How To

How to get rid of mice (once and for all!)

By Luke Carlino

Updated: August 20th, 2021

The biggest problem with mice is that they don't contribute to the mortgage.

Let’s preface this article about how to get rid of mice by saying we don’t want to kill or hurt the little guys. They are, after all, merely trying to survive like the rest of us. Take it as a compliment that their thought your home was nice enough to call their own!

That being said, we understand that you probably don’t want them scurrying around your house. A single random mouse might seem cute, but one can quickly turn into an entire horde due to their spirited breeding habits. Once mice start nesting, it can become a lot harder to get them to leave.

Living with mice is also a health hazard as they use their urine as a communication method due to the lack of tiny smartphones being available on the market presently. Finally, mice love to gnaw on wires, which means no TV, and we all love TV. So read on for some friendly methods for how to get rid of mice from your home without hurting or killing them.

How to get rid of mice in your house

Method #1: Mouse-proofing 

Prevention is always the best option as it is way easier not to deal with a rodent infestation than to deal with one. The cold winter months are the most popular times of the year for furry visitors as they seek shelter and warmth to nest, eat, and breed in. 

Follow this checklist to rodent-proof your house so that come winter, the only mouse in your home is on the Disney channel:

  • Trim down the branches of any nearby trees that might act as bridges into your house. Mice enter through openings in your roof to get inside your walls.
  • Find any holes and gaps around the exterior of your home and seal them with something durable like sheet metal. The average mouse can fit through an opening slightly bigger than 1/4 of an inch.
  • Seal window frames and doors with stripping, door snakes, etc.
  • Keep your garbage bins as far away as possible from your home.
  • Soft things make for great nesting materials; this can include old storage boxes of clothes and your walls’ interior, so clean out the vulnerable areas.
  • If a small-to-medium-sized wooden horse rocks up at your front door one day, ignore it. Mice are well-versed in the strategies of the Trojans.

Method #2: Mouse repellent

Much like humans, there are some smells that mice absolutely hate – weirdly enough, they are some of the ones we love to cook with! Garlic, peppermint and spicy scents like cayenne pepper drive mice crazy, and they have a very sharp sense of smell.

For example, you could put some peppermint oil in cotton balls strategically where you suspect mouse activity as a natural repellent that is safe for household pets and children and helps your home smell good. It is important to note that mice are clever, and they will catch on to your plan and find a way to circumvent it, so couple this tactic with some of the others in this list.

Mouse in a basket
Source: Kong Jun

Method #3: Keep a clean home 

While you should probably be doing this regardless of mice, rodents truly thrive in unsanitary conditions. Always clear the clutter around your house as it makes for a great mouse home, especially in the garage and never leave out any food scraps. 

Where possible, keep food in airtight containers and switch to metal containers for your garbage. The average adult mouse only needs a few grams of food each day to survive, so generations of mice can happily thrive around your bin areas forever. The cleaner, the better, not only for keeping away mice but also for you and your family’s health.

Method #4: Non-lethal mouse traps

A slightly more aggressive but still humane alternative to get rid of mice naturally from your home is the use of non-lethal traps. These traps can catch mice without causing any harm. They are bait-based, luring the mouse into an enclosure that they cannot climb back out of. Anything sweet is a great piece of bait, so you can use cookie crumbs, some chocolate, or even peanut butter.

Place the traps wherever the mice frequent, and when you catch the mouse, release it a fair distance from your house to avoid it coming straight back in. This approach may take more effort, but it is much kinder, and you don’t have to deal with the horror of emptying a traditional trap that snaps the mouse’s neck.

Method #5: Aluminium Foil

While you don’t need to wear it as a hat and start studying government conspiracy theories, aluminium foil around the home is another effective deterrent for mice. They steer clear of it for some reason that we will possibly never know. 

Lay the foil in the places with the highest concentration of mouse activity and wrap whichever foods you leave out to keep the little critters away from them. If you have some mouse entry points that are a little hard to patch, stuffing them with the foil acts as a double-whammy of prevention.

Knowing who you are up against

In’ The Art of War’, Sun Tzu said, “Know the enemy and know yourself,” and we can help you with the first part with some handy mouse facts!

Mice are very clever little creatures, and they have an acute sense of smell and excellent hearing. The trade-off is the fact that they have terrible eyesight. They are nocturnal, so most active at night and they love company which is why they have moved into your house. The fact that you haven’t invited them onto the couch for movie night profoundly offends them.

A female mouse can give birth to litters of up to 15 at a time, after only two months of pregnancy, and they can get pregnant after this again just 48 hours later. Mice can climb, swim, and even jump, and they like to eat around 25 meals a day to maintain their athletic abilities!

Mouse in the house
Source: Ricky Kharawala

Frequently asked questions

Will mice go away on their own?

Mainly due to the fact that you are such a good host, mice will not leave on their own. If a family of mice have settled in your abode, you’ll need to take action to get rid of them, or the issue will likely amplify to ridiculous levels. 

The sooner you catch the issue and can start implementing some strategies to get rid of the unwanted house guests, the better. One mouse is much easier to remove than fifty. Mice can breed at an alarming rate, so even the hint that you may have a mouse in the house (often due to droppings around the place) means it’s time to spring into action and help them to find somewhere else to live.

How does an exterminator get rid of mice?

A professional exterminator will usually survey your home to figure out all of the possible entry points for a mouse. They will start outside checking for holes and cracks, seal off these points then use a chemical-based poison to clear the mice that already exist in the home.

Some exterminators may offer less harmful methods, but generally, they work as quickly as possible, so you do not have to spend too much time away from your home while they work. Their methods may also be dictated by how severe your infestation problem is.

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

A non-lethal catch-and-release trap is a very effective way to get rid of a mouse quickly. As these traps are bait-based, you can use anything sweet like cookie crumbs, some chocolate, or even peanut butter to lure the mouse in.

Place the traps wherever the mice frequent, and once caught, release the mouse a fair distance from your house to avoid it coming back. This is a quick and kind way to solve your mouse problem at home. Once dealt with, keep a clean home and seal off any exterior entry points to avoid having to rid your home of mice again.

Now you know how to get rid of mice, start your clean-up!

Begin your mouse-prevention techniques the second you finish this article! Check your home for entry points and do a spring clean regardless of what season it is. Remember, prevention is your best bet when it comes to mice in the home, and a clean, sealed house is the way to do it.

If it’s too late for that and you already have a rampant mouse problem, and if the steps above really aren’t your cup of tea, there is help available. Search the range of pest control expert Taskers that can pop on over and handle the issue on your behalf. You can even specify the type of solution you want in your task, i.e. no chemical use, etc.

However, once they have dealt with the issue, refer back to the beginning of this section and keep that home clean. You can even find a range of very skilled taskers that can help with that if need be as well!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Luke Carlino

Luke Carlino is a freelance copywriter, social media manager and content creator based in Melbourne. He works for a range of clients across a plethora of industries and is also an accomplished musician with solo and band works online.

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