It’s easy to get discouraged about keeping mice out of your home. Virtually everyone has dealt with a mouse infestation at one time or another. It can feel like no matter what you do, mice can always find their way inside anyway. You might even start to assume they’ve have always been there!
Fortunately, that isn’t the case! Just because mice are good at getting into homes doesn’t mean you have to let them into yours. The rodents in your home weren’t always there. They found their way inside via a locatable and sealable access point. You can drive them back and keep them out. Here are the four best ways to prevent mice from getting into your home once and for all.
- Control Food Sources
Unsurprisingly, mice are not picky eaters. If they can chew on it, they will. Mice are particularly attracted to dry goods like cereal, pasta, bread crumbs, and simple sugars. They can also sustain themselves on very little food. Crumbs and leftovers you throw out or leave sitting are more than enough. Rodents will feed on non-human foods like birdseed and dry pet food in a pinch. They have incredibly sensitive noses and can easily smell your food through walls and packaging.
Restricting access to food sources is the most important way to keep mice out of your home. If mice can’t get what they need from you, they’ll go somewhere else to get it. Store all pantry goods inside airtight, hard plastic containers. Keep those containers elevated and sealed whenever you’re not using them. Clean up your food prep and dining areas as soon as you finish meals. Never leave food out for any period of time, even in the sink or the garbage can.
- Seal Doors and Windows
Doors and windows are the preferred access point for many varieties of common household pests like rodents. It makes sense when you think about it: doors and windows are natural ways to get inside. They’re literally big holes in your home’s walls! Mice sneak through tiny cracks and gaps between your doors or windows and their frames. Small openings in your frames form naturally over time as a result of wear-and-tear or warping.
Check every single door and window frame in your home. Examine the threshold around the door or window closely, looking for even the tiniest gap. Make sure the weatherstripping is sturdy and undamaged, in particular. Mice love to slip beneath worn-out weatherstripping to get inside. You should also double-check to make sure your doors and windows are seated in the frames properly. Fill in any gaps you find with caulk, and replace worn weatherstripping ASAP.
- Fill In the Holes
The largest and widest part of a mouse’s body is its skull. If a mouse can fit its head through a gap, it can also fit its body through. In general, they can squeeze through any quarter-inch opening. That basically means that if you can see a gap, a mouse can probably use that gap. Mice find holes in walls, floors, foundations, and siding using their acute senses of smell and temperature sensitivity.
Starting in your basement, walk the perimeter of your home. Look for any cracks or gaps in your walls, baseboard, floor, or foundation. Try to feel for drafts and follow those drafts to their source. Any gap you notice is a gap that’s big enough to repair. Fill these in with caulk or steel wool. Pay special attention to areas where pipes and wires enter your building. Mice love to use utility lines as “highways” into your home.
- Clear the Clutter
After food and water, shelter is the next-highest consideration for rodent pests when they choose where to live. Mice are naturally shy. They spend most of their days hunkered down and only come out to forage when they feel safe and protected. Indoors, mice dart from hiding place to hiding place until they find food. They’ll hide under boxes, furniture, paper, plastic, fabric, and more. They also tend to gnaw on whatever they’re near.
A surprisingly easy way to keep mice away from your home is to simply keep things tidy. The fewer hiding places you give pests, the less secure they’ll feel sneaking around your home. Keep storage boxes and other stored materials organized and elevated when you’re not using them. Don’t store anything loose on the floor, especially in your basement or closets. If you can keep mice uncomfortable, they won’t want to stick around for long.