Dealing with a rodent problem any time of year is not only stressful, but it can be expensive and lead to property damage, health concerns, and more. That said, sometimes trying to remedy a rodent problem inside your home can include the use of harsh chemicals, poisons, and traps that can be harmful to people and pets.
Are you looking for a natural rodent control method that works? Then you’ve come to the right place. Today’s article discusses all kinds of natural rodent control options from products to home remedies that can help to keep your house and family safe and rodent free.
But before we begin, let’s talk about how to identify a rodent problem in your home, which types of rodents cause the most damage through the US, and what may have attracted rodents to your property in the first place.
Identifying A Rodent Infestation
Mice and rats are the two most common rodent pests in the US.
When it comes to finding a natural rodent control method that works, you should first understand your adversary. The most common rodents to cause issues in American homes are mice and rats.
Most of us in the United States are familiar with mice and rats. These pests can infiltrate our homes year round, wreaking havoc on our health and causing damage to the structures of our homes where they build their nests. Worse, they have even been known to chew through insulation and wires, which can be a serious fire hazard.
Are you dealing with a rodent infestation in your home? Let’s take a look at some of the most common warning signs of what an infestation might look like below.
Rodent droppings are small, smooth and dark. They are often the shape and size of a grain of rice, but can be smaller or larger depending on the type of mouse or rat you are dealing with. Finding rodent droppings is often one of the first signs of a rodent infestation, and these droppings can be found anywhere rodents have been inside your home.
This includes where they nest and feed. In fact, many people report discovering rodent droppings in crawl spaces, basements, attics, inside their walls, and beneath appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers. Some people have even discovered rodent droppings in food pantries. Yuck!
Mice and rats are heavy chewers, so another common sign of a rodent infestation in your home is going to be gnawed furniture, appliances, plastics, cereal boxes, baseboards and more.
Rodents make nests and often use materials around them to do so. If you have a rodent infestation in your home, you may come across shredded materials and fibers hidden in the back of cupboards, basements, crawl spaces, inside walls, or beneath furniture. These materials will often be clumped or stored together and are an obvious sign of a rodent nest.
A Musky Odor
One of the telltale signs of a rodent infestation in your home is a foul, musky odor. Rodent droppings and urine are often to blame for this smell, and the smell will be more intense depending on the severity of the infestation.
Hearing Rustling Behind Your Walls
Any rustling, scampering, or gnawing sounds inside your walls are a sure sign you’ve got creatures inside your home. Of course, lots of animals can infest your home and make sounds, from bats to carpenter ants to rodents. However, if you notice these sounds along with any of the above signs, you can count on the fact that you have a rodent problem.
Seeing A Rodent In Your Home
Last but not least, physically seeing a rodent in your home should let you know right away that it’s time to find a rodent control method. Where there is one rodent there are more, so it’s important to work quickly to find a solution that works for you to get this problem taken care of.
But why are rodents in your home, and what has attracted them there in the first place? Let’s find out.
Natural Rodent Control – Why Do I Have Rodents In My Home?
Rodents enter our homes looking for food and shelter.
Like many pests, rodents seek out places that offer them shelter, food, and a good place to nest. Most rodents get into our homes via cracks or crevices along the perimeter that we didn’t know were there, but others can find their way in through pipes, imperfections in our roofing material, or even ripped screens or gaps in doorways.
You’re more likely to have mice and rats if you leave food waste out and about. Dirty dishes left in the sink routinely, open and full garbage bins in the kitchen, and even improperly sealed foods in cupboards can all attract rodents.
Some forms of natural rodent control are simply about keeping your home nice and tidy and practicing routine home maintenance to prevent pest problems. Of course, if your home is already infested with rodents, other forms of natural rodent control may be needed to get rid of them.
Wondering what the best type of rodent control method would be right for you? Let’s take a look at some of the most common forms of natural rodent control options below.
Most Common Types Of Natural Rodent Control Options
Live traps are becoming popular amongst people looking for humane and safe rodent control methods.
If you’re looking for natural rodent control methods, you’re not alone. Organic pest control and do it yourself pest control methods are becoming more and more popular amongst people who want to not only get rid of rodents, but also protect their families, pets and the environment.
