Why would anyone purchase peppermint oil for mice? To get rid of them of course. The second sentence of “The Night Before Christmas” provides a clue: Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Not mentioned in the poem, but clearly visible in the illustrations that accompany the text in some books, are candy canes, hanging by the fireplace. One of the primary ingredients in a candy cane is peppermint, and mice simply can’t stand the smell of peppermint, or most other kinds of mint for that matter. Assuming those candy canes by the fireplace are not tightly wrapped in cellophane, no self-respecting mouse would even go near the living room, and might even prefer the snow outside to the terrible smell of peppermint inside.
The reason you purchase peppermint oil for mice then, to get rid of them. A few peppermint plants, strategically placed around the outside of the house also might keep them away, at least during the summertime. The problem with these plants is that it is during the winter when a mouse is most apt to look for someplace that’s warm and cozy, and in many parts of the country, the peppermint plants will have died back by the time cold weather hits.
Something People Like And Mice Do Noticeable
The nicest thing about using peppermint oil for mice control is that we humans find the smell quite pleasant, and we never really seem to get tired of it. It’s not necessary to have the entire house smell like peppermint candy either. It only takes a little bit of peppermint oil placed here and there to make a mouse want to go somewhere else. All one needs to do is soak a cotton ball with a little of the oil and dab it around where mice are expected to run or to congregate once the lights are out and everyone is in bed.
While peppermint oil is quite effective, your chances of ridding the premises of mice will markedly improve if you do a little housekeeping first. Sweep the floors, clean out the cupboards, and remove any trash or debris that happens to be scattered about, especially debris consisting of good mouse nest-building material. Otherwise, the mouse, or the mice, may simply go to a part of the house where the scent of peppermint oil is barely noticeable, or not noticeable at all.
A Peppermint House Plant Can Also Be Used
Just having a peppermint plant or two indoors might help, but probably not all that much. The leaves of a peppermint plant don’t have a particularly potent smell, unless the leaves are bruised or broken. It’s the damage done to the leaves, by bruising them, cutting or tearing them, or grinding them up, that releases the peppermint oil, and it’s the peppermint oil that is so fragrant and so pleasing to us, though not pleasing to the mice. If you don’t want to have to keep a container full of crushed peppermint leaves handy, tearing a couple of peppermint leaves apart and leaving the pieces where you think mice might like to hang out is usually effective. If there is a cat in the house, it may eat some of the leaves, since the peppermint plant is closely related to the catnip plant. If a cat eats too much peppermint it might get sick to its stomach, but it won’t become deathly ill. The same goes for dogs, who may or may not touch the stuff.
Cats And Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is another story. Peppermint oil should not be put on a surface where a cat could lick it off. Peppermint oil, or extract, is too concentrated, and can be toxic to a cat when digested. It is generally safe however to use peppermint extract to discourage mice when there is a cat in the house as long as the extract has been diluted. Even when diluted, the cat will smell it, but won’t be harmed by it. The mice will smell it too, and leave. That cat of course really should be doing it’s best to rid the house of mice, so there shouldn’t be any need for peppermint in the first place, but some cats would rather just watch the mice instead of trying to kill them, and some cats are even afraid of mice.
There are other scents that are more or less guaranteed to keep mice at a distance, or drive them away completely. Unfortunately, some of them can drive humans away as well. Mice can’t stand the scent of ammonia, mothballs, or onions, but most people would rather share their home with a mouse than live in one that smells like ammonia, mothballs, or onions.
Bay leaves are said to be effective as well, as is cayenne pepper. The problem with cayenne pepper is if there is a dog or a cat in the house, it might want to leave as well, or it may investigate the smell and get some it its eyes. Using peppermint oil for mice, or peppermint extract, or crushed peppermint leaves, seems to be by far the best and most pleasant way of ridding a house of the little creatures.