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How to Use Peppermint Oil for Pest Control

Updated July 20, 2017

Peppermint has a strong smell that many pests find irritating. The oil from this plant can be used to deter both insect and animal pests from the home. Many people enjoy the scent and have used peppermint oil to not only keep nuisances such as mice, roaches, flies and fleas out of their home, they have eradicated infestations for good.

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Peppermint oil is safe to use in homes with children and pets. It is easy to find in grocery stores, in the baking aisle near other flavourings. The scent is strong, compared to other deterrents, peppermint is far more economical.

  1. Fill the empty spray bottle with warm water. Leave a 2-inch space between the water line and the rim. Pour 1 tbsp of pure peppermint oil into the warm water. Replace the spray nozzle tightly, then shake vigorously. This ensures the oil is distributed well.

  2. Find areas where pests have been entering the home. Spray the peppermint oil and water mix into these areas until saturated. Windowsills and doorways should receive a light film.

  3. Move to the exterior of the home. Mist screens for the first floor and the basement, if applicable. Spray the visible section of the foundation and into any cracks. Cover bushes and flowers with a light mist to protect them, as well.

  4. Follow these steps once a month during the spring and summer months to repel any pests. Reapply after rain as peppermint oil is not waterproof. Those in warmer climates will need to reapply year round.

  5. Soak cotton balls in the peppermint oil. To fill many openings, place 10 cotton balls into a small container, then pour the oil over. Allow them to sit until all of the oil is absorbed. If there are dry spots, add more oil.

  6. Locate any small holes and cracks that vermin can enter. Stuff the oil-moistened cotton balls into the holes. Check to ensure the cracks and holes are blocked completely.

  7. Place leftover cotton balls into the bottom of indoor and outdoor dustbins to keep pests at bay. Replace these every time the can(s) are emptied.

  8. Check the cotton balls once a month. If the cotton that is reachable is at all dry, use a dropper to apply more oil. The cotton ball itself will not need to be replaced unless the originals shrink or deteriorate.

  9. Tip

    Peppermint oil is simple to make. Loosely pack a pint or quart jar with fresh peppermint then fill to the rim with good quality cooking oil. Allow to sit in direct light for several days, then store in a dark cabinet for two to three weeks. This formula is safe enough to use every day. Mist the home to freshen as often as desired. You can safely use this spray in the kitchen.


    Never use essential oils if there are children in the home. They can poison a child. Only use home prepared oil or oil purchased from the baking aisle. Avoid contact with the eyes. Peppermint is safe, but is very irritating to sensitive mucous membranes.

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Things You'll Need

  • Peppermint oil
  • Warm water
  • Spray bottle
  • Cotton balls

About the Author

Julie Fletcher has been writing professionally for more than four years and has been published in "WNY Family," "Baton Rouge Family," "Unique Magazine" and online at Familyresource.com and MomGadget.com. Fletcher attended Rowan Cabarrus Community College. Part of her health-care education was provided by training through Elderwood Skilled Nursing Facilities.

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