How To Get Rid of Mice (A Quick Guide)

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No one wants mice in their homes. They not only make a huge mess, but they also pose a serious health threat. So, what’s the best way to get rid of them?

The following guide will provide insights on how to know if you have a mouse problem and how to deal with it.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • How to Identify Mice in Your Home
  • Signs of Infestation
  • How to Get Rid of Mice
  • How To Prevent Mice Infestations
  • Top Pest Control Company Comparisons
  • Frequent Asked Questions about Mice Removal

Deciding whether or not to call a mice exterminator can often be a challenging one. We recommend OrkinTerminix, and Aptive to get rid of mice in your home. These exterminators have some of the best trained professionals that are able to use traps, baits, and other chemically treated solutions, which can be dangerous to use if not handled correctly.

For Terminix quotes you can reach them at 866-506-2303, or with this form.

For quotes from Orkin, call 877-831-3660, or fill out this form.

For a free quote from Aptive, call 855-426-9774 or visit the company’s website.

Reviewed By:
Ed Spicer

Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!

Table of Contents

    How to Identify Mice in Your Home

    There are several key identifiers when looking for signs of mice. Here are a few ways to tell if you have them in your home.


    The house mouse is much smaller than the rat. The adult is from five to seven inches long, including the tail, which is between three and four inches. They’re also greyish-brown and have large ears and black eyes.


    Homeowners often get mice feces confused with that of rats. They are much smaller and have pointed ends. They are most often black, but the color may vary depending on their diet.

    Urine trails

    Mice leave urine trails as they travel along baseboards and other tight areas. These markings become more pronounced with time. And if the infestation goes on long enough, you may even begin to smell them.

    Nesting habits

    Mice build their nests in various locations. But their favorite places are around heat sources such as stoves, the backs of refrigerators, and water heaters. The material they use varies, but they prefer shredded paper and other fibrous substances.

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    Signs of Infestation

    There are specific ways to tell if you have a mouse problem in your home. We list a few examples here.


    Mice chew through cardboard and other paper products to provide nesting materials. If you notice a one-inch hole cut out of a storage box, you may have a mouse infestation.

    But paper products aren’t the only material mice gnaw on. Electrical wiring is another favorite. You’ll notice it right away by the uneven appearance of the insulation.


    Mice are surprisingly noisy creatures. You can hear them scratching and clawing primarily at night. And in rare instances, you can even detect squeaking sounds coming from their nests.


    Mice give off a distinct musky odor, especially for high infestation levels. Less frequently, urine trails may give off a sweet popcorns smell. Again, this is due to very high levels of infestation.


    You can sometimes see mice scampering around indoors at night. But if you see them during the day, that could signal a severe problem. It means that there’s no more room in the nest, and young adults are looking for their own home.

    Leptospirosis is also a bacteria transmitted by mice and other rodents.

    Instead of feces, mice urine is what causes the food to be contaminated. Symptoms of the disease include yellowing skin, kidney failure, and internal bleeding.

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    How to Get Rid of Mice Yourself

    Any rodent control program starts with a thorough inspection of the entire home. Once you’ve identified where the nests are, it’s essential to clean these areas. Use a shop vac to remove fecal matter and then wipe down surfaces with a solution of bleach and water.

    There are several methods for reducing mice populations. Some include trapping, while others involve poison baits. Here, we’ll show you the differences between each method.


    Mousetraps are typically broken down into four types:

    • Snap traps
    • Glue traps
    • Electic shock traps
    • Live traps

    Each type has its advantages and drawbacks. Here, we list each one and give you some tips for their proper use.

    Snap traps

    The classic snap trap has a trigger paddle for the bait. It also comes with a trigger arm and a curved, spring-loaded trap bar. It’s best to bait the trap with peanut butter, prunes, or a combination of both.

    Be sure to position the trap perpendicular to any runways mice might travel. Also, it’s better to have the trigger side against the wall or baseboard.

    It’s best to set snap traps to the most sensitive setting possible. However, this could be a problem for the newer models. Most are calibrated for ease of use, but they are often not sensitive enough to catch mice.

    Glue Traps

    Disposable sticky glue traps are the easiest to set up. Just peel and place. Most come with a way to fold them into a tent-like structure. And you can bait them with almost anything small enough to fit in the center.

    The downside to glue traps is their stickiness. If you accidentally get one stuck to you, it could be a pain to remove. The best way to extract a glue trap from skin or clothing is with vegetable oil.

