Crumbs find their way into all kinds of nooks and crannies in a kitchen, including underneath your appliances. The dishwasher in particular tends to hide a scattering of crumbs that fall from dishes while being scraped, rinsed and loaded. But you might notice more than just crumbs on the floor around the dishwasher while cleaning up. Droppings in front of the dishwasher or sightings of the furry culprit require you to develop a game plan to keep mice out from under the dishwasher before they multiply and break into your pantry.
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Seal Small Holes
The first course of action you should take when attempting to keep mice out from under the dishwasher is to discover how they're getting into your kitchen — or under the dishwasher — in the first place. According to the Indiana State Department of Health, mice can fit into spaces at least 1/4-inch wide. That means you'll need to be quite diligent in searching for even small gaps in the walls and sealing them up to keep the mice out.
The 1/4-inch gaps that mice squeeze through often occur where pipes pass through the wall, at the corners or edges of the floor and the corner of the window trim. Get up close and personal with every nook and cranny of the floors, windows and doors in your kitchen to find the mice's travel routes.
The CDC recommends stuffing steel wool into these small holes, and then using caulk to cover the gap completely. If you find a large hole, use hardware cloth or metal sheeting, and then caulk around the edges. The steel wool, hardware cloth or metal sheeting prevents the mice from simply chewing through the caulk.
Make Your Kitchen Unappetizing
Mice really like hanging out in your kitchen — and under the dishwasher — because they have a free buffet to feast on. To discourage mice from hanging out in your kitchen, become diligent about keeping your kitchen clean. Sweep or vacuum up crumbs daily and get into the habit of pulling appliances out of their cubbies to thoroughly clean underneath them.
Pay attention to your stove top and counters as well, because the mice may end up cruising the kitchen at night when the house is less active. They can also crawl up into the backside of drawers, so keep all food in chew-proof containers. If you have pets, pick up any food left in their bowl before you leave for the day or go to bed at night.
Why Keep Mice Out?
Yes, you can set up traps (including those that allow you to relocate the mice instead of killing them outright) to try to control a mice problem, but your efforts will be futile if you do not also take steps to keep mice out of your home. Mice will always be on the lookout for a better food source and a safer environment, and your kitchen is the holy grail. Once you remove the current mice, other mice will take their place.
It's also not necessarily enough to get a cat and expect the mice to disappear. Mice can fit under dishwashers and in other spaces where cats cannot reach. Cats with a strong hunting instinct may stare at certain spots in your kitchen and help you narrow down the area where the mice are coming in or hanging out, but their presence alone won't scare mice away.
Ignoring the problem is also not an ideal situation since the CDC reports at least 11 diseases directly transmitted by rodents. Keep them out of your kitchen by turning your home into an impenetrable fortress and a crumb-free zone.