Do Mothballs Repel Mice? Fact, or Myth?

Rodent Guide
Written By Rodent Guide

I believe in treating all creatures with respect. My mission is to ensure everyone understands how to protect their home from rodents without using cruel methods.

A few rumors are floating around about natural ways to get rid of mice.

Some are true, some are partly true, and some are not true. In this post, we will answer the question:

Do mothballs repel mice, or is it a myth? Should you use mothballs as part of your mouse control?

Let’s take a look.

What you will learn in this post:

  1. What are mothballs?
  2. Do mothballs repel mice?
  3. How do you use mothballs?

Do Mothballs Repel Mice Fact or Myth

What Is A Mothball Anyway?

Mothballs are balls of pesticide and deodorant. They secrete a powerful smell due to an organic compound called 1,4-Dichlorobenzene.

1,4-Dichlorobenzene evaporates over time, turning into a toxic gas for moths and larvae. This is why they are excellent tools when storing clothing. It is a proven method of keeping moths away.

How Do You Use Mothballs?

When you purchase mothballs, they are usually stored in airtight bags to stop evaporation.

Once you take delivery, it is simple to take the mothballs out of the wrapping and add them to an area where you want to repel whatever you are trying to repel. If you would like to repel moths (which they are for), you add the balls to your closet.

You can use mothballs to repel moths and other insects with various levels of success. Where you notice a heavy presence of insects, it is worth trying mothballs as a deterrent.

Do Mothballs Repel Mice?

The simple answer is no; mothballs do not repel mice. The gas is not toxic to mice, nor do they care about the strong smell.

I have tested using mothballs to repel mice, and each time it has failed. I have had more success by using peppermint oil to repel mice.

There are several reasons mothballs do not work to repel mice; I’ll cover them here. Ultimately, the tests I have completed have shown that mice carry on as if the mothballs are not even there, which is frustrating!

Not Toxic To Mice

Mothballs work well for moths and other insects. This is due to the toxicity of the gas that is emitted from the mothball.

The gas is not toxic to mice.

Due to this toxicity, some insects have a natural response to stay away from mothballs. As it is not toxic to mice, they will happily scamper near mothballs without a care in the world.

Smell Dissipates Quickly

Some folks have said that if you put mothballs in areas where you have noticed mouse activity, the mice do not travel through this area again. This is wrong!

While it is true, mothballs have a strong smell, if these are added to large areas, you will barely notice they are even there!

The bigger the area, the less effective mothballs are in general. As mice don’t seem to care about mothballs in restricted areas, they will care even less if added to an area where the smell isn’t that strong!

Smell Doesn’t Bother Mice.

I’ve seen mice trample over mothballs like they are bits of paper. They do not care about mothballs. It is like they don’t even exist!

If a mouse is happy to waltz over a mothball, it certainly will not repel it from visiting an area, right?

It was frustrating to see mice walk over the mothballs. When I started testing, I was confident that mothballs would repel mice due to the strong smell. Alas, they didn’t.

Frequently Asked Questions

frequently asked questions

What will repel mice?

One thing that will work to repel mice is to seal off their entry points. I’ve had various levels of success with natural mouse repellents such as peppermint oil. There are myths out in the wild, too, so do your research before committing to a mouse repeller. Mothballs do not work, but pepper and vinegar seem to do well.

Check out these homemade mouse repellent options.

Do mothballs repel rodents?

No, they don’t. Mice do not care about the smell of mothballs, and the gas is not toxic to mice either. Do not waste your time trying. Instead, you should look to see how mice get into your home.

Do dryer sheets work to repel mice?

I’ve tested the theory that dryer sheets repel mice. To be honest, they do not seem to care about the scent of dryer sheets. It isn’t something that I would recommend for mouse control.


Do mothballs repel mice? No, they do not.

I have tested the theory that mothballs repel mice and confidently say they do not work. All you will do is waste your time and money. During this time, these mice could be expanding in numbers!

There are much better ways to control mice in your home.

One of the most successful ways to repel mice is to stop them from getting into your home in the first place! This means sealing mouse entry points and removing temptation.

It is a shame; I wanted to answer this question: do mothballs repel mice, to be yes! But it is no.

Good luck!


About the Rodent Guide

I’m an expert in do-it-yourself rodent control. For more than 20 years, I’ve dedicated my life to helping people live harmoniously alongside these critters by sharing rodent control solutions that are effective and kind.

I believe in treating all creatures with respect. My mission is to ensure everyone understands how to protect their home from rodents without using cruel methods.

2 thoughts on “Do Mothballs Repel Mice? Fact, or Myth?”

  1. Peppermint oil does not work either. I placed cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil in nylon bags around my engine compartment. The mouse carried each bag from the engine into the air filter box and made its nest there.

    • Thanks for responding! It sounds like I’ve had a little more success with Peppermint oil but it is very hit and miss. The success has been seen where I have placed the Peppermint oil balls in very restricted areas. Although it sounds like you are doing that already by adding them into your engine compartment.

      If the car isn’t moved regularly, I would be setting up some traps inside the engine compartment (live catch traps). If the car is started up and moved regularly, you’ve got some pretty brave mice on your hands!


Leave a Comment