How To Get Rid Of Mice Naturally

Almost everyone finds a mouse in their home at some point. Here’s how to get rid of them naturally and keep them away for good to prevent an infestation.

Gray mouse sits on sofa showing signs of mouse infestation including droppings and chewed upholstery

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. In addition to the bacteria from their feces, mice droppings can bother those with allergies or asthma. Mice can also chew through wiring, leading to shorted electronics and even household fires.

Signs You Have Mice

If you’ve seen one mouse in your house, there are probably more that you haven’t seen yet. Mice like to hide in walls or behind furniture or appliances until they know the coast is clear — usually at night while you’re asleep. But seeing a mouse isn’t the only way to know you’ve got a problem. Other signs of mouse infestations include:

  • Finding droppings that look like dark grains of rice. (Bigger droppings indicate you’ve got rats.)
  • Seeing debris on your pantry shelves from gnawed food packaging or finding holes in cardboard food containers.
  • Discovering large holes chewed into furniture or mattress upholstery.
  • Finding pieces of fiberfill stuffing, tattered rags, or wood shavings in corners of unused rooms, under sinks, or behind appliances and heavy furniture.
  • Hearing scratching noises coming from your walls.
  • Finding gnawed electric wires or having your electronics suddenly stop working due.
  • Seeing your dog or cat stare at appliances or try scratching to get behind furniture.

How Mice Got Into Your Home

Like humans, mice want to live where they have access to food and water and can get comfortable without concerns about being disturbed. In colder or rainy seasons, your home is far more attractive to them than living outdoors. They don’t even need to wait for an invitation to enter: a mouse can enter your home through a crack as small as a dime.

How to Get Rid of Mice Naturally

When it comes to getting rid of mice, there’s really only one way to do it: with a trap. The type of trap you use depends on whether you want to do it naturally and without killing them or not.

Live traps: These no-kill traps let you “catch and release” mice, but you must drive captured mice at least a mile away from your home before releasing them into the wild. This may require several trips if you have a bad infestation. Using these traps presents a health risk since you’ll necessarily come into contact with a mouse. For that reason, they’re not recommended in homes with pets or kids.

Bait stations: This is poison in a dispenser. It’s a fairly quick, inexpensive solution if you have only one or two mice. But there’s a risk that a poisoned mouse will crawl into your walls to die, where it will start to smell for a few weeks. If you have pets, there’s a risk of them eating a poisoned mouse and getting sick, too.

Snap traps: These old-fashioned spring traps are easy to use and very inexpensive. You can find them in hardware stores. They almost always kill mice instantly, but seeing the dead mouse can be disturbing. Since the steel trap snaps shut so quickly, these traps are not safe for use in homes with pets or small children.

Electric traps: These battery-operated traps administer lethal shocks to mice that crawl inside. They’re a little more expensive, but they’re also reusable. Unlike other types of traps, you don’t even have to see the dead mouse — remove the disposable chamber and dump it in the trash. This type of trap is safe for use around kids and most pets, too. (Find them on Amazon.*)

Best Bait for Mouse Traps

Although you may have seen cheese used to bait mouse traps in cartoons, peanut butter works better. Mice can smell it from a distance, and they love the taste of nuts. If you don’t have peanut butter, try nuts or seeds — even birdseed. Whatever you choose, wear gloves when you’re handling the bait and the trap. Mice have very keen senses of smell and will stay away from things that humans have recently touched.

Where to Place Mouse Traps

Even the most effective bait won’t work if you don’t put traps in the right spot. You should, of course, put a baited mousetrap wherever you find signs they’ve been nesting. Other places to put traps include behind heavy furniture and appliances, in cupboards beneath sinks, along the base of garage or attic walls, and on top of kitchen cabinets if they don’t reach all the way to the ceiling.

How to Keep Mice Out of Your Home for Good

Mouse peeking through hole

Once you’ve set traps for the mice that are already in your home, it’s time to focus on steps that prevent more mice and other rodents from getting inside.

Mind the Gaps

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. Mice won’t chew through caulk, so use it to seal small gaps or cracks. Caulk needs support behind it in larger holes, though. Since mice won’t chew through steel wool, stuff it into larger gaps before applying caulk. Backer rod can also work.

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 well. 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.

Tend Your Yard

Outdoor mice will seek shelter indoors in cold or wet weather. So, a good way to keep mice out of your home is by making your yard less attractive to them, too. That means regular mowing and yard maintenance, plus picking up storm debris and clutter that mice might use for shelter. Prune shrubs around your home’s foundations, too. And be sure to seal outdoor garbage cans or recycling bins so mice don’t see your home as an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Try Essential Oils

There are a couple of smells that mice don’t like. Peppermint is one, and it has the 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 one*.)

The smell of camphor also repels mice. Most people don’t like the scent of it, either. So, while you probably don’t want to use it in your home’s living areas, camphor 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.

