Learn the best methods to deal with mice infestations in your home, the best ways to kill mice in the house, and how Terminix can help keep mice out of the house.

how to get rid of mice

Contributed by: Tim Best

Updated on: December 7, 2022

Whether you spot a pair of beady eyes peering at you from beneath your refrigerator or hear squeaks and scurries across your floor, few things are as alarming as discovering mice in your home. These pests have a long history of carrying disease-causing pathogens – and can also carry fleas and ticks into your home.

Beyond disease, mice can also cause considerable damage to your home. Not only can they damage surfaces with their incessant gnawing and clawing, but they can chew through electrical wires, which poses a potential fire hazard.

Additionally, mice can reproduce rapidly, producing between five to ten litters per year, and with female mice capable of reproducing at as young as six weeks of age. The second you suspect mice are in your home, it's important to act quickly to get rid of these pests.

Learn the best methods to deal with mice infestations in your home, the best ways to kill mice in the house, and how Terminix can help keep mice out of the house.

How do you know if you have a mouse infestation?

There are a few clues that may tip you off to having a mouse infestation on your hands:

  • You may spot mouse droppings, which look like small, black or dark brown grains of rice, in your home.
  • You might find nests mice have built in your home made from paper, insulation, or other relatively soft materials.
  • Similarly, insulation may have been disturbed by mice nesting in it.
  • Look for any chewed, scratched, or gnawed baseboards or ducts.
  • Listen for the sounds of mice scurrying or squeaking.
  • You may actually see a mouse or multiple mice in or around your home.

If you suspect you have mice in your home, it's important to deal with them promptly to avoid a larger infestation.

How to get rid of mice in your house

  1. Eliminate entry points.
  2. Use mouse traps.
  3. Choose the best bait for mouse traps.
  4. Proper placement of mouse traps is critical.
  5. Place bait stations carefully in the house.
  6. Good sanitation won't get rid of mice, but poor sanitation will attract them.
  7. Tackle the mice inside and outside the house.

Learning how to get rid of mice begins with one simple choice: do you want to do things the easy way or the hard way?

Perhaps the easiest and fastest way to get rid of mice can be as simple as calling a pest control professional. Otherwise, it can feel like you're chasing elusive mice in walls.

However, for you brave souls who want to face these rodents on your own, here's what you need to know about how to help get rid of mice.

1. Eliminate entry points.

Building mice out, or rodent-proofing your home, is an effective way to help get rid of rodents in your house and stop mice infestations from expanding – or occurring in the first place. Defend your home from mice by eliminating points of entry and easy access. This can be difficult due to a mouse's ability to squeeze itself into even the smallest of openings (one-quarter of an inch and up). A good rule of thumb is, if you can fit a pencil into a crack, hole or opening, a mouse can get through it.

Seal cracks in the foundation as well as openings in the walls, including where utility pipes and vents occur. Stuffing steel wool into these holes or caulking them can be a helpful approach. Avoid using plastic, rubber, wood or anything else mice can easily gnaw through as sealants. Use weather stripping to seal door and window gaps and make sure the sweep on your door creates a seal against the threshold when it's closed.

2. Use mouse traps.

Another way to help get rid of mice is with mouse traps. The classic wooden snap traps will do the trick for light-to-moderate mouse populations, but keep in mind that most people underestimate mice infestations. It's not uncommon to lay a dozen traps for just one mouse - or what you think is just one mouse. Apart from hiring a professional, traps can be one of the most effective ways to kill mice in your home.

3. Choose the best bait for mouse traps.

You can use whatever food the mice have been eating in your home for bait, or mouse-approved favorites such as chocolate, peanut butter, bacon, oatmeal, dried fruit or hazelnut spread. Replace with fresh bait every two days. If the food isn't working, you can try using nesting material such as cotton balls or feathers.

4. Proper placement of mouse traps is critical.

Where you place your mouse traps is crucial to getting rid of these pests effectively. Place the traps perpendicular to walls with the trigger section facing the baseboard. This causes the mouse to run directly into the bait as it naturally scurries along the walls, instead of running over the trap from the wrong direction, triggering it prematurely.

Mice don't travel more than 30 feet from food sources and nesting areas, so place the traps anywhere you see mice or signs of mice, such as rodent droppings or "rubbings" on baseboards and walls. Change trap locations every two days or so. Mice are naturally curious so they won't avoid traps like rats will. However, if the same trap type and same baits are used over and over, mice will learn and change their behavior. They will no longer be curious, and will avoid traps at some point.

5. Bait stations.

Bait stations, or rodenticides, are sealed packets containing meal or pellets. They are typically sold with bait stations that securely contain the poison. The mice feed on this bait and die. While helpful in getting rid of mice, using them at home is not the best way to kill mice in the house. These products are best handled by trained pest management professionals to ensure the safety of you, your children and your pets.

6. Good sanitation won't get rid of mice, but poor sanitation will attract them.

Mice can survive on just three to four grams of food per day, so a few crumbs here and there are all they really need. Vacuum your floors and be sure to wipe down counters, eliminating residue, crumbs and any access to food sources. Store food in glass jars or airtight containers. Don't forget about securing your garbage. Mice have sharp incisor teeth so they can chew through just about anything – even concrete, so plastic bags are no match for hungry rodents.

7. Tackle the mice inside of outside of the house.

Remove debris around your home where mice can hide. Keep weeds to a minimum and destroy burrows and nesting areas as you find them. Lining your home's foundation with a strip of heavy gravel is a good way to prevent nesting and burrowing. The less debris and clutter around your home and property, the easier it is to spot signs of rodent activity and stop mice dead in their tracks.

Mouse infestation prevention tips

As the saying goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is especially true when it comes to reducing the odds of a mouse infestation from happening in the first place. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to keep mice away:

  • Check in and around your home for any areas where mice can get in. Keep in mind that these critters can squeeze in through cracks as small as a quarter of an inch.
  • Fill any holes with steel wool, wire mesh, or quick-drying cement. Essentially, any materials that may be more difficult for mice to chew through.
  • Vacuum and sweep regularly to dispose of any crumbs.
  • Wipe down counters daily to remove residue and crumbs that may keep mice well-fed.
  • Store food and pet food in airtight glass containers to prevent mice from chewing their way through bags.
  • Keep trash bags inside a trash can both indoors and outdoor.
  • Keep your yard clean, taking care to remove any fallen fruit or unpicked garden vegetables that can also sustain a mouse population.
  • Trim back shrubs, flowers and tree branches to at least 18 inches away from your home.

How professionals get rid of mice

Still having trouble getting rid of those pesky mice? Your best bet to help get rid of them is to call in a professional pest control specialist.

Terminix professionals will conduct an initial inspection of your home to assess the severity of your infestation, as well as any areas where mice can be getting into your home.

From there, your rodent control specialist will recommend a treatment plan that leverages field-tested integrated pest management solutions. Based on your home, the infestation itself and other factors, your Terminix pest control expert will work with you to determine an effective and efficient solution to your mouse problem.

We'll also seal off any entry points identified to keep mice from getting back into your home. You can also set up recurring appointments to have the Terminix team come back to be sure mice aren't scurrying about and lessen the odds of a re-infestation.

Have a certified Terminix technician help take care of your mouse problem today.