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5 expert-backed ways to get rid of mice at home

Rid your house of mice–no ‘Tom and Jerry’ antics required

A close-up shot of a mouse against blue and green background. Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / Argument

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While we’d all like to believe mice could be as cute (and as helpful!) and Cinderella’s pals, they’re mostly just nuisances. In addition to getting into your food, rodents spread diseases that pose a risk to your family and pets.

“Mice are on a relentless search for food, warmth, and shelter. Especially in the fall and winter, mice are trying to find a way inside,” says Jim Brixius, associate certified entomologist with Ehrlich Pest Control.

If you’ve suddenly found mouse droppings around your home, then it’s time to get rid of these unwanted pests. Here are five expert tips regarding how to get rid of mice in your home.

1. Close off entry points

A close-up shot of a vent with net attached to it. A close-up if some brush weatherproof siding.
Credit: Tambee / Floor Register Trap

Any opening from the outdoors and into your room, is a pathway for mice and rodents to find their way in.

“Mice and other rodents will scale walls, climb ladders, walk across wires, and swim through sewers to get inside your home,” Brixius says. Any opening from the outdoors and into your house, is a pathway for mice and rodents to find their way in.

This means that even your outdoor landscaping poses a pest problem. Brixius suggests trimming away any overhanging trees that are near your roof and gutters as this creates a route for mice to make it in from the outside world.

To keep them from literally walking through the front door of your home, install some brush strips. Brush stripping like this self-adhesive set from TamBee helps keep pests from trying to sneak through the cracks, but you’ll also get the added benefit of weatherproofing your home.

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Most often, mice will start their trip inside the foundation where you can’t see them gathering nesting materials. They can come up through the vents and squeeze their way through. Adding on a mesh screen behind a vent can create an extra barrier for incoming rodents.

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For any gaps in flooring or walls that a mouse could sneak through, you’re going to want to seal them shut using steel wool or a specialized foam. Tomcat makes a foam that fills holes to create a strong barrier that rodents can’t chew their way through.

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2. Seal up food containers

Air-tight food storage containers against a white background.
Credit: Getty Images / Jennifer J Taylor

If you have an existing rodent problem, you’ll want to take any food item stored in a box or thin plastic bag to be transferred into an air-tight container that a mouse can’t chew through.

The only thing that mice are after in your home is food and shelter. While you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of mice, you’ll want to cut off their sources of food.

Store food, including pet food, in air-tight containers will make it impossible for mice to break through. If you have an existing rodent problem, then you’ll want to take any food item stored in a box or thin plastic bag to be transferred into an air-tight container like our favorite set from Glasslock that a mouse can’t chew through.

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You’ll also want to keep an eye out for places where food scraps can build up. Brixius says to clean up crumbs and spills quickly. Your stovetop is a breeding ground for mess.

While you’re making dinner, you may not realize the amount of food that can fall between the stove and the countertop. A stove guard such as a silicone stove gap cover can help literally fill the gap so you don’t have to fear fallen food pieces that will build-up.

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And at the end of every day, make sure you give your stovetop a thorough clean so that you scrub away grease stains and bits and pieces of food.

While you’re at it, lock up your cotton balls too. Mice love to use cotton balls, yarn, and other soft materials as nesting materials.

3. Take the natural route

Product shots of Rodent Sheriff and Grandpa Gus
Credit: Rodent Sheriff / Grandpa Gus

A natural solution to repelling rodents comes in the form of peppermint oil.

While you can certainly turn to a high-powered rodent repellent, you may be cautious of the chemicals that they leave behind which can be a danger to you and your family.

A natural solution to repelling rodents comes in the form of peppermint oil. This holistic approach is safe to spray anywhere—including your garden. You can find peppermint oil-based products in both spray and sachet forms. Sprays like The Rodent Sheriff Pest Control are great to spray over entry points for rodents while sachets like Grandpa Gus's pouches can be tucked in the pantry near food.

Plus, their natural fragrance will make your whole home smell good.

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4. Find ethical traps

An overhead shot of an ethical mouse trap.
Credit: Tomcat

A catch and release trap is the perfect answer to catching but not killing your rodent visitors.

Wondering how to get rid of mice? Turn to a mouse trap. There is an abundance of traps on the market ranging from old-school-style Tom and Jerry snap traps to glue traps to electric traps that will zap mice. Not only are these products harsh on mice, but they’ll also require you to dispose of a dead animal.

A catch-and-release trap is the perfect answer to catching but not killing your rodent visitors. These traps capture the rodents and let the mice live. You can carefully, release the animals into the outdoors once they’re caught.

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5. Bring in a pest management expert

A small mouse in a silver trap.
Credit: Getty Images / Kamada Kaori

Pest management experts can help you tackle the infestation quickly.

If you’re at your limits figuring out how to get rid of mice then it’s time to seek out a pest management specialist. These specialists know the ins and outs of how rodents invade your home and can provide specialized insights when DIY methods don’t work, says Brixius.

Plus, pest management experts can help you tackle the infestation quickly. Mice can reproduce quickly and soon you could have a whole family scurrying around your home rather than just a single mouse.

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