How to Get Rid of Mice: 7 Tips for Disease Prevention (2023)

Overview

Mice migrate into people’s homes in search of food, warmth, or shelter. They reproduce fast and can spread diseases. They often cause damage by chewing on wires, books, and toys, or getting into cupboards and spoiling food by gnawing on storage bags and even plastic containers. Mice leave traces of urine and feces, which contain bacteria and viruses.

Read on to find out how to get rid of mice if you have them in your home, and how to prevent an infestation if you don’t.

Mice can get through tight spaces because of their small size. Cracks even as small as 1/4 of an inch need to be sealed. If you have mice in your home, knowing their preferred locations will help you get rid of them faster. The black fecal pellets they leave behind are a giveaway of their whereabouts. Keep food away from these areas, and store everything edible in containers that can’t be chewed.

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Once you’re familiar with the whereabouts of your mice, try one of the following ways to get rid of them.

1. Get a cat

If no one in your family has a cat allergy, getting a cat might just be the easiest way to get rid of mice. If a cat isn’t an option, buy cat litter and spread it in areas most frequented by the mice. This can act as a deterrent. Be sure to keep cat litter out of the reach of children.

2. Use essential oils

The strong smell of peppermint oil and clove oil seems to repel mice. Saturate cotton balls with these essential oils and put them in areas that attract mice like drawers, cupboards, and home entryways. Although the smell alone won’t be enough to get rid of mice completely, it can work in conjunction with other methods.

3. Set humane traps

Humane traps keep mice alive so you can release them. Place traps in the areas of your home most frequented by mice and check them every morning. Mice generally come out looking for food at night. Examples of yummy treats to attract mice include peanut butter, cheese, and buttered popcorn.

Be sure to release any mice you capture at least a mile away from your home, and preferably not in an inhabited area. Don’t touch the mice directly in order to avoid any diseases they might be carrying.

4. Try a hot pepper solution

Poison baits may seem like an easy solution, but they can also be risky. Poison can sicken pets and children in your home, so it’s safer to stick with nonpoisonous baits and treatments. Try a concentrated hot pepper solution. Spray it in spots out of the reach of children and pets, but where mice frequently visit, such as under the stove or behind cabinets.

5. Build your own humane trap

If you’re crafty, try to build your own easy-to-use live traps using household items:

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  • Bucket, stick, and plastic cup: Skewer the cup with the stick and lay the stick-and-cup contraption across the open top of the bucket. Smear some peanut butter on the cup to act as bait. The mouse should run out to the cup, and then fall into the bucket. Release the mouse in the morning.Repeat as needed.
  • Glass and coin: Using a large glass with peanut butter smeared inside, balance one side on an upright coin. When the mouse runs in for the peanut butter, it should knock down the coin and become trapped inside the glass. Repeat as needed.

6. Pack spaces with steel wool

Pack steel wool into the tight spaces mice like to sneak into. Steel wool is impossible and unpleasant to chew and will create a natural deterrent for the little buggers.

7. Block with duct tape

Once you identify some of the entry points mice are using, such as under your sink around the pipes or at the back of cupboards where there are wires, cover them with duct tape.

For a severe infestation

Humane trapping is the best way to go. In general, traps are preferred over poison bait as they are less hazardous to children and pets. But if you’re dealing with a severe infestation that can put your family at risk, consider using spring traps or calling a professional pest control company. They can carry out the task faster for you.

Mice are small and cute. Some people even have them as pets. However, the reason you don’t want them creeping inside your house is because of the diseases they carry. These include:

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Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome and lymphocytic choriomeningitis: Breathing in dust that contains mouse urine and droppings can cause these diseases of the respiratory and neurological systems.

During their nightly visits, mice leave urine and feces everywhere they go. This is why you need to thoroughly clean any areas where mice might roam. If you find an area with a lot of droppings, use a mask and gloves to clean it up, and wash your hands thoroughly after.

Direct contact and, less frequently, bites from mice can also spread these diseases.

Leptospirosis: This infectious disease caused by bacteria can spread by drinking water that contains traces of urine from infected animals. Pets can be at risk for this disease, too. If you have mice in your home, remove your pet water bowl overnight and clean it daily.

Salmonellosis: Caused by bacteria, salmonellosis can affect anyone, but children younger than age 5 are especially at risk. It transmits through mouse feces.

