How to Get Rid of Mice Without Actually Killing Them

Illustration for article titled How to Get Rid of Mice Without Actually Killing Them

Photo: Landshark1 (Shutterstock)

No one likes a mice infestation, but not everyone wants to hurt the furry vermin that may have infiltrated your home. Luckily, you can ward off mice without leaving their little carcasses strewn all over your floor, attic, or wherever else they might be hiding.

Here’s some ways to remove mice from your home without hurting them, so you can keep your home—and your conscience—a little cleaner.

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What mice do in your home

Don’t be fooled by Disney-inspired depictions of mice—a solitary mouse can be cute, but together they’re conducive to filth and the structural degradation of your home. Mice pee everywhere, use urine as a roadmap for other mice to follow, with each micro-puddle giving off scents that other mice use to piece together a route to your food. They are prolific breeders whose population can grow at blinding speeds. Their droppings spread disease. They chew through electrical wire and will pillage your dry goods and produce. They, quite frankly, are no fun.

But if you hear mice shuffling around at night, you don’t need to put up with their nuisance.

Use scents to coax them away

Mice hate some specific scents, most notably peppermint. You might find the smell appealing, but a mouse would rather bask in their own filth than be near peppermint oil, which is why you should soak some cotton balls in the stuff and place them strategically throughout your home. Cloves can also be used to ward off mice, and you can use them in a similar vein—peppered throughout your home where you suspect mice might be swarming.

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The all-natural scent option comes with a warning though: Mice are crafty and can probably figure out a way to circumvent whatever traps you lay, and since scents aren’t widely lauded as a foolproof option, it’s best that you couple these measures with a few other tactics.

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Secure your home to be safe from mice

You’ll want to account for the ways mice might be spilling into your home—basically through subtle little holes and cracks in the walls, floors, and foundations where you live.

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There are ways to mitigate this, mainly by plugging the holes wherever they might be, using wood, sheet metal, steel wool, or something else that’s highly durable and fits inside the crevasses. Mice are pretty tenacious when they’re motivated, so you want to make sure the material you use isn’t going to break down over the long haul.

Perhaps most importantly, though, you should make sure your home is a clean environment that a family of mice wouldn’t be interested in. That means ridding your home of any potential nesting places, regularly taking out the trash in addition to cleaning your garbage cans, and even sealing the gaps in your doors and windows with weather sealing tape.

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Spread aluminum foil

Mice and rats aren’t fans of aluminum foil, so spreading sheets of aluminum foil around the areas you believe to be teeming with rodents might help deter them from entering. Still, mice are cunning, so be prepared for them to find some kind of sneaky workaround, since you probably won’t drape aluminum foil across all your floors.

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Buy non-lethal traps

These are the traps that don’t kill or hurt mice, at least not by design. This is kind of a classic cartoon ploy: Just place the traps wherever you think mice might be swarming, place some kind of bait in the trap, and once a mouse enters, the door will slam shut.

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Non-lethal traps are somewhat of a labor intensive method if you want to do it correctly. You’re obviously not going to want to release the mouse anywhere near your home, so you’ll need to drive it somewhere a few miles away and release it into a conducive environment. You can find non-lethal mouse traps at most hardware stores.

Use other repellents

Non-toxic chemical repellents come in various forms: There’s sprays, pads, and ultrasonic repellents that emit high-frequency waves that you can’t hear, but sound like hell to mice. There’s no guarantee that any one method or combination will suffice, so this is another one where you want to try whatever combinations of deterrents and traps you feel are necessary for your mouse problem.

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