Just about every home eventually gets invaded by a mouse. Knowing how to get rid of mice naturally and keep them away for good protects your home, pets, and kids from dangerous poisons.
Finding a mouse in your home doesn’t mean you’re a bad housekeeper, but ignoring a mouse infestation does. That’s because mice carry at least 27 different diseases, all of which are dangerous to humans.
It’s tempting to sprinkle rat poison around your house to get rid of mice quickly, but there are several risks involved in that approach. It’s not just the chance that kids or pets will eat the rodenticide. There’s also a significant concern that poisons will degrade and become airborne, which means everyone in the house might accidentally inhale them.
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 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, and then eliminate the ones that already made it inside. The more thorough you are, the faster you’ll see results. (Related: More Posts on Natural Pest Control.)
Keep Mice Out of Your Home
Mice can enter your home through tiny little gaps the size of a dime. So your first step to getting rid of mice naturally is probably the hardest: find and seal holes 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 gaps in your home’s siding around windows and doors.
1. Seal the gaps. Use caulk to seal cracks around windows and door jambs. Check outside where your foundation meets the siding and seal gaps there, too. Fill larger holes with backer rod or stainless steel scouring pads first, so the caulk doesn’t collapse.
2. Shut doors tightly. Leaving the 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, a mouse can, too.
3. Use electronic pet doors. Pet flaps provide easy access to mice as well as your dog or cat. If you like their convenience, switch to an automatic pet door that only opens when triggered by an electronic chip on your pet’s collar.
Store Food Properly to Prevent Infestations
As long as mice can find even small crumbs of food, they’ll stick around in your home. To keep from attracting mice, you need to be diligent about storing food properly. (Related: How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths.)
- Store dry goods in air-tight containers.
- Don’t let dirty dishes sit in the sink.
- Wipe counters after meals.
- Sweep your kitchen daily.
- Pick up your pet’s food between feedings.
- Empty the kitchen trash nightly.
- Discard old newspapers, magazines, and other items that mice can shred to use for bedding.
Use Scents that Mice Hate
There are a couple of smells that mice don’t like. Peppermint is one, and it has the added bonus of deterring several other household pests, too. Try adding peppermint essential oil to homemade cleaners, or diffuse it in your fragrance warmers. (I use this brand.)
The smell of camphor also repels mice. Most people don’t like the scent of it much, either. So, while you probably don’t want to use it in your home’s living areas, it works great in seldom-used areas like attics and sheds. Try adding a handful of mothballs to an old sock and hanging it near windows in those places. (Related: How to Get Rid of Spiders.)
Get Mice Out Of Your Walls
Mice make nests in walls and rarely leave them during the day. At night, they’ll come out foraging for food. If you’ve eliminated their food sources by following the steps above, they’ll eventually starve. There’s a risk the mice might die in your walls, which causes a horrible smell for a week or more.
A fast solution to get rid of mice living in your walls involves placing mouse traps at the back of pantry shelves, under sinks, and in the garage, basement, and attic. Use a dab of peanut butter or beef jerky for bait. (Surprisingly, they aren’t that interested in cheese.)
Wear gloves when baiting or setting mouse traps to keep your scent from transferring to them. Check the traps daily and discard those that have done their job. (Wear gloves for your protection when you do that.)
Cleaning Areas with Mice Infestations
Once you get rid of mice in your home, you need to give it a thorough cleaning to get rid of droppings, rodent fur, and possible parasites. Use disinfecting products on food preparation surfaces and floors, and discard any food packaging that shows signs of mouse damage. (Related: Homemade Floor Cleaner for All Kinds of Hard Floors.)
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.