More on rodent repellents: Does mint oil keep them away?

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By Nanci Dixon
In the never-ending saga of me versus mice (read what I wrote about this last week here), the mice were once again winning. We moved from Arizona to northern Wisconsin – away from the pack rats and scorpions but evidently not far enough away from the mice. 

Sitting peacefully on the couch with my granddaughter, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. As I screamed, I totally confused a tiny mouse that kept hitting its head on the wall trying to get away from me. As it exited under the counter I raced outside to get the mouse traps I didn’t think I would need again this year. After twenty minutes in the dark searching bay after bay, I found them tucked behind three plastic containers and the electric cord reel. Note to myself: Write down where you put stuff.

I set the jaws-of-death traps and one after another, they snapped. They don’t snap quietly. Until 2 a.m. they went off – six very small fatalities and one casualty. One big mouse was still wiggling in the trap and was too fat to pull out from under the counter. It escaped. I could only hope the escapee was mortally wounded and went outside to die.

The next day I pulled everything out from the bays and discovered a veritable hoard of acorns but thankfully no nest. Yet again, I filled more entrance spaces with steel wool and foam. I put a down a bag of Fresh Cab and plugged in a sonic repeller, pulled everything out of my cabinets inside and found a trail to the back of the cabinet where wires and plumbing come in. Cleaned, sanitized, cleaned… and cleaned again.

I started to search online and watched video after video on things that did not work – dryer sheets they slept on, Irish Spring they ate, lights just helped them see their way to food…

Wait! Here’s something new! Mint oil! Really? I found lots of options on Amazon but couldn’t get delivery deep in the north woods. Several people had said peppermint oil and cotton balls worked but I had never tried it – until now. Cotton balls saturated with peppermint oil are now everywhere! Our whole motorhome (even outside) smells like one big peppermint stick candy factory.

So far so good. The mice appear to be totally avoiding us and the smell. Maybe worth a shot? Here’s what I ended up using.

##RVT960

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Montgomery D. Bonner
1 month ago

One fellow on YouTube has a channel dedicated to mice/rat elimination. He tried dryer sheets, (not bounce brand) snuggle I think, his did not work. Friend said to use Bounce one’s, we got small box, and I put them in every compartment known. So far, no mice. I did put down tom cat granules all around the motorhome, and put mice traps in all the compartments too. So far no dead mice. Checked last Saturday, will stop buy today and check again. But the compartments have nice smell to them. Might try the peppermint oil deal too.

Cycliste
1 month ago

Glad to hear the mint works on mice. When camping in a lot of the Sierra Nevada mountain campgrounds you will be advised by the rangers that the bears love anything mint and you should take anything like toothpaste, gum, etc… out of your vehicle and put it in the provided metal bear box at your campground to avoid attracting them.

Sylvie
1 month ago

Thank you so much, Nanci, for finding (and writing about) a humane way to deal with rats and mice! Reading the numerous previous comments that mentioned pretty grisly, environment-damaging and frankly, cruel ways to kill these small mammals was pretty discouraging. The one about exploding them with a carbonated beverage was stomach turning. So, thank you!!! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
And, Fred, Kudos to you as well for suggesting that methodically sealing up the access points is the best solution. We have a Bigfoot camper and a trailer and have never had ants, scorpions or rodents despite having camped from the Sierra to the Sonoran desert, and we credit the fact that we don’t have many cracks and have sealed up any small ones we did have. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Gosh! If one loves nature and want to be out in it, one has to learn to appreciate it for what it is and live alongside it .

Fred
1 month ago

I don’t understand why rvers continue to struggle with pest problems for years with solutions that don’t go the source of the problem. All these “solutions” online only temporarily help in a small spot. Manufacturers cut a lot of wiring or plumbing acess holes in flooring of rvs & they don’t seal them well.
The only tried & true solution to eliminate rodents & even ants or spiders is to spend some time under your rv examining every square inch of the underside for cracks, holes & loose putty or sealant that is allowing these critters to get in. Even your roof vents & windows need to be checked for spots where small critters like mosquitoes or ants can slip past the felt seals on sliding windows. If you spend the time needed to completely seal the rv with putty, caulk or foam insulation, you will not have a rodent or ant problem. I did this 10 years ago & have never had a mouse in the rv & rarely ever see ants.

Sylvie
1 month ago
Reply to  Fred

Yes! Good suggestion!! Thank you for pointing this out!

Philip
1 month ago

The best deterrent which never fails is having a cat.

Bob p
1 month ago
Reply to  Philip

I had a cat, all she did was catch the mouse, play with it until she got bored then turned it loose for me to get the mortally wounded mouse outside.

Deborah Mason
1 month ago
Reply to  Philip

We had a defective cat. He’d bring live mice into the house & let them go! We learned to never let him have free access to the garage (from the kitchen). With the door closed he had to ask to come in. And if he asked it meant he did NOT have a mouse.

Irv
1 month ago

Apparently these have been discontinued. This seems to be a replacement that doesn’t last as long or work as well:

Victor M805 Scent-Away Natural Rodent Repeller 

Leslie
1 month ago

Sorry Nanci I should’ve told you about peppermint oil. I’ve been using it for years. Not just Cab.

Robin
1 month ago

I’ve used mint oil for several years now very successfully after trying Fresh Cab, Irish Spring, and dryer sheets failed. I use aluminum foil to make little trays to hold oil-soaked cotton balls and place these trays in all lower cabinets, closets, and any areas (around slides) where a rodent could enter. I also close up any openings to the interior with steel wool and metal scrub pads. So far I have not had any signs of rodents while my RV is stored over the winter outdoors in a field with other RVs.

Rick
1 month ago

Been using peppermint oil for years. Happened across it on a trip to Indiana where they grow it for commercial sale. Was able to buy a full quart of raw oil from the farmer. Have been using it (not the same quart) for over 10 years and never have any mice, rats OR roaches or ants. Works GREAT! I spray it in an spray bottle in the basement areas of the coach. Used to put it on cotton balls but have found it doesn’t stain and works just as well (maybe better) spraying it on the carpet in the basement areas. Also spray a little around ground contact points (tires, jacks, water/sewer lines etc). Campsite always smells like a peppermint stick and no unwanted guests.

Kate Sparling
1 month ago
Reply to  Rick

Rick,
Where do you purchase quart-sized peppermint oil? Do you know if it available on-line or chain hardware stores? I am will to try ANYTHING at this point. Thanks