    Electric shock traps

    A relatively new concept in rodent trapping is the electric shock trap. The idea is to be able to trap mice with minimal work. Simply place the unit, turn it on, and apply your favorite mouse bait. Then, when the mouse enters the trap, it receives a deadly shock. Disposal is merely a matter of tilting the unit to remove the dead mouse.

    However, not all electric traps are created equal. Some don’t work as advertised. So, for that reason, it’s best to read the reviews carefully before investing in one.

    Live Traps

    The concept of live rodent trapping has been around for many years.  However, some older catch-and-release models didn’t work so well. Many of them wouldn’t catch anything. And others would kill the mouse anyway, defeating the purpose of live trapping.

    Still, the newer live-trap versions are worth a look. Many come with a humane door that won’t kill the rodent. And there’s typically a backdoor mechanism for easy release.

    Rodenticide baiting

    Rodenticides are toxic bait formulations that have two primary ingredients:

    1. The attractant
    2. The active ingredient (anticoagulant)

    They come in several packaging options. Here are the most common ones.

    Bait blocks

    Most professional exterminators utilize convenient bait block formulations for commercial rodent control. And they’re available to the general public. However, most states require baits stations to protect non-target animals.

    The active ingredient is extremely potent. For that reason, always follow label directions. And it’s best to use extreme caution while handling these products when children and pets are present.

    Ready-to-use bait stations

    Pre-packaged bait stations come ready to use. So, they are more convenient than purchasing the rodenticide and stations separately. And since most are one-time use, you can easily dispose of them.

    The downside is that the majority of these products contain a lethal dose of bromethalin, a highly toxic poison. In some instances, it’s so lethal that mice may be repelled by it. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep children and pets far away from it.

    Natural bait pellets

    The most recent development in mice eradication is the use of naturally occurring poisons. These products are non-toxic to humans or animals. And they pose little threat to small children.

    The primary active ingredient is corn gluten meal. It acts on the mouse’s digestive system to trick it into thinking it has plenty of hydration. As a result, the mouse stops drinking water and eventually dies from dehydration.

    While that’s nice in theory, they work so slowly that it’s sometimes hard to tell if they work at all. And it’s not because the attractant is ineffective. Most users eventually decide to use it as bait for their snap traps.

    How To Prevent Mice Infestations

    There are many ways to be proactive when it comes to rodent-proofing your home. Here are some ideas to get you started.

    Sanitation measures

    Sanitation doesn’t just mean the cleanup of dirty areas. It’s more than that. It involves storing food in airtight containers. It also means limiting rodent food sources, so mice look elsewhere for an easy meal.

    Proper storage of pet food will also go a long way in preventing a rodent problem. Instead of storing it in the bag it came in, try using sealed containers instead. It will help keep the smell of the enticing pet food from luring rodents into your home.

    Mechanical exclusion

    Mechanical excluding is part of an integrated pest management approach. It includes sealing off pipe entry points and cracks where mice enter homes. Materials for mechanical exclusion include:

    • Wire mesh
    • Steel wool
    • Expansion foam
    • Caulking compound
    • Silicone sealant

    Start with the largest openings first. Use wire mesh and foam to plug larger holes. Block pipe entry points with steel wool. And finally, seal any small cracks mice can squeeze into using silicone caulking.

    Ultrasonic devices

    Although there aren’t many scientific studies on the efficacy of ultrasonic rodent repellants, they are somewhat promising. They work by repelling mice with a high-frequency sonic wave that only rodents can hear. The idea is to leave the device on all the time for continuous rodent prevention.

    Whether they work or not depends on who you talk to. Also, the more money you pay, the better the reviews, in most cases. Still, it’s worth carefully reading the previous customer comments before purchasing an ultrasonic machine.

    Essential oil repellents

    To combat mice infestations without harming the environment, many homeowners turn to natural rodent repellents. Typically, the active ingredient is an essential oil — peppermint, in most cases.

    Most of these mouse repellents are liquid formulations. So, it’s best to use them in dry weather. However, they are a viable alternative since they’re non-toxic to humans, fish, and wildlife.

    Top Recommended Companies

    If you don’t wish to go the DIY route, consider hiring a pest management provider. However, not all exterminators offer rodent removal services. Here, we list the top-rated ones that do.

