Mice can quickly take up residence in your home. And if you’ve seen one mouse, there’s a very high probability that there is more than one rodent running through your home. The best way to get rid of mice is to fully understand their habits and why they’re in your home in the first place.
I’ll give you a little hint: food and water.
Mice aren’t trying to harm you or do anything wrong: they’re trying to survive. While they may be less than pleasant, knowing a few mice facts can go a long way in helping you rid your home of these creatures.
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How Mice Enter Homes
Chances are, if you’ve seen a mouse in your home, it’s the common field mouse. Your first instinct may be to place a mouse trap to kill the mouse, but this is only a temporary fix if you haven’t found where the mice are entering the home.
Mice are crafty, and they’ll be able to enter your home through:
- Window gaps
- Ceiling gaps
- Sewer lines
- Improperly sealed drainage pipes
A gap in your home’s foundation or even a small hole in your roof can let mice in. Pests are rather resourceful and will work diligently to find a way to get in your home. If you want to know how to keep mice out, the answer is simple: seal any gaps or holes.
A mouse exterminator is worthless if there are still entryways into the home.
More mice exist – I can promise you that. Easy entry into your home is just as good as an open invitation to mice to come and build a nest in your home.
Sealing the following will help keep mice at bay:
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- Unsealed drain pipes
Cement or metal will be needed to seal all of these gaps to keep the mice out.
This is the key most important thing you can do as a homeowner to keep pests away from your home. Everything from bugs to mice will enter your home through these gaps, so it’s time well spent when sealing all of these entryways.
How to Keep Mice Away
The best way to catch a mouse is to keep them away in the first place. Yes, we’ll be discussing how to catch a mouse later on, but if you can repel mice, you’ll never need to worry about catching these vermin anyway.
Repellents will be your first course of action. This can be a device, or it can be something as simple as a particular oil or scented item that mice hate.
Two of the most potent repellents are:
Electric Mouse Repellents
When you choose to use an electric repellent, this is a device that will normally emit an inaudible sound that mice hate. This is something that we cover in length in our electronic mouse repellent article.
Electric repellents are something you want to use when you’re not infested with mice.
But people have had a lot of success with causing mice to leave their home by using this repellent.
Peppermint Oil Mice
Mice despise peppermint oil. You’ll have less success getting mice to leave than you will trying to stop mice from entering your home when using peppermint oil. This oil can be purchased online, and you want to try to find an oil that is “pure.”
Peppermint is a sensory deterrent, so you want the mice to be able to smell it from a mile away.
But you don’t want to just start pouring peppermint oil all around your home – it will be overpowering. Instead, I recommend:
- Dipping a cotton ball in the oil
- Placing the cotton balls in strategic locations
- Replacing the cotton balls 1 – 2 times per week
If you know where they’re getting in, you can place the cotton balls in or next to these locations for best results.
There are numerous other methods, with varying degrees of viability, that are recommended to repel mice:
- Flashing lights
- Cat urine
If you’re interested in the exact method to follow with peppermint oil, our peppermint oil mice post goes into great detail on the matter.
Infestations that have gotten out of control need to be dealt with in a more aggressive approach. Repellents are great, but they do have a few drawbacks, too. Oils are great, but they can’t be placed in walls or in areas that mice can get into but you can’t get into without breaking a hole in the wall.
Multiple mouse sightings or a problem that simply won’t go away will need a much more refined approach that aims to kill or at least remove mice from the home.
How to Get Rid of Mice Fast in Your House
You’ve sealed your holes and gaps, and you’ve also cleaned – right? A quick note before we go any further into how to kill mice: you need to clean, clean and clean some more. Mice want food, and if there is food present, they’ll have a very good reason to be in your home.
Clean Your Home – The Right Way
Mice aren’t particular with the food that they eat. Sure, there are some foods that mice like more than others, but for the most part, mice will eat anything. Even crumbs and small little messes (especially important if you have kids) will be an issue.
If the infestation has gotten bad, you’ll need to be on top of your cleaning.
A few tips are:
- Remove garbage often
- Never place trash bags outside of the home
- Clean dishes
- Seal any food when possible
You may even find that there are little holes on food bags. Bread is a great example of where you’ll find mouse tracks. Look for small holes in bags and for mouse droppings. If you find any holes, you know that there is a major issue in your home.
