How to Mouse-Proof Your House (Article 2 of 3)

October 23rd, 2007 11:51 am by Kelly Garbato

While I was disassembling my old blog today, it occurred to me that I never crossposted a few articles I wrote about humane methods of “pest” control from there to here. So, here they be…two years late, but still totally in season. With updated links, to boot.

The articles in this particular series include:
1 – How to Tell If There’s a Mouse in Your House
2 – How to Mouse-Proof Your House: A Natural, Humane, and Effective Form of Pest Control
3 – Spare the Snap-Trap and Have Mercy on the Mice: A Guide to “Catch-and-Release” Mouse Traps

Teh fine print: You’re permitted – nay, encouraged! – to reprint these articles elsewhere, as long as all links remain intact and clickable, and the resource box is included at the bottom of the page.

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How to Mouse-Proof Your House: A Natural, Humane, and Effective Form of Pest Control
By Kelly Garbato

It happens every fall; at the first signs of frost, you start to hear mysterious squeaking and scratching noises emanating from your attic. Within weeks, you find wood shavings beneath the garage door. By November, you have already been forced to throw out three boxes of perfectly good cereal because of the conspicuous teeth marks at the bottom of the bags. Once you find the first pile of droppings, there’s no doubt about it – you have company!

Although it’s oftentimes difficult to rid your home of mice once they’ve taken hold, it can be done. However, there is a better way. The old saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is applicable in this case. Rather than trying to round up and kick out Mickey, Minnie, and their offspring, why not just stop them from gaining entry in the first place?

Mouse-proofing your house is easier than it sounds. First you will need to sanitize your environment, and then you must seal it up so that it stays sanitary.

Step 1: Sanitize Your Home

The sanitation process involves purging your house of any unhygienic conditions that could contribute to an infestation – mouse or otherwise.

Start with food, including areas in which food is stored and eaten. Clean and organize all clutter, particularly in storage areas. Mice thrive on not only conventional “human” foods, but also garbage, animal feces, compost, and the like. Keep your cabinets, floors, and all crevices clear of crumbs and stray bits of food. If necessary, store food in thick plastic or glass containers or canisters; you can even utilize an unused cooler for larger items (that’s where I keep my rice cakes!). Buy a sturdy garbage can with a tight-fitting lid, and throw away all trash immediately. Also, purchase a similar receptacle for your recyclables; rinse them out and store them away ASAP. Do the same for your compost pile and food waste. If you keep a large, uncovered compost heap outside, locate it as far from the house as possible.

In addition to food, you must also restrict the mice’s access to nesting materials, which include paper, cardboard, fabric, plastic, and even insulation. Finally, eliminate areas in which they may nest and travel; store boxes up on pallets, six to eight inches off the floor, and several inches away from the walls. Not only will this impede their movement and nesting, but it also makes it easier for you to inspect the area for mouse droppings.

Don’t overlook your yard, either. Trim back vegetation away from your home’s exterior. Avoid placing large piles of dead plants or trees near your house. Break up ground cover around your home so that your furry friends will be wary of traveling too close.

Step 2: Seal It Up

Step 2 involves sealing up your house to prevent rodents from coming in. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Mice can squeeze through a hole as small as ¼” – roughly the size of a pencil. Sealing up such small openings isn’t as problematic as is actually finding them!

Begin by looking around your home’s foundation, as well as any doors, walls, windows, pipes, utility lines, vents, ducts, etc. Patrol both the interior and the exterior of the house. Seal up any holes – no matter how large or small – with caulk, concrete, steel wool, copper mesh, galvanized steel hardware cloth, and other heavy-duty materials that are resistant to gnawing. If you have drains in your basement floors, don’t overlook these; cap or screen them off. Install metal kick plates along the bottom of doors to ward off sharp teeth. Use weather-stripping along windows and doors – this will keep mice out, and trap the hot air in. When in doubt, secure it!

While these mouse-proofing strategies will make it difficult for mice to enter your home, you should also make your house unattractive to mice so that they don’t want to come in. The main thrust of this method is to eliminate food and nesting sources, as discussed above, so that it’s harder for mice to survive inside. When used in combination, these preventative techniques should help keep out unwanted pests permanently. Better yet, you can do so without polluting the environment, exposing your family to toxic chemicals, or killing your hapless houseguests!

About the Author:
© Kelly Garbato, 2005; All rights reserved
Kelly Garbato is an author, web editor, and small business owner (http://www.hotdogllc.com). A guardian to five dogs and a cat, her work is largely inspired by (and aims to honor) the human-animal bond. She blogs about environmental and animal rights/welfare issues at http://www.easyVegan.info and http://www.SmiteMe.net. To learn more about Kelly, or to send her an email, visit her personal web site at http://www.kellygarbato.com.

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4 Responses to “How to Mouse-Proof Your House (Article 2 of 3)”

  1. easyVegan.info » Blog Archive » How to Tell If There’s a Mouse in Your House (Article 1 of 3) Says:

    […] articles in this particular series include: 1 – How to Tell If There’s a Mouse in Your House 2 – How to Mouse-Proof Your House: A Natural, Humane, and Effective Form of Pest Control 3 – Sparethe Snap-Trap and Have Mercy on the Mice: A Guide to “Catch-and-Release” Mouse Traps […]

  2. easyVegan.info » Blog Archive » Spare the Snap-Trap and Have Mercy on the Mice (Article 3 of 3) Says:

    […] The articles in this particular series include: 1 – How to Tell If There’s a Mouse in Your House 2 – How to Mouse-Proof Your House: A Natural, Humane, and Effective Form of Pest Control 3 – Spare the Snap-Trap and Have Mercy on the Mice: A Guide to “Catch-and-Release” Mouse Traps […]

  3. Brian Smith Says:

    I found this article very helpful when I had to deal with mice. So thank you. I also had to deal with mice coming through my weep holes and found additional helpful info here:
    mouse proofing your house There is a video that is pretty good.

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