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8 min read / 29 December 2022 / Laura Garvin Gomez

Peppermint Oil for Rats: How to Use it and Does it Work?

Learn how this popular natural alternative can keep rats out of our homes for good.


There's nothing worse for your home than the presence of pests.

Rats can be pesky at best and dangerous at most, containing several risks to our health and safety plus creating an unsanitary environment for those living in the infested home.

In these cases, we tend to hear about the go-to options of harmful chemicals, poisons, or traps, but for those of us that prefer cruelty-free approaches, these choices may be completely off the cards unless totally necessary.

Thankfully, Peppermint essential oil is a natural and cruelty free option and has risen greatly in popularity for its effectiveness against deterring rats from the home, and can even prevent them from showing up at all with the proper techniques in place.

We'll be looking into just how effective peppermint oil is for rats, how to use it, and why rats are such dangerous guests in the first place.

Why are rats so dangerous?

Rats, like an increasing number of creatures, have become dependent on the human presence to live.

Like us, they require food, water, and shelter, which can all be obtained by keeping humans as close neighbours - particularly in larger cities where hidden spaces and surplus food waste can be found in abundance.

Rats can pose a major safety risk to our livelihoods. They can chew through electrical wires, leading to house fires and faults, as well as damage foundations and cause great structural issues in our homes.

Rats are also known for carrying nasty diseases like pulmonary fever, typhus, hantavirus, leptospirosis, and salmonellosis, to name but a few.

Since they use us primarily as a food source, these diseases can pass onto our meals and make us incredibly unwell.

Larger infestations of rats can also worsen cases of asthma or allergies in suffers.

Aside from these larger safety risks, rats can cause further disruption by stealing and contaminating food as well potentially attacking infants, pets, and more vulnerable members of society.

Since rats can sneak through crevices as small as two centimetres in length, it is very easy for them to gain access to your personal spaces, and colonies hidden within the walls of your home can grow exponentially in a small period of time.

Does peppermint oil repel rats?

Many sources have revelled in the success of peppermint oil as a chemical free rat repellent for centuries, with a 2010 review confirming these effects alongside a number of other essential oils in a controlled environment.

Due to the rodents natural sensory systems Rats are highly sensitive animals that can be deterred by even the slightest potent scent.

Like many essential oils, peppermint not only contains an extremely powerful aroma, but also a distinct freshness that rats in particular tend to despise.

Pure and natural peppermint oils with strong, clear scents will therefore work best as their aromas will carry for longer throughout your home.

This same logic applies for spiders too, so peppermint essential oil can also be used as an effective spider repellent.

While the use of peppermint oil for rats is a great preventative measure, it's important to note that this method alone will not prevent larger infestation cases.

If you find that your home has been completely taken over by rodents, it's best to call in a trained professional to deal with the problem before taking any further action.

Rat looking up from an indoor location.

How to use peppermint oil to repel rats

Finding out how to use peppermint oil for rats will depend on the severity and uniqueness of your situation, so feel free to try out as many different combinations as you feel necessary.

The majority of these uses work best as preventative strategies but can also help tackle small infestations in various parts of the home.

We've listed some of the best ways to use peppermint oil for repelling rats below.

1) Soaking cotton balls

The cotton ball method is fuss-free, effective, and easy to keep up, which is perhaps why it is one of the more popular choices when it comes to repelling rats with peppermint.

All you have to do is soak some cotton balls in the oil and place them strategically around your home.

  1. Grab a small bowl or ramekin and fill it with peppermint oil (a little goes a long way).
  2. Place the cotton balls in the oil and allow it to soak the oil until completely saturated.
  3. Place the cotton balls at entry points (windows, doors, or known crevices).
  4. You can also place them in spaces containing food like cupboards or known nesting locations like attics, garages or crawl spaces.

For the best success rate, we recommend replacing the cotton balls every three days to keep up their potent scent.

2) Making a peppermint oil spray

Rats aren't only repelled by the scent of peppermint. Common household items like dish soap and vinegar can also send them running off in a hurry.

Thankfully, both can be used alongside one another in a homemade spray, made using only a few simple ingredients you're likely to already have in your possession.

You will need:

  • 1 cup of white vinegar OR 3 to 5 drops of liquid dish soap
  • 1-2 cups of water
  • 10 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
  • A spray bottle

If you choose to use white vinegar, it may also be worth your while to add in half a cup of rubbing alcohol or vodka to help combine the ingredients.

This method also makes for an effective surface cleaner - so you have two products in one!

  1. Mix your ingredients into a spray bottle and shake well, making sure all of the elements are properly combined.
  2. Spray at will on areas where you have noticed rat activity or where you fear exposure from rats may be most prominent.
  3. Be careful to avoid using your peppermint spray on plants or other types of vegetation if you're adding dish soap, as it can be very harsh.

