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What Smells Do Mice & Rats Dislike? (Quick Answers)

Are you having problems with rats or mice? Mice and rats cause a lot of damage and spread disease, so knowing what smells they dislike is important. How do rodents react to certain smells? They do! Let’s figure out what mice and rats dislike smelling.

7 smells that mice and rats dislike

There are many smells that rodents (mice and rats) dislike, but the seven that have been extensively studied and documented are acetone, ammonia, eucalyptus, and ethyl alcohol/ethylene glycols. Additionally, rats are not fond of peppermint, citronella oil, and chili powder.

Rodents may dislike other smells as well, and as research on rodent scent-aversion progresses, more information about why rodents dislike specific smells will undoubtedly emerge.


Rodents dislike acetone smells because they associate it with danger and destruction. The smell of acetone is also common in mouse and rat dens because it is a popular solvent in cleaning products.


Rodents are also repellent to the smell of ammonia. This is likely due to the smell of ammonia, which is similar to rotting food or the unpleasant environment rodents would avoid. 

Moreover, ingesting the chemical compound can be harmful to humans and other animals.


Generally, mice and rats are not attracted to eucalyptus due to its strong minty odor. In addition, eucalyptus oil can irritate their eyes, noses, throats, and skin, making it undesirable to them as well.

Ethyl alcohol/ethylene glycols:

Rodents find these smells to be offensive. They are commonly used in cleaning products and also have a strong, pungent smell. In addition, ethyl alcohol and ethylene glycols are caustic and can cause skin irritations, so they should not be stored near rodents.


Certain spices are disliked by mice and rats because they consider them to be poisonous or otherwise harmful to them. Chili powder, which contains cumin, is known to repel mice because it contains an allergen common to them.

Peppermint and Citronella Oils:

The scent of peppermint oil is associated with winter (peppermint blooms in winter), so it’s not surprising that mice and rats dislike it. There is also citronella oil, which is made from the leaves of the lemongrass plant and is used as a repellent.

Chili Powder:

There is an odor to chili powder, as it is made from ground spices that have been ground up, that is similar to chili peppers. Rats find this smell unpleasant, and this may be because it smells like predators or food that they do not want to consume. 

A good component of chili powder is its ability to deter rats and mice from entering the house.

Are smells effective in deterring rats and mice?

Several smells can be very effective in deterring rodents. Rats and mice are often scared away with garlic, lemon juice, harsh chemicals such as ammonia or peppermint oil, and natural repellents such as dried lavender or cedarwood.

Exclusion is one of the most popular methods of rat-repelling on the market today. 

In this method, scent capsules are placed near areas where pests are known to enter (such as along walls or under furniture) and Nest Busters traps are placed in proximity to these areas so that pests cannot enter. 

It is the scent of the capsule that will trigger the trap door, which will then capture and dispatch the rodent humanely as soon as it comes into contact with the capsule’s fragrance.

Where to place the smells to deter mice and rats?

The deterrents should be placed in areas where rodents are likely to be found for the best results. Food and water sources, as well as places frequented by these animals (e.g., under furniture, in cracks and crevices). The best place to put smells to deter mice and rats is here.

Under beds:

It is a good idea to put smells under the bed. Because mice and rats are notorious for getting into tight spaces, placing a deterrent near the bed will help to keep them away since they are notorious for getting into tight spaces. 

You should, however, make sure the deterrent is safe to be handled by both small children and pets to ensure its effectiveness.

In cracks and crevices:

One way to deter rats and mice is to place smells in places they’re more likely to hide (such as under furniture or in narrow spaces). Furthermore, putting smells in cracks and crevices will make it harder for them to locate food and water.

On the floor:

The floor is the best place to place smells to deter mice and rats. By doing this, they won’t explore your belongings or climb up on surfaces where they may get stuck.

In a plant:

Rodents can be deterred by placing smells in plants. You can repel rats by adding peppermint oil or lavender flowers to your garden, for example. 

Be sure to follow the label instructions carefully, as incorrect use of these repellents could lead to plant damage.

Corner of the room:

Rodents are often attracted to corners, so placing smells there can deter them. Furthermore, placing food in these areas can encourage the rodents to leave.

What smells do mice and rats like?

The sense of smell in mice and rats is very strong. Rats like the smell of any food that they like to eat. Therefore, if you place a portion of food near the area in which they live, they will come to eat it as soon as you put it there. 

Among the most common smells that mice and rats like are the smells of fruits, cheese, cake, ice cream, biscuits, chocolates, and vegetables.

Aside from this, they also like the smells of pet waste, pet food, garbage containers, barbecue grills, bird feeders, and even the smells of unharvested fruit and nuts from plants that haven’t yet been harvested. 

It is also recommended to use a type of mothball called “Rattray” in your home, as it has a strong odor that rodents don’t like.

Tips to make mice and rats go away and prevent them from coming

It is not always a good thing to have mice or rats in the house. You can deter mice and rats from entering your home, or keep them from staying too long, by doing a few things.

Store all food in a clean, sealed container:

Food that is not properly stored will be easy to access by rodents. Food should be stored in closed containers with intact seals. Keep food out of closed containers, however, as they can become hot. 

Rodents may be more likely to try eating the food if it is more appealing to them.

Keep your home clean:

Keep your home clean by using an effective cleaning product as well as dusting regularly to keep mice and rats away. 

You can also reduce the population of mice in your home by removing anything that could provide them with shelter or concealment (e.g., porches, eaves, crawl spaces).

Use traps:

The use of traps can be a great way to get rid of mice and rats in your home once they have got into it. Place the trap where you know they have been entering (such as in an area where there is a lot of traffic), and then release them outside as soon as possible. 

Set the trap in a place where pets may cross over it, as this could lead to the loss of the pet.

Clean up spills:

Make sure to clean up spills on surfaces around your house as soon as possible. As a result, rodents will not be able to come into contact with the spill and will not be harmed by it. 

However, you should not try to catch the rodent in the spill – you will only frustrate yourself, as well as the rodent if you attempt to do so.

Seal openings:

Keep mice and rats out of your house by sealing all holes and cracks. The use of caulking, weather stripping, and metal flashing can make this possible. Ensure that all appliances and devices have tight-fitting lids and seals.

Keep leaves and debris clean:

Rodents may be attracted to leaves or debris on the ground. Keep leaves and other objects clean so rodents won’t find a home there. Make sure to clean up any spills or messes immediately.

Use a mouse or rat-proof cage:

A mouse or rat-proof cage is always a good idea if you are concerned about mice or rats in your home. Keeping rodents out and preventing them from entering will help keep them away.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, rats and mice dislike the smell of acetone, ammonia, eucalyptus, and ethyl alcohol/ethylene glycol. Place the smell under the bed, in the corner of the room, and in cracks and crevices to deter them. Clean your home regularly and use traps to eliminate mice and rats from your residence.