    Terminix utilizes the latest trapping technology to eliminate mice at their source. Before that, the technician completes a thorough inspection to identify the pest. This process reduces the need for widespread toxic bait applications.

    Follow-up is also essential. The company guarantees that the customer will be happy, no matter what it takes. That includes rodent removal and follow-up inspections.

    Orkin is a leader in commercial and residential rodent control and management. All its strategies center around prevention measures. This includes mechanical exclusion such as pipe entry sealing and silicone caulking.

    Orkin is one of the few companies that can control rodents on an institutional level. From schools to hospitals, its technicians can tackle any size infestation. And they manage to do all that in an eco-friendly, responsible way.

    Aptive uses a comprehensive approach to mouse control. After the technician assesses the problem, both record-keeping and communication become the priority. Educating and informing its customers is essential to maintaining Aptive’s high standards.

    Mice Removal FAQs

    Are mice dangerous to have in the home?

    Mice won’t usually attack people. However, they do pose several health threats to humans and animals. Here are some of the most common examples:

    Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a disease of the respiratory tract. It’s serious and sometimes fatal. Breathing in the dust from rodent fecal matter is what typically causes hantavirus. So, the best way to prevent it is by wearing a respirator while cleaning areas where mice have gathered.

    Salmonella is a bacterial infection transmitted by rodents and small mammals. It attacks the gastrointestinal tract and causes nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Mice usually pass it on to humans by contaminating food with their feces. For that reason, it’s best to tightly seal food containers, especially in bulk storage areas.

    Leptospirosis is also a bacteria transmitted by mice and other rodents. Instead of feces, mice urine is what causes the food to be contaminated. Symptoms of the disease include yellowing skin, kidney failure, and internal bleeding.

    What’s the quickest way to get rid of mice?

    There are several steps you must take to eliminate mice from your home.

    1. Inspect your home thoroughly. Only by identifying all areas of infestation will you be able to gain control quickly.
    2. Clean all nesting sites with bleach and water. By eliminating odors, mice are less likely to return to these areas.
    3. Throw out all contaminated foods. Seal off any remaining food containers. Pet food is also included in this process.
    4. Seal pipe entry points with steel wool or foam. It may also be helpful to replace screen door thresholds to limit pests from getting in through main entrances.
    5. Use snap traps and glue boards to eliminate any remaining mice populations indoors. Be sure to do the same for basements and crawl spaces.  Eventually, you will stop trapping them.
    6. Use anticoagulant baits outside under porches, decks, staircases, and sheds. Be sure to protect children and pets by utilizing approved bait stations. Also, make sure these devices are well-hidden.

    How long does it take for an exterminator to eliminate mice?

    The best exterminators can get control of most rodent infestations within seven to ten days. That’s because the professional technician is trained to move quickly to solve the problem. Time is money, so the company wants the customer to experience results as fast as possible.

    On the other hand, if you’re handling the problem yourself, expect it to take much longer. That’s because there’s a wide learning curve when it comes to rodent control. There are a lot of tasks involved in the process.

    How do you remove mice from a storage shed?

    Sometimes just the act of cleaning a storage shed is enough to scare the mice away for good. Removing any food sources is an excellent first step. Also, be sure to eliminate any nesting material such as blankets, cotton balls, and other soft items.

    Next, spray down concrete flooring with a solution of bleach and water. While it’s not ideal, you may discourage mice by trapping them in the shed. However, baiting with approved bait stations generally works better for outdoor storage areas.

    How to control mice in restaurants and other businesses?

    The businesses most vulnerable to mice infestations are:

    • Restaurants
    • Grocery stores
    • Bars
    • Food courts
    • Hotels

    The same techniques for eliminating mice from residences apply to businesses. It just happens to be on a larger scale. And the risks are greater —the safety of the public is at stake.

    So, the first thing to do is eliminate any contaminated food. Then, disinfect all areas where there are signs of rodent feces and urine trails. A black light will help identify these infested spaces.

    Next, it’s important to refrain from using poison baits within the confines of the building. Dead rodents will give off a distinct odor that you don’t want your guests noticing. Instead, place all bait stations outdoors around the building to draw mice away from inside areas.

    When using snap traps and glue boards, it’s essential to check them regularly. You want to dispose of them before they start to smell. Also, be sure to inform all employees of their locations.

    Finally, use mechanical exclusion to keep mice out for good. Seal pipe entry points with steel wool or liquid spray foam. Also, be sure to keep food containers tightly closed at all times.

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