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Do mice dislike dryer sheets?

Mice are common household pests that can cause damage and spread diseases. Many homeowners use dryer sheets as a deterrent against mice, but how effective are they really? In this article, we’ll examine if mice actually dislike dryer sheets and look at the evidence behind some common claims.

Do dryer sheets repel mice?

There are two main reasons why dryer sheets are believed to repel mice:

  1. Strong scent – Dryer sheets have a strong, artificial fragrance that mice may find unpleasant and overwhelming.
  2. Oily coating – The oils and chemicals in dryer sheets can leave an oily coating on surfaces that mice dislike.

However, scientific research on dryer sheets as mouse repellents is limited. Some small studies have found that the scent from essential oil-infused dryer sheets, such as those containing mint, citrus, or eucalyptus oils, may deter mice. But typical artificially scented dryer sheets do not seem to have the same effect.

Anecdotal reports from homeowners are mixed. Some swear by placing dryer sheets around the home to keep mice away. But many others find the technique ineffective and say mice ignore the scent of normal dryer sheets.

Potential problems using dryer sheets as repellents

While dryer sheets aren’t likely to harm mice, there are some potential issues with relying on them as repellents:

  • The scent fades quickly. Dryer sheets may smell strongly at first but fade after a few days.
  • Mice become desensitized. Mice can get used to the smell if continuously exposed.
  • Limited range. The scent is only effective at very close range.
  • Can’t block entryways. Dryer sheets don’t physically block mice from entering.

So while dryer sheets may deter some mice initially, they are unlikely to provide reliable long-term pest control on their own.

Other smells mice dislike

Although dryer sheets themselves may not repel mice, there are some scents mice strongly dislike that can be used for home pest control:

Peppermint oil

Pure peppermint oil has been shown in studies to be effective at deterring mice, more so than other mint oils. The strong menthol scent overwhelms mice’s sensitive noses.

Citrus oils

Extracts from citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and grapefruit contain limonene, a chemical that mice avoid. Sprays and cleaners containing citrus oils can help discourage mice.


The strong, pungent odor of ammonia irritates mice’s respiratory systems. A diluted ammonia solution can be used to wipe down surfaces.


The naphthalene in mothballs gives off a strong, unpleasant scent that mice don’t like lingering around. Just be sure to use them safely.

Natural mouse deterrents

For a non-toxic approach, some common household items can help repel mice:

  • Dry spices: Bay leaves, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, or cayenne pepper sprinkled in nesting areas.
  • Plants: Mint, garlic, onions, or chrysanthemums keep mice away.
  • Vinegar: The sour scent deters mice. Wipe surfaces with vinegar.
  • Kitty litter: Use soiled litter from outdoor cats. The smell indicates predators.

Physical deterrents

Although scents can discourage mice, physically blocking their entry is most effective. Try these tactics:

  • Seal cracks and holes inside and outside the home.
  • Use weather stripping around doors and windows.
  • Keep food sealed in chew-proof containers.
  • Trim back branches and vegetation touching the home.


Normal dryer sheets alone are unlikely to be very effective at repelling mice long-term. The scent fades quickly and mice can become desensitized. However, dryer sheets infused with essential oils like mint or citrus may deter mice better. For best results, use strong-smelling oils and scents strategically along with sealing up possible pest entry points in the home.