Want to get rid of the mice in your home?
You're in the right place!
When you hear the telltale squeak of an unidentified creature scuttling through the darkness, terror surges through you.
Without even seeing it, you know that you've got a mouse in your home, and you need to take action.
But how do mice get in the house?
Do those old snap traps from cartoons really work?
What foods do mice like, and how can they be used advantageously?
You're probably brimming with questions, and we've got answers. Check out our full guide below so that you can get rid of mice fast.
Identifying Mice in Your Home
When you hear their little paws scurry around unexpectedly, nine times out of ten, you know you're dealing with mice.
But what are the other signs of a mouse in your house?
And regardless of what kinds of "presents" the mouse leaves for you and your family, the real question remains: how did it get inside in the first place?
Read Also: What are the best ultrasonic pest repellers?
Are Mice in Your House?
The most telling sign that a mouse may have come for a visit is a discovery of droppings.
Generally, a single mouse will leave 50-70 pellets PER DAY, scattered around your home.
While it's unpleasant to learn that your home is being littered with feces, this is also clear indicator that you're dealing with a mouse or a family of mice that can do more damage than making your house dirty...
Case in point: gnaw marks.
You'll find them mostly on soft surfaces like cardboard, maybe on the surface of a roll of paper towels or toilet paper, or even in bars of soap.
As your mouse infestation grows, you could find that cords and wires have been chewed as well. This is dangerous! You do not want mice chewing through your electric lines.
Just Saw a Mouse in Your Apartment: What Should You Do?!
The one benefit to finding a mouse in your home (if you even want to call it a benefit) is finding out that you pretty much have free reign of the place.
As a homeowner, you can rip up the floorboards and knock down walls to find and remove any creepy critters that may be lurking inside, if that's what you want to do (although we don't recommend this unless you have the funds to pay for such a home makeover).
As a renter, your actions are limited to what your landlord or leasing company approves.
Most mouse traps and repellents won't cause you to lose your security deposit, but only if the mouse is visible.
Once your resident mouse finds a way into the walls or floorboards, then you've essentially got a noisemaker that won't go away until the owner of the apartment does something substantial to rid the area of mice.
But what can you do on your own?
Well, let's not discount the magic of fright.
Small animals and pests are very easily startled, proving the old adage your parents used to tell you to be true: "They're more scared of you than you are of them."
By making loud, strange sounds, you can scare a mouse either out of its hiding place (and into a trap), or out of your apartment in general, although this obviously won't be a permanent cure for a mouse who has settled into your home...
They usually come back.
Why Do Mice Enter Homes In The First Place?
While the cartoons of the olden days would have you believe that an abundance of cheese lying around is a surefire invitation for a mouse to stroll right into your home, there's actually a much less comical explanation.
More often than not, mice are searching for three things when they make their way into a person's home:
- Food. Mice have a sophisticated sense of smell. They can sniff out different types of scents jumbled together, and can sometimes pick out a specific aroma when there's food involved.
- Warmth. Even if you live in a warm climate, think about this: the volume of a mouse's body is significantly less than that of a human. It's much more difficult for a mouse to circulate body temperature than a larger animal, so they'll always be on the lookout for a place that's warmer than the outdoors.
- Protection from predators. This is kind of a no-brainer: no animal wants to become a larger animal's dinner. When a mouse scurries inside a home, it doesn't realize that there could be kill traps placed inside. The mouse only has one thing in mind: to escape snakes and other natural predators.
You can prevent a mouse crawling in by doing a thorough inspection of your entire home and ensuring that there are no small cracks in the structure.
This is most commonly how a mouse may zip inside to satisfy one (or a few) of its basic needs.
Watch this video to learn more about how to identify mouse entry points to your home:
Using Traps to Get Rid of Mice
Those little snap traps aren't just cartoon fodder; they actually exist, and they're still a viable option in terms of catching and confining a mouse! How they work:
- A piece of bait (such as cheese, as depicted in all the cartoons) is loaded onto a small platform which is attached to a block of wood on one side, and a spring system on the other.
- Once the mouse traverses onto the platform to take the bait, the spring system activates and sends a bar down over the mouse, snapping into place along the wood base.
