Last Updated on October 12, 2021
Even animal lovers struggle to accept a house mouse. These rodents are vectors for diseases and can damage property as well. Your grandmother probably whipped out her box of rat killer but today, experts are against using poison or glue traps to combat mice. Besides being excruciatingly inhumane methods, they are also detrimental to the environment and other animals.
Here are ten alternatives that you can try to banish mice from your home once and for all.
Table of Contents
1. Adopt a Cat
Adding a feline friend to the household is a potent way to scare off mice. Cats have a deep instinct to hunt and once they realize that there are rodents in the home, they’ll go to work.
Adult cats are better at catching prey, so don’t expect a new kitten to know what to do. But even if your grown cat is a dead-beat and has no interest in ratting, their presence is a huge deterrent. The scent of a cat often prompts mice to leave the area.
If you decide that this is the method for you, it’s also important to familiarize yourself with how to properly clean up after your cat when it killed a mouse.
2. Keep the Kitchen Clean
A piece of cheese. A plate with meaty leftovers. You can see why a mouse might prefer your kitchen to wild seeds and insects! Indeed, it is a known fact that rodents are attracted to homes where food is freely available.
Cleaning the kitchen might not be your favorite chore. But diligently cleaning up after yourself will cut off what could be your mice problem’s reason for being there in the first place. You can also wipe the counters and other surfaces with peppermint essential oil. Your kitchen will smell fresh and mice detest the scent of peppermint!
3. Seal Other Food Sources
Unfortunately, keeping your kitchen clean is not always enough to deter these crafty critters. You also have to look around your home and consider what else they might be munching on. The most common food sources, other than shopping around in your kitchen, are pet bowls and trash bins. Both need to be sealed off.
Another thing you need to look at is the pantry. Mice can gnaw through plastic and cardboard, meaning they can easily get access to cereals, rusks, dried meat, and more. If you have a pantry, it’s a good move to start placing all your groceries in mouse-proof containers.
4. Clear Clutter
Mice love nooks and crannies. For this reason, they tend to flourish in homes where the garage, a spare room, the attic or basement is packed with boxes and clutter. They can be particularly damaging to cars as mice like to chew on wires and seats.
What they don’t like are open spaces. They are prey animals and they know it. There is no protection from predators for them in a large open room with no place to hide. So, keeping your garage and home free of boxes and clutter will go a long way to making life as uncomfortable as possible for mice in your house.
5. Get Rid of Nesting Materials
Mice come with another problem besides their insatiable appetite for food and gnawing. They are also prolific breeders. Mice can reproduce when they are as young as six weeks old. Females can have up to fifteen litters a year, averaging ten to twelve pups each time. You can see why Mom Mouse needs a lot of nesting materials!
To make a nest, mice shred paper and cardboard but also steal fluffy bits of fabric, carpeting, and even plastic. Make sure that your paper stacks, newspaper and cardboard are placed in recycling bins or sealed away. You might also want to consider storing rugs and carpets in mouse-proof tubs until the problem is under control.
Look around your home for other nesting materials. Mice will swipe cotton balls, wood shavings, tissues, toilet paper – you get the idea.
6. Set Humane Traps
As we discussed earlier, the use of poison is frowned upon by experts these days. Mice take hours or days to die (very horribly) and they often pass away in the walls of your house. Needless to say, that will cause a terrible smell. Your pets or children can also accidentally ingest mouse poison. Other wildlife that eats poisoned mice can also die. Sticky pads are also not considered as humane as some mice will chew off their own feet to escape.
You can get countless traps online that capture mice without harming them and most are reusable. Mice will readily go after yummy treats like peanut butter, cheese, and soft cat food. Once you have caught a mouse, be careful not to touch it and release the critter about a mile away from your home (preferably in a field or away from other houses).
7. Use Natural Repellents
Sure, a cat and peppermint oil are both natural repellents. But did you know that there are more natural solutions that you can make at home that keep mice at bay?
For this tactic, you need cotton balls and certain essential oils. The idea is to soak the balls in your chosen oil and leave them at trouble zones like the kitchen and entry points. Always check on the balls throughout the day to ensure that their scent remains strong. You don’t want to risk losing them to the mouse as nesting material!
Essential oils that repel mice include peppermint, eucalyptus, clove, pepper, and cayenne. Always remember to research the effects that essential oils have on pets and humans as some can be detrimental. For example, eucalyptus essential oil should not be inhaled by people or pets with epilepsy.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is a safe way to deter mice. You don’t have to worry about any adverse effects on the health of your family – or even the rodents! Simply mix this natural vinegar with water (make it nice and strong, not too diluted) and spray all the entry points where you suspect the mice are using.
The good news is that you can use apple cider to clean your entire home. Not only does it repel mice but it also fights bacteria, mildew, and odors.
8. Seal the Entry Points
Mice have an amazing ability to squeeze through small spaces. Apparently, if you can stick a pencil in a crack, the mouse can wiggle through this gap. Systematically going through your home and sealing every hole and crack can make a difference. Make sure that you use sealants that mice cannot chew through. Among the most popular and effective materials are steel wool and caulk.
There is a drawback to sealing entry points, though. You can trap a mouse in the walls. Desperate to escape, they’ll simply gnaw their way out and create a new hole or worse, they die behind the walls where you cannot reach them and create a terrible smell in your home.
9. Use Ultrasonic Devices
These devices are touted as a great way to get rid of pests, including mice. Humans cannot hear the high-pitched sounds they emit but animals can. However, you need to do your research before investing in this method. Studies have shown that ultrasonic devices aren’t always effective and that once rodents realize there is no danger, they often simply ignore the noise.
10. Call the Professionals
When all else fails or you have a severe infestation, it might be best to call a professional pest control company. If you feel bad for the mice, no worries. There are exterminators who approach these pests humanely and release them elsewhere.
Q: Will Mice Leave on Their Own?
Unfortunately not. Once mice have moved into a house, you need to take steps to deter them or call a pest control company.
Q: Will Mice Leave When They Smell a Dog?
Not likely. However, some dog breeds are good “mousers.” Dogs that excel at catching rodents include the Jack Russell, Dachshund, and Yorkshire Terrier.
Q: Do Tea Bags Really Get Rid of Mice?
The only tea that is effective as a mouse deterrent is peppermint tea. The most common method is to boil a few bags and then place them around the house.
Q: Do Onions Get Rid of Mice?
Yes, onions can turn mice away when placed at one of their entry points. Always replace the onion so that it stays fresh and pungent.