Mice are common household pests that can cause damage to your home and spread diseases to you and your family. It’s important to deal with a mouse problem as soon as possible to prevent it from becoming a major infestation.
Need a hand? If you suspect that you already have a serious mice issue, it's best to hire a professional. To find a service provider in your area, visit Angie's List.
Know the warning signs. Before you can get rid of mice, you need to be able to identify them. Mice are small, generally no more than 5-6 inches in length, and usually a uniform color (black and brown are most common). However, mice are nocturnal and generally hide during the day, so they may be present even if you don’t see them scurrying around. Other warning signs include holes in walls and food containers, small spherical droppings in places like your pantry and scurrying sounds behind your walls.
Block their entry. Mice can’t invade your house if they can’t get inside. They also generally don’t climb higher than two feet off the ground, so check your house’s foundation and look for any holes or cracks that a mouse could use as an entrance. Places where pipes or electrical wiring enter your house are common problems. Seal these areas with metal or cement as soon as possible. If your foundation has a large number of cracks or holes, it’s a good idea to have a professional take a look. For more details, read: Inspect Your Foundation.
Protect your food. The two main reasons mice move into a house are shelter and food. If you can remove their access to food, you can often remove the mice. Keep your food in sealed steel or glass containers, or in your refrigerator. Clean up any food crumbs or spills as quickly as possible and keep your trash in a well-sealed container. Tip: Also remember to protect any pet food you have, since mice will eat that as well!
Remove nests and shelters. Mice can nest in any confined space that has clutter. This can include basements, attics, storage rooms or messy bedrooms. Keep these areas tidy, and remove any nests you may find, which will be about the size of a grapefruit and made of things like string and bits of paper.
Eradicate the mice. There are a number of ways to kill mice. Poisons are one option; however, whatever poisons you use will generally also be toxic to kids and pets, so they should be used with caution. Traps can be effective, but can also injure pets or children, and they leave a nasty mouse-corpse to clean up. Two popular non-toxic repellants are mothballs dipped in peppermint oil, or mint leaves. Place the mint or mothballs in areas where you suspect mice are nesting or entering your house, and the smell will drive the mice away! You can also plant mint around the foundations of your house to prevent future infestations from occurring. For more information, read: Mint: Good for Mojitos and Mouse Prevention.