- These traps are designed the cut off a mouse's circulation and kill it, but can sometimes only stun a mouse (depending on its size). Either way, your rodent is contained and won't scurry off.
Read Also: What's the best mouse trap?
These traps are great because of their simple, timeless design and the fact that no chemicals are involved.
They're mostly reusable, so you can get your money's worth if you have a few problem mice running around your home.
But this type of trap can present itself as a significant hazard if you have pets and children.
Little fingers can get caught in the traps, or the noses of dogs or cats.
Also, in the case that a mouse actually does get caught in the trap, it's imperative to dispose of the body almost immediately. Otherwise, you're exposing everyone in your home to a potentially harmful carrier of disease.
Using Poisons to Get Rid of Mice
The decision to use poison is a tricky one. On one hand, you want your mouse (or family of mice) out of your home.
On the other hand, peppering your home with poison could hurt you, your family, and/or your pets.
Depending on which type you choose, mouse poison works by one of three ways:
- The blood will lose its ability to clot and cause internal bleeding within the mouse's body.
- Toxic acid will build up in the digestive system of a mouse and kill it within days.
- The mouse's body will calcify from the inside-out.
Not only can these poisons be harmful to human or pet inhabitants of the home, but there's an often-ignored side effect lurking in the background.
When the mouse poison works as directed, you have to clean up mouse corpses ASAP.
This is much easier said than done; when an animal is dying, it usually slinks off to a hidden crevice somewhere to fade out.
Mice are no different; they'll burrow into your walls or another hard-to-reach place and begin to decompose, meaning that it's YOUR job to find their bodies and remove them quickly.
You have to remove their bodies, because a poisoned mouse will decompose after it dies and that poison can get into water sources, good soil and other animals, contaminating the ground and water for people and gardens.
Using Electronics to Get Rid of Mice
There's been a surge in the last few years of electronic waves devices for pest control.
They work by releasing invisible electromagnetic waves through your home that are generally not felt by humans, but affect a small animal such as a rodent.
These waves react with the mouse's central nervous system, creating a stressful and unpleasant ambiance in the home.
In turn, this causes a mouse to find a home where these devices are present to be uninviting and undesirable, causing them to leave.
While the concept seems solid, there's no concrete scientific finding that these gadgets do the trick to repel mice.
And if they DO work as directed, there are also complaints from users that small dogs and cats are annoyed by the waves, so these types of devices really present a lose-lose situation.
Natural Ways to Get Rid of Mice
With the downfalls of mice-killing methods illustrated above, we're here to bring you simple game plans to hack your way into a mouse-free home the DIY way.
2-Liter Soda Bottle
Next time you empty a large soda bottle, don't toss it in the trash just yet.
This can be an instrumental tool in building a DIY mouse trap!
How to make a soda bottle mouse trap at home:
- Cut along the top of the label to make two pieces: a large receptacle and a smaller entry point. Set the entry point aside first and focus on your main receptacle.
- Place some dirt, sand, or any kind of gritty material in the bottom of the bottle to give it some weight.
- Next, drop a dollop or two of peanut butter on top of the weight material. This will act as your primary form of bait in order to catch your mouse.
- Next, take your top piece and rub a thin layer of oil inside.
- Think of this piece as a funnel: your mouse will slip into the larger receptacle and be unable to jump out.
- Once you've oiled up the inside of the "funnel," fasten the two pieces together so that the funnel gives the mouse direct access to the peanut butter down below.
- Secure the two parts with some packing tape that can be taken off once you have a mouse to release from the trap.
Coin and Glass Trick (you don't absolutely NEED a coin)
This trick epitomizes simplicity. Take a look at the below video to get a sense of how it might work.
How to make a coin and glass mouse trap:
- Lay out a flattened box or some other kind of thick cardboard in a secluded corner where you won't bump into it very often.
- Grab a standard drinking glass and rub a layer of peanut butter inside, near the middle of the glass itself.
- Prop up this contraption on one side with a coin (a nickel is most recommended, due to its size and thickness).
- How it works: your mouse will sniff the peanut butter and go for it.
