How to Keep Mice and Other Pests Out of Your Home

How to keep out mice, squirrels, bats and other unwanted animals.

Time

An hour or less

Complexity

Beginner

Cost

$51–100

Introduction

This article will show you how to critter-proof your house. Follow this advice to get rid of pests once they find a way into your home. You'll also find tips to make sure they never get inside your house again.

Tools Required

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver

If lovable old Mickey came from Disney World to live at your house, you and your kids would be delighted. But when Mickey’s real-life cousins move into your kitchen cabinets, well, that’s another story.

Same for the squirrel that thinks your attic is a great place to raise a family, or the raccoon that turns your chimney into a condo. They’re not so cute when they’re on your turf.

Mice, squirrels, raccoons and bats are the most common fur-covered pests that invade our homes (often when the weather starts turning cool). They really don’t mean any harm. They’re just looking for food, water and shelter. We’ll tell you how to keep your home from becoming a varmint’s dream house.

Don’t have a cat? Watch this video to learn the next best things for getting rid of mice in your home.

Project step-by-step (8)

Step 1

Eliminate Food Sources

  • Store food, especially grains, pet food and birdseed, in rodent-proof metal or heavy plastic containers.
  • Store grass seed in sealed containers.
  • Put away any uneaten pet food.
  • Rodent-proof your garbage cans by setting them on 6-inch high wood platforms.
    • Pro tip: Make sure lids fit tight; use rubber cords to fasten them down if necessary. Replace garbage cans that have cracks or holes.
  • Pick up any fruit that has fallen from trees in your yard.
  • Search out holes (even small ones) around your foundation, eaves and soffits and fill them with steel wool, cover with sheet metal, or fill with caulk, plaster or cement.

Step 2

Bait the Traps

  • Set snap traps with the baited trigger end of the trap tight against the wall. Wherever possible, use two traps.
    • Note: Mice usually run along walls.
  • Dispose of a dead mouse in a plastic bag in the garbage, then reuse the trap.
    • Note: The scent of the dead mouse will help attract any other mice in the house.