How to get rid of mice and keep them away

Featured image source: Rodent Control in and Around Backyard Chicken Coops

Short of buying a cat to stand guard at the door, how do you get rid of mice in your home? Even better, can you avoid an infestation without relying on toxic and harmful chemicals and poisons?

Happily, yes there are.

Many people don’t want to live with rodents, they can cause an enormous amount of damage for something so small and can also spread nasty diseases.  They have a particular preference for electric wiring and so there can be genuine safety concerns with a mouse infestation too.  But what are the alternatives if you don’t want to have to poison them and introduce unpleasant and potentially harmful chemicals into your home?

Two things are for sure, first, if you don’t deal with the problem then it will multiply – one mouse can create up to 20 offspring!  And second, killing mice doesn’t solve the problem anyway.  The most effective solution is to encourage them to move on to the next place by making your home less attractive to rodents.

Here are our best tips for getting rid of mice:

  • Mice are attracted by food sources so make sure there is no food left out in the kitchen overnight. This includes dry goods and pet food.  Store everything out of sight and within cupboards in heavy-duty plastic or metal boxes which the mice can’t make any progress on.  One mouse can make short work of light cardboard or paper packaging
  • Seal up the entry points and if you are not sure where to look, put out the light at night and sit in silence and wait. Mice are very good at reading the domestic routine and are creatures of habit themselves.  If you wait silently for a while you are bound to see where they come in but mouse droppings are usually a pretty good telltale sign as well.  When you have found the point of entry then seal it up – steel wool and duct tape are two of the favorites to reach for.  Mice are persistent so you may have to do this more than once until they give up.  You will be amazed at the tiny holes and cracks a mouse can fit through so you will require some ingenuity to outwit them
  • Essential oils can be a great deterrent and won’t leave your house smelling unpleasant either, a sure indicator to visitors that you have some unwelcome guests. Oil of cloves and peppermint oil are the favorites with their strong aroma which mice are said to really dislike.  Soak cotton wool balls in the oil of choice and then leave them near the entry location and where you have blocked off access as a second deterrent.  Whole cloves are another option.
  • Capfuls of ammonia (buy here) can act as a disincentive as they mimic the urine of a possible predator. However, ammonia has to be used with caution as it is clearly harmful to pets and children.  You can use this at night when the house is quiet and remove it first thing in the morning particularly if your mouse invasion is downstairs so you can keep the odor away from the bedrooms
  • Used cat litter has been the last resort for some people but ammonia is probably the more hygienic of the two options as cat feces comes with its own problems
  • Electronic rodent deterrents (we recommend this one) can work well, these emit an ultrasonic beeping sound happily inaudible to humans so you can leave it on at night with impunity. It is set at a frequency mice dislike and they do have very sensitive hearing although if you have pets they may not like it either.  Over time, mice can get used to this sound and these deterrents can become less effective

Essential oil sprays: peppermint

Spraying or drizzling peppermint oil in doorways, cupboards, and drawers is a further line of defense and won’t be harmful to anyone or anything.

peppermint oil spray

Essential oils are very strong and can disrupt the scent trails left by mice – try a peppermint oil spray as part of your cleaning regimen

Humane mouse traps

If mice have become established in your home then you will need a two-pronged attack of both deterring more invaders and removing the ones you already have.  Once mice get established, this is not an easy task.

Humane traps are one way to do it, set traps that can catch the mice overnight, and then you can remove them safely in the morning.  Bait the traps with peanut butter, cheese or popcorn.  The mice are not harmed in this process, just unable to get out of the trap once they are in it.  Traps do not have to be very sophisticated.  An open box of biscuits and a bit of a nighttime vigil will work just as well.  If you are releasing mice then you need to take them at least a mile away from your home otherwise they will work their way back.

humane mouse trap

Try the Captsure humane mouse trap (click here)

Clearing out mice once they have become established does take time and is something of a battle of wills although there is an element of seasonality to their behavior.  Don’t give up – you will win out.  Mice tend to be driven towards domestic homes during the cold and wet months when they seek shelter and a ready source of food.  The runs that have been created by one batch of mice may be used again the following winter by others so during the summer, try and seal up areas which you know are popular for traffic.

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