Plague, typhoid, and pox (Rickettsial infections): Mouse fleas and mites can spread these diseases. While treatments are available, it’s better to prevent these diseases by avoiding direct contact with mice and their droppings.

The best way to prevent mice infestations is to keep your home clean. Here are some tips:

  • Make it a rule that all eating happens at the table.
  • Store food items such as grains, seeds, beans, and flour in glass or metal containers.
  • Wipe eating and cooking surfaces at the end of the day. Vacuum up any bits of food that fall on the floor, under furniture, and around appliances.
  • Remove your pet’s food bowl after meals and seal pet food bags.
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Mice can spread diseases, so act quickly. Their high reproduction rate makes it more challenging to control an invasion the longer you wait. Use traps and deterrents to make your home mouse-free as soon as possible.

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Depending on how severe the infestation is, it may take between a day and a couple of weeks to rid your place of mice. During the trapping period, make sure you thoroughly clean any surfaces the mice might climb on during the night in order to minimize health risks.

FAQs

How do you prevent diseases from mice? ›

Mop floors and/or spray dirt floors with disinfectant. Clean countertops, cabinets, and drawers with a disinfectant. Steam clean or shampoo rugs and upholstered furniture. Wash any bedding and clothing with laundry detergent in hot water if you see any mouse or rat urine or droppings on them.

What home remedy gets rid of mice fast? ›

Top 6 Ways to Rid of Mice Naturally
  1. Peppermint Oil: Mice are known to not be big fans of peppermint. ...
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar & Water: Spray this mixture around the perimeter of your house as well as in any access points inside. ...
  3. Fabric Softener Sheets: Mice can't stand the smell of fabric softener.
Dec 24, 2018

How do you disinfect after mice? ›

Step 1: Put on rubber or plastic gloves. Step 2: Spray urine and droppings with bleach solution or an EPA-registered disinfectant until very wet. Let it soak for 5 minutes or according to instructions on the disinfectant label. Step 3: Use paper towels to wipe up the urine or droppings and cleaning product.

Does Lysol disinfect mouse droppings? ›

Does Lysol disinfect mouse droppings? Yes. By spraying the infected area with Lysol, you can disinfect mouse droppings and their nests.

Can you ever fully get rid of mice? ›

The good news is that with proper pest control and prevention, you can indeed ensure all mice are completely out of your home. If you suspect a mouse infestation or have questions about how you can be sure to completely get rid of mice in your home, seek help from a licensed pest control professional immediately.

What do professionals use to get rid of mice? ›

Rodenticide correctly deployed on the exterior of a house may be the preferred method for getting rid of mice. Traps are effective solutions, but the correct use of rodenticides is best for complete extermination.

What scared away mice? ›

Some strong scents people often use as a natural mouse repellent include lavender, peppermint oil, other natural essential oils, and vinegar solutions.

Does Pine Sol keep mice away? ›

Does Pine Sol deter rodents? As will most cleaners, Pine-Sol contains properties that may deter rodents and other types of pests; however, this is not a viable solution as a pest control measure.

Does Irish Spring soap keep mice away? ›

The bottom line is the perfumes in this soap tell mice, rats, chipmunks, and other critters to stay clear. Irish Spring comes in different scents and varieties, and I have found that as long as it is Irish Spring in general it will work just fine.

Why do I have mice in my house all of a sudden? ›

There are two main things that can attract mice and rats to your house – food and shelter. If you don't tidy up properly and there's food waste on the floor or surfaces, rodents are going to love it! Rats and mice also need shelter, particularly during winter to avoid the worst of the cold.

What disinfectant kills mouse germs? ›

For disinfecting dead rodents and areas contaminated with rodent droppings, urine and/or organic debris: Use a solution of 1.5 cups of bleach per gallon of water.

How long do mouse droppings remain infectious? ›

The virus may remain infectious for 2 to 3 days at room temperature. Exposure to sunlight will decrease the time of viability and freezing temperatures will increase the time that the virus remains infectious.

Are mouse droppings toxic? ›

People get HPS when they breath in hantaviruses. This can happen when rodent urine and droppings that contain a hantavirus are stirred up into the air. People can also become infected when they touch mouse or rat urine, droppings, or nesting materials that contain the virus and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.

Should you wear a mask when cleaning mouse droppings? ›

Removal of mouse droppings, nest materials and urine will require the use of protective gloves, long sleeved shirt, long pants, a hat, eye protection and a N95 or comparable face mask.

