How to Prevent Mice from Entering Your Home

Four Methods:Introducing DeterrentsCleaning Your HomeRemoving Food SourcesSealing the House

Mice find ways to enter homes through tiny cracks and holes. They make nests in unused corners, and they can exist on crumbs. You may not even notice the presence of one or two, but if you aren't careful you could end up with a full-blown infestation on your hands. The key to preventing mice from coming inside is to seal your home, clean out places where mice like to nest and remove their food sources.

Method 1
Introducing Deterrents

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    Let a cat spend time on your property. Cats are mice's natural predators, and their presence will go a long way toward keeping the mice population on your property under control. Both indoor and outdoor cats are excellent mouse deterrents.
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    Employ mouse repellant. Certain substances are known to repel mice. Place one of these items in the corners of your basement, closets, doors, and other place you suspect mice may be entering:
    • Mint. Mint plants planted around your windows and doors will repel mice. You could also sprinkle peppermint or spearmint essential oil around your house.
    • Bay leaves. Tuck them into the corners of your pantry and cabinets, or crush them up and sprinkle them in your windowsills.
    • Mothballs. These will keep mice away, but they're poisonous to humans and pets. If you use mothballs, make sure your children, dogs and cats can't get near them.
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    Set traps near the outside of your home. Place them in areas where you think mice are entering or have entered your home.
    • Try live traps. Mice are lured inside by peanut butter or cheese, and when the door closes behind them they can't get back out. Release live mice in an area away from your home.
    • Spring or glue traps are also effective, but you risk catching wild animals with them if you place them outside.
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    Lure mice outside. Purchase bait boxes at a home improvement store. They typically feature a box and poison bait, or you can purchase bait stations which are already baited. Think twice about using these if you have children or pets who may be attracted to them.
    • Place poisonous bait stations around the outside of your home, targeting areas where you suspect mice are entering your home.
    • If you find a mouse that has died from the poison, dispose of it right away. If another animal eats the mouse, it will also be poisoned.

Method 2
Cleaning Your Home

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    Remove your home's clutter. Mice are attracted to the forgotten corners of basements, closets, and storage rooms. Remove the following types of clutter to make your home less inviting to mice looking for a place to build a nest:
    • Boxes of old cookware. Plates, glasses, pots and pans you've been meaning to sell at the next yard sale might be attracting mice to your basement or storage room.
    • Piles of clothing. You might notice little bite marks in your clothes if you leave them on the floor for too long. Clothing stored in bags is also susceptible to being used as a mouse nest. Store clothes you don't wear often in a wooden chest or plastic bins to keep mice out.
    • Piles of magazines, newspapers, or other papers. These provide materials for mice to make into nests.
    • Cardboard boxes. Mice can chew right through boxes, so don't store them on the floor.
    • Cans, bottles or other old food storage containers. Mice may be attracted to the smell of the food residue.
    • Old furniture. Now might be the time to get rid of that old loveseat gathering dust in the basement. Anything made of cloth, especially if it isn't often used, could make a cozy home for a mouse.
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    Wash the floors and vacuum the carpets. Old spills, crumbs, and every day dirt and debris can attract mice. Make your home less enticing to mice by disinfecting your floors and running a vacuum over the carpet a few times a week.
    • Pay attention to the corners of rooms where balls of dust and hair collect. Mice use these materials to make nests.
    • Don't forget the garage. Make sure the floor of your garage is swept clean of dirt, sand, gravel and other materials that may have accumulated.

Method 3
Removing Food Sources

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    Mouse-proof your kitchen and pantry. The most likely source of food for mice that enter your house is in the kitchen. Take the following measures to make sure you aren't providing meals for mice:
    • Use a trashcan that has a lid, since the smell of trash can attract mice. Take out the trash frequently rather than letting it sit in your kitchen for too long.
    • Don't store boxes of food on the floor. Make sure everything is kept on shelves or in cabinets.
    • Use tightly-sealed food storage containers. Store grains, pastas, nuts and other dry goods in glass or plastic containers with tight lids. Rather than putting a half-used box of cereal or another item back on the shelf, pour its contents into a food storage container and recycle the box.
    • Clean up spills right away. Don't let orange juice or a spilled box of oatmeal sit on your floor for too long. Sweep and mop your kitchen floor often to remove traces of food.
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    Don't leave cat or dog food sitting out all day. Cat food and dog food are appetizing to mice, too, and stray pieces will attract them if they're left to sit out all the time. When your pets are finished eating, put their food away. Keep the pet food in a glass or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
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    Remove food sources outdoors. Mice might be attracted to your property because they're finding good things to eat outside. Remove the following sources of food:
    • Nuts and berries that have dropped from trees. Rake these up and compost or discard them.
    • Birdseed that has scattered around the feeder. Clean up stray birdseed frequently, or move the feeder to a corner of your yard a that's a good distance from the house.
    • Spilled garbage. Prevent mice from getting into your garbage by using a can with a tight-fitting lid. If possible, store your garbage cans in a shed that's not right next to your house.

Method 4
Sealing the House

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    Close your doors. If you have a habit of leaving your front door or garage door open, mice may be taking the opportunity to dart inside when you aren't looking. Keep your doors closed to discourage mice from entering.
    • Mice are most active at night, so it's best not to leave doors open overnight.
    • If you like to have your doors open during the summer to let the breeze inside, install screen doors, so mice won't be able to come in.
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    Seal your windows. Mice are good climbers, and they'll have no trouble getting in through a window, especially if it's on the first floor. Keep your windows closed or screened at all times.
    • If it has been awhile since you've looked at your screens, go around your house and inspect them. Screens break down over time, and a rusty hole or a tear in fabric screens could be providing an entrance for mice.
    • If you have a window that won't close all the way, or has a gap between the window and the frame, seal it with steel wool or hardware cloth.
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    Inspect the foundation. Another likely place for mice to enter your home is through cracks in your walls, especially near windows and entryways. Walk around the outside of your house to inspect it for cracks or holes mice could use to enter your home.
    • Seal any holes you find that are bigger than 1/4 inch (6.4mm). It's best to use sturdy repair materials such as sheet metal, hardware cloth or concrete mortar. Mice may be able to quickly chew through weaker materials and regain access to your house.
    • Check the wall that separates your garage from the rest of your house. Sometimes mice get in through garage doors, since they're harder to seal than smaller doors, and then find a way into the main house.
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    Seal off cable and drain outlets, vents and chimneys. Mice can easily follow cables into your home if the hole is large enough for them to fit into. They can also come in around access holes created for running pipes and drains or scurry into vents and chimneys.
    • Stuff stainless steel pads into small holes around pipes and cables, and then seal the holes with caulk. The steel pad creates an abrasive barrier to keep mice out, and it can easily be cut up with scissors to fit into smaller areas.
    • Prevent mice from getting inside pipes, vents and chimneys by installing screens.


  • Dispose of dead mice by burying them or placing them in a plastic bag and putting them in the trash.


  • Use caution when employing poisonous bait boxes or mothballs to get rid of mice.

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Categories: Rodent Control