Starve Them Out

Mice don’t need a lot of food to survive. In fact, they can live on as little as 3 to 4 grams of food each day. So what looks like crumbs on the floor to you is almost a feast for them. If they can’t find crumbs lying around, mice will gladly chew through cardboard food boxes or other food packaging to get to what’s inside. So, while cleaning thoroughly won’t get rid of mice, keeping a tidy home can help you avoid attracting them.

  • Store dry goods in air-tight containers. (Bonus, you’ll also help prevent pantry moths, too.)
  • Discard old newspapers, magazines, and other items that mice can use for bedding.
  • 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.

Cleaning After a Mouse Infestation

Mouse droppings contain harmful bacteria and sometimes parasites. Their fur is often infested with fleas, too. So any time you find signs that a mouse has been indoors, you need to do some serious cleaning and disinfecting. First, clean the area with soapy water to remove dirt and then apply a disinfectant to kill pathogens. Be sure to wear disposable gloves and use materials you can discard after use so you don’t wind up spreading germs throughout your home.

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69 Comments

  1. Kylie cooper says:

    Thank you for these tips maybe in a few days I can actually sleep at night

  2. I’ve put mothballs EVERY where and the mice literally walk right past them! I’m so over these little crap factories my American bull dog loves to chase the mice he will actually catch them and kill them however the down side to that is he will leave them around the house after he kills them (if you don’t find them fast enough you will have a horrible smell)
    I’m going to try the Fresh Cap and peppermint oil I pray it works!!!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Oh, please keep the mothballs where your doggie can’t reach them! The peppermint oil should work for you, just remember to reapply it regularly.

    2. Peppermint oil has worked for me so far. Since I have sprayed it around my house I haven’t seen one mouse. The day before I used it, I caught 3 mice on glue traps. Praying that this is enough to get them out of my house. My pup has finally learned to relax again! Thank God!!!

    3. Katie Berry says:

      Excellent! I know what you mean about pups relaxing — once they get antsy, every little thing sets them off, doesn’t it?

    4. Jayne Hurford says:

      Found all my old perfumes and was ready to throw them out but used them to nightly spray around areas, bins inside etc to deter mice is working. yeah. Keeping bottles to decorate.

  3. Wayne Nelson says:

    I live in northern Mn. I’ve always had trouble with mice in outter buildings , home remedies just don’t effect those tough little b……s but I caught several bull snakes and put them in those sheds. Problem over. L made a place for them to winter up. Also, keep your refreshment bottle in the shed, wife won’t come in to check on you!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Great tips, Wayne. 🙂

  4. I’ve heard Amina will keep them from coming in !
    Will putting a container of ammonia harm my cat ?
    Was wondering if the fumes were toxic to cats if it’s in an upper cupboard away from where she walks ?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I have no idea whether ammonia would keep mice out, but I sure wouldn’t want to have an open container of it sitting around in my house. Yes, it’s toxic to cats. Also, you know that horrible smell your cat’s litter box gets between scoopings? That’s the ammonia in their urine. Do you REALLY want your home smelling like that?

    2. Ammonia works because they think it’s feline urine. If they haven’t left due to your cat they aren’t going to leave for Ammonia.

  5. Dyan Williams says:

    Do bleach kill them

    1. Katie Berry says:

      If you can figure out how to make them drink a bunch of it, sure. Otherwise, no, just spraying bleach around your home won’t kill them and might, in fact, cause you serious health problems.

  6. I heard if you feed them rice, once consumed the rice will swell in thier stomachs and they will eventually pass. Is this true.

  7. crush up mice poison into dust wear gloves and mix it into peanut butter balls. Place these on traps. and in any holes you find away from pets and children. If the trap didn’t kill the spiked peanut butter will.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Kind of misses the point of the article doesn’t it, Dave?

    2. Also, if you have any pets that may find a mouse, eat it or even just put it in their mouth, they’ll also get poisoned.

    3. Mouse may die inside the walls and whoa! the stink is brutal.

  8. I have had an infestation of mice now that’s nearly sorted an other has got in though the door when taking washing out is there any way to provent it

    1. Ngamako N Patara says:

      get a cat from the pound. Get ride of that mice and save a life

    2. Ngamako N Patara says:

      I know I reply already. I use cayenne powder. Like u I have a little mice who seems to have very good Cama around it. I also have a very large cat and 2 dogs. Saw the little bugger, my dogs and me chase it. My cat watches. However MOST cats do chase mice out of the house.

  9. They hate chlorine. I put a few small pucks in my pantry and under the sink

    1. Katie Berry says:

      And that’s fine if you don’t have pets or small kids or grandkids. My cats love to explore the pantry, and my dog eats anything she finds on the floor, so I can’t risk it.

