only by chewing at the wood sill plate at the top of it.

      I wonder if the cinder-block was damaged some other way…

  6. Red says:

    Our house is only 14 years old, but as recently as 17 ears ago, this was a wheat field. So we get mice every fall, however there is one this summer who has his seasons mixed up. I watched this little fellow jump OVER one of the humane sticky traps we use, up onto a glass canister, struggle to get over the canister without falling back into the sticky trap. Sticky traps are relatively new, have they already gotten smart enough to avoid them? We put chips, cheeto’s cheese, peanut butter on them, to no avail!!

    • jessica says:

      Sticky traps are NOT humane!!!

      • mary says:

        Please! Rodents are not pests they carry disgusting diseases and they poop and urinate as they walk. Humane? If it works than use it.

    • Stacey says:

      We used sticky traps. Put peanut butter on the top of the trap if you get the ones that have the top.Mice have to go all the way in to get it.

    • Mandie says:

      yeah they really aren’t. They become scared and rip off skin and hair chew at their own limbs to become detached from these traps. Their noses can even become pressed to the adhesive and suffocate (those are the lucky ones) Most just end up missing feet and starving to death it is a horrible sad and scary way to die. If I was a mouse I would prefer to not know what hit me lol!

  7. Cathy says:

    I learned recently that mice do not like dryer sheets, so I covered stored furniture with some and put them close to where mice have been coming in the house. Haven’t seen or heard a mouse since. I was told that people who store restored cars in garages use them to deter pests!

    • Nancy says:

      Yes Cathy I do the same. It works great in our camper and our outdoor sheds. Its worth the few cents and no messy traps to clean.

      • janine404 says:

        have tried traps, peppermint oils, dryer sheets and month balls. ever since my neighbor cut down a huge bush (5yrs ago) we have had mouse problems. have caught them inside, in the garage and shed. shy of an exterminator, what can i do to rid them once and for all

        • janine404 says:

          and those things that you plug in the wall to send out a high frequency only bothered my pets

  8. Janice Kessler says:

    Dryer sheets did not work in the camper for us. What did work was a plastic wastebasket with “treats” – they can get in somehow, but they can’t climb up the slippery sides! Good bait is crackers with peanut butter and sunflower seeds. This works great on mouse traps as well -wooden, sticky, and “as a last resort” I added some to D-Con in the attic as a bonus.

  9. Valerie says:

    We use the new plastic mousetraps which are very sensitive. For bait I swear by “Dots” or “JuJu Bees”, gummy candies. I put a small piece in the trap and can catch many mice with the same piece. Saves the trouble and mess of rebaiting.

  10. Lyn says:

    I have found using EUCALYPTUS Oil in 500ml water and 3-4 drops Eucalyptus oil.
    Put in a container and wash out your food cupboards then wash down where you have seen the markings of the vermin.

    You don’t have to have mouse traps where there are children around and you don’t have have poisons around the house.

    NOTE:Pregnant woman shouldn’t use Eucalyptus oil, organise someone else to wash down the areas etc. 🙂

    Thank you TipNut for all you awesome and informative newsletters,

  11. Craigyp says:

    after hearing a mouse trying to chew through our “Council-Done” expanding foam cavity filler, I simply used some bare wire leading around the whole of the outer of the house (leaving no gaps) all of which was supported by insulating posts, but carrying a current dropped down to 100 Vac and resticted to 500mA, no neutral would be required, but I often find that providing a neutral also, will help prevent your rcd from tripping……. the one’s that dont learn seem to lie dormant and the one’s that do learn seem to vacate the area lol

  12. Craigyp says:

    However I did find that having the live on the outer had beter result’s, as I had less to clean up afterwards lol

  13. Lorna says:

    Peppermint oil, smeared on cotton wool tufts placed at intervals around the room in their path, got rid of my mice problem overnight.

  14. joe portman says:

    My daughter has problems with moles in her mulch &yard any ideas to get rid of

    • mindy says:

      you can use either juicy fruit or wrigleys spearmint gum the key is to not touch it with your fingers so open the gum pack and take 1piece out then cut in half with scissors while still in metal wrapper then use tweezers to remove gum from foil. Drop into hole and they will eat and die in the hole so you dont even have to worry about buriny after all done in one shot but note if you touch it with your hands they will not eat it.

  15. Lady Phrauge says:

    We find bay leaves to be very effective. We live in an OLD farmhouse and can hear mice running in the walls of our bathroom, which shares a wall with the garage. My husband loosens the toilet paper holder and we slip bay leaves into the wall crevice and re-tighten the dispenser. We keep our favorite farm cat in our garage at night. After we put in a bay leaf or two it is usually less than 48 hours until she leaves us a dead mouse or 2 right by the step to our back door.

