5 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Rid of Mice in Your Walls
November 20, 2023
In 2019 alone, 2.9 million Americans reported spotting a rodent in their homes. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than hearing a rustling in your walls or the squeak of a mouse nearby.
If you suspect your home is infested with mice, it’s best to take action to make it mouse-proof immediately. Read on to learn how to identify an infestation before you see a mouse, as well as the rodent control steps to take to get mice out for good.
There are telltale signs that mice may be living in the walls of your home, from runs on drywall to unsettling sounds.
A house mouse can squeeze into your home through the smallest of cracks, or may have even been living in the walls since it was built.
There are several ways to curb a rodent problem, like sealing entry points, eliminating food sources and nesting materials, using DIY natural repellents and traps, or calling a professional pest control company.
Identify Mice in Your Building
If you’re not sure whether mice might lurk in your walls, look for signs that there are mice somewhere in your house or apartment building. There are a few telltale signals to be on watch for.
Runs on drywall, furniture, or countertops may be your first clue. Mice tend to habitually use the same routes, so they’ll eventually leave a faint mark or dent in the places they’ve explored. These may be hard to spot at first, but if you look closely you may notice discoloration along moldings or even on the path to and from a food source.
Scratching or scurrying sounds are another classic sign of mice. If you hear a faint rustling from within your walls or the other room, that may be the sound of mice digging their nails into a surface for grip and then scurrying around in search of food.
Resembling dark grains of rice, mice droppings are a classic sign of mouse activity. You might notice them in small or large quantities anywhere mice can reach, such as inside cupboards, behind cabinets and other furniture, or in your crawl space, attic, or basement. Be sure to wear gloves and use ample disinfectant when handling suspected rodent droppings.
Finally, strange pet behavior is an indicator of a rodent problem. Dogs and cats are natural domestic predators of mice, and have been proven to create a landscape of fear that discourages mice from foraging for food or leaving their nests at all.
Your pets will likely be on high alert, with pupils dilated and ears at attention if there is a mouse around. They’ll likely pace in the area where they detect an unusual scent, and may randomly pounce as they hunt the mouse down. They might become suddenly excited for no obvious reason, and meow, bark, or whimper.
Dogs may wag their tails and run along the walls where they hear or smell a mouse, perhaps scratching, sniffing, or staring at the wall.
How Do Mice Get Inside?
If you’ve noticed signs that there may be mice in your walls, you’re probably frustrated and wondering how they managed to set up camp there in the first place. Below is a list of ways that mice can evade unsuspecting homeowners.
Entering while a building is under construction (once they find nearby food and hiding places, they have no reason to leave)
Entering through propped open doors or windows
Acting as stowaways in storage boxes and bags coming into your home
Entering through penetrations around pipes and wires
Squeezing through holes, cracks, and crevices in the building’s walls, floors, or foundation
(Adult mice can fit through a dime-sized gap, and young mice can fit through a gap the width of a pencil)
Hiding in nearby trash or clutter
Since mice don’t move unless they have a reason to, they can be hard to get rid of. That’s why it’s crucial to take preventative measures to keep these critters out. Read on for a breakdown on how to curb a mouse problem.
How to Get Rid of Mice in Your Walls
If you suspect there are mice living in your walls, it’s crucial to act fast. Below are all the steps you should take to get invading mice out of your home (and keep them out).
Eliminate Food Sources
Immediately discard (or seal and put away) any food scraps
Empty your trash can regularly
Clean up spills
Keep the food in your fridge and pantry in airtight containers
Don’t leave crayons out
Don’t leave leftover pet food out
Put away cardboard and paper and keep electrical wiring sealed away (mice don’t consume these, but use them to satisfy their need to chew)
Limit Access to Nesting Materials
Stuffing from mattresses, pillows, and stuffed animals
Anything soft and loose that can be balled up or shredded
Seal Entry Points
Since mice can squeeze through the tiniest of gaps, it’s crucial to seal any open entry points to your home in order to prevent mice from making it theirs. Have any exterior cracks sealed, especially those created by moisture damage or near leaky pipes (these attract mice as water sources).
Fill any cracks, crevices, and small holes in your walls and moldings with caulk or spackle. Prune plants and keep firewood away from your home, as these can act as “bridges”for pests to get inside or satellite hideouts.
Be sure to keep your doors and windows closed when possible and have any holes in the window or door screens repaired.
Use Natural Mice Repellents
There are a variety of DIY natural mice repellents that you may already have on hand. Below is a list of household substances that naturally repel mice.
The scent of peppermint causes sensory overload for mice, and also masks their natural pheromones (which attract other mice). Diffusing peppermint oil may be the key to keeping mice at bay.
Mice are repelled by the strong scent of cayenne pepper, which can also irritate their eyes and noses. Sprinkling a bit of cayenne pepper near doors and windows and in the corners of rooms may act as a warning shot to keep mice outside your house.
The scent of cloves is also overwhelming and irritating to mice. Try diffusing clove essential oil or placing a few drops (or some actual cloves) in areas where you suspect mice are living (or at potential entry points).
Toothpaste may emit that peppermint scent that confuses mice and masks their pheromones. Plus, it’s also poisonous to mice if eaten, which is why many homeowners mix it with sugar as a bait that kills mice.
Bleach’s strong smell is a natural repellent for mice—and it comes with the added benefit of sanitizing germ-infested areas that mice have inhabited. However, bleach is more of a short-term solution, as you’ll need to sustain the smell in order to keep mice at bay (and it’s unpleasant and potentially harmful when inhaled by humans, too).
The scent of white vinegar is another natural repellent for mice. Spray vinegar with a spray bottle in areas that you suspect mice have been, or soak cotton balls in white vinegar and leave them around your home. Vinegar doubles as a cleaning solution, and is safe and natural, but it will not kill mice (only keep them away from certain areas).
Use Mouse Traps
There are a variety of mouse traps on the market online and in hardware stores, from traditional pedal and snap traps to sticky glue traps to baited traps/“bait stations” filled with rodenticides to humane “catch and release” containers.
If you’re convinced you’re dealing with a mouse infestation but you or your pets haven’t been able to catch mice as of yet, setting traps may give you peace of mind. Place traps in any areas around your home that you suspect are mouse hangouts. Particularly if the infestation is small and you don’t want to kill the mice, “catch and release” traps may be your best bet.
When to Call a Pest Control Professional
Mice famously reproduce quickly, and if you’ve seen one mouse (or even a clue like droppings), it’s a sign there may be more nesting nearby. It’s never too early to call a pest control service to inspect your house and take preventative measures against infestation. If your walls are infested with mice, a professional exterminator can curb the problem effectively and make sure it doesn’t come back. For your own peace of mind (and even your pets’), it’s best to call the experts to take mice control action immediately.