A Look at Rodent Repellents That Actually Work

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While rodent infestations don't usually have an effective DIY solution, there are a few specific, naturally occurring scents that they find unpleasant. In this blog, we tell readers which rodent repellents work, and which ones are pure fiction.

5 common DIY rodent repellent techniques that don’t work 

If you notice a rodent scurrying across your floor, you may scream, and then do a quick online search for DIY rodent repellents. But which of these home remedies actually works? Let’s dive in! 

1. Cayenne pepper

One common DIY solution is to sprinkle cayenne pepper flakes around your home to deter rodents. There’s no scientific evidence that this works, and cayenne pepper is a very powerful spice that can cause a burning sensation when ingested. This applies not only to rodents but other mammals like your children or pets! 

2. Cinnamon 

Rodents are not a fan of the strong smell of cinnamon, and this seems like a great option since most of us have cinnamon in our pantries. But can it work as a rodent repellent? Cinnamon can be an effective DIY home remedy against rodents. But what rodents will do is just move away from areas where you place the cinnamon and carry on, business as usual! 

3. Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil is thought of as an effective method for keeping mice and rats away because they can’t stand the smell, which is true. The preferred method is soaking cotton balls with peppermint oil and placing them strategically around common rodent entry points. Unfortunately, the smell loses its intensity over time, and the effectiveness of this solution also goes away. 

4. Vinegar

Rodents do not like the sharp scent of vinegar, so it’s believed that it can be an effective rodent repellent. Common advice is to soak cotton balls with vinegar and place them near areas where you think rodents are entering your home and to use vinegar as a cleaning solution. Unfortunately, besides making your house smell like vinegar, this home remedy will do little, if anything, to deter a rodent. 

5. Other common household products

We’re going to lump these other common household products together - ammonia, bleach, and mothballs. These products have other primary uses, but some say that they can be effective rodent deterrents. It’s best to only use these products as instructed by their labels, and not for rodent repellent. After all, the fumes or the scents from these products can be toxic and damage your health if ingested or inhaled. 

There are many myths about strong-smelling items that can be used to repel rodents. The major thing to remember is that the techniques listed above could work, but not over time - and not without proper rodent exclusion techniques.    

3 common DIY rodent repellent techniques that do work 

The following techniques can be used to effectively secure your upstate New York home and prevent rodents from living there rent-free: 

1. Keeping your house clean

A clean house is the best way to keep rodents out of your home. Most of the time, rodents enter your home looking for food. Eliminate their food source by storing human food and pet food in sealed, airtight containers and regularly sweeping and vacuuming crumbs

2. Repairing interior and exterior damage

The best way to keep mice out of your home is to eliminate their access to your house. Inspect the area around the foundation of your house outdoors and along the baseboards or in cabinets or closets indoors for potential entrance holes. Properly seal these holes. 

3. Filling holes with steel wool

Rodents are expert chewers, and they’re able to chew through almost anything… except steel wool! Fill any holes such as air vents, kitchen cupboards, etc. with steel wool.  

Remember, when dealing with rodents, the best offense is always a good defense! 

3 risks of DIY rodent control

The point we are trying to make is that natural methods for rodent control can work… sometimes. But you shouldn’t depend on them. DIY solutions come with the following risks:

  • Time wasted. Experimenting with DIY home remedies could take multiple attempts, giving rodents time to breed and multiply - which they do rapidly! One or two rodents are manageable - an infestation is not!
  • Location, location, location! The key to success with at-home rodent repellents is knowing where to apply them. This means having knowledge of rodent behavior - where they hide and when they’re most active.
  • Don’t forget about prevention! If you succeed with DIY rodent removal, there is no guarantee that rodents won’t make their return. Make sure you take steps to rodent-proof your home to avoid future infestations. 

When should you call a professional?

Remember that few DIY rodent-proofing solutions are as effective as calling a local expert in rodent control services. Professional pest control technicians have extensive rodent-proofing skills and knowledge and offer services that target mice and rats and that put an end to the threat.  

Here at Thomas Pest Services, we offer:

  • A complete inspection of the interior and exterior of your home to identify rodent activity. 
  • Installation of a tamper-resistant rodent baiting system (if necessary)
  • Minor exclusion (or pest-proofing) on the outside of your home to aid in the prevention of future activity
  • Clean up any rodent droppings as well as implement other measures that will get rid of mice and rats.  
  • True partnership - we'll return to your home every other month to maintain your rodent-free home

If you live in New York’s Capital Region and Hudson Valley, just contact us here or call us at (518) 205-9494 and we’ll get started on solving your pest problems!


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