Peppermint Oil For Squirrels: Does It Deter Them?

Peppermint oil for squirrels

Using peppermint oil for squirrels is a highly effective and simple method that all homeowners should consider. There are very few downsides!

Read this guide to learn everything you need to know about repelling squirrels and keeping them away with peppermint oil. You’ll be amazed by how easy it is!

Does Peppermint Oil Repel Squirrels?

Peppermint oil is one of the more popular essential oils you’ll find on the market. It’s widely used in traditional medicine, acting as a topical solution for aches and pains. Many also use it to enjoy the rich menthol scent.

The oil is surprisingly robust. Only a few drops will produce an aroma that permeates through the air. Because it’s so potent, using peppermint oil to repel squirrels and keep them away is an effective method!

These backyard pests have a knack for getting into trouble. While they’re fun to observe from afar, squirrels can ruin bird feeders, rummage through your garden, damage your lawn, and more. Some can even invade your home, wreaking havoc in your attic or crawlspace.

People have tried countless methods to deal with these pests. And believe it or not, one of the most efficient and most straightforward solutions is peppermint oil.

A squirrel being repelled by peppermint oil

But why does it work so well?

It all comes down to the smell. Squirrels have a pretty decent sense of smell. While not as strong as other animals, it’s far more powerful than a human’s capabilities. These animals can find and retrieve food they bury, after all.

Peppermint is too much for the animal’s sensitive olfactory glands to handle. It overwhelms the senses, making it difficult for the animals to function. So, they tend to avoid it. You can use that hatred for strong smells to your advantage.

How To Make Peppermint Oil Spray For Squirrels

The easiest way to use peppermint oil for squirrels is to make a simple spray. Whether spraying your garden or dousing a bird feeder, sprays work well in terms of application and staying power.

In order to make peppermint oil spray for squirrels, all you need is a bottle of clean water. Pour the water into a spray bottle and add a few drops of peppermint oil. You don’t need very much, and most recommend starting with only a few drops to play it safe. This stuff is potent!

The oil will separate from the water, so it’s good to give the bottle a good shake before using it. Spray the solution liberally around places squirrels like to frequent, and you’ll get the smell everywhere. That should be enough to keep the squirrels out.

If not, you can always adjust your solution. Add more drops of the peppermint oil to increase intensity. You can do a 50/50 ratio of oil to water if you have the means to do so. That should be more than enough to do the trick!

How To Use Peppermint Oil To Deter Squirrels

Peppermint oil is a versatile liquid that you can use in many different ways. It’s easy to use, and you can easily get creative. Getting things right might involve some trial and error, but once you find the right solution for the pests invading your outdoor space, it’ll work wonders to keep them out.

If the simple peppermint oil spray method isn’t repelling squirrels, try these methods.

The Cotton Ball Method

Want to make sure that the peppermint oil you’re using to deter squirrels is potent? Try using cotton balls. Organic cotton is a great oil carrier.

The cotton soaks the oil right up, slowing down its evaporation and letting the smell linger as long as possible. You’d have to reapply every couple of days with regular water-diluted spray to maintain the scene. That’s not the case with soaked cotton balls.

The oil can stay in the cotton for several days, making it a low-maintenance option. Best of all, it’s relatively safe for the environment. Cotton is entirely biodegradable, unlike other repelling methods.

All you have to do is soak the cotton balls and place them close together in your desired spot. The smell will be potent but won’t have the farthest reach.

As a result, this technique is best if you have a small area you want to keep squirrels away from. That could be a small garden patch, a potted plant, or even around the stakes of a bird feeder.

Mixing Vinegar & Peppermint Oil

This technique is similar to the peppermint oil spray method we went over earlier. But instead of using simple water as your base, you’re doing a one-two punch with vinegar.

Vinegar also has an overwhelming smell for these animals. It’s tough on the senses, making it the perfect addition to a peppermint-infused spray to keep squirrels away.

Add about one drop of peppermint oil to one ounce of vinegar in a spray bottle. You’re free to use any vinegar you have on hand. Both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar work fine. But if potency is your main priority, go with the latter for its richness.

Harnessing The Power Of Peppermint Plants

If you’re not keen on spraying peppermint oil in your yard or hiding soaked cotton balls, you can go the all-natural route. Peppermint oil comes from the peppermint plant. Instead of using oils, you can use the plant to repel squirrels.

Plants aren’t going to have the same potency as pure oil. However, they will have a strong smell. Just being around a peppermint plant makes that obvious.

Have a few small peppermint plants in movable pots. You can arrange the pots as you see fit to create an odorous barrier for the squirrels.

Expert Tip: Be careful with this method. Peppermint can be an invasive plant if you’re not careful.

Finding The Perfect Placement

No matter how you decide to use peppermint oil for squirrels, placement is the most important thing to consider. Peppermint oil is strong and will do a good job of repelling squirrels, but you need to focus on areas you want to prevent squirrels from entering. 

Think of the oil as an invisible wall. When applied strategically, the odor will waft into the air, creating a no-go zone for these critters.

So, where should you put your peppermint oil solution?

That all depends on what issues you’re currently facing. To keep these animals out of your yard entirely, you’ll need to prioritize entrances and perimeters. Concentrate on the fence gate.

If the squirrels love to climb along the fence line, you can spray the essential oil onto the top of the structure.

You can also spray around trees and other common climbing surfaces. Don’t forget about the areas they like to rummage through. That means spreading it around trash cans, bird feeders, and any other locations they hang around.

Don’t be afraid to spray the peppermint oil solution around your home to keep squirrels away. Squirrels climb up gutters and eaves, providing easy access to attic spaces. Spray the oil along those entrances, and it should be enough to keep them out.

Is It Safe?

For the most part, using peppermint oil for squirrels is safe when it comes to humans. It’s frequently used in both topical and oral applications, so you don’t have to worry about ill effects on you or your family.

But when it comes to pets, it’s a different story.

Peppermint oil is potentially toxic to cats and dogs. Both will dislike it just as much as a squirrel does. But if they happen to get into the stuff, it can cause irritation and many health complications.

Cats are particularly sensitive. If ingested, it may cause liver and kidney problems.

If you have pets, you might want to reconsider using peppermint oil to repel squirrels and keep them away. Alternatively, you can also take some safety precautions. Before applying the solution of your choice, remove your pets and keep them inside.

After application, give the oil time to dry and evaporate before letting your cats or dogs roam the backyard again.


As you can see, using peppermint oil for squirrels is an effective and straightforward form of pest control. As long as you’re not worried about your pets getting into the stuff, there’s no harm in giving it a shot!

If you have any questions about repelling and keeping away squirrels with peppermint oil, feel free to contact us.

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