  10. Sherry Malone says:

    Help!! They’ve invaded my home and they are smart! I set traps and wake up to empty traps or sprung with no mouse. I tried a rodent spray that smells like peppermint but they don’t seem affected by it. There’s a lot of them running around nightly. What can I do? I can’t do poison, I have birds and bunnies that put everything in their mouths. Help!!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Sounds like you need to find out how they’re getting into your house and plug or caulk those areas then you might be able to trap the ones in your home. If not, it’s probably time to call a professional exterminator.

  11. Tony Borgez says:

    what can you add to the peppermint oil so that it would be more effective to keep these rats away? Badly need it. I’m thinking that I should mix it with pepper, and bayleaf. Would it be more effective? I need your suggestion. Thank you.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You could certainly try both.

    2. Spearmint and peppermint

  12. Wanted to weigh in on this. I have used the glue traps effectively in the past, but the last couple years the mice chew the sides off and make a path to the bait in the center. It’s unbelievable, but true. Still catch bugs and spiders on them, but the mice seem to have figured them out.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Uh oh. They’re evolving! 😉

  13. After corn harvest and when temps drop, typically some mice get in. I learned this from an old farmer: Tie a cotton string onto a snap trap. Cut the knot ends short, but leave enough to fray (yarn also works). Spread peanut butter on the knot and frayed ends. Rather than having them steal or lick the bait off, they tug the strings and set off the trap. He told me he did this for rat snap traps, but it works well for mouse snap traps too.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thank you for helping others by sharing this!

  14. I’ve tried something new using an emptied toilet roll (the cardboard inside) and a bucket.
    Put peanut butter inside the at one end of the roll.
    Place the roll on a table, window sill or other spot where I know the creature has visited.
    Position/balance the roll so that the PB half of it hangs off the table, sill, etc.
    Put about 5-6 inches of water in the bucket and smear oil/Crisco up the sides of it.
    Place a container under the hanging end.
    When Mickey goes for the PB, his weight will cause the roll to fall into the bucket – along with him. The water coupled with the slippery bucket sides, will ensure he won’t escape. :o)

    1. I wonder if you just did the Crisco without water if the mouse wouldn’t be able to get out of the bucket — then you could take it for a ride and release it elsewhere. I’m getting the heebies over any idea or solution, but this might work for some.

    2. Katie Berry says:

      That’s a great idea!

  15. Ally Anders says:

    I have mice in my stove. They keep crawling in the vent under the dials.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Might need to use a mousetrap on top of the stove, then.

  16. Thank you for the tips. I have a 4 year old cat and a kitten. The cat isn’t keeping the mice under control so maybe some of your ideas might work.

  17. I have mice problem because it a corn field behind my house and i want to know does any kind of vinegar will help get rid of mice at all

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I have no idea. I use the peppermint oil approach.

  18. How do you fix a peppermint oil spray. I’m desperate!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I just add peppermint oil to my homemade all-purpose cleaner. You could try adding 10-15 drops to 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup warm water. Shake well.

  19. Lisa Reynolds says:

    Up until a few months ago, I had been using the plug ins that send out a certain noise that repels them. Within days of plugging them in, I was rid of mice…and there was alot! The box warned not to use if you had any rodent family pet, such as hamster, guinea pig, ferrets… A few months ago they started coming back. I assumed my plug ins just needed to be replaced. I replaced with no success so I doubled up on them…still no success. I can’t understand this. These mice couldn’t have built an imunity to tge sound I wouldn’t think??? I have my own dogs and I foster dogs so these mice have to go not only for my sanity but for theirs as well. I need to get rid of alot of mice and fast!!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Yikes!

  20. Char Krieger says:

    I live in an downstairs apt & lived here for 2 yrs & never a mouse til this morning when got up to one running across my living room floor… have no idea where it came in from & don’t even know where to start looking… went through my small apt looking for drippings but found none & cant see where it came in so have no clue what to do!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      It could very well have come through the door or a window. Make sure you’ve got weatherstripping on doors and that any gaps around windows are caulked.

    2. Donna Hencinski says:

      I live in a condo. Suddenly had an infestation of mice. After catching 7, I looked for points of entry. There were little spaces around the water pipes. I filled them with steel wool. No more mice.

  21. Kathleen Freeman says:

    I would like to say thank you to you and the others who have offered solutions on how to rid your home of mice. We live in a 5th wheel mobile home in the Mohave desert. So we have a lot of field mice that we have to put up with. We are going to try peppermint. Since the darn mice are so smart now that they know how to get the bait off the traps. We have tried peanut butter, cheese, small pieces of meat, you name it and we have tried it. But these critters have gotten so smart they have figured out how to remove the bait without setting off the traps. So now we have to try to think of something that will work on the traps that does not come off easily. Do you have any suggestions as to what we can bait the trap with that can’t be removed easily? We have loaded these traps by even wrapping the bait around the place where the bait goes, and they still manage to remove the bait and not set off the trap. And another question that I have does it matter if we use peppermint extract instead of peppermint oil? Thank you for you attention.

