7 plants that keep mice and rats from invading your home

mouse entering home through hole in the wall next to Daffodils
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

It’s always a worry when you have mice in your home, or spot a rat in the backyard, and it’s so important to tackle pest problems as soon as possible. 

Learning how to get rid of mice or how to get rid of rats can be a challenging, frustrating and often, expensive task. But, there is a more simple, hassle-free solution to your pest control woes: plants!

Surprisingly, there are specific plants that keep rats and mice from invading your home. Known for their fragrant properties, these favorite plants and herbs will actually be offensive to rodents, since they have a very strong sense of smell, much stronger than what humans have. What’s more, these natural repellents are non-toxic, inexpensive and safe to use (unlike some traps), which is ideal for using around children or pets.

Bear in mind rodents are not only a nuisance, causing damage to your property and garden, but they carry a host of diseases that can put your family's health at risk. That’s why it’s so important to pest-proof your home and backyard.

So, if you’re looking for alternative, natural repellents, try one of these 9 plants that will keep rats and mice from invading your home.

Find out what are the 7 things that attract rats and mice to your home. And these are the 7 telltale signs you have mice in your home.

1.Garlic and onions

(Image: © Shutterstock)

We all have garlic and onions in our homes, and such smells are repulsive to mice and rats. In particular, garlic has a number of sulphur compounds that emit a pungent scent which rats hate. Similarly, a cut, raw onion emits a powerful smell that can irritate the eyes of mice and rats, sending them far away. And if ingested, this can cause instant anaemic symptoms in rats, depriving their cells of oxygen. In any case, place a few onion slices around the home to keep them at bay.

In addition, you can learn how to grow garlic from cloves in your backyard or in pots. If you don’t have a backyard or the time to grow however, you can make an easy garlic repellent. Simply take four or five cloves to make a puree, and add that to a pint of water in a spray bottle. Then, spray your solution around any areas where mice/rats are commonly spotted, or potential entryways. It might make your home smell of garlic, but it’s a small price to pay for preventing pests!


(Image: © Shutterstock)

This pretty, purple plant is known for its fresh scent that fills the air. But while the lingering scent is pleasant for our homes, it’s also repulsive to mice and rats. For that reason, try growing lavender in your backyard, or you could sprinkle a few stalks around the base of existing plants.

Alternatively, you could fill little sachets with dried lavender, and place them in the spots/crevices where rodents are likely to invade your home. Or you can opt for spraying lavender essential oils around the home. The powerful, aromatic smell should keep mice and rats at bay. 

3. Daffodils

(Image: © Shutterstock)

Although these popular spring blooms carry a pleasant, floral scent, they are repugnant to mice and rats. Daffodil bulbs can be planted around outdoor plants that attract rodents, or place the fragrant flowers around the home. 

What’s more, the whole plant is poisonous if ingested, as it contains Lycorine and other alkaloids — especially the bulb. This could result in diarrhea, vomiting and salvation for small animals. So if you have pets indoors, keep these far away, much like these flowers that you shouldn’t buy if you have a cat or dog.

4. Chrysanthemums

(Image: © Shutterstock)

Similarly, chrysanthemums are another colorful plant that emits a potent smell for mice and rats. The blooms contain a special combination of insecticidal compounds that can be toxic too, and an effective repellent.  As these are popular flowers, you can easily find these in your local gardening store, and either place outdoors or inside your home. 

Again, chrysanthemums are known to be toxic to both cats and dogs. Nibbling on one of these can cause some pretty serious symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, excessive drooling,and more, so keep pets away!  

5. Sage

(Image: © Shutterstock)

This fragrant herb commonly used in our pasta dishes, also makes a great pest repellent. Rats in particular hate the smells of both the green and white sage varieties. Simply sprinkle herbs onto soil, around outdoor plants, entryway crevices or crack around the house. The pungent smells should be enough to repel mice and rats from entering. 

You can either grow fresh sage in your backyard, in pots, or even buy from your local supermarket to leave outdoors. In any case, you’ll have a constant supply for your delicious meals! Other effective herbs with a strong smell include oregano, basil, thyme, black pepper and cayenne — which all can be found in your kitchen cupboards.

6. Mint

(Image: © Shutterstock)

Similarly, rodents hate the fresh scents of the mint variety. Particularly peppermint and spearmint, as these tend to be the strongest. Consider growing these aromatic herbs in your backyard, or placing them in pots to deter mice and rats. 

Alternatively, you can soak cotton balls in peppermint essential oils before placing them around the trouble spots or areas around the home. Just remember to remove them and replace once the scent has faded. Or simply mix a solution of two teaspoons of peppermint oil to a cup of water into a spray bottle. Then, use the homemade solution to target the areas around the home and outdoors where you usually see rodents. 

7. Lemongrass or citronella

(Image: © Shutterstock)

Lemongrass is a tropical, grass-like plant known for its fresh, citrus scent, that really doesn’t bode well with mice and rats. Ideally, grow or place lemongrass plants outdoors to ward off any pests. Similarly, rodents hate the lemon-like smell of citronella, which you can easily use around your home. 

If you can’t plant lemongrass plants in your backyard, you can buy citronella candles or spray their essential oils. In addition, if you mix lemongrass extract oil with other essential oils, this will be even more potent for rodents. In fact, lemongrass and citronella are the most effective forms of repellents, also known for getting rid of mosquitos, and other common pests.  

How do you know when you have a pest problem

Mouse eating leftover food

Mouse eating leftover food (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Typical signs to look out for include rodent droppings, stale odors, holes chewed through walls and floors, chewing on food packaging or outdoor plants, and nesting material such as shredded paper, fabric, or dried plant matter — often used as shelter. 

Other tips for mouse prevention

In addition to plants, preventative measure are key and you want to discourage mice from returning. The key things such pests are seeking are food, warmth and shelter — so it’s important to eliminate these sources wherever possible. 

Inspect your home for any holes or gaps that mice can squeeze through, and completely seal entry points. You can block points of entry by sealing any small holes in your foundation, siding, and doorway with caulk or weather-stripping such as Foam Insulation Tape, Weather Stripping Door Seal Strip ($13, Amazon), as a barrier. 

Remove any food or water sources, and keep your kitchen countertops and floors clean (and crumb-free) at all times. In addition, cover up any outdoor garbage or compost bins, and remove nesting materials such as wood, cardboard boxes and newspaper. 

Of course, if nothing else works, it’s always best to call in your local pest control services for professional help.  

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Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!

  • Saiguacarbene
    Overclocking mice without mice tho....
    If you bought silicone baking stuff, keep it boxed or glassed away or mice will hop into the drawer under the stove and ruin it on the way to being repulsed by lavender and nesting in a watercooling system in a remote corner.