Mice love to nest in homes for shelter and warmth, and garages are often the go-to place for mice before they make their way further into a home. There’s a lot that goes into how to keep mice out of a garage, but it is possible.
If left unchecked, a few mice can turn into an infestation that will require mouse poison and even an exterminator to solve.
But we’re going to show you, step-by-step, how to keep mice out of your garage for good.
Table of Contents
How to Keep Mice Out of Garages in 3 Steps
1. Stop Promoting a Mice-friendly Environment
Mice are creatures of nature, and if you provide them with an environment that allows them to live and thrive, they will make your garage their home. Your garage offers a naturally warmer environment than the outdoors, so there’s nothing that you can do to “freeze them out.”
But you will want to:
- Remove all of the clutter in the garage. Mice love clutter, and this will provide the mice with safe places to hide away from you and predators. A quick cleaning and de-cluttering of the space will help you make your garage less attractive for mice.
- Seal all food properly. A lot of homeowners will store bird seed, dog food and other edibles in the garage. The problem is that mice will gnaw through bags and can also gnaw right through cardboard. You want to make sure that all of these items are properly stored, and the ideal space is inside a plastic container that seals properly. The food will stay fresher for longer, and mice will not have access to the food.
- Remove any debris that mice may use for nesting. Mice are not picky, and they will nest in any area that is easily accessible to them. Common materials that mice will use for nesting, and is often found in garages, include:
Once you’ve finally created an environment that is not suitable for mice, it’s time to go to the next step in mice removal and deterrence.
2. Seal the Garage to Keep Mice Out
Cleaning out your garage was a good start, and it makes the second step even easier. You have to find where mice are coming into the garage. Mice need to have an entry way into the space, and if you find this entry, you can seal it and stop other rodents or insects from entering the home, too.
Garages are rather easy to seal, and the key areas of entry are always going to be:
Yes, your garage door is an easy entry for mice, too. I recommend that you look at the weather-stripping of the door to see if it needs to be replaced. Mice will often gnaw their way through this weather-stripping and then squeeze their way through even a small hole.
Also, close your garage door and see if there is any spacing between the bottom of the door and the floor.
If there is spacing, you’ll need to correct this issue and fill in the gaps. There are sweeps, made out of rubber or vinyl that will help you create a proper seal with your door.
Door thresholds can also be installed rather than a sweep. A raised rubber bump is installed at the point where the door touches the ground. Once installed, there will be no gaps between the floor and the door. Another major benefit of closing off this key gap is that you’ll also be saving more on energy bills.
Your weather-stripping can be replaced using regular material, but there are also metal guards designed just for rodents that will do the trick. Since these guards are metal, mice will not be able to gnaw their way through the metal.
The door itself may also need to be replaced. While often a last resort, you need to look at the bottom of the door to determine if it’s beyond repair. Mice and other critters can significantly damage a door requiring you to replace it.
Air Conditioners and Access Holes
Air conditioners and access holes are two areas where you’ll want to inspect to see if mice have started to enter through. I recommend paying close attention to any plastic or molding to see if you notice any small gnaw marks.
Holes are often found in key areas, including:
You’ll find a lot of manufacturers actually sell vent guards which are designed to keep mice from entering the home.
Air conditioner connections are also prime areas for mice to enter, and this is because of small gaps in the connection. Did you know that mice can fit through a gap just the size of your fingernail?
Putting this into perspective, you’ll want to look at all air conditioner connections to make sure that even small gaps do not exist.
If gaps are found, you’ll want to seal them.
In case that there has been significant damage caused by mice, you’ll want to make sure that you call a contractor to assess the damage. Repairs are often quick and easy to make, but you want to make sure that all holes are filled properly.
This is the most important step in getting rid of mice in your garage.
3. Using Baits and Traps to Kill Mice
You’ve followed the first two steps, and now mice cannot get into your garage. But if you already have mice in your garage, you’ll need to set mouse traps and even start using the best mouse repellents to keep mice away.
You’ll want to be cautious of a few things:
- Spring traps. A spring trap will break the mouse’s neck, and it will trap them in the house to die. You’ll need to use some form of bait, and a lot of people opt to you cheese although peanut butter works well. These traps should be out-of-reach of children or other animals which may become injured.
- Glue traps. There’s a lot of debate on glue traps primarily because they’re inhumane. When you trap a mouse in the glue, they are essentially stuck and unable to move. The glue will not kill the mouse, so it will starve to death slowly over time. If children view this, it is a very unpleasant way to die and will often be burned into their memory.
- Poison. You can use different forms of poison, but you do need to locate the dead bodies of the mice and discard them properly. Poison is a very delicate way to kill mice, and you’ll want to make sure that it is out-of-reach of your children or pets.
When you’ve killed a mouse, you also want to get rid of the mouse safely. This means that you’ll want to wear gloves or some other form of protection to avoid direct contact with the mouse. Mice carry parasites and disease, so you have to be especially careful when handling them.
I remember grabbing a shovel as a child, digging a small hole and then using the shovel to pick up the mouse and place it in the hole. This is a good option if you don’t want to buy gloves and still need to find a way to dispose of the body responsibly.
Placing your traps should be done strategically.
Mice will remember where they entered the home, and this means that they may go and try to leave the home in one of the locations that you just sealed. Damage can be done quickly by a mouse trying to leave your space, so it’s best to place traps at these locations as quickly as possible.
One way to find a hiding spot or place where mice are entering is to look for droppings.
What Do Mice Droppings Look Like?
Mice droppings are very similar to a grain of rice in shape and size. The size of these droppings is often ¼-inch or less. If the size is any bigger than this, you may be dealing with rats or even squirrels.
Droppings that are fresh and black in color and will change to brown over the course of a week.
If droppings are allowed to sit for a long period of time, they will eventually turn greyish in color. Bait or poison can actually change the color of droppings.
It’s very important that you never touch the droppings with your hands.
Called “pellets,” mice can leave 50 – 75 droppings per day. Oftentimes, you’ll be able to follow the source of these droppings back to the source of food for the mice. Mice will poop while they’re moving, and they often poop when they’re going to or coming from a food source.
Place poison or traps in these key areas to kill any remaining mice that you have in your garage.
Garages, especially when they’re used for storage rather than parking your vehicle, offer the perfect space for mice to enter and nest. Check your garage for any new signs of mice or entry every season, correcting the issue before it becomes an infestation is best.