I have a problem with rats and mice getting into my cars and eating wire harnesses, vacuum hoses, and spark plug wires. Do you have any ideals about what to do? They are getting to be an expensive problem! Bob Hemling Atlanta, GA


I’ve heard many remedies for this, but the two I see come up more than any other is mothballs and dryer sheets. A more recent cure states cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil keeps the mice away and leaves your car minty fresh smelling. Mothballs are the traditional method, and mice can’t stand the smell of them. Unfortunately, not many people like the smell either. The dryer sheets have more appeal because people aren’t offended by the aroma. Just place a few sheets inside the car, and maybe a couple under hood and underneath the car as well. Tossing one in the trunk wouldn’t be a bad idea either. There are multiple ideas for effective bait traps as well, but they are detailed and I don’t have the room to expand on the subject here. If I were you, I’d try the dryer sheets first, and see if they don’t work to keep the critters away from your rides. If they don’t, let us know. I’m sure other Members have dealt with this same issue successfully, and will offer their ideas too. Mark Simpson Managing Editor
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38 Responses to “VERMIN CONTROL”
    • Boha

      I had a rather hard time choisong just one type of physician I would want to work for. So many of them fascinate me, and with me not really going into any medical field other than support, I never gave this any thought in the past. After reading the list, I am more favorable of working for a neonatologist. It is difficult to think about how neonatologist physicians sometimes have the most difficult job in the world, but I can only imagine how amazing it would be to be a part of saving a baby’s life. I had a coworker once whose baby was born at 36 weeks, and her baby had a lot of heart and lung problems. There were concerns about whether or not they would ever fully develop once she had him, but after many months in the NICU, and many scares that happened during it, the doctors were able to save him and he is now a very healthy 5 year old. It is because of that I have a higher interest in the neonatologist field.I hate to say which type of physician I would care less to work for, and it is because I worry that many will take it the wrong way. When I was 16, I used to help my mom at an assisted living home as a caregiver. We would get to work at 7:00 A.M. every morning to prepare breakfast for four of the elderly men and women that we were caring for. We would then make sure that all bedding was changed, rooms were cleaned, meals were prepared, and appointments were handled. We worked 12 hour days, and they were always grueling. The owner of the home made sure that everyone had their medicine and made it to their doctor appointments on time. However, she was more worried about getting paid for her services than actually helping the elderly. She would yell at them if they did something wrong, and even call them terrible names. My mom reported her and we both quit our job, but it has always left a sting in my heart since then. It is because of my experience with that situation that I do not think I could ever work for a gerontologist. I know that the situations would be much different, but ever since my experience with caring for elderly individuals it is very hard for me to think about assisting a physician in geriatrics because I worry that someone else might treat the elderly in the same way the owner of the home did. I am a firm believer that the elderly deserve the ultimate care and comfort when going through any treatment and aging in general, but I do not think I could ever work in that environment again.

  1. Joel

    Try Irish Spring soap. Buy a bar and put some shavings in a plastic container, punch some holes in the lid and place a few in the car. It works well, I’ve been doing it for years and never had a problem.

    • Karon

      For me this is a relatively easy quoseitn, but has a pretty complex answer. The specialty I have actually looked forward to working with is OB/GYN. I find that the ability of a woman’s body to produce a child, endure the amount of abuse it takes during a pregnancy, and the amount of pain endured during delivery is amazing. The joy of being able to be present as life enters the world is truly one of the greatest moments in life. To me that would be the best possible option. I also would love working in the operating room with a surgeon. I have experienced the OR quite a few times, and have been on both sides of the table. I have to say I would love to work with any surgeon in the OR except for Orthopedics. The reason behind that is the surgery’s are pretty brutal when it comes to the skeletal system. Having been in the OR with an Orthopedic surgeon and seeing the use of the saws, hammers and other heavy equipment in order to perform the surgery just sends chills up my spine. I know that type of surgery is not for me. I think my favorite surgeries have to be that of the abdominal cavity. The specialties that I would least like to work for are few, and for simple reasons. Pediatrics is not a specialty for me since I have four children of my own. My Aunt is a neonatal nurse practitioner and I followed her in high school and saw the good, the bad, and the ugly so I can honestly say I could not emotionally handle that type of position. Podiatry is also an area I could not see myself working. The reason behind this is pretty silly, but here goes, I very much dislike other peoples feet especially if they are not well kept. I know in the medical field you will encounter feet on a daily basis, but I could not mainly work with feet on an everyday basis. My last specialty is Orthopedics for the reasons I noted above about the barbaric nature of the surgeries and treatments for the musculoskeletal system. Its just not for me.

