Mouse on kitchen counter

How To Get Rid Of Mice The Right (And Nice) Way

Scott Steinberg7- minutes
June 17, 2021

Wondering how to get rid of mice and eliminate a rodent infestation in your home? That’s understandable: Preventing animal pests from entering your house is a challenge even under the best of circumstances, let alone at times such as fall and winter when they’re often prone to appearing en masse.

Moreover, as cute as these little critters may seem to some, don’t forget either: Mice breed rapidly (if you see signs of one in your home, more are often nesting nearby) and can introduce a number of health-related concerns. Noting this, it’s important to keep in mind that furry friends such as these are best kept outside your house … and shown the door as quickly as possible.

Happily, with some simple planning and research, you’ll find that a number of everyday strategies and tactics can help you keep your home free of whiskered guests. Here, we take a closer look at how you can quickly get rid of mice and begin addressing any home infestation- or house mouse-related concerns immediately.

Getting Rid Of Mice In 6 Steps

Should you get a cat as a pet? Clean your home more frequently with professional-grade cleansers? Keep all foods and baking ingredients locked up in airtight containers? These are just a few of many common questions you may be asking yourself if you’re wondering how to get rid of mice. We don’t blame you: For as long as humans have been housed, we’ve been learning how to avoid sharing our space with rodents and how to get rid of mice who want to reap the benefits of our cozy homes.

Luckily, for homeowners who aren’t fond of rodent infestations, learning how to keep your home free of mice doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems. The right way to get rid of mice for good is to follow six simple hints, tips and tactics, as follows:


  1. Secure all access to food.
  2. Identify and close all entry points.
  3. Use natural repellents.
  4. Place live mousetraps.
  5. Check traps regularly until all mice have been captured.
  6. Release mice within a 100-yard radius.


Below, we take a closer look at how you can apply each of these strategies and principles in practice.

Note: Homeowners dealing with a severe rodent infestation will likely require professional help instead.


Secure All Access To Food


Mice are attracted to dry food, food scraps (such as those found in common household trash), dog and cat food and other handy foodstuffs and ingredients that may be lying around your home. Favorite snacks that mice like to eat include nuts, grains and cereal, but these rodents are also happy to eat anything else left lying out, such as cheese and birdseed.

As common house pests, mice especially favor warm areas in which they can nest that are situated near handy sources of food and water, such as garbage bins, sheds and garages. Bearing this in mind, these fuzzy critters can often be found scouting out areas of your home for snacks or items such as cotton, wool and paper they can use as nesting materials before they scurry back to nests situated near furnaces, refrigerators and water heaters. Capable of squeezing into small spaces, it’s also important to note that their sharp teeth can also gnaw through plastic, cardboard and paper food packages, putting most of your pantry at risk.

Keeping these preferences in mind, a few practical strategies you can use to prevent mice from compromising your larder or trash bins include:


  • Placing food in chew-proof containers made of thick plastic or metal
  • Using trash cans with tight-sealing lids and placing waste in rodent-proof containers
  • Securing pet food in airtight housing, and cleaning and not leaving pets’ bowls out overnight
  • Not leaving food, water or produce out overnight on tables or counters
  • Washing plates, cups and utensils quickly after using them
  • Routinely vacuuming to remove crumbs from floors and cleaning food spills immediately
  • Confining areas you eat in to no more than one or two rooms of the home
  • Adding squirrel guards to bird feeders and hanging them away from your home
  • Keeping grills, fire pits and outdoor cooking areas clean and free of trash
  • Placing wood piles, compost bins and trash receptacles 100 feet or more away from your home


Identify And Close All Entry Points

This is the single most important step to getting rid of mice. In effect, as long as there’s an entry point to your home, you can expect to see rodents tip-tapping around. Getting rid of house mice is a process (not something that will happen overnight), but it bears reminding: By identifying and removing any prospective entrances to your home, you’ll be able to keep the chances of a rodent infestation to a minimum.

You can begin mouse-proofing your home by checking areas where these house pests frequently gain entry into homes and show signs of activity. For example, you may find entry points in:

  • Garages, toolsheds, compost bins, dumpsters, etc.
  • Chimney openings, fireplaces and vents
  • Baseboards and spots where walls meet
  • Spots where pipes connect to your home or basement
  • Near basement foundations

On the bright side, while mice can chew through many materials, steel and especially hard plastics are not among them. Noting this, to prevent access to any gaps, you can place steel or wire meshes and metal screens over any such outdoor openings or use caulk or steel wool to close off any holes you encounter.