Luckily, there are plenty of different options for natural rodent control, many of which you may not have realized where available.
Some Of The Most Common Natural Rodent Control Options Include:
The old snap trap is a popular method of natural rodent control that has been used for decades to get rid of and control rodent problems in the home. However, these days many people find there are alternative types of rodent traps that work just as effectively without being lethal or messy.
In fact, live traps for rodent control have become more popular and may help you catch and remove many more rodents than a single snap trap could. Plus, live traps are also safer for curious children or pets, who could wind up hurt if they get too close to a traditional snap trap.
Other types of traps include enclosed traps, sticky traps, and baited traps.
- Natural Repellents
Rodents are sensitive to all types of smells, sounds and tastes, which is what makes natural rodent control repellents so effective. Some repellents come in the form of sprays and use essential oils and other natural ingredients to repel mice and rats.
Other repellents like ultrasonic pest repellers use sound waves and vibrations to deter not only rodents but also other pests like spiders, roaches, bats, and sometimes even lizards and snakes. These devices are completely natural and most won’t irritate people and pets.
- Home Remedies
Because rodents are so sensitive, many experts have found that plenty of home ingredients like cayenne pepper, hot sauce, vinegar and essential oils can help to repel mice and rats from homes.
We have added all of our favorite ingredients and recipes further down for you to make your own rodent repellent sprays and more, but first let’s take a look at some commercial products you can buy for natural rodent control below.
Best Traps For Natural Rodent Control
Traditional snap traps may work to control rodents, but there are other traps that are just as effective.
As we mentioned above, rodent traps have long been a popular and effective tool many people use for rodent control. Along with the traditional snap trap, which requires whichever bait you choose to lure rodents in before capturing and killing them, there are glue traps, live traps, and enclosed traps.
While most of these traps listed work well and are generally safe and natural, they each have their pros and cons. Let’s take a look at some of the products we recommend and find out if any of them might work for you for natural rodent control.
CaptSure Humane Trap 2 Pack
This rodent control trap can be used for rodents like mice, rats, and even voles and moles. We like that this is a humane, catch and release trap that will help you monitor and control a rodent problem in your home.
The trap is simple to set and safe to use in homes with children and pets. Just make sure that when you release the rodents you catch that you travel at least three to five miles away from your home to ensure they can’t find their way back.
Catchmaster Non-Toxic Glue Trap For Rodents
Glue traps are an effective form of rodent control, although we should note that they are somewhat controversial. While they work well and are a non-toxic method of monitoring a rodent infestation, they do not kill rodents immediately and may harm them if you attempt to pull them from the trap without using the proper methods.
That said, you can use these glue traps as a humane source of rodent control by using olive oil to release the rodents from these mouse traps once you have caught them.
Eaton Multiple Catch Humane Mouse Trap
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One of our favorite mouse traps for natural rodent control is this one by Eaton. It is a multiple rodent catching trap that does not require the use of poisons and it is not lethal. It can catch multiple rodents at once and has a window at the top so you can see the number of rodents in the trap.
Just remember that when it comes to catch and release traps, you should travel at least three to five miles away from your property to release the rodents so they cannot find their way back.
Best Rodent Repellents For Natural Rodent Control
Repellents help keep your home rodent free humanely and safely.
Many of our favorite repellents for natural rodent control contain ingredients like essential oils that are safe for people, pets and the environment. Other types of repellents are ultrasonic pest repellers that require an outlet or powersource to work.
Are you wondering what the type of natural rodent control repellent would be right for you? There are lots to choose from, and we have listed some of our favorite products for you to consider below.
MDXconcepts Mice Repellent Spray
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The above spray uses essential oils like peppermint and other natural ingredients to repel rodents like mice and rats. It will not only help prevent rodents from entering your home, but also repel any current rodents nesting inside your home as well.
Simply spray this product anywhere you suspect rodent activity like in your basement, crawlspace, in cracks and crevices, in the attic, and along the perimeter of your home to keep rodents at bay.
Mighty Mint Rodent Control Spray
Another rodent control spray that uses essential oils is by Mighty Mint. As its name suggests, this spray uses peppermint oil to repel mice and rats and keep them from coming back. Best of all, it is perfectly safe to use around people, pets, and the environment.