    • steveyannone

      I just started this last week on a outside stored car and existing nest building in the engine and damaged wiring, sure hope it helps as I need to drive it once in a while. Will report back later.

  2. Bill D
    Bill D

    I experienced that costly problem once. I now use both an electrical plug in “ultrasonic” sound unit & Fabreze scented dryer sheets.

  3. Gary

    Dryer sheets work only as long as they smell which doesn’t last long. I would try the vermin control devices that plug into an electrical socket. Try putting one in the car with an extension cord

    • Kontol

      Breakfast with Santa! Saturday, December 1st from 9-11AMOssian United Methodist Church201 W. Mill Street in Ossian, In 46777Come have pancakes, deuiciols egg casseroles, smoky links, cereal, donuts, dutch crunch dessert, Coffee, milk and juice something for everyoneHave your children’s picture taken with Santa and then they can shop in the Elf Store for their family members. Elves will be available to help them shop so they can keep it a surprise! All gifts are $2 and gift wrapping is included. This is a fun, holiday event sponsored by the Norwell High School Show ChoirSee you there!

  4. Tom

    The thing I do and have no problems in the barn is to raise the hood. They like closed in places , with the vehicle hood up it seems to work if you can do that where your vehicle is parked. Hope this works for you. Tom

  5. Guy

    I built a mouse moat around my car. This involved building a 15″ sheet metal wall all the way around the car. Mice can’t climb up the metal. It’s been over a year and so far so good. The only thing it doesn’t protect from is overhead bombs from birds or bats in the barn. Next up is building a shell around the car using 3/4″ PVC and clear plastic. It will be placed inside the mouse moat.
    Dryer sheets and poisons did not work for me.

  6. CKW

    Another option is to sprinkle bay leaves throughout the vehicle. I’ve been very successful over the past few years with a bay leaf and dryer sheet combination. BUT, I REALLY caution anyone from using moth balls which, chemically is paradichlorobenzene and is a known toxic. In humans and other animals, paradichlorobenzene is broken down in the body to form other compounds that may be harmful to cells or organs such as the liver. Just not worth the chance. In fact, I’ve even stopped frequenting restaurants that use this chemical combination in their urinal pucks. This year as an extra measure of prevention, I’m using corn-based mouse poison in containers throughout the garage and vehicles.

    • Emad

      Would you happen to have any failmy photo’s that were taken in Sterling that you would be willing to share? I live in Sterling and am interested in the history. Any photo’s that also include buildings are of interest.I remember your Aunt Francis and Uncle Dugan and Butch, they lived down the road from me when I was growing up.

  7. Chris wilsom
    Chris wilsom

    Irish spring soap use a cheese grater put on a paper plate in trunk,under hood and in front and rear passenger foot wells. No more critters

  8. Jeff

    I have had really good luck with the dryer sheets but buy the good ones….The cheap ones don’t last. The other thing I do is put sticky traps in the car just to catch any mice with sinus issues. I am going to try the Irish Spring trick too.

  9. james

    i use an exstension cord just through one of the windows, and plug in a varmite high freq sound device bought at Wal-mart. get the $20 dollar something model. i also use one in my travel trailer, works great. James

  10. Glen

    Buy a car capsul. Small investment to solve ALL storage problems. If your worried about a car u have thousands invested in, whats 400.00 more?

  11. Dick Ruth
    Dick Ruth

    The dryer sheets work well but need to be replenished every couple of months, and don’t forget to also place them in the spare tire compartment.

  12. Russ Palmerton
    Russ Palmerton

    I’ve used the dryer sheets and along with slices of Irish Spring soap spread around inside and outside of the car. I’ve had good luck with that combination and the car smells great. Also remember to plug your exhaust pipe, cause those darn rodents will craul into them as well.

  13. Art Bruns
    Art Bruns

    I have also used slices of Irish Spring soap in small bowels in various parts of the car. The smell is not offensive and I have never had a rodent problem. I live in a rural area.

  14. Edward

    Had the same issue on a 98 jeep and 2003 jeep, the issues were squirrels. Tried everything, no real luck. Someone suggested FlexSeal, the stuff they advertise on TV. Figured a 5 dollar investment wouldn’t hurt. Sprayed the areas they attacked plus some other general areas, NO ISSUES yet and it has been over a year.

