How to get rid of mice and prevent them from coming back

Mice problem? Follow these steps to eliminate rodents from your home once and for all.

how to get rid of mice

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Ask any homeowner about the troubles of owning a home and we are sure ‘mouse problem’ tops that list. Everyone would agree that rodent control is an absolute must as it might lead to severe health problems. However, most of us will find mice to be a bit tricky. Let’s be honest, those pesky little monsters are sneaky. It’s difficult to catch them unless we stay on guard 24 hours every day. However, there are some things that you can do to stop their invasion.

How to recognise a mouse infestation?

how to get rid of mice

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Before you start laying mousetraps around the house, first you need to determine if there is a rodent invasion in your home. There are a few tell-tale signs to look out for to find out if your house has been infested by mice.

The obvious one would be their droppings. Mouse droppings would be easy to spot, especially if you don’t own a pet. Best believe that your house has been infested by mice if you find droppings around your home.

Another telling sign for mice in the house would be gnawed plastics and furniture. You need to be extra vigilant as they only leave tiny marks. You might need to make sure that the mark was not left by your own pet. It would be such a waste of money and time preparing for a non-existent invasion.

Read more: Bed bugs: How to identify bed bugs and how to get rid of them

What do mouse droppings look like?

Mouse droppings look like dark grains of rice and they’re about six millimetres long. Trails of mouse droppings is a telltale sign that you have mice at home. Look for places like the countertop and shelves in the kitchen.

On the other hand, if you’re looking at something wider and longer (about 12 millimetres), then you’ve got yourself a rat problem.

What attracts mice to your house? 

Short answer: food. This is why you always hear complaints about mice in the kitchen and not anywhere else at home. Your kitchen is the best place for them to set up their new home since it’s close to the food. Contrary to popular beliefs, mice are indifferent towards cheese. Instead, they prefer peanut butter and chocolate, so don’t waste time putting cheese on your mousetrap.

Another thing that mouse loves? A messy home. If your place is unkempt and cluttered, you’re just giving them places to settle down and breed.

How to get rid of mice naturally?

You want to get rid of your mouse problem pronto but you can’t use a mousetrap or mouse poison as it might affect your children or pets. Natural home remedies as an alternative solution. These are easily accessible mouse repellent options that are also non-toxic.

1. Mint

Mice loathe the scent of mint, so you can try using peppermint oil, mint leaves, or even mint toothpaste! Cotton balls that are completely soaked in peppermint oil will surely do the job. You can use these to ensure rats can’t contaminate your groceries, be it store food for the family or pet food.

2. Powdered mashed potatoes

Aside from that, you may try powdered instant mashed potatoes. It is said that the flakes of the potatoes will expand in their stomachs and kill the rodents on the inside, literally.

3. Coffee powder

Turns out mice don’t like the strong aroma of black coffee powder that’s loved by the general human population. To deter mice from entering your home and setting base, sprinkle coffee powder on a piece of paper towel and leave it on the kitchen countertop of places they often roam around.

4. A cat

You’ve seen this in the classic Tom and Jerry cartoon series, you know that having a cat at home might just solve your mouse problem. These feline creatures are known for their hunting skill and they can help track down the mouse hiding at home. However, do note that not all cats have the energy, training or interest to hunt.

5. Cat litter

No cats? Cat litter works too! Just place tubs of cat litter around your house and the smell will deter mice from ever entering your abode.

6. Cayenne pepper

Like coffee powder, the stinging smell of cayenne pepper helps keep mice away too. Sprinkle the pepper in areas where you commonly find mice. If you have babies or pets at home, wrap the cayenne pepper in a piece of cloth and place them around your house.

* Cayenne pepper also repels other common pests like ants, cockroaches and bugs.

7. Onions

Believe it or not, this kitchen staple is also another effective home remedy to keep mice at bay. Mice don’t like the pungent smell of onions. Put a few cloves around your home and they will stay far away. Remember to change them on a regular basis as well as onions tend to get rotten in weeks. Nevertheless, onions are toxic for pets. If you have pets at home, it’s best to look for alternative solutions.

