Squeak! There’s A Mouse In The House! Here’s What To Do…

If you’ve spotted mice or their droppings inside and around your property, you’ll need to get rid of them asap before they multiply and do damage to the structure.

They can also carry disease or be infested with fleas and mites that will eventually find their way to your pets, magnifying the problem even more.

Here are a couple recipes I’ve collected for natural repellents that can be used in the yard as well as tips for trapping them indoors.

Outdoor Control/Repellent

For Moles & Mice:

2 TBS Castor oil
6 TBS liquid dish washing soap
1 tsp Tabasco
1 minced garlic clove
1 quart water

  • Directions: Mix a fresh batch before use, pour around the rodent hole. Reapply after each rain. Source: Natural Alternatives for You and Your Home by Casey Kellar.

Another Recipe:

1/2 cup liquid detergent
1 TBS Tabasco sauce
1 gallon of water

  • Directions: Combine and spray around rodent holes and in areas where they’ve been observed. Apply after each rain.

Plant Repellents: Peppermint, sage. Plant these in your garden and in flower beds along the house if you routinely have a problem.

Getting Rid Of Them Indoors

Instead of using deterrents indoors to encourage the critters to move along, you’ll want to attract them with inexpensive commercial mousetraps (otherwise they’ll just migrate elsewhere inside the dwelling).

First remove any food sources they have found (look for bags or cardboard boxes chewed open somewhere along the bottom), scrub clean all pantry/grocery areas and make sure there are no other edibles they can get into (other than what you’ve laid out).

Effectively store pantry items in sealed plastic containers, metal bins and glass jars. Do not leave any stray pet nibbles in the dish and make sure their feeding containers are washed thoroughly after the last meal of the day.

Wash up any dirty dishes, sweep floors well and wipe down kitchen prep surfaces before going to bed in the evening.

Baits That Work:

  • Peanut butter
  • Pieces of banana
  • Raisins
  • Small pieces of bacon or pork fat

DIY Poison Batch:

Dry cement powder

  • Directions: Mix 50/50 and place in a shallow dish or station in the path used by rodents (can be used for inside control). After feeding the mouse will seek water outside which causes the cement powder to react, quickly killing it. Source: ahc.sa.gov.au (webarchive, page no longer online).

Advice from a vintage homemaking book:

Position traps close to floor boards in areas where mice or feces have been spotted. If children or pets are in the home, choose locations where they won’t have access to the poison. Keep laying a fresh batch out each night for at least a week to ensure they all have been snagged.

They are inexpensive and if enough are set, often a dozen or more, an entire colony may be wiped out in one night. Mice are creatures of habit and, as a rule, travel over the same routes night after night. If their paths can be discovered, set traps along them. Sometimes they may be fooled by making a runway of boxes and putting the snare at the end. Position around any secluded areas, under sinks and around possible food sources, such as garbage cans and cupboards. Place them in the kitchen, pantry, larder and cellar, or wherever signs of their presence have been noticed. Place it with the bait next to the wall (or pail, etc.).

For bait, use other foods in addition to cheese. They really prefer fresh bread, cake or doughnuts. They are also fond of peanut butter, chocolate, freshly fried bacon, sardines, nuts, bananas or apple parings. Another option said to be excellent is a mixture of peanut butter, rolled oats and chopped-up raisins, seasoned with a dash of aniseed oil.

To set the trap, press or tie the bait firmly onto the trigger. Configure it so the trigger is released at the slightest disturbance.

Source: Woman’s Home Companion Household Notebook (1948)


  • Signs of an infestation: You hear scratching/shuffling noises in the walls (especially at night); Food packages have holes gnawed in them; Little black “pellets” left behind, these are their droppings (they look like dark grains of rice).
  • Remove any nesting hot spots such as piles of newspapers, cardboard, wood, weeds and debris.
  • Keep trees trimmed away from the house (at least three feet).
  • Did you know: pet feces can attract rodents? Keep your yard clean.
  • What if they’re rats, how to tell the difference? Mouse droppings are smaller (less than a 1/4″ in length), rats have larger feces (typically larger than 1/2″).
  • Tracking movements: they typically travel in similar paths, if they’re inside try spreading talcum powder along the floor boards where you think they may be, you’ll see their footprints and may find their hiding spot.
  • Seal all holes, cracks or openings to the dwelling with tightly packed steel wool and make sure all window screens fit snugly and have no rips or tears.

