Does Bleach Really Repel Mice?

Rudmer Zwerver/

Written by Kyle Glatz

Published: August 6, 2022

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Desperate times call for desperate measures. When you have a mouse infestation, you may be tempted to try some unique approaches to keeping them away. That means trying to repel mice by placing down materials with smells that mice hate. A common question that people ask is, does bleach really repel mice?

Let’s take some time and consider whether you can use bleach to repel mice. More importantly, we will question whether you should consider using this product at all.

Why You Need to Keep Mice Away from Your Home

Northern Grasshopper mouse looking for prey.

Mice can breed quickly and spread diseases within your home.

You may have read the title and wondered why someone would be so desperate as to use bleach to keep mice away from their home. Such drastic steps are warranted, though. After all, mice are not just a nuisance that eats your food and leaves droppings around.

For one thing, mice can infect humans with some pretty serious diseases. Although mice carry rabies, it’s extraordinarily rare that it spreads to humans, if ever. Yet, mice can also carry hantavirus and hemorrhagic fever, to name a few of the most troublesome viruses.

Mice will definitely ruin your food as well. While that is annoying and costly, you should be more worried about their propensity for chewing wires and nesting. The average mouse nest contains between 2 and 6 mice, and they breed fast.

Mice only require 21 days to birth a litter, and the mice can then breed after only being alive for 6 weeks. That being the case, it’s imperative to get mice out of your house using whatever you have in your power. Otherwise, you can be overrun. So, let’s get back to the original question we asked.  

Does Bleach Really Repel Mice?

Putting bleach around your home or office is going to have some negative results.

Yes, bleach will repel mice, but it’s not something that you want to use to get the job done. Bleach has a powerful and unpleasant smell, and that will keep mice away in the short term. However, that smell doesn’t stay around very long without a great deal of the product being applied to an area.

As a result, you would need to spread around a lot of bleach to maintain an environment that would repel mice. So, the question is no longer “does bleach really repel mice”, it is “should you use bleach to repel mice.”

In most situations, the answer is no. You probably should not count on bleach to be your primary tool in getting mice to stay out of a building. If you used enough bleach to keep mice away from your home, you would probably want to move out.

Bleach is not a pleasant smell on its own to most people. Moreover, breathing in bleach fumes, spilling it on your skin, or inadvertently mixing bleach with other chemicals in your home can prove very harmful. This is especially true of households that have children in them.  

Whether you are spraying a bleach mixture around or leaving cotton balls soaked in bleach in areas of your home, you may be harming yourself more than the mice. After all, mice hate many other smells from materials that are not as harmful. Also, other methods of getting mice out of homes exist, too.  

What Other Smells Do Mice Hate?

what smells do mice hate

Peppermint oil is effective at keeping mice away without being harmful.

Mice can’t stand a variety of smells that you can use to repel them without endangering yourself. For example, peppermint oil is one of the most popular scents that people use to send small mice scurrying away.

If you’ve ever had overly minty tea, then you know the burning sensation that fills your nose when something is too minty. That’s basically the same idea behind using peppermint oil to ward off mice. In fact, you can find premixed peppermint essential oils that you can spray in places where you think mice are likely to hide.

However, you would only be replacing the smell of bleach with that of mint if you were to use this. It’s not recommended that you fill up your kitchen or bathroom with the smell of mint. It’s far better to take time to identify the ways mice are getting into your home and permanently remove them or relocate them.

That being said, other smells that mice apparently don’t like include:

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ammonia (reminds them of the urine of their predators)
  • Dryer sheets
  • Clove
  • Chili powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Vinegar

You can find a wide variety of ways to use these smells to keep mice from getting into your home. Some people insist on keeping dryer sheets in their cabinets while others have made peppery mixtures that they spray around the outside of their homes.

The bottom line is that if you’re looking for smells to keep mice away, all of these are safer than bleach.

Bleach Plays an Important Role in Mouse Infestations

baby mouse closeup

After you empty a mouse nest, you need to clean under it with bleach.

Although bleach is a noxious chemical, it has a very important use in mouse infestations. One of the most important things you must do to solve an infestation is to destroy the mouse nests.

After you find the nests that mice have built in your home, you need to dispose of them by putting on a pair of gloves and a mask and burning the nest in a controlled environment. That way, you reduce the potential for the feces and urine in the nest to spread any diseases to you.

Once you have finished that task, you need to clean the area where you found the nest. That is where the bleach comes in. This strong cleaning agent can help you thoroughly clean up the mess left around the nest. Moreover, it helps you do away with the nasty scents that are left by the mice. Bleach also dissuades other mice from setting up shop in the same area for a little while.

Does bleach really repel mice? Yes, but that doesn’t mean you should use it for that purpose. It’s a far better idea to properly seal up your house and prevent mice from getting inside. That way, you don’t have to negatively impact your health for the sake of keeping pests out.

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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