Do Essentials Oils Work to Repel Mice and Spiders?

Becca Stokes
Written by Becca Stokes
Updated June 16, 2021
Essential mint oil
Photo: kazmulka / iStock / Getty Images

Essential oils don’t just smell great; some even use them in hopes that they’ll deter pests like spiders, mice, and other rodents

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Mice and spiders are cute in storybooks, but not so much in real life when they are chewing holes in your insulation and weaving webs inside your favorite lampshade. Getting rid of pests like these usually means buying traps or hiring a local pest control professional

However, some have turned to essential oils as an all-natural way to keep unwanted critters like mice out of your home and drive away spiders without having to kill them. But before you get going, there are just a few things you’ll need to know to get the job done right.

Just a disclaimer, more research is needed to know just how effective essential oils are at deterring pests. If you’re a fan of essential oils, using them in an attempt to keep pests out may be worth a try. We can’t guarantee they’ll work—but your house will smell great. However, if you have signs of an active infestation, it’s always better to enlist the help of a professional right away.  

1. Use Peppermint Oil to Banish Mice and Spiders

Peppermint oil is the most popular essential oil that has been praised for supposed home pest control. While mice and spiders are pretty different creatures, they both rely on the same thing: their sense of smell. If you’ve ever over-sprayed air freshener, you probably see where this is going. 

Applying peppermint oil directly or diluted with water to surfaces where they tend to appear may simply be too intense an aroma for the pests to handle.

2. Treating Entry Points Is Essential

If you want to successfully keep away rodents, spiders and other critters like them, you need to assess your home and try to find their entry points. Usually, they are easy to spot, as small holes at baseboards and windows are popular routes. 

Sure, peppermint oil sprayed on your counter may keep them off, but treating the areas where mice are coming inside should be priority number one, according to those who swear by essential oils. It’s much easier to keep pests out than to try and fight an infestation.

3. Other Essential Oils May Get Rid of Stubborn Spiders

While peppermint oil is the most popular oil used for getting rid of spiders, it isn’t your only option. Because spiders “smell” using their legs, several popular essential oils are also frequently mentioned as powerful deterrents for these guys. Lemon oil and orange oil are two other popular choices. Other essential oil options that may keep spiders out include tea tree oil and the ever-soothing lavender oil.

Garden Spider
Photo: Sandra Standbridge / Moment / Getty Images

4. Some Essential Oils May Keep Rodents Out

Peppermint oil is definitely the most popular essential oil thought to keep mice and other rodents out of your home. Plus it smells like Christmas, which is definitely a bonus. But, if you’d rather save that bottle of peppermint for your next footbath we totally understand. Other essential oils to try as possible rodent repellent include citronella, eucalyptus, and lemon.

5. Check and Replace Essential Oil Soaked Cotton Balls Often

One popular method of possible pest prevention is soaking cotton balls in peppermint oil—or a dilution using peppermint oil—and then packing holes where mice and other rodents might enter the home. 

However, what do mice like to chew on? Dried up balls of cotton. That’s why it’s important you replace your peppermint-oil-soaked cotton balls at least once a month to make sure the smell is nice and strong and that the cotton doesn’t become a mouse’s next favorite treat.

Mouse on a rock
Photo: Andre Penati / EyeEm / Getty Images

6. Know When to Call in a Professional Exterminator

While using essential oils like peppermint oils as pest control may seem like a great option, there are some jobs where oil just won’t cut it. If you are regularly noticing rodent droppings in your home, along with a strong musky odor and chewed up furniture, you may have a full-blown rodent infestation. 

You’ll need to hire a professional pest control company to get these critters out and keep them out for good. 

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