How to Use Peppermint Oil for Pest Control


Ancient Romans may have used peppermint as a universal symbol of hospitality, but garden and house pests do not find peppermint's scent to be welcoming. This is good news for anyone eager to solve insect problems without using harmful toxins. The essential oil of peppermint (Menta piperita) provides protection from several kinds of insects and vermin. And while you may not be plagued by every pest in the book, a systematic application of peppermint-based deterrents can help you and your home remain pest free.

Step 1

Mix one part peppermint essential oil to 10 parts water in a spray bottle to rid your plants of ants. Spritz the mixture on foliage wherever you see the offending ants.

Step 2

Dab cotton balls with a few drops of peppermint oil and place the balls in the corners of rooms to control ants. You can also tuck them between books on bookcases, or place them on your kitchen counters, as well.

Step 3

Hang a floral or herbal wreath in the kitchen and periodically sprinkle it with a few drops of peppermint oil. The scented wreath will not only serve as an air freshener during humid summer months; it will also deter mosquitoes and flies. A bowl of peppermint-based potpourri combined with peppermint essential oil will have the same effect.

Step 4

Wear a homemade body oil of peppermint essential oil to keep flying insects at bay. Combine the peppermint with the essential oils of rosemary, citronella, eucalyptus or clove. Add the mix of essential oils to sweet almond oil at a rate of four drops of oil for every teaspoon of sweet almond oil. You can also mix peppermint oil directly into store-bought body lotion or oil.

Step 5

Place a saucer of water containing a few drops of peppermint oil in a room plagued by mosquitoes. An essential oil burner filled with peppermint will also work well.

Step 6

Dab cotton rags or balls into peppermint oil to scare mice and rats away. This method can work for both indoor and outdoor pest problems. If using this approach outdoors, place the cotton in protected and dry locations so you won't have to replace them every time it rains. This method is said to also work well with rabbits and squirrels.

Tips and Warnings

  • Oregon State University Extension Service suggests doing a "patch test" on your plants before spraying them with a mixture containing peppermint or any other essential oil. If the leaves become discolored or the plants seem otherwise stressed, discontinue the peppermint oil applications. Almost any kind of essential oil can stain furniture, paint or flooring if sprayed directly onto the surface. Always dilute peppermint oil in water, or use the cotton ball method described above.

Things You'll Need

  • Peppermint essential oil
  • Cotton balls or rags
  • Spray bottle
  • Sweet almond or other body oil
  • Essential oils of rosemary, clove and other spices (optional)


  • The Green Witch Herbal; Barbara Griggs; 1994
  • Oregon State University Extension Service
  • Earth Easy
Keywords: peppermint oil, Menta piperita, essential oils insects, mint EO, peppermint ants

About this Author

Melissa Jordan-Reilly has been a writer for 20 years, both as a newspaper reporter and as an editor of nonprofit newsletters. Among the publications in which she has published are, "The Winsted Journal," "Taconic" and "Compass Magazine." A graduate of the University of Connecticut, Jordan-Reilly also pursues sustainable agriculture techniques and tends a market garden at her Northwestern Connecticut home.