Growing up, one of my best friends had an adorable pet mouse, so I always thought these rodents were pretty cute.
But when they started moving into my home years later, I changed my mind pretty quickly.
Whether you think these pests are cute or creepy, they're not safe to have in your home.
Rodents carry parasites, and diseases like the hantavirus.
To keep your family safe, use these 15 smart tricks to drive rodents out of your home.
1. Baking Soda
As you'll learn from the rest of this list, rodents hate anything with a strong smell.
Sprinkle some baking soda anywhere you've noticed mice, their droppings, or their tracks.
Just keep the soda in a container with a mouse-shaped hole, or somewhere your pets can't reach it, because it's not safe for them to eat.
2. Predator Poo
Some pet stores will sell products like snake feces and fox urine, which scare away small rodents.
There are even special predator urine capsules that are safe to use and easy to store.
For best results, sprinkle the pellets anywhere you've spotted mice, and around the outside of your home.
3. Use Traps - The Smart Way
No one has designed a better mousetrap yet, but you need to use traps intelligently.
Position snapping traps along a wall, so it's harder for rodents to avoid the pressure plate.
You need to spread a number of traps near where you've seen the mice (they don't travel very far).
Mice do love cheese, but they will also reach for chocolate, Nutella, and dried fruit. Change the bait often to encourage their curiosity.
Cotton balls and feathers are good bait too. Rodents use these to build their nests.
4. Patch Any Leaks
Mice need a steady supply of food and water, just like any other animal.
They can't use your sink, so mice will gravitate to any source of running or dripping water in your home.
Leaky pipes and damp basements are their favorite places to hide, so give your home a once-over to find any sources of water.
Patch it up, or set traps nearby.
5. Peppermint Oil
One of the most well-known mice repellents is also the most effective.
Just a few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball will drive away rodents.
Remember to replace the balls every few days to keep the scent strong - and don't let your pet near them.
Actual mint plants work just as well - if they're fresh.
6. Check Outside Your Home
Mice may not be living in your walls, but they could be living in burrows on the outer edge of your home.
Check around your home's foundations for signs of mice, and fill in any holes or burrows with gravel.
Removing weedy patches or piles of junk in your backyard will also discourage mice from nesting.
Finally, make sure there's no room for mice to squeeze underneath your outside doors.
7. Kitty Litter
This repellent works for two reasons: cat litter has a strong smell, and it also tells mice, "Look out, cats are nearby."
Spread the litter where you think mice are nesting, and leave out traps.
The smell will usually drive them out of hiding, so don't be surprised if you see mice running around after dropping the litter.
8. Block Up Any Holes
Most people find where the mice in their home are hiding, but don't do anything about it.
Actually blocking up any mouse holes in your home will discourage them from nesting on your property.
Steel wool, copper mesh and caulk will all do the trick, but if you're serious you can use plaster of paris or cement.
9. Avoid Poison
Rat and mouse poisons are actually the least effective way of killing rodents.
These products will often kill pets instead of pests, especially because rodents who eat the poison become poisonous too.
Poison can also take a long time to kill a rodent, which means they will make it back to their nest - inside your walls - before they die and start rotting.
Another smelly pantry staple that rodents can't stand.
Sprinkle ground cloves near their nests, or leave a mesh bag of fresh cloves sitting out for them to smell.
Remember: replace the spice every few days to keep the smell strong.
11. Get A Cat
There's a reason sailors always kept a cat on board their ships.
These little critters are natural mousers, and will clear away rodents before you even notice them.
Just don't be surprised if kitty leaves a surprise on your bed when he makes a nice catch.
12. Moth Balls
Moth balls or cedar balls will drive away rodents as well as bugs.
Like any of the other stinky tricks, just leave these near any signs of mouse activity.
This method can be tough inside your house, because moth balls aren't safe for pets and their smell lasts a long time.
They're best used in low traffic areas like the garage, crawlspace, or attic.
13. Dryer Sheets
Yes, just one more smell that rodents hate.
You can actually double-up with dryer sheets: use them as a wrapper for another stinky substance and mice will definitely keep their distance.
14. Ultrasonic Devices
Your mileage may vary with these high-tech devices that use sound waves to scare off rodents (and bugs).
Some users say they work like a charm, but others say mice and rats seem to get used to the noise.
In any case, they can be combined with traps and smells to drive rodents away.
15. Clean Your House
Mice are attracted by anything edible, including food crumbs, food left out in the open, unsecured garbage, and pet food.
Take a look around your house for anything rodents might be snacking on, and make sure all the food in your pantry is stored in a can or container.
What's your favorite way to scare away rodents?