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    • Joy

    This past winter my daughter placed chopped up Irish Spring Soap in containers and placed them in her RV. No mice. The smell is so strong it is definitely a deterrent.

    Since 2006 I have caught over 700 mice outside. My method outside is: 5 gallon pail with a wire stretched across the top (drilled a hole on each side). On the wire is a strong, small plastic bottle laced with peanut butter. They reach for the bait and fall into the water, about 5 inches in the bottom of the pail. Cannot get out so they drown. Do not even have to touch them, just empty the pail and reset.

    • jacki

    Sorry to say, but it is so good to see others have the same problem we do. In the house. Yes they DO SMELL! Dead or alive, they do smell. How one little body can smell so strongly is a mystery. Am going to try some of the things I just read, that I haven’ tried before. I swear, the little monsters seem to mock us. Scurrying in sight, and chewing in the walls. Wish me luck!

    • 1st one in 30 years.

    I have had a little grey mouse for about 2 weeks. I bought the humane repellents and have chased him around the house. They are in every room and every closet. He is still here. Should I try the mint, the dryer sheets or the moth balls next? Or a combination?

    • Lou

    Looking for a liquid bait for traps that will not be consumed by ants.
    Used peanut butter, great for rodents but ants love it too and strip the bait leaving the trap intact and unsprung.
    Terminix uses black liquid bait but can’t find it for residential sale and use.
    Any ideas?

    • Graham

    When we bought our old home some 25years ago,wehad a mouse & rat problem.Traps totally useless.I went to farm produce store & bought a 10litre bucket of rat poision.Got into roof through the man hole & just threw all over the rafters.Down the wall cavities.At first you only smell the ones that died that were permanant resididents..Smell onlt lasts about 3 or 4 days..With the poision permantly spread in the roof. When the rodent gets in,eats it,goes outside to drink & very rarely does die inside the cavities..Farm sheds,I half fill a 2 ltre ice cream cont’,put in a corner.I have not seen a rodent for years.Yet the paddocks have field mice in them.

    • rosita

    Bait your wooden traps with your choice of food- peanut butter is good; but just a tiny bit for aroma then dust around the trap -lightly-with flour mouse cannot scoop, scratches and snap!

    • marcia

    I had the same problem. I put some traps with bait (peanut butter)in the areas they were coming in, then covered the holes with Steel wool(They can not chew that, it is harmful to their teeth). After you get them with the traps,you need to clean all the area where the droppings and urine are, with bleach ( I sprayed bleach on the droppings and the area around those). Wipe off the area with paper towels and wear gloves (disposable ones). After that, I bought online an excellent product that I found, (after I searched, and read lots of reviews), you just plug in the electrical outlet , it sends a pulsing signal throughout the wiring of your home, that annoys mice (not pets),the name is “PEST A CATOR”, bought online at Home Depot ( I think it was 20 dollars) . Believe me It DOES really work. After that , NO mice anymore in my house πŸ™‚

    • Squiggle22

    I found mouse dropping a few weeks ago under my sink. My husband cleared everything out and up until tonight we found no further evidence! I’m sitting quietly reading when a little mouse ran across my dining room! I have two small children at home and want to get rid of them fast.
    There is a railway at the back of my house so tips on keeping them gone would be great.
    Do you think there will be many? How often do they breed and how many do they breed?

    • Betty

    My cats will bring me dead mice on ocassion . And I am thankful for that. But I banned them from my kitchen since they were kittens. BIG MISTAKE! Now I have some kind of rodent living under my fridge . Every nite while cooking dinner the sucker is chewing away! I have move the fridge and the chewing just continues, so he must be up inside it.
    I try to get my cats to come in to find it, but I guess I trained them too well. They won’t step a foot pass the doorway! If I put down something to kill it I am afraid it will crawl up inside and die and then the smell will ruin my fridge.

      • Jean

      Get another cat that is not trained to stay out of the kitchen. Under the fridge, put a towel that has been rinsed in water with peppermint oil in it and squeezed moist. Spread it out totally flat under the fridge. See if that helps to repel the rodent.

    • marge

    We had a bird feeder that attracted the small squirrels in our area, then mice. The squirrels got in our back porch & well cellar & tore off insulation. We also have to keep our garbage can on the porch, as we have
    black bear problems too! We used the 5 gallon bucket with peanut butter trap & it worked some. We finally put out about a half of a box of moth balls
    on the floor and outside where they were known to be. No more squirrels
    or mice! The bears were a different story- they are persistent. Had to use
    spiked boards to keep them out of the house.

