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How to Get Rid of Mice Without Calling an Exterminator

Updated on January 18, 2012

Having an infestation of any kind can be a real problem, but can be especially troublesome with mice. Not only are they destructive, often causing damage to both internal and external structures, but they can also contaminate homes, and breed like crazy. When you want to get rid of mice, there are many economical and safe methods that you may want to try before calling in an exterminator.

Find Your Man... or Mouse.

If possible, try to identify what type of mice you have in your home. When it comes time to get rid of mice in your house, you will be glad you did, as knowing your enemy will help you to identify what measures you need to take to not only get rid of the infestation, but also keep it from happening again. Wild mice often have stubby, mildly hairy tails, while house mice generally have long, downy tails. The feet and heads of wild mice are often large, giving them a rat-like appearance, while the feet and heads of house mice are usually proportionate to their bodies. As a rule, the fur of a common house mouse is a consistent color, while wild mice generally have underbellies that range in hue from white to silver.

Start at the Source

One of the most obvious ways to get rid of mice is to seal up any noticeable cracks or holes in the walls and ceiling. However, there are many places you may overlook. For instance, check the insides of all of your cabinets, pantries, and underneath fixtures, as these places are dark, warm, and quiet, thus making them an ideal shelter.

Mice also adore the safety of an untidy space, so now is an excellent time to organize and clean out those areas you have been putting off, like the garage, your kitchen cabinets, and your closets. Additionally, you may want to rearrange any outside shelters and food sources, such as trash bins, compost heaps, and garden sheds.

Once you have eliminated shelter areas, you will also want to reorganize and clean up areas where they can attain food. This is where knowing the type of mouse comes in handy. House mice will eat pretty much anything; however, wild mice are usually more drawn to fruits, seeds and oats. A common house mouse will likely invade every part of your kitchen, gnawing holes into your boxes of cereal and chewing through a bag of chips. A wild mouse, however, is more likely to be tempted by the scent of rotting fruit emanating from your trash can, or the allure of the bag of bird seed sitting on your back patio.

Doing the Dirty Work

So your home is patched up and spotless... but there are still mice. Now what? Well, there are the traditional methods of extermination, such as snap and glue traps, more high-tech options like electronic traps, and more humane options, like live-catching traps and repellent sound devices. If you prefer a more natural, and less gruesome, way to get rid of mice, you can strategically place things like cotton balls soaked in peppermint or clove oil, cayenne pepper, or Citronella around the house. You can also make use of strongly-scented dryer sheets, or natural rodent repellent granules or solutions.

Admitting Defeat

So you have cleaned your home and covered it in mint and cayenne pepper, but you're still being haunted by the spooky sound of scratching in the walls. Given that mice breed so rapidly, the unfortunate truth is that your infestation may be too large to be handled by home remedies alone. To get rid of the mice once and for all, you may ultimately have to bring in a professional. However, do not despair. The steps that you took to try to get rid of the current infestation were not done in vain, as these simple alterations can help to prevent a future attack of these adorably destructive pests.


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    • mvaivata profile image

      mvaivata 2 years ago

      Why thank you! I BET the hot dried peppers worked... in fact, I bet that much spicy would take care of just about any infestation.

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 2 years ago

      What a fabulous article! Great ideas.. It reminds me of when I had an infestation of big ugly Barn spiders.... I used a concoction of hot dried peppers (a slow boil) and sprayed around the doors and windows. It worked!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Hehehe...I have two cats that are forever bringing me "gifts." But, a mouse stands a minimal chance of survival once it enters the cats' territory. :D

    • mvaivata profile image

      mvaivata 5 years ago

      Cats really are a fantastic way to keep rodents out of the house. I was also told that keeping jars of saturated clumpable litter is effective -- but frankly, I'd rather just have the cat.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I use to have socks stolen all the time until I got a cat. I have kept a cat and never had a mouse, or seen a snake since.