Does hydrogen peroxide disinfect mouse droppings? ›

How to Safely Clean Up Rodent Droppings. Wet them with a disinfectant. The CDC recommends a 1 part bleach to 10 parts water solution. SF Environment recommends a hydrogen peroxide solution for reduced odor and respiratory risk.

What to do if you swept mouse droppings? ›

Steps for proper cleaning:
  1. Make a solution of one-part bleach and nine-parts water in a spray bottle or use a general purpose household disinfectant.
  2. Wearing rubber or plastic gloves, spray the solution or disinfectant on the dried urine, feces and nesting material until the substances are soaking wet.

Can you get sick from mice in your house? ›

Health Hazards Posed by House Mice

Their feces and saliva can spread bacteria, contaminate food sources, and give you allergic reactions. Their dry fecal matter can be harmful if breathed in. Some of the diseases that house mice spread include: Hantavirus.

Can you get diseases from handling mice? ›

Rats and mice are known to carry many diseases. These diseases can spread to people directly, through handling of rodents; contact with rodent feces (poop), urine, or saliva (such as through breathing in air or eating food that is contaminated with rodent waste); or rodent bites.

Does every mouse carry disease? ›

There are disease concerns with both wild (rats, mice) and pet (rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs) rodents and rabbits. They can carry many diseases including hantavirus, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), Tularemia and Salmonella.

Do all house mice carry diseases? ›

Rodents such as rats and mice are associated with a number of health risks. In fact, rats and mice are known to spread more than 35 diseases. These diseases can be spread to humans directly through handling of live or dead rodents, contact with rodent feces, urine, or saliva, as well as rodent bites.

Is mouse poop toxic to breathe? ›

Several strains of the hantavirus can cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. They are carried by different types of rodents. The most common carrier in North America is the deer mouse. Infection is usually caused by inhaling hantaviruses that have become airborne from rodent urine, droppings or saliva.

How long is mice poop toxic? ›

Many viruses can be infectious in mouse droppings for 2 to 3 days at room temperature. Time in the sun may shorten this period, but colder temperatures may lengthen it. Bacteria such as Salmonella can remain alive for many more days or even weeks in mouse droppings.

What are the first signs of hantavirus? ›

Early symptoms include fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups—thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders. These symptoms are universal. There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Can mice pee make you sick? ›

People get HPS when they breath in hantaviruses. This can happen when rodent urine and droppings that contain a hantavirus are stirred up into the air. People can also become infected when they touch mouse or rat urine, droppings, or nesting materials that contain the virus and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.

Can mice feces make you sick? ›

Anyone who comes into contact with infected rodent droppings, urine, saliva, nesting materials, or particles from these, can get hantavirus disease. Exposure to poorly ventilated areas with active rodent infestations in households, is the strongest risk factor for infection.

What are the symptoms of mouse poop disease? ›

In most recorded cases, symptoms develop 1 to 8 weeks after exposure. Early symptoms, such as fever, dry cough, body aches, headaches, diarrhea and abdominal pain, are similar to many other viral illnesses. This may prevent an HPS diagnosis before the illness progresses.

Is mouse poop toxic? ›

Rats and mice carry two main types of disease in their waste: Salmonellosis and Leptospirosis. Salmonellosis is a type of food poisoning.

How many mice is considered an infestation? ›

It can be quite hard for an average homeowner to determine whether they are dealing with a full-scale infestation or just one or two wandering mice. With that being said, one male and one female mouse are all it takes for an infestation to happen.

What are the odds of getting hantavirus? ›

The risk of acquiring hantavirus is extremely rare, even among people who are consistently exposed to mice and other rodents. The majority of exposures (70%) occur around the home. Hantavirus poses no significant health risk to WSU employees provided that simple precautions are followed.

Will mice leave if house is clean? ›

A common misconception is that mice are only attracted to dirty places or areas with lots of trash, that is not the case. In fact, mice are explorers who go around looking for any source of food they can find. Just because your home is clean, doesn't mean you're protected from a mice infestation.

Do I have mice because my house is dirty? ›

Just because a house gets mice, does not mean it is dirty or unclean. Mice are looking for shelter, a place to nest, a place to breed, and easy access to food. If they can find those things in your home, they'll find any way they can to get inside.

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