Do Dryer Sheets Repel Mice?
Whenever people find a mouse in their house, they understandably freak out. Mice are no joke, and a mouse infestation can be a massive problem that is difficult and expensive to deal with. This drives people to look up readily available and easy solutions for trying to repel mice, so they stop coming into their homes.
One thing that comes up repeatedly when looking up at-home mouse repellents is dryer sheets. Many people claim dryer sheets can repel mice. But is that true? It is easy to see why people want it to be true. Dryer sheets are often cheap and on hand. But do they work as a mouse repellent? Not really.
Mice Don’t Like the Smell
It is true that mice do not like the smell of dryer sheets. Mice are heavily driven by their sense of smell. They don’t have good eyesight, and they like to find food and fresh air by smelling them out. The theory behind dryer sheets being an effective mouse repellent is that since mice hate how they smell, they will get one whiff and run away.
That might work on one mouse in the short term, but it will not deter a greater mouse threat. If there are multiple mice or if there is a larger driving force that is causing the mice to enter your home such as predators outside, bad weather, or food, then the smell is going to be the lesser of two evils for the small rodents.
Dryer Sheets Are Only Mildly Effective
Dryer sheets are a mildly effective deterrent. If the mouse smells the dryer sheet, it might be convinced to look for greener pastures elsewhere. The problem is, if the mice are already inside and setting up shop, some unpleasant smells are not going to deter them from creating a warm cozy home near a large source of food.
Would you pass up a free mansion just because it smells like cigarettes? You will see a lot of people online swearing by the fact that mice will be instantly repelled by the smell of a dryer sheet. Unfortunately, in many cases, that is simply not true.
Dryer sheets are most effective when they are brand new out of the box. A fresh dryer sheet does have a powerful odor, but the scent quickly wears off. To keep up the repellent effect of a dryer sheet, you would have to frequently change them out to keep them as fresh as possible, and for a large home or a busy person, that quickly becomes untenable.
Mice Can and Will Adapt
Mice are extremely hardy and adaptable creatures. They will quickly get used to the smell of a dryer sheet if they like the place they are living. The mice will overcome a dryer sheet defense, especially if there are multiple mice.
The adaptability of mice is one of the reasons mice infestations are so hard to dislodge once they get going. They are small, fast, and reproduce quickly. Mice are driven by safe places to live, easy access to food, warmth, and the ability to raise their babies free from the threat of predators. All of those drivers are much stronger than the repellent force of a dryer sheet.
Keep Them Out by Sealing Entryways
Mice rarely waltz through the front door. If you find mice in your house, there is a good chance they are coming in through an opening. Unlike rats, mice are not super great chewers. They are not going to gnaw a hole in your wall to get in. That means there is an opening somewhere that is letting the mice in. Look for holes in the drywall, damage to the exterior siding, or gaps in windows or doors that lead from your home to the garage or the outside.
Mice can get through a hole as small as an inch in diameter, so even a small hole can let mice in. Mice will smell the food, feel the warmth, and see the light through an opening and that is what is going to attract them. The best way to keep mice out is not by using a dryer sheet but by finding the places where they are entering and fixing the problem at the source.
When In Doubt, Call an Exterminator
The last thing you want to do is use the dryer sheet method, thinking that it is going to solve your mice problems, only to find out that the mice not only learned to ignore your dryer sheets but that they have been quietly reproducing in your walls without you noticing.
If you see multiple mice or have repeat intrusions, the best bet is to call an exterminator. You do not want a mouse problem to grow out of control. It is easiest to tackle the mouse problem when it is small rather than waiting for it to turn into something much larger and unmanageable.
When it comes to multiple mice entering your home, most of the time, you are going to need something a little better than a dryer sheet.
Dryer sheets might deter a single wandering mouse for a short period of time, but they will not be able to remove an infestation or deter determined mice from getting into your home. The fear of being eaten by a hawk is much stronger than the revulsion to a dryer sheet.
The best way to keep mice at bay is to find where they are coming in and seal the hole. If you continue to see mice in and around your home, it is best to call a professional to help deal with the problem before it becomes unmanageable.
Featured Image Credit: Noah Rolseth, Shutterstock