3) Blending essential oils together

Don't think you have enough peppermint oil to meet your rodent demands? Not a fan of the smell yourself, and want something to make it a little less harsh but equally as effective? An essential oil blend may be your answer.

Essential oils such as tea tree, cinnamon, citronella, and eucalyptus have all demonstrated pest repellent qualities that can help deter rats from your home.

You can follow any of the above methods by blending your chosen oils together and the end result may be even more effective than just using peppermint alone.

Never made your own blend before? Our essential oils blending guide can help point you in the right direction.

Alternatively, our Spider Repellent blend is great for getting rid of all types of pests.

Rat chewing on a leaf.

How to mix peppermint oil for rats

If you don't want to add anything stronger to your spray solution - like white vinegar or even dish soap - a simple combination of water and oil could suffice in keeping rats at bay.

Mix at least two teaspoons of water into a spray bottle and shake well, making sure to continuously shake upon application to avoid the water and oil separating altogether.

While higher concentrations of oil can create a higher possibility of repelling, it's likely reapplication will always be necessary regardless of the method you choose.

If you choose to use a blend of oils for your repellent, be sure to factor this into your measurements.

Try to keep as close to two teaspoons of overall oil as you can to avoid an overly potent solution in your home.

Other ways to prevent the presence of rats

Combining the frequent use of peppermint oil with other daily routines and methods could help safeguard your home against any future rodent infestations.

You could also use eucalyptus oil to achieve a similar effect if you aren't a fan of the smell of peppermint.

We've detailed some of the smaller elements you can implement to assure no rats ever enter your home again.

1. Keep up with home maintenance

  • Rats love small spaces and can crawl in from even the tiniest of cracks, holes, and crevices in your home.
  • Keeping these areas checked over and repaired can help prevent rats from entering, and ensuring any doors or windows are securely tightened can also stop them from accidentally sneaking in.
  • If you have vines or trees growing close to your home, routinely cutting these back may also prevent rats from climbing them and making their way onto your roof or attic window.

2. Regularly clean your home

  • Keeping your home clean by vacuuming up food crumbs and wiping away general grime can prevent any pests from lingering, and refraining from leaving dirty dishes out can also help if your area is known for infestations.
  • Additionally, storing cupboard foods in an airtight plastic or glass container can further prevent contamination from rats if they do manage to find their way inside.

3. Store rubbish correctly

  • Along the same lines as above, if you give rats access to a quick and easy meal, they'll go for it.
  • Appropriately storing and managing your rubbish reserves before collection can cut off their sense of optimism, and moving any bird seed or other pet food from an outdoor location can also deter their presence altogether.
  • If you want a little extra assurance for your rubbish bags, sprinkling a little bit of peppermint oil over them could stop them from becoming ransacked when you least expect it.

4. Use an ultrasonic sound device

  • Ultrasonic sound devices have become incredibly popular in recent years for their high success rate in repelling all sorts of pests.
  • While they are completely harmless to humans, the sounds and vibrations emitted from these devices are completely unbearable to rats and cause them to leave the surrounding area.
  • This is a great alternative to more hazardous manmade devices, and some models can even have their sound travel as far as 6000 square feet.

Peppermint Illustration

Peppermint oil is at the very top of the list when it comes to natural, cruelty-free alternatives to rat repellents, demonstrating its effectiveness all around the world as time goes on.

Peppermint is also a lot safer for humans than some of the toxic poisons on the market, giving it double the appeal as a preventative solution.

That being said, it is always important to remember that serious infestations cannot be solved with natural remedies alone, so be sure to contact a professional as soon as possible if you find your pest problem is severely out of hand.

Product Name

100% Pure Peppermint (Piperita) Essential Oil
Botanical Name Mentha Piperita
Scent Type Herbs
Benefits & Uses Fresh, Decongestant, Spider Repellent
Suitable for Diffusers? Yes, this peppermint (piperita) essential oil is perfect for diffusers.
Suitable for Candles and Soaps? Yes, this peppermint (piperita) essential oil is perfect for candle and soap making.
Extraction Method Steam Distillation
Bottle Type Tamper proof and UV resistant


[1] Sarinee Kalandakanond-Thongsong et al. (2010) The Efficacy of Pure Natural Repellents on Rat Responses Using Circular Open Field

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Medical Disclaimer

The content in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please consult your personal physician for any advice or treatment regarding specific health questions. Neither the article editor, writer, nor the organisation of Nikura takes any responsibility for possible health consequences following the information given in any article. All readers should consult their physician before taking any advice given within these articles.

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