Read more: Termites: How to identify and control them

How to get rid of mice effectively? 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can kick them out of your house once and for all:

1. Find entry points

Before you start, you should figure out where they’re coming from. There’s no point setting up traps everywhere at home if you don’t know where their hiding place is. Once you’re sure of their nesting location, set your traps around those areas.

2. Set up mousetraps

While home remedies work, the best way to get rid of mice is with a mousetrap. Get the classic snap trap if you have a light to moderate mouse infestation. And don’t just set up one trap, use multiple if possible. It’s also a good idea to set different types of traps at home like the bait traps, glue traps and multiple-capture live traps as it gives you a higher chance of catching them.

3. Seal up your house

Now comes the important part. Make sure you seal up your house and cover up holes to make sure no additional mice can get in. Mice are incredibly flexible and they can fit through openings as small as a coin. And if they can’t, they might just chew their way in.

One way to counter that: use caulk and steel wool to cover any opening. You should pay extra attention to areas where pipes enter the house. If you see an opening, fill it up.

4. Keep food away

If you have food lying around in the open, it’s time to keep them in airtight containers to avoid attracting mice. Same goes with the pet food. If you leave your pet food out in the open all day long, you’re just giving these rodents a chance to enter and feast.

5. If all else fails, seek professional help

If none of the methods we’ve suggested works, you’re in dire need of help with your mouse infestation problem. First of all, there’s no shame in admitting defeat. It’s a tall order for one person to fight against an entire colony. If the home remedies or traps aren’t working, then it’s time to call in the pest control professionals. They will help eliminate those annoying little creatures. Pest management is their speciality, they will get rid of mice and assist with setting up preventive measures to keep them from returning. It might put a dent in your wallet but you can be sure that mice won’t be returning to your home.

How to set up a mousetrap

mouse trap how to get rid of mice

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If you have no pets, then a mousetrap is a great solution for your rodent problem. This is one of the most common solutions and it works every single time if you set it up correctly. Here are some things to look out for when setting up the traps.

1. Functionality

Make sure that the trap itself works out of the box. The last thing you want is the store to sell you a broken trap. Keep your receipt in check, just in case you need to return a bad unit. There are few types of traps that you can use such as snap traps (one of the commonly used traps), glue traps and many others. There’s also the bait stations This is usually a combination of box and glue traps. Think of it as an inescapable maze for the rodents. However, bait stations are costly as it is a combination unit.

2. Bait

Once you’re sure that the trap works, it’s time to prepare the bait. Mice are primarily nut and seed eaters (yes, they prefer that over cheese). One way to bait those rodents out of hiding is by using peanut butter, hazelnut spread or any nut spread. Use small quantities. You don’t want the mouse to take the bait without actually springing the trap. Don’t let them outsmart you.

3. Location

Mice have this innate fear for the open space. Because of that, they always scurry around darker, isolated places. They will go as far as making holes in the wall just to get away from the light. You can always place the traps close to those holes. The bait will help attract the mouse out of its nest. Once they’re out, you can seal the hole using steel wool to keep it from being invaded by other rodents in the future.

Read more: 12 ways to remove lizards from your home permanently

How to prevent mice from entering your home? 

You know what they say, prevention is better than cure. The easiest way to get rid of mice at home is to prevent them from entering in the first place. Here are some things you can do to stop them from setting foot into your home.

1. Seal the doors 

Install bristle strips to the bottom of your doors to prevent them from entering.

2. Cover up any holes you have at home

Mice can squeeze in even the smallest hole so make sure the holes around your pipes are sealed with either stainless steel wire wool or caulking. In fact, don’t just stop there, cover up any holes you have at home.

3. Cover the air vents

Yes, they can come in through the air vents too. Cover them up with wire mesh to block their access.

4. Trim your trees

Is your tree overgrown? Maybe it’s time to give them a little trim. Overhanging branches and shrubs give them potential shelter and not to mention, easy access to your roof. In fact, avoid planting anything next to your home if possible.

Mouse problems are a nuisance, but hopefully, with the methods listed above, you’ll be rid of mice for good.

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