    1. Roseanna Mosley says:

      Put down two traps with peanut butter. For 3 days they ate the peanut butter without setting off trap. Took a peanut & gently pressed on to the little prongs (causes a little tug when eating which wiggles trap). Put a little peanut butter on top of the peanut (thought it would draw them to trap better) upped to 3 traps and snapped one mouse per night for 4 days. Hopefully that was the whole family. They were chewing a hole to enter under the bottom edge of where hangs over foundation. Going to try the steel wool method to keep them out. ??&?? It works.

    2. Katie Berry says:

      That’s a favorite entry-point for mice and other pests, too. A great way to keep things from crawling through it is by caulking the gap. If it’s a very large gap, though, you might need to add backer-rod first.

  22. Oh please, I have done all of these things and the mice hop and jump right over all of it wherever you put bait or traps or the peppermint oil they just go in a different direction so I am moving into something brand new with no cracks and no holes

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Well, if you’ve done all these things (including caulking up cracks and holes) and still have problems, that sounds like a good idea.

  23. Hi yes what about lemon pledge if I use that on the walls and counters will that get rid of mice and bugs

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I would never advise using Lemon Pledge on walls, and it’s not really made for counters, either.

  24. Was reading the comments and will be trying peppermint oil to get rid of them I can’t seem to finish them and it’s very annoying.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Don’t forget to look for cracks and holes where they might be getting into your home.

  25. Frank Angel says:

    Hi — I live in an apartment building and so keeping them out is not an option — they are already in the building IN! I have tried all the normal thing to plug up holes and make sure the pipe and cable entry points, but while I not see them very often, it is inevitable that on occasion one while pop his head in-between the cabinet and the sink or once one actually had the nerve to show himself while I was watching TV. Amazing thing was, he just looked at me as curiously as I looked at him. Thing is, the little guys don’t upset me that much — would I rather not share my habitat with a creature who’s not paying his share of the rent, sure, but if I had my druthers, I would happily cohabitate with a mouse or two rather than a roach. Roaches make me go immediately insane. I will rip the place apart if I see and miss killing because they are faster than cheetahs and seem to have the ability to literally disappear when you wack them…somthing I am loath to do. Now I have filled windex spray bottles with rubbing alcohol and keep one at hand in every room so I have a weapon should I see one on the sink or table. Spray them with it and they are dead in about 30 seconds. An alcohol will evaporate without leaving residue so it’s much better than all those poisons which I don’t want spraying where I live. I know, the roaches have been around for billions of years before us and probably will be here long after our species is gone, but that doesn’t make me feel any less skeeved by them. Oh, sorry, I got way off topic.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Frank,
      Sounds like you’ve found an approach that works for you! Be careful spraying alcohol, though, especially around flames, electrical outlets, and electronics. It’s highly flammable! 🙂

  26. Darlene Evitts says:

    Where do you purchase peppermint oil
    Oil

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Darlene,
      Peppermint essential oil is available at many stores like Walmart or Target. It’s also available online.

  27. I had a professional come out and he plugged up all the holes and he said he couldn’t find any way for them to get in except for they came in through the doors the cat goes crazy so I tried Vicks rub on cotton balls that seemed to help a little bit today I was down in my living room and my son’s cat was going crazy again I have a peppermint flea spray so I sprayed that right now so I could get some Vicks.

  28. Donna Doucette says:

    I close up a camp. I need something that last 5 mos.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Donna,
      I’d try the mothball approach.

  29. Maybe we have tough mice, but mothballs don’t work. We get mice in our RV and that hasn’t worked.

  30. loy HARPER says:

    I have had a problem with mice in kitchen drawers. I bought a humane trap at walmart that is a plastic box with trap door. I put a piece of cookie in it . The mice go in two at the time and the door shuts. It doesn’t kill the mice but you still have to have a place to get rid of it. We live in the country so no problem. So far I have caught 35 mice.

  31. Get a five gallon plastic pail, put grain or hard dog food in bottom. Put a board angled from floor to edge of pail. The mice will run up the board and jump in pail to get food but can’t get out. The downside to this is that you have to get rid of them somehow. Works like a charm .

  32. for mice can i used actual cloves , cracked open, and put them along where i think the mice are, and hide ?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I haven’t tried that, Garry, but you could certainly give it a shot. I suspect the scent of fresh cloves might fade fast, though. If that happens, consider switching to the oil instead since oil delays evaporation.

  33. Over the years I have cleaned out my kitchen cupboards with domestos cleaner and then sprayed surface spray and have a cat. This has worked for me over the years.
    I clean my pantry with domestos and air it out. It’s finding something that stinks to upset there noses.

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