Use Natural Repellents


While you might consider adopting a pet cat or ferret (among the most effective natural repellents to mice), don’t forget: Smells that are appealing to humans are often unpleasant to rodents – especially pungent items used to freshen up a home – and can often be used as a natural repellent.

For example: Strong natural odors such as those produced by peppermint and clove oil (which you can soak cotton balls in before placing them in cabinets and drawers) can also be applied as a deterrent. Other solutions you might place in areas of your home where rodents like to appear which can dissuade them from taking up residence also include mint plants, moth balls and cotton balls soaked in cayenne pepper, tabasco sauce and other powerful spices.

Of course, not all types of natural repellents are as effective as others at preventing mice from dropping in. In addition, simply having a pet on hand won’t always prevent hungry rodents from looking to become your roommates. Nonetheless, many of these solutions can serve as a helpful deterrent in a pinch, presuming you don’t mind, for example, placing ammonia-soaked rags in a garage or crawlspace until the problem is resolved.


Place Live Mousetraps

There are many kinds of mousetraps available, such as snap traps (the traditional kind seen in movies and TV shows), electric traps (which administer lethal shocks) and sticky traps (which capture rodents using adhesives). But live traps – which catch, not kill, rodents using trigger-activated doors and containers – can offer a more humane alternative to those which apply poisons and rodenticide, which can present dangers to the environment (just as kill traps can present hazards to children, pets and other forms of wildlife). You may wish to apply live traps – which, like any trap, might be equipped with common forms of bait like cheese, peanut butter, chocolate, nuts, hazelnut spread and birdseed – to help with rodent problems.

When placing traps, it’s important to remember that mousetraps should be set close to any entry points and commonly encountered nesting areas as well as close to walls and concealed areas of the home (like pantry bottoms, the back of drawers, corners of cabinets, etc.) where rodents are prone to appearing. These traps should be set close together, but not in dense clusters, roughly 2 to 3 feet apart, although you can always tighten the spacing of traps in busy areas where mice show the most activity. As you go about placing these traps, be sure to use gloves too, not just for purposes of health and safety, but also because mice can detect your scent and may avoid traps that bear it. In all cases, traps will need to be set and baited correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Check Traps Regularly Until Mice Are Caught

Mousetraps should be checked on a regular and routine basis – including as often as on a hourly schedule, depending on how much rodent activity you encounter. However, it’s important to exercise caution and professionalism when operating a live mouse trap and to follow proper safety precautions at all times to avoid setbacks and injury.

Note that you can also avoid sore fingers and contact with live animals (which may bear unhealthy germs and contaminants) by using gloves and following the manufacturer’s instructions (included in manuals which come with trap purchase) at all times. If you have questions concerning the use of traps – especially live traps and glue traps, which immobilize and capture live animals – consult the manufacturer’s website or call a pest extermination professional for more information.


Release Mice Within A 100-Yard Radius

Of course, taking a kinder, gentler approach to eliminating rodent infestations also means taking a kinder, gentler approach to disposing of any pests you’ve caught. In order for your hard, humane work to pay off, it’s important to release any mice you’ve captured in within a 100-yard radius away from your home. If all entry points are sealed, there’s minimal chance that these mice will return.

The Bottom Line: The Best Way To Get Rid of Mice Is To Stop Inviting Them In

Mice will often seek to find a way indoors and look to enter your home in search of food, shelter and warmth – especially during colder times such as the fall and winter months. What’s more, they’ll also happily chew through walls, wires and food packages as they go about taking up residence.

Nonetheless, you can keep your house mouse-free by applying a few simple everyday strategies, such as making sure outside entry points to your property are sealed with steel and caulk, mopping your home with peppermint oil and otherwise ensuring food and trash are properly stored and cleaned up. One simple way to get started if you’re interested in learning more includes learning how to start a compost.

Dealing with a severe rodent infestation? You may wish to seek professional help as well.

Scott Steinberg

Hailed as The Master of Innovation by Fortune magazine, and World’s Leading Business Strategist, award-winning professional speaker Scott Steinberg is among today’s best-known trends experts and futurists. He’s the bestselling author of 14 books including Make Change Work for You and FAST >> FORWARD.