That patter of little footsteps may be mice. Mice like to stay warm and dry, just like you. So as cool and wet weather rolls in, mice invite themselves into your home, chewing through electrical wires and making nests in your attic insulation. And since the gestation period for mice is about 20 days, once mice get in, they’re birthing machines that will produce an infestation before you can say “cheese!”
The best way get rid of a mouse problem is to prevent one. Keep counters clean of food and crumbs, and throw out old newspapers and boxes of clothes that provide nesting material.
Also, keep mice from getting into your home in the first place. Seal up holes and cracks around your house, especially where cable lines and plumbing enter. Also, make sure your chimney caps and vent covers are secure.
But mice, like water, will find a way in, and then you’ve got to get rid of them.
Peppermint: Mice don’t like mint, so start cleaning with mint-scented solutions, or add a few drops of mint essential oil to your all-purpose cleaner. You also can pulverize peppermint Altoids, and sprinkle around mice nesting areas. To keep mice away from your house, plant mint around your foundation. But be warned, mint spreads quickly. So unless you want mint fields forever, plant the herb in pots with saucers, and place them around the outside of your house.
Soda Pop: Mice can’t burb, so when they drink soda pop that makes them gassy, they eventually perish. Pour any sugary soda (not diet) into a shallow dish, and place where you think mice are nesting. They’ll drink, and die.
Tabasco Sauce: This hot sauce keeps mice away in droves. Sprinkle the sauce around your home’s foundation to deter mice from entering. Or add 2 tsp. Tabasco and 1 tsp. dish detergent to 2 cups hot water. Pour into a spray bottle, and spritz where you think mice are hiding.
Dryer Sheets: You may love their fragrance on pillowcases, but mice hate their strong smell. Stuff dryer sheets beneath attic doors, or press them into the baseboards around rooms where mice are living.
Ammonia: When animal urine decomposes, it produces ammonia, a smell mice avoid because they fear it’s from large animals that could eat them for supper. To repel rodents, clean with an ammonia-based solution, or sprinkle drops of ammonia where mice are nesting. But don’t go crazy and slop ammonia around the house. It can be harmful to the heath of humans and pets, too.
Strange Noises: Several companies sell gizmos that emit high-frequency sounds that mice supposedly find irritating, kinda like how you feel about your kids’ rap music. But mice naturally communicate with each other at high frequencies that humans can’t hear, and little evidence exists that mice truly are repelled by sonic or ultrasonic noises. These devices may be more whacky than effective.
Cayenne Pepper: This stinging seasoning repels mice. Sprinkle some on areas where mice enter your house. A horseradish and water solution will work, too.
Cloves: The strong scent of cloves is known to repel mice. Wrap whole cloves in cheesecloth, and place in attics, basements, and in front of walls where you’ve heard mice scampering about.
Toilet Bowl Freshener: You buy them to make your toilet bowl smell sweet, but mice hate the strong aroma of toilet bowl fresheners. Place fresheners on a tin plate, or hang clip-ons from a hook on walls to prevent leaking on or staining wood floors.
Antifreeze: As a last resort, place a dish of antifreeze in mice nesting areas. The sweet smell attracts the rodents, who then drown in or drink the poison. Antifreeze, of course, is toxic to other living creatures. So be careful when using this whacky method to get rid of mice.