How to Get Mice and Rats Out of Your Home Without Calling an Exterminator

Forget the exterminator. Here's how you can get rid of mice and rats in your home by yourself using mint, peanut butter, and other household items.
Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
3-minute read


Mice Hate Mint

Mice hate the smell of mint! To get rid of mice in your home, head to the healthfood store and grab some peppermint essential oil. Dab it on cotton balls and place wherever you see the mice. Or, add a few drops to a spray bottle of water and spray around your home each day to keep mice away.

DIY Rodent Spray

It won’t surprise you if you’ve ever smelled them, but mothballs repel rodents, too. To use them to get rid of mice or rats around your home, place five of them in a Ziploc bag and smash until they’re a powder. Then put the powder a spray bottle along with a squirt of dishwashing liquid and fill with water. Spray around baseboards and anywhere you see pests, but keep away from kids and pets.

Best Bait for Mice Traps

If you’ve seen a lot of Disney movies, you probably think mice live for cheese. But when you’re baiting a mousetrap, a better bet is peanut butter. Since it’s sticky, you can be sure the mouse won’t grab it and run, and scientists say they love its sweet scent even more than your best piece of Cheddar.

How to Bait a Rat Trap

If you’re baiting a rat trap, there are a few things you should know. First, make sure to wear latex gloves while baiting the trap. Rats have a highly developed sense of smell, and if they smell the scent of humans on the trap, they’ll stay away. The best foods to use in a rat trap are their favorite treats: bread, bananas, soft cheese like Cheddar, and raw bacon. Place near any water sources or sites where you’ve found rat droppings.

Easy Mousetrap Removal

If you’re squeamish about having to pick up the remains of a rodent you’ve set a trap for, place the baited trap inside a brown paper lunch bag. Rodents like exploring small spaces, and once the trap has done its trick, you can scoop it right up and throw it away.

Get Rid of Rodents for Good

If you have a rodent problem, you know how tenacious the little buggers are. The most effective way to solve a rat or mouse infestation is to seal closed every way in which they’re entering your house. To help you figure it out, sprinkle baby powder or baking soda on your floor before going to sleep. In the morning, you’ll find paw prints where they’re getting in. Seal all holes with caulk to keep them out permanently.

Steel Wool for Rodents

This old household trick for getting rid of mice and rats works well, but it’s a bit gruesome. Fill holes and gaps that allow rodents into your home with steel wool. The rodents will chew through it to get in, but the steel wool will cause internal bleeding that will later kill them.

DIY Rat Poison

Kill rats while they sleep by poisoning them with boric acid, which you can usually find in drugstores and hardware stores. Mix one part boric acid with two parts peanut butter and shape into pea-sized balls. Leave out for the rats to ingest overnight and in a few days your rat problem will (hopefully) be gone. Just be aware that boric acid is poisonous to all animals, including humans! So this remedy is not good to use if you have children or pets.

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About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.