    • Fed up

    We’ve been trying to get rid of the mice in our home for at least three months and it seems like the mice are starting to become comfortable with us. The mice are cute and little so we decided to buy lots of humane traps and fill them with Reese’s so we could properly relocate them once caught. We’ve caught two.
    There still seems to be one who thinks he’s Stuart little. He walks in the room and stares at us for a bit after we shriek and jump. It seems to be getting fatter and slower and he just walks by us like we’re friends. I caught it sniffing my foot the other day. As if its getting brave enough to say hi.
    Yes it is. I was sitting on the couch and felt something weird. It was UNDER ME!!!!!!! What the eff. I tried to talk to it but I guess it’s shy. I’m honestly thinking about saying screw the humane traps and just poisoning the little fracker.

    • 3kids2dogs1cat

    Campers: We use dryersheets in the plastic totes w/ the linens & in our floor vents, moth balls in a plastic pnut butter container poked w/ lots of slits. We use this same trick under our cars in the garage & in our snowmobile trailer- as we found nests in our air cleaners. (I just park over the jar) No more mice problems in either area!

    • Gram

    Mice have taken up residence in my truck which I don’t use very often…yikes, SMELL, ..suggestions to remove smell, and mice…

    • kelly

    Sitting watching tele on a night can hear mouse running past on my carpet last night seen 1 right infront of my chair iv got plastic snap traps but they dont seem to be intrested in going near the traps help!

    • Diane

    I have a mouse in my townhouse. It seems to live behind my stove or washing machine. At night it comes into my room. I want to try this cement and cornflour. I have a JRT but she sleeps in the bed with me so she isn’t much help in hunting it down.

    • Heather Nye

    I’m looking for something long term. We have a cabin on a lake and only use it during the summer. The first trip up is really gross because the droppings are everywhere, from them wintering in the cabin. I can not go up there in the winter to keep replacing the poison, so I am looking for something that will just make the empty cabin a lot less attractive to them.

      • Elaine

      Try the five gallon pail method with anti freeze in it, they fall in and drown.

        • Doug

        Add a coat hanger and drill a hole on each side of the pail and cardboard toilet roll with peanut butter to the roll and a ramp to the pail

    • MP


    • Peggy

    I live in an apartment and have found rat & mouse droppings in the bathroom & in the hallway. I haven’t seen any & hope that I don’t. I think they are in the crawl space. I live on the second floor there isn’t any attic to speak of, so I think they are running around all over the 8 apartments that are connected. The exterminator has been out every week for 4 weeks now trying everything. No help. Any suggestions?

    • sam heffernan

    me and my mum found that mice go nuts for bacon on traps, we definately recommend this

    • amanda

    Cat pee works too. I put a bowl of cat pee at the back door and it seems to keep the mice away.

      • scout

      How in the world did you collect any cat urine let alone a bowl full?? I imagine it took a great deal of patience to follow a cat around with a collection cup or to train a cat to tinkle into that bowl until instructed mission complete. I think all creatures except wasps killer bees and polar bears are wonderful..I rescue animals and rehab but one male cat here marks every time he walks inside this house it is within 30 seconds I clean and use a pet safe urine neutralizer with repellent homeopath is essential oils..but it doesn’t phase my Cosmo he is a hunter and the only male in his pride of three female rescues.he is part maincoon weighing 25 lbs in the winter and a slender 19 lbs during swimsuit season. I don’t want him to continue to be 86 from inside but I can’t keep up please advise me on male cat marking deterrents.thanku scout

    • T

    If you live in an area where your permitted to have poultry get some guinea fowl. They’ll kill mice, snakes, bugs and eat weed seeds. As a bonus they eat the snakes and make good watch dogs. If anything out of the norm is happening on your property they will give a vocal alarm. Also they’re droppings are an excellent fertilizer.

    • nat

    its probably not a good idea to give your dogs the mice to eat because mice are full of diseases.

      • Sheilaestella

      Thanks nat. I was thinking the same thing. Besides, I read somewhere that you should not feed mice to your pets. I wouldn’t want then to eat something that smells so terrible. Snakes like mice and rats.

        • Beth

        My thoughts exactly. If mice droppings carry Hinta virus, which can kill a human adult, I sure don’t want to feed it to my canine baby!