  15. CALVIN

    I have had little luck with moth balls, built a nest right on top of them, dryer sheets not sure, still mouse droppings.
    Putting the car on a lift is the only way I have had total success with. Once a car has had mice they love to go back. Hate Mice!!

  16. Richard

    A friend is in the professional “pest control” business recommends the “Bait blocks” that are available at places like Tractor Supply. He says that a hungry rodent will just ignore the smell and eat what it can find, so he does not put any bets on effective control with moth balls, dryer sheets or peppermint oil. I think the bait blocks work best outside the car, such as under it and or around it, why invite rodents to dine in the vehicle. I have added the electronic rodent control devices to my garage and barn and have had good results.

  17. Troy

    For me, I will just keep using moth balls- the ones made from naptha. They really don’t smell all that much.

    • Bob

      Both moth balls and dryer sheets are toxic to humans and vermin. You don’t want to be breathing the smell of either in your car.

  18. Leeand

    Hello there. I have been using a product called “Fresh Cab” It comes in a satchel bag and it has kept them out of my 54 Ford in the garage. I started using these after I found that mice set up house throughout my car. The smell is actually pretty good and it is suppose to be and natural repellant to mice and it will last about 4 months for each pouch. They also do not like peppermint scent. You could make your own satchels using peppermint oil like they do to help the house smell good. Hope this helps.

  19. john

    OK, after chasing these “rats” away from my inside and outside stored drivers and classic cars using everything all you guys mention and found they all work in the garage but outside is a whole new ball game especially on newer cars that have wire insulation made from biodegradable material like soy beans (which I guess is mighty tasty to those big bill creators.) and if you live in the Midwest and do short hops in weather conditions where the outside temp goes up and down like a yo-yo! It just cost me $1700 to replace the injector wire harness and the EFI ECU or ECM because our little buddies chewed through the insulation causing a short and opens at the connects for the injectors which in turn cause end stage failures for the injectors in the ECM.Results were dead misses. The reason they got into our 2004 Caddy CTS is because we are both retired and have our own old cars to do long runs to car shows during that season so they are garaged so the Caddy sits outside for short hops which heats the engine enough to invite whatever to use the car for over night warm sleeping quarters with an acquitted supply of biodegradable material like soy beans to munch on during the night.I knew the other suggestions and ideas I used wouldn’t work outside but I found some stuff called “Stop the Rodent” spray 24 oz bottle from an online seller called “Stop the Rodent. One bottle did the car just fine and it kinda smells like good ole turpentine at first but the smell did not last long.I’ll let you know if it does not work out.I have a ’39 Ford that we use a lot for shows and is covered outside that is a street rod with a “Painless” wire harness in it which I have done nothing to protect it with and it is blocked in by the Caddy at night….No damage on that one yet but I hung one of those big round 4″ diameter moth balls in the plastic hanger under the hood soon after I found out what happened to the Caddy.I hope that keeps them a bay and does not stink up the coupe on me….I hate chipmunks,squires,mice,rats,raccoons,possums,coyote, any birds and deer because we have a neighbor who feeds them all and she has no trees or grass so even my 6′ high stockade fence and a city ordnance with a $925 fine for feeding ANY wild animals in our town has not stopped them from destroying our property while looking for a place to live and store their food for winter for over 30 years now. Good Luck Guys and Girls. Grumpy 1946.

  20. Jon

    I have had luck w both the electronic devices and Irish Spring. We even use the Irish Spring under our summer home to keep critters out during the winter. We learned the hard way after a $1600 repair bill on our BMW. $60 hose but had to remove the fuel tank to access.

  21. Bob

    Dryer sheets use toxic chemicals and should be avoided by humans as well as vermin. There’s a reason mice won’t get near them. They are smarter than humans that voluntarily throw them into the clothes they are going to wear. Lingering chemical residues in the clothes enter the body through the skin, which is tantamount to eating them! Many of these compounds are solvents that directly affect the nervous system and endocrine system and can contribute to the development of chronic illness. You don’t want to breathe them or “wear” them.

  22. toddfunk

    Try picking up a free cat. Worked for years in my garage. Keeps the mice away or eats them and keeps you company while you work.

  23. rebelcaptain26

    I’ve been using moth balls for over 10 years. However, my “trick” since most of us hate the smell, is to place them all around all the tires [outside the car]. My logic is that since the rodents hate the smell ans have to enter the car by climbing up the wheels, they can’t get in. Smell stays out of the car!

  24. Stephennot

    Wow! This might be one of the most useful things on the subject I’ve ever come across. Thank you for your hard work.