Do Mice Eat Soap? (Facts & Video)

Do Mice Eat Soap

Looking for ways to either attract or deter mice?

A lot of people think mice like to eat soap, I’ve literally heard people saying this for as long as I can remember. So, in this article, I’m taking an investigative look at:

  • Do mice eat soap?
  • What happens when/if they eat soap? and
  • Why people think mice like soap

What Is Soap Made Of?

The main reason why mice are attracted to anything is to find out if it’s edible. Even if it’s not edible if they’re attracted by the smell they’ll gnaw on it.

Mice are incredibly motivated by finding food, and who can blame them, they’re just trying to survive.

This means, if you know mice have been nibbling on your soap, there must be something in it that’s attracting them to eat it.

There are various ways soaps can be made, and the exact ingredient varies a good deal. However, according to the main ingredients used in soaps are:

Fats; such as lard, coconut, tallow – this is the main ingredient that attracts mice

Oils; such as olive, soybean, canola – this might also be what’s attracting them

Lye – also called sodium hydroxide, this ingredient reacts with the other ingredients to form soap

Dyes – to add the desired color

Perfumes – to add the desired scent

So, there you have it. Soap is a hard bar of fats, oils, some chemicals, and the scents and coloring to make it look and smell nice.

Does Soap Deter or Attract Mice?

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Some smells and odors do repel, or at least annoy mice. Peppermint is probably the best-known scent that mice hate for example.

In my experience, however, soap doesn’t repel or deter mice – even if it’s peppermint scented. It’s more likely to attract them as they can smell the fats and oils used to make it and want to try and eat it.

If animal fats were used in the soap as is for a lot of bars, a mouse is more likely to try and eat it than be repelled. (Just watch the video below to see what I mean)

RelatedHow to use peppermint to repel mice.

If you want to deter mice you need to use proper traps. I always recommend humane traps, because I never want to see mice getting hurt, but traps nevertheless.

You could try and use some cotton wool with peppermint oil, this is very effective. Especially if you don’t have an infestation and it’s just the odd brave mouse searching for food.

What Happens When Mice Eat Soap?

I’ve never followed a mouse after it’s nibbled on soap, but Lye is known to be poisonous so it’s not doing them any good.

Typically, soap will only be about 10% lye, so a few small bites aren’t likely going to be fatal. In fact, I’m pretty sure that no mice have died from eating bits of soap in my home.

Plus, unless I do something to stop them returning to the soap they will keep coming back and biting it.

This proves a couple of things; mice can’t have a good sense of taste (because soap tastes horrific), it’s not making them ill enough to deter them from coming back.

Will a Mouse Die If It Eats Soap?

As I mentioned above, one of the ingredients in soap, Lye, is poisonous.

It’s remarkable that it’s used in a product we use to wash with because if we’re exposed to Lye it can cause some serious health issues, such as skin irritation, blindness, and even death if ingested.

Yet, mice are not put off by eating small amounts as they keep coming back. I’ve never witnessed soap causing them any serious health issues, despite not being good for them.

Will Mice Eat Irish Spring Soap?

It’s kind of an old wives tale that Irish Spring Soap repels mice and some other rodents and pests.

This is because it has a strong smell of citrus, floral, and herbal notes. I’m not sure exactly what’s in it or why it smells like this, but if you’ve never smelled Irish Spring you can take it from me – it’s a strong one.

Still, we shouldn’t just go with old wives’ tales without seeing some kind of test. This video puts Irish Spring Soap to the test:

Spoiler alert – It didn’t deter mice. In fact, a mouse had a nibble on it and tried to eat some!

In Summary

Anything is possible, but in my experience and from what you’ll see in the video above – mice do eat soap, yes.

This is because most soaps are made with animal fats, which mice love. Or, other fats and oils which still seem to be tempting enough for mice to bite and nibble on.

If you’ve found bite marks on your soap, it’s a good indication that you have mice helping themselves. The likelihood is that they’ll be back for more, so do something about their access and move the soap.


Image credits – Header image by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash and in-body image by Capri23auto on

Ingredients in soap –

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