      • Lana

      You’ve obviously never seen what country dogs drag home during deer season lol. Our dog is also a natural mouser! πŸ˜‰

    • Lady Phrauge

    We find bay leaves to be very effective. We live in an OLD farmhouse and can hear mice running in the walls of our bathroom, which shares a wall with the garage. My husband loosens the toilet paper holder and we slip bay leaves into the wall crevice and re-tighten the dispenser. We keep our favorite farm cat in our garage at night. After we put in a bay leaf or two it is usually less than 48 hours until she leaves us a dead mouse or 2 right by the step to our back door.

    We give her a special cat treat, laying it right by the mouse and call her to get the treat. When she take the treat, I take the mouse (with a latex glove on my hand) and tell her “good kitty, get a mouse”. Doing this several times has taught the cat that if I give her a treat and say the words, she should start looking for a mouse in the vicinity.

    She is well trained, we are free of mice and (sorry if this grosses anyone) I give the dead mouse to my dogs and say “get a mouse” They eat it for a treat and now when I turn them loose to run on the farm I can say, “get a mouse” and the go looking for them. Both dogs are really good at digging out moles, voles and gophers.

      • Tammy S.

      know dogs love to eat rodents, but you have to be careful about worms. I live in the country and my dogs would eat the “treats” my cats bought to the back door. p eriodical had to get the dogs dewormed.

    • joe portman

    My daughter has problems with moles in her mulch &yard any ideas to get rid of

      • mindy

      you can use either juicy fruit or wrigleys spearmint gum the key is to not touch it with your fingers so open the gum pack and take 1piece out then cut in half with scissors while still in metal wrapper then use tweezers to remove gum from foil. Drop into hole and they will eat and die in the hole so you dont even have to worry about buriny after all done in one shot but note if you touch it with your hands they will not eat it.

        • gracie

        I heard that if you drop ex-lax in the mole’s tunnel they will eat it and die.

    • Lorna

    Peppermint oil, smeared on cotton wool tufts placed at intervals around the room in their path, got rid of my mice problem overnight.

    • Craigyp

    However I did find that having the live on the outer had beter result’s, as I had less to clean up afterwards lol

    • Craigyp

    after hearing a mouse trying to chew through our “Council-Done” expanding foam cavity filler, I simply used some bare wire leading around the whole of the outer of the house (leaving no gaps) all of which was supported by insulating posts, but carrying a current dropped down to 100 Vac and resticted to 500mA, no neutral would be required, but I often find that providing a neutral also, will help prevent your rcd from tripping……. the one’s that dont learn seem to lie dormant and the one’s that do learn seem to vacate the area lol

    • Lyn

    I have found using EUCALYPTUS Oil in 500ml water and 3-4 drops Eucalyptus oil.
    Put in a container and wash out your food cupboards then wash down where you have seen the markings of the vermin.

    You don’t have to have mouse traps where there are children around and you don’t have have poisons around the house.

    NOTE:Pregnant woman shouldn’t use Eucalyptus oil, organise someone else to wash down the areas etc. πŸ™‚

    Thank you TipNut for all you awesome and informative newsletters,

      • Beth

      So just washing with Eucalyptus oil and water repels mice? How often do you retreat the areas?

    • Valerie

    We use the new plastic mousetraps which are very sensitive. For bait I swear by “Dots” or “JuJu Bees”, gummy candies. I put a small piece in the trap and can catch many mice with the same piece. Saves the trouble and mess of rebaiting.

      • Merle Fairlie

      We put dry dog food in the plastic mousetraps. Works really well, when the plastic cage that covers the food on the tounge of the trap, we glue the food onto the tounge.

    • Janice Kessler

    Dryer sheets did not work in the camper for us. What did work was a plastic wastebasket with “treats” – they can get in somehow, but they can’t climb up the slippery sides! Good bait is crackers with peanut butter and sunflower seeds. This works great on mouse traps as well -wooden, sticky, and “as a last resort” I added some to D-Con in the attic as a bonus.

    • Cathy

    I learned recently that mice do not like dryer sheets, so I covered stored furniture with some and put them close to where mice have been coming in the house. Haven’t seen or heard a mouse since. I was told that people who store restored cars in garages use them to deter pests!

      • Nancy

      Yes Cathy I do the same. It works great in our camper and our outdoor sheds. Its worth the few cents and no messy traps to clean.

