Master the Mouse

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

When the seasons change certain unwelcome guests move into the home. They're little, they're furry, and they're cute when they're running on a wheel. They're not cute when they're running across your kitchen. They're mice, and there are cheap ways to keep them out of your home. Cancel the exterminator and take a common sense approach to mouse prevention.


Block 'Em

The key to preventing mouse takeover is to stop it before it starts. Lock your house to pests by finding every hole to the outside world. Mice can crawl through holes the size of a nickel. To find such small holes in the attic or other smaller spaces, crawl in the area during mid-day and cover the windows and doorways; sit in total darkness. After you calm your fears, look for the light from outside to peer through rafters and cracks. Then, invest in a multi-pack of Great Stuff found at most home improvement stores. It really is great stuff. This foam sprays from a small straw and then expands to fill the entire space.

Prevent all unwanted visitors from entering the house by closing up cat/dog doors and install screens in all of your windows. Likewise, keep garage and basement doors closed at all times.


Starve 'Em

Mice have only one true purpose - to eat. Food should be put away, especially the food that sits appetizingly on the countertop. Basement storage of food items should use the metal cabinets made for pantries. If that's not possible, invest in heavy duty Rubbermaid containers or metal tins.

Pet food is a favorite of mice as well. Before bed, dump Fido's leftovers back into the bag and seal it tightly or store it in a garbage can with a lid. Anyone with a mouse problem knows the feeling of dog food bits stuffed into work boots during the winter months.

Mice have the ability to chew through anything. Rats can easily chew through metal, so imagine that mice aren't that far away. Rubbermaid totes help to keep the smell of the food inside which will deter the mice from chewing through them.


Your goal is to transform your home from a smorgasbord into an inhospitable space. Mice eat anything. I've had them eat the glue on the back of a roll of stickers, and they've eaten through a box of laundry soap.

Scare 'Em

There are some things that mice hate. Dogs and cats scare mice away well. However, there are other foes: snakes. We bought several rubber garter snakes at the dollar store and placed them on basement shelves in key mouse locations. (They leave "calling cards" in their favorite locations.) So far, we haven't had any visitors. If you're brave enough, and lucky enough, to have a real snake inhabit your garden leave it there. Snakes are more efficient at mouse elimination than any other creature.

About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines and has written a history book for middle readers. Visit her website for writing help, lesson plans, history fun, or work for hire at

November 6, 20140 found this helpful
Top Comment

Great article. I will be using the fake snake idea as well as the expanding foam. Thank you!!

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September 17, 20080 found this helpful

I am all for anything to keep mice away, as I am terrified of them. But...did you have to post a BIG picture of one? Gave me the wilies seeing it.

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September 17, 20080 found this helpful

My wifes Toyota van began to smell terrible, like a dead animal. No one would drive with her. She begged me to find the problem so I set about looking for the cause. I took all the seats out and took them apart looking for rodent homes or carcasses but no luck. I popped the door panels out but found nothing. I looked under the dash and in all the vents but no luck. Finally, I pulled the plastic rear deck protector off and there was a dead mouse halfway out of a port in the main cabin frame. I pulled her out and using a shop vac, I sucked the home she had made out of foam from the seats and insulation out of the fender well in the right rear corner. She was emaciated so I figure she crawled in and made house but could not find anything to eat and could not escape when we drove off to work every day. I tucked some dryer sheets into the opening before I closed it up to help get rid of the dead odor. What an ordeal, 4 hours to find one mouse. Kenorri

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September 19, 20080 found this helpful

I have found that placing cut up steel wool pads in rhodent entries, it helps keep the pesky critters out.

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