We like this spray as an alternative to chemical poisons and lethal traps as it is a humane, safe, and effective form of rodent control.
BH-1 Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
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Ultrasonic pest repellers are very popular for those looking for pest prevention that is safe for people, pets and the environment. The ultrasonic pest repeller product above works by being plugged into an outlet and emitting sound waves and vibrations that irritate pests like rodents, roaches, spiders, mosquitoes, fleas and even bed bugs.
This product will not irritate pets or children and does not require the use of any chemical deterrents in order to work. However, it may need to be used alongside other pest repellent products in order to be most effective, especially in homes with large rodent infestations.
Fresh Cab Botanical Rodent Repellent
Last on our list of natural repellents for rodent control are these scent packets by Fresh Cab. The packets are non-toxic and safe to use in homes with children and pets as they contain all natural ingredients like balsam fir oil and other plant based products.
The products are also easy to use as you simply remove the plastic around the packets and leave them in areas where you want to repel mice and rats.
Natural Rodent Control Using Essential Oils
Essential oils help to repel rodents and a number of other pests.
Because essential oils work so well on their own for rodent control, you may want to bypass any traps or repellents and just use these alternatives alone.
When it comes to rodents, the essential oils that work best include:
- Peppermint oil
- Citronella oil
- Lemon oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- And Tea Tree Oil
Peppermint oil in particular is one of the most highly rated oils to help repel mice and rats, but it also works to repel spiders, mites, flies, roaches and more. The above peppermint oil is a pure oil extract that is perfectly safe to use in homes with children and pets.
Best of all, it leaves behind a lovely, fresh smell that people love and pests like rodents and insects can’t stand.
Tea Tree Oil
Most popular for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antimicrobial properties, tea tree oil has long resided in many medicine cabinets. However, it also works to repel a number of pests when used correctly including mice, rats, and insects like mosquitoes, flies, and even bed bugs.
There are a few different ways you can use tea tree oil as a natural form of rodent control, including mixing it with water, soaking it on cotton balls, or making a repellent spray to wipe down cabinets and surfaces.
Lots of pests hate the overwhelming scent of citronella oil, which is evident by the famous citronella candles used to repel flying and biting insects like mosquitoes, gnats and fleas. But did you know citronella oil can also repel rodents?
Pure citronella oil has been a tried and tested form of natural rodent control for a few years now and works well when added to a number of different home made recipes, which we’ll list below.
Rodent Control Repellents Using Soaked Cotton Balls
- Soak as many cotton balls as you like in the essential oil of your choice above
- Place soaked cotton balls around entry and exit points and stuff them into cracks and crevices, rodent holes, and anywhere you want to deter rodents or have noticed rodent activity.
- Replace the cotton balls with freshly soaked cotton balls every two to three days to keep rodents and other pests at bay.
Rodent Control Repellent Essential Oil Spray Recipe
- 2 Teaspoons of Peppermint oil
- 1 cup of water
- 3 drops of dishwasher detergent
- 1 spray bottle
Mix the above concoction together in a spray bottle and add the detergent, which helps it mix thoroughly. Shake to combine and then spray the solution anywhere you suspect rodent activity or to help keep rodents at bay.
Other Home Remedies For Natural Rodent Control
Cayenne pepper can help deter mice and rats from coming into your home.
Along with using essential oils and other natural products for rodent control, you can also use some of the home remedies below.
The smell of dryer sheets may be pleasant to us humanes, but pests like rodents, bed bugs, roaches, spiders and bats can’t stand the overwhelming odor. You can place dryer sheets around your home wherever you have noticed rodent activity including in your basement, crawlspace, in the back of cupboards, and even near entry and exit points.
Irish Spring Soap
Have you heard of Irish spring soap for rodent control? This is a very popular method of control to keep pests like mice and rats away. You can use Irish spring soap in your garden as well to protect foliage from becoming destroyed by deer and rabbits.
Other uses for Irish spring soap include slipping it inside smelly shoes to keep them fresh and of course keeping your hands and body clean.
Though mothballs are not natural, they are a form of rodent control you can use at home. Mothballs are actually designed to protect fabrics from certain insects like clothes moths but they work well to protect your home from a number of other pests including mice, rats and bats.
