Whether you live in an apartment or a house, mice are a reality many of us will face at some point in our lives. But animal-lover or not, none of us like the idea of sharing our homes with these small but damaging creatures. Mice not only carry diseases and make your home dirty, but also have the potential to cause a ton of damage — especially in large numbers. They chew through almost anything, including the wiring in your walls and even gas pipes. So if you hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet across your floor in the night or discover those dreaded droppings throughout your home, try some of these tricks and say goodbye to these critters for good!
Keep Your House Clean
Mice live their lives in search of food. Wherever they go, they're looking for their next meal and base their decision about where to live on access to food. If you're worried about a mouse infestation or suspect you might have one, the first step is to overhaul your cleaning routine and keep your home as clean as possible. Make sure to keep your countertop free of crumbs at all times, vacuum and sweep your floors regularly, and keep your food in your cupboards in airtight containers.
Tidy Up Outside
If you have mice in your house, it's likely that they've come in from a nearby habitat outside. You want to do everything you can to make sure mice don't start living near your home because it's just a matter of time until they find their way inside. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed and clear any debris or wood piles that are near your home. Keep garbage and compost bins as clean as possible and consider getting ones with locking lids.
Use Mouse Traps
The go-to solution for ridding your home is still the classic mouse trap. While snap traps are very common, they're not the most humane; they work by snapping the mouse's neck when it goes for the bait. Fortunately, there are a variety of humane traps that catch the mice alive without harming them. You simply take the trap outside when you've caught a mouse and set it free.
Sprinkle Peppermint Oil
For a more natural mouse deterrent, and one that won't harm the mice, turn to peppermint oil. Unlike other mouse deterrents, it's effective without making your home smell horrible. In fact, most mouse deterrent sprays you can buy are derived from peppermint oil. You can add a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil to cotton balls or paper towels and place them around your home. Just keep in mind that it's not the most effective option if you have a large infestation.
Spray Hot Sauce
Hot peppers are another popular naturally derived base for mouse sprays, and you can use hot sauce similarly. Create your own homemade repellent using hot sauce, soap, and water and put the concoction in a spray bottle. Spraying it where you notice mice are a problem could help prevent them from coming back since they're very sensitive to the smell.
Fill Holes With Copper or Steel Wool
If you have mice in your home, they have to come from somewhere. And often, if you have any holes in the exterior walls in your home, that could be their point of entry. But closing up holes with drywall or plaster won't help, and they may just chew their way back in. Instead, fill the holes with copper or steel wool. It's strong enough to stand up to their teeth, and mice hate chewing on the metal. They'll soon give up and move on to greener pastures.
Get a Cat
It's not a myth that cats are a mouse's worst enemy. Many cats have an innate ability to catch mice. If you're adopting, talk to your shelter to find out which cats have lived outside previously or might have a reputation for mousing. But catching them isn't the only way that cats are good for mouse problems: their litter boxes actually act as a deterrent. Mice are repelled by the smell of urine, so the very presence of your cat could help keep mice at bay. But don't get a cat if you're not ready for a pet!