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How To Get Rid of Mice in the Walls

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Author Image Written by Brenda Woods Updated 05/14/2024

One mouse might be cute, but many mice—particularly if they get into the walls of your home—are pests. A single female mouse can give birth to five to 10 litters per year with three to 12 babies per litter, meaning that a mouse infestation can increase rapidly. Mice gnaw on building structures, furniture, and even electrical wiring, leading to significant structural damage. They can also contaminate your food, spread bacteria, and potentially bring lice, fleas, or ticks into your home.

We’ll take a look at some frequently asked questions about mouse problems in the home and also cover how to get mice out of your walls and prevent them from coming back. For immediate assistance, we recommend getting professional help by contacting a top pest control company.


How Do Mice Get In My Home?

When outdoor temperatures drop, mice often look for entry points into any building in search of food, warmth, and shelter.

Small cracks in a foundation, holes in siding, and gaps around windows and doors can all serve as entry points for rodents. Uncovered vents and ducts can do the same.


How Do I Know if There Are Mice in My Walls?

Mice typically stick to the dark, unoccupied parts of your home, including crawl spaces, air ducts, and wall cavities. Additionally, they usually stay hidden during daylight hours, so you may have a mouse infestation long before you ever actually spot one mouse. Here are some signs that you may have a mouse problem.

  • Droppings that look like small, dark seeds, about 1/4 inch long
  • Feet and tail tracks on dusty floors
  • Nests made of soft, shredded materials in rarely-used areas of your home such as under cabinets, behind appliances, and in basements
  • Rustling or scratching sounds in the walls or under floorboards
  • Small holes in food containers, old fabric, or cardboard boxes
  • Unusual ammonia-like smells
QUICK Tip
Look for these signs anywhere food is stored, as well as along floorboards in basements, cellars, lofts, crawl spaces, and other out-of-the-way places.

If you’ve determined you have a mouse problem, here’s how to get rid of mice in your walls.

Set Traps

Mousetraps are still the standard for catching rodent pests. If you opt for a lethal trap, choose snap traps that kill mice instantly instead of poison bait traps. You don’t want mice dying and decaying in your walls. Live-catch traps are also an option, but they must be emptied frequently, and you run the risk of the mouse returning to your home if you don’t release it at least a mile away.

Bait snap or live-catch traps with peanut butter and set them along walls where you suspect mouse activity. If mice seem to keep evading traps left out in the open, you may have to drill a small hole in the drywall a few inches off the floor and place a trap right by the hole.

Seal Any Gaps

As you work on getting the mice out of your house, also ensure that they can’t find their way back in. Remember that mice can gnaw through sprayable foams and sealants, so look for filler made out of chew-resistant polyester or stainless steel fibers. Wire mesh is a good choice for large holes on the exterior of your home, and door sweeps will cover entranceway gaps by the floor.

Get Rid of Food Sources and Nesting Materials

The less incentive rodents have to stay in your home, the better. Mice will eat most human foods, so keep food sealed in plastic or glass containers and clean up crumbs and spills promptly. Use a garbage can with a tight-fitting lid, take trash with food scraps out regularly, and keep pet food sealed.

Mice may also be attracted to material they can chew and use for their nests, so don’t leave cardboard, paper, fabric, string, or stuffing lying around. Put these things in sealable containers.

Mouse-Proof Your Yard

Once you’ve sealed your home, take a look around the outside. Outdoors, mice like to nest anywhere that can provide a good hiding place from predators, which can include woodpiles, garbage bags, compost heaps, or untrimmed shrubbery, so move these away from the perimeter of your house. Keeping a tidy lawn, in general, will discourage mice from moving in.

How to Get Rid of Mice in Walls Naturally

There are also ways to keep mice away naturally. Try these natural home remedies.

  • Peppermint: Peppermint has an overwhelming smell, and mice tend to stay away. You can add a few drops of peppermint oil to a cotton ball and leave it anywhere you see mouse droppings. Peppermint toothpaste or mouthwash will also work.
  • Crushed peppers: Mice avoid anything that contains capsaicin, including cayenne pepper, jalapeños, and other chili peppers. Sprinkle some crushed peppers near possible entry points to your home to keep mice away.
  • Cloves: Cloves are a natural irritant for mice. Place a few drops of clove oil on a cotton ball and place near possible entry points or nesting areas.
  • Ammonia: Ammonia is found in the urine of several predators, including cats. Fill small dishes or caps with ammonia and leave them under the sink or in cabinets.
  • Vinegar: Mice dislike the overpowering smell of white vinegar. Again, you can soak cotton balls with vinegar and leave them in areas where mice are likely to enter your home.

Check out the video below to learn the best ways to trap mice and keep them out of your home.


Can Mice Climb Walls?

Both mice and rats are very good climbers, and they can even ascend straight up a vertical surface if the texture is rough enough. They can also jump up to 18 inches and slip through surprisingly small cracks and holes, making them very difficult to catch.


Conclusion

Mice infestations can be hard to root out, so you may eventually want to talk to a pest control professional. These companies will know how to extract the mice from your walls while doing the least amount of damage to your home. They can also help you prevent new infestations by finding and securing possible entry points. If you are evaluating pest control companies, we recommend getting quotes from Terminix and Orkin.


FAQ About Getting Rid of Mice in the Walls

What to do if you hear a mouse in the wall?

Mice living in your walls will eventually emerge in search of food—at this time, you can use mouse traps capture or kill them. Spring-loaded traps are readily available at hardware stores and online, and these are likely the best option.

How long do mice stay in walls?

Mice can live in your walls for years, reproducing to create a true infestation. If you hear mice in your walls, take steps to remove them before this occurs.

Will mice eventually leave?

No, it is unlikely that mice will ever leave on their own. If you have mice living in your walls, you will either have to tackle the problem with mouse traps or call in a professional extermination service. 

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