Place mothballs anywhere you suspect rodent activity and along entry and exit points of your home to help deter potential rodent invaders from entering.
However, keep in mind that if you’re looking for a form of natural rodent control, you may want to bypass mothballs as they use a chemical ingredient called naphthalene that can be toxic to people and pets if ingested.
As you can imagine, anything spicy like cayenne pepper is going to deter mammals like rodents. The spice is irritating to their eyes, nose and throat, and if they walk through it and then attempt to eat or groom themselves, they’ll have trouble.
This may be a method that temporarily causes discomfort to rodents, but it is an excellent alternative to poisons and lethal traps for rodent control if you are looking for a more humane rodent deterrent.
That said, cayenne pepper will not work on its own to help eliminate a large rodent infestation in the home and should be used alongside other methods to work effectively.
White Vinegar and Water Spray
Mix equal parts white vinegar with water in a spray bottle and use this as an alternative to other cleaning products around your home. This not only works as an excellent sanitizer for tables, surfaces, and cabinets, but the strong smell of white vinegar repels mice and encourages them to vacate the premises.
Steel wool is best used for rodent control when used as a preventative. Use steel wool to temporarily seal up cracks and crevices around your home to keep rodents like mice and rats from being able to gnaw their way inside.
The reason steel wool works better than other temporary sealants is because rodents are unable to chew through it and often won’t even try.
Used Kitty Litter
If you have a cat and a litter box, you have your very own rodent control repellent. Scoop your cat’s dirty litter and sprinkle it around the perimeter of your home to repel rodents and other pests. Remember, cats are natural predators to rodents, so rodents will steer clear of your home if they know a cat is around.
Need more fun ideas for do it yourself rodent control?
The below video gives more tips and tricks on how you can repel rodents on your own at home.
Tips On Preventing A Future Rodent Problem In Your Home
Clean surfaces and floors often to remove food crumbs and prevent pests from being tempted to enter your home.
Part of a good rodent control routine is working on preventatives. The truth is, getting rid of a rodent infestation is often much more difficult than simply using routine practices to keep them from getting into your home in the first place.
Here are some of the best methods you can use for rodent control and rodent prevention.
Keep Up With Routine Home Maintenance
Keeping up with your home’s exterior is just as important as making sure the interior is in ship shape. Remember, rodents enter our homes through even the smallest cracks and crevices, so make sure you caulk and seal potential entry points for these home-invading critters.
We also suggest repairing any ripped or ill-fitting screens and make sure windows and doors shut and seal securely.
Store Foods Properly (This Includes Pet Foods)
Keep perishable foods in the refrigerator when they are not in use and store pantry foods in airtight containers that are made of a quality plastic or glass, including pet foods and bird seed. Any left out foods or open cereal boxes can attract pests like mice, roaches, rats, and ants.
Don’t Leave Dirty Dishes Out Overnight
Along with storing food properly, try and keep up on dirty dishes. Leaving them in the sink overnight can often end up being an open invitation to pests, so keep them at bay by either washing your dishes right away or putting them in the dishwasher.
Clean and Sanitize Your Home Routinely
When preparing a meal, we often accidentally leave behind small crumbs on counter surfaces, tables and floors. Wipe down your surfaces routinely using a quality cleaning agent.
Remember, citrus sprays or vinegar sprays work well when it comes to rodent control. We also recommend vacuuming and sweeping often to ensure you get any left out food particles on the floor you may have missed that could attract pests.
Practice Good Landscaping Along Your Home’s Perimeter
Rodent control begins outside, as this is where most rodents come from before they invade our homes. In order to prevent having a future rodent problem, keep your lawn and garden landscaped. Mow your lawn, keep gardens free of rotting plants, fruits or veggies, and keep shrubs, trees and bushes at least three feet from the perimeter of your home.
If all else fails and you still can’t seem to remedy your rodent problem, it may be time to contact a professional pest care expert. Unfortunately, a very large rodent problem in your home may be a symptom of a secondary issue that needs to be addressed, and this may require a more extensive treatment.
That said, if you are vigilant, stay on top of your household chores and use the above methods for natural rodent control and prevention, you should be able to protect your home and loved ones from rodents successfully.
Best of luck!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.