When asking how to get rid of mice in your kitchen, the one thing I can recommend is “peppermint oil.” A trick that I like to use a lot is the following:
- Place water in a spray bottle
- Place a generous amount of peppermint oil in the bottle
You should be generous with the peppermint oil as you want the scent to be strong enough that the mice will be repelled by it. If you find that the scent is too light, the water diluted the oil too much, so you’ll want to add more peppermint oil into the spray bottle as needed.
Once you’ve done this, you can:
- Clean Counters: Use the spray as a cleaner. Simply spray the counters and dry with a clean rag. This will put the scent on the counters while also cleansing the counters.
- Clean Floors: Wood and tile floors can be cleaned with peppermint oil. Simply spray the oil on the floor and clean with a rag or dry mop.
If you mop your floors, you’ll need a lot of peppermint oil so that the smell of the peppermint is not too diluted by the massive amount of water in the bucket. I don’t find mopping with peppermint oil to be viable in most cases because you’ll need to use an abundance of the oil in the process.
Mice Poison and Traps
If you want to know how to get rid of mice naturally, the best thing you can do is use humane traps. Once an infestation has occurred, there will be little that you can do to deter the mice from staying in the home.
Traps can and do help as well as mice poison.
A lot of people that want to know how to get rid of mice in walls will often ask about mice poison. On the onset of the infestation, poisons seem to be a smart choice, and they can definitely kill mice quickly.
There are three things you need to know about mice poison:
- Mice Poison is Slow: When you think of mice eating poison, you may envision them dying right on the spot. Immediate death would be ideal, but mice don’t die the instant they eat the poison. They’ll die slowly, and this isn’t a good thing. Mice will go to places they deem safe – your attic or walls – and they’ll die. This will lead to you needing to open the walls to remove the dead mouse and will be very unpleasant, too.
- Mice Poison is Dangerous: In the ideal world, the poison would only kill mice and wouldn’t pose a risk to anyone else. Kids and animals can become very sick or even die if they also eat the poison.
- Not All Mice Will Die: Mice are not like ants. They won’t bring the poison back to their nest and kill the others. A mouse or two (or even half a nest) may die, but if the other half doesn’t take the poison, you did little to remedy the problem.
What most people fail to tell you is that within a short few weeks or months, mice can breed and add an additional 200 critters to a nest. If you don’t kill them all, you’ll find that more will come back and take their place.
If you want to know how to get rid of mice in your garage, house, attic, walls and so on, the best option (besides calling an expensive exterminator) is to use traps. And there are a lot of different traps to choose from.
But before we mention the trap types, let’s take a look at the best mouse bait. A few of the best baits to place in your trap are:
- Peanut butter
- Beef jerky
- Nesting material
All of these items can be placed near the trap trigger to help you catch the mouse – or kill it, depending on the trap.
Related reading: 10 Best Mouse Baits: How to Bait Traps Properly?
There are three main types of traps you’ll find readily available:
- Spring-loaded: The spring loaded trap is one of the deadliest traps available. This trap uses a spring that is loaded and triggered when the mouse goes to eat the bait. Ideally, the mouse will be positioned properly so that the mouse takes the bait and the spring-loaded trap snaps on their neck, killing them instantly. This doesn’t always occur, and the mouse can suffer a slow death or become injured severely instead of dying.
- Glue: The glue trap requires the mouse to go into the middle of the trap and effectively get stuck on the trap. This is deemed as a “friendly” way to trap and get rid of mice, but the mouse may get so stuck that when you try to remove them, they lose a limb in the process – ouch.
- Live Trap: The live trap can be homemade or it can be purchased. The goal is to lure a mouse into an area where it’s trapped in a cage or a box. The mouse can then be humanely relocated. It’s recommended that you relocate the mouse miles from the home so that they don’t come back to the home – they like to return.
You also have the option of trying to trap the mouse in a cardboard box. This is done by cutting a small hole in the wall of the home – if the mice are in the walls – and cutting a hole in a cardboard box at the same height.
You’ll then place the box against the wall so that the holes lineup and the mouse is tricked into the box.
Bait can be placed inside of the box to lure in the mouse, too. Once this is done, cover the top of the box with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap will act as a window into the box and will prevent the mice from escaping.
This method will normally catch a mouse in less than an hour, but then you need to find a way to discard the mouse, which can be tricky since it will still be alive.
If all else fails, a call to a professional exterminator will be the best way to get rid of mice quickly.