        • janine404

        have tried traps, peppermint oils, dryer sheets and month balls. ever since my neighbor cut down a huge bush (5yrs ago) we have had mouse problems. have caught them inside, in the garage and shed. shy of an exterminator, what can i do to rid them once and for all

          • janine404

          and those things that you plug in the wall to send out a high frequency only bothered my pets

    • Red

    Our house is only 14 years old, but as recently as 17 ears ago, this was a wheat field. So we get mice every fall, however there is one this summer who has his seasons mixed up. I watched this little fellow jump OVER one of the humane sticky traps we use, up onto a glass canister, struggle to get over the canister without falling back into the sticky trap. Sticky traps are relatively new, have they already gotten smart enough to avoid them? We put chips, cheeto’s cheese, peanut butter on them, to no avail!!

      • jessica

      Sticky traps are NOT humane!!!

        • mary

        Please! Rodents are not pests they carry disgusting diseases and they poop and urinate as they walk. Humane? If it works than use it.

          • Nan

          Glue Traps are not humane, because they trap other things. Like a screech owl in pursuit of the mouse. House wrens and other birds get stuck on these traps ALLOT, when used on porches . Plus the mouse suffers. Use a snap trap, if you must.

      • Stacey

      We used sticky traps. Put peanut butter on the top of the trap if you get the ones that have the top.Mice have to go all the way in to get it.

      • Mandie

      yeah they really aren’t. They become scared and rip off skin and hair chew at their own limbs to become detached from these traps. Their noses can even become pressed to the adhesive and suffocate (those are the lucky ones) Most just end up missing feet and starving to death it is a horrible sad and scary way to die. If I was a mouse I would prefer to not know what hit me lol!

        • Kevin

        They’re rats, so I’m good with them being killed regardless of the method.

      • JJ

      You can set a mouse free from a glue board by pouring a bit of vegetable oil or similar oil on the glue. I use to catch them, put them in a bucket, take it outside and set it free away from the house. They were never on it long. Yes I think they do get smart about the boards. They learn in mazes so why not? I use to have to put the glue boards in different places or once one was caught there before they avoided that area.

    • Delaine

    Every year, no matter where I live, I get a mouse or two in the beginning of April. When this began, I was living in public housing complex, so I had a hard time accepting their presence in my home. I didn’t think my home was dirty, since the year before I was on bedrest and barely any cleaning had been done for a month at a time. The building maintenance man actually showed us residents where the mice had chewed threw a cinderblock wall in the basement. The neighbors problem spread to me. This year, my home is a 120 year old building, so time has helped the mice find weak spots in the walls. My mother told me to wedge a Skittle onto the trap. She caught 10 mice once on one piece of candy. Hmmm, I don’t know how true that is, but since the candy itself sticks to teeth, the mice will either snap the trap when they bite down, or when they are trying to get their teeth free. Sometimes peanut butter dries out or can be licked off without setting off the trap.

      • Grace

      Some years, we have caught dozens of mice in Victor traps in our house. We have seen many mice do a lot of damage and can’t imagine a mouse being able to do any damage to a cinder-block wall. They have never gotten into our metal pantry cabinet. They have gotten past our cinder-block foundation only by chewing at the wood sill plate at the top of it.

      I wonder if the cinder-block was damaged some other way…

    • Ladyredfox

    I live opposite fields and mice come in winter. I would not use wooden traps as I hthink they are cruel. Instead I have used a humane catcher: a flat box with a perspec lid and 2 tunnels. I bought it on line. and have caught 3 mice in it, then single ones.They love salted peanuts, birdnuts and museli. Always wash out the box thoroughly afterwards – do they smell the fear of previous residents? We also have electronic repellants.

    • twistedhippie

    We were told to set out a small lid or bowl filled with pepsi. I was told that mice can’t burp and when they drink the pepsi the gas causes an internal explosion and they die. My neighbor used this method but I have not because they are inside our house I did not want them to get into the walls or somewhere I could not get to them, I did not want to smell the decay.

      • lena

      We’ve had mice problems often enough – mice really don’t start to smell. We even had a dead one we found in the basement – no smell. There might have been enough to cause a smell up in the attic, we never go up there to check. Would probably take many, many mice to stink.

      And we had a bad enough problem once to have to call in an exterminator with really good poison – the mice died where ever they died, and no smell.

        • Grace

        We usually can tell that we have a mouse because of the chewing and scurrying sounds, but sometimes they are in a part of the house where we don’t hear them. Instead, we smell them. Some people might not be able to detect the odor, but we do. It is repulsive to us. It smells very similar to a propane leak.

          • whimbrelgirl

          We knew we had a mouse problem in our garage because of the smell. It’s like an uncleaned hamster cage. Had mice a couple of months. Tried removing old sheets etc because found evidence of nest but they have