- The mouse will have to reach up high to get the bait, causing it to put its body weight on the side of the glass.
- The nickel will fall out from under the rim, causing the glass to fall onto the cardboard and trap the mouse.
- Once you see that you've caught one, simply transfer the whole trap, cardboard and all, outside and remove the glass to let the mouse go. Make sure you do this far, far away from your home. Mice have a habit of finding their way back to their preferred hideout.
Silverware Over a Bucket Works Like a Charm!
Much like the coin and glass trick, this hack to control your mouse problem naturally is so simple that you'll be amazed it even works.
You'll need a tall bucket (a trash can is recommended), peanut butter, and silverware. That's it!
How to make a silverware over bucket mouse trap:
- Place your bucket beneath a counter top in your kitchen.
- Put a fork or a spoon on the counter, with the handle piece jutting out off of the counter top.
- Smear a layer of peanut butter on the handle and wait.
- Your mouse will eventually sniff out the bait and walk along the handle of the fork or spoon, then fall off and into the bucket.
- You'll then be able to safely take the mouse outside for release.
Essential Oils as An Alternative Mice Treatment!
These types of essential oils are well-known for being a natural deterrent not just for mice, but for several different large rodents and small insects alike.
Pretty much any pest can be banished by a concentrated peppermint oil or citrus oil solution. Why?
Essentially, herbal and horticultural oils annoy pests to the point that they're willing to evacuate an area with a high concentration.
Pests can't stand the smell of these oils, and they will feel as though the environment is no longer a pleasant place to be.
These essential oils are affordable, easily found in health food stores and popular online retailers, and have many uses outside the realm of pest control.
We recommend 100% pure peppermint oil, as it's one of the most ubiquitous essential oils to find, with an abundance of extra health benefits.
How to use peppermint oil for mice control: simply mix a few drops with water in a spray bottle and spray the surfaces in your home periodically.
The smell will create an aroma zone that pests don't want to enter.
Cat Litter Can Help With Mice? No Way!
Yes... cat litter can be used to for your mice problems!
Using cat litter for mice control seems kind of unorthodox, but the reason it works is actually pretty logical.
Cats eat mice. Mice have evolved to recognize the smell of cat urine, so when a mouse smells this predator's urine, it feels a biological need to run away and find a new place to live.
The upside of this home remedy is that you're not killing any mice, and you don't even have to touch or interact with them.
The downside, of course, is that this method will probably make your house reek of cat pee.
Snake Droppings Get Rid of Mice What?!
Here's a weird thing...
Did you know that a mouse will do a complete about-face if it smells the droppings of a snake?
It really makes a lot of sense, if you think about it. Because snakes are natural predators to mice, the smells of their waste matter flips a switch in the mind of a mouse that there must be a snake lurking nearby.
No snake in your immediate vicinity? No problem! Deathly afraid of snakes? Not to worry!
Some pet stores actually sell dried snake droppings for this very purpose. You can place pieces outside in your yard to ward off mice and prevent them from even entering your home.
Warning! These are actual snake feces, not a synthetic copy. Please exercise extreme caution when using this route to deter mice, as kids playing in the yard could be harmed by the bacteria present in the feces.
A Secure Facility
How do mice get in the house? the most common way that a mouse squeezes indoors is via small openings in walls from the outside-in.
Here are a few things you can do to prevent this from happening:
- Conduct a thorough search of your home's exterior and seal up any spaces or openings, no matter how small.
- Keep your food and biological trash in an airtight, sealed container. This will not only help you to keep the aroma sealed inside, away from the noses of pests, but also will help you take out this type of trash frequently.
- Make sure that there's no leaking or moisture in pipes or crawl spaces in your home that could be a water source for mice.
The Bottom Line About Getting Rid of Mice
Finding a mouse in the house isn't exactly what people mean by wanting to hear the pitter-patter of little feet.
Although with our advice, you can make sure that your home is free of mice within just a matter of days!
Always remember: be sure to follow the detailed instructions on any store-bought mousetrap you purchase, as not to create a hazard for pets and kids.
Other Rat and Mouse Guides
Curious about other cat related products? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.