Just about every home gets invaded by a mouse at some point, and that’s why it’s important to know how to get rid of mice naturally.
MICE CARRY DISEASE
Mice carry at least 27 different diseases ranging from hantavirus to leptospirosis and rat bite fever: all of which pose the risk of long-term illness and even death.
PEST CONTROL METHODS CAN BE DANGEROUS
Rat poising, or rodenticide, is dangerous for children and pets. They’re not only dangerous when touched or swallowed, just breathing them in can be toxic.
Fortunately, natural methods of mouse control are safe yet still effective. This guide explains how to prevent mice from entering your home, and how to get rid of mice naturally if they’ve already made their way indoors — even if they’ve taken up residence in your walls.
How to Get Rid of Mice Naturally
The best natural strategy to get rid of mice is two-pronged: keep more from entering, then eliminate the ones that already made it inside. As with all forms of natural pest control, the more thorough you are, the faster you’ll see results.
Keep Them Out
Mice can enter your home through tiny little gaps the size of a dime. That’s right, a mouse can wriggle through an opening this small.
So your first step to getting rid of mice naturally is probably the hardest: find and seal gaps in your home’s exterior. Pay particular attention to places where utility lines (cable, television, etc.) enter your home, dryer and fan exhaust vents and the siding around windows and doors.
1. Seal the gaps. Use caulk to seal cracks around windows and door jambs. Stuff stainless steel pads (the kind you’d use to scour pots and pans) into larger gaps before sealing. Check outside where your foundation meets the siding and seal gaps there, too.
2. Shut doors tightly. Leaving a door ajar while you’re in the garden is an open invitation to mice. Keep doors shut, and make sure they seal tightly. Add weatherstripping where needed: if a draft can get in chances are a mouse can, too.
3. Use electronic pet doors. Dog- and cat-owners who like the convenience of a pet door should consider an electronic pet door(, which is insulated and seals tightly but opens automatically in response to an electronic chip on your pet’s collar.
Mice like your home because there’s plenty to eat and it’s cozy. To get rid of them, treat them like house guests who’ve overstayed their welcome:
Deprive them of food. As long as mice can find even small crumbs of food, they’ll remain in your residence in the hope that soon there will be more to eat. So your first step is making sure you aren’t inadvertently feeding the things.
- Store food in air-tight containers. This includes flours, rice, and breakfast cereals.
- Don’t let dirty dishes sit in the sink, and run the dishwasher daily.
- Wipe counters after every meal or snack to keep crumbs away.
- Sweep the kitchen floor daily.
- Pick up your pet’s food after feeding.
- Empty all trash cans nightly.
- Discard old newspapers, magazines, and other items mice can shred to use for bedding.
Make a stink (to mice). Although most people like the smell of peppermint oil, mice hate the stuff — and so do other pests like spiders. Use this to your advantage by adding it to your homemade cleaners. You can also dab peppermint oil onto cotton balls and tuck them into the corners of your pantry shelves to keep rodents away.
The smell of camphor also repels mice. Since most humans dislike the scent, it’s not a solution you’d want to use your home’s living areas. For less-accessible or seldom used areas like attics and sheds, put mothballs in an old sock and hang them near windows or vents. By hanging them, you’ll keep them out of the reach of pets and children while their smell will still make mice think twice before entering. (Another alternative is to fill those nylons with used kitty litter but, personally, I’d rather smell mothballs.)
Get Mice Out Of Your Walls
Mice love to make nests in walls and rarely leave their cozy place during the day. At night they’ll come out foraging for food but, since you’ve deprived them of it by following the steps above, they’ll eventually starve. Yes, that means they might die in your walls and smell awful for a couple of days, but at least they’ll be dead.
If that’s too long for you to wait, consider placing traps along the wall on pantry shelves, under sinks, and in the garage, basement, and attic. It’s a good idea to wear rubber gloves when placing the traps to keep them from picking up your scent, which mice know to avoid.
A Word About Using Traps
As for which kind of trap to use, that’s up to you. Some people find glue traps ghastly because rodents occasionally to chew off their limbs to get free. Others feel the spring-loaded traps pose too great of a danger to their pets and children.
You can make either type of trap more attractive to mice by baiting it with a dab of peanut butter. (Surprisingly, mice aren’t that interested in cheese.) Check your traps daily and, while wearing gloves, discard those that have done their job.
Once you get rid of mice naturally, it’s a good idea to give your home a thorough cleaning to get rid of any droppings or other things they’ve left behind. Then make a point of inspecting your home’s exterior for gaps every season and re-caulking as needed to keep mice from entering your home.