    We give her a special cat treat, laying it right by the mouse and call her to get the treat. When she take the treat, I take the mouse (with a latex glove on my hand) and tell her “good kitty, get a mouse”. Doing this several times has taught the cat that if I give her a treat and say the words, she should start looking for a mouse in the vicinity.

    She is well trained, we are free of mice and (sorry if this grosses anyone) I give the dead mouse to my dogs and say “get a mouse” They eat it for a treat and now when I turn them loose to run on the farm I can say, “get a mouse” and the go looking for them. Both dogs are really good at digging out moles, voles and gophers.

  16. nat says:

    its probably not a good idea to give your dogs the mice to eat because mice are full of diseases.

    • Sheilaestella says:

      Thanks nat. I was thinking the same thing. Besides, I read somewhere that you should not feed mice to your pets. I wouldn’t want then to eat something that smells so terrible. Snakes like mice and rats.

  17. T says:

    If you live in an area where your permitted to have poultry get some guinea fowl. They’ll kill mice, snakes, bugs and eat weed seeds. As a bonus they eat the snakes and make good watch dogs. If anything out of the norm is happening on your property they will give a vocal alarm. Also they’re droppings are an excellent fertilizer.

  18. amanda says:

    Cat pee works too. I put a bowl of cat pee at the back door and it seems to keep the mice away.

  19. sam heffernan says:

    me and my mum found that mice go nuts for bacon on traps, we definately recommend this

  20. Peggy says:

    I live in an apartment and have found rat & mouse droppings in the bathroom & in the hallway. I haven’t seen any & hope that I don’t. I think they are in the crawl space. I live on the second floor there isn’t any attic to speak of, so I think they are running around all over the 8 apartments that are connected. The exterminator has been out every week for 4 weeks now trying everything. No help. Any suggestions?

  21. Heather Nye says:

    I’m looking for something long term. We have a cabin on a lake and only use it during the summer. The first trip up is really gross because the droppings are everywhere, from them wintering in the cabin. I can not go up there in the winter to keep replacing the poison, so I am looking for something that will just make the empty cabin a lot less attractive to them.

  22. Diane says:

    I have a mouse in my townhouse. It seems to live behind my stove or washing machine. At night it comes into my room. I want to try this cement and cornflour. I have a JRT but she sleeps in the bed with me so she isn’t much help in hunting it down.

  23. kelly says:

    Sitting watching tele on a night can hear mouse running past on my carpet last night seen 1 right infront of my chair iv got plastic snap traps but they dont seem to be intrested in going near the traps help!

  24. Gram says:

    Mice have taken up residence in my truck which I don’t use very often…yikes, SMELL, ..suggestions to remove smell, and mice…

  25. 3kids2dogs1cat says:

    Campers: We use dryersheets in the plastic totes w/ the linens & in our floor vents, moth balls in a plastic pnut butter container poked w/ lots of slits. We use this same trick under our cars in the garage & in our snowmobile trailer- as we found nests in our air cleaners. (I just park over the jar) No more mice problems in either area!

  26. Fed up says:

    We’ve been trying to get rid of the mice in our home for at least three months and it seems like the mice are starting to become comfortable with us. The mice are cute and little so we decided to buy lots of humane traps and fill them with Reese’s so we could properly relocate them once caught. We’ve caught two.
    There still seems to be one who thinks he’s Stuart little. He walks in the room and stares at us for a bit after we shriek and jump. It seems to be getting fatter and slower and he just walks by us like we’re friends. I caught it sniffing my foot the other day. As if its getting brave enough to say hi.
    Yes it is. I was sitting on the couch and felt something weird. It was UNDER ME!!!!!!! What the eff. I tried to talk to it but I guess it’s shy. I’m honestly thinking about saying screw the humane traps and just poisoning the little fracker.

  27. marge says:

    We had a bird feeder that attracted the small squirrels in our area, then mice. The squirrels got in our back porch & well cellar & tore off insulation. We also have to keep our garbage can on the porch, as we have
    black bear problems too! We used the 5 gallon bucket with peanut butter trap & it worked some. We finally put out about a half of a box of moth balls
    on the floor and outside where they were known to be. No more squirrels
    or mice! The bears were a different story- they are persistent. Had to use
    spiked boards to keep them out of the house.

  28. Betty says:

    My cats will bring me dead mice on ocassion . And I am thankful for that. But I banned them from my kitchen since they were kittens. BIG MISTAKE! Now I have some kind of rodent living under my fridge . Every nite while cooking dinner the sucker is chewing away! I have move the fridge and the chewing just continues, so he must be up inside it.
    I try to get my cats to come in to find it, but I guess I trained them too well. They won’t step a foot pass the doorway! If I put down something to kill it I am afraid it will crawl up inside and die and then the smell will ruin my fridge.