How to Get Rid of Mice in Your House

The house mouse (Mus musculus) is found in and around homes and other structures and can be especially problematic in buildings near fields or agricultural plantings. These mice damage structures and property with gnawing and nest-building activities that may involve chewing through wires and shredding insulation. They also feed on and contaminate human and pet food and transmit pathogens. Modifying the habitat in and around your home so it does not appeal to mice and blocking entry points both help to prevent a mouse infestation or re-infestation. Traps or rodenticides are necessary to address an existing mouse infestation.

Mouse on kitchen floor
credit: Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Mice have an excellent sense of smell but poor eyesight, so they tend to run along walls.

Step 1

Store human food, pet food, bird seed and grass or other seed in rodent-proof containers whenever possible, and keep eating and food storage areas neat and free of spilled food or crumbs. Remove garbage regularly. A house mice infestation is rarely avoided solely with good sanitation practices, but it will lessen the appeal of the structure, make mice easier to detect and increase the relative attractiveness of bait to the mice.

Step 2

Clear debris and brush or weeds from around the outside of the structure to minimize shelter available to mice and so you can identify openings where mice can enter the home.

Step 3

Seal all gaps and openings larger than one-quarter inch into the building. Stainless steel scouring pads make suitable temporary plugs. Fit doors and windows tightly and caulk all openings. Plug or cover holes with copper or steel mesh. Mice can gnaw through materials such as plastic, rubber, vinyl, wood and insulating foam. Where mice continue to gnaw along the edges of wooden windows or doors, it is necessary to cover these materials with metal.

Step 4

Set numerous snap traps behind objects, along walls where mice regularly pass, and near openings that mice pass through, so that mice, which do not travel very far, will pass over the trigger. Bait the traps with peanut butter or a similar food attractive to mice, and set them so they spring easily.

The use of traps offers several advantages over rodenticides. Traps eliminate the use of the harmful chemical rodenticides; are usually less inexpensive; provide visible, trackable results; and eliminate the potential for dead mouse odors that can occur with poison.

Step 5

Set out baits in the form of disposable bait stations at 8- to 12-foot intervals along walls or near openings or according to the manufacturer's instructions. Baits usually contain a food to attract the rodent and a rodenticide that typically acts slowly enough that the mouse continues to consume it until it dies, generally two to six days after ingesting the toxin.

Step 6

Bury or dispose of dead mice in the garbage in a sealed bag. Also bag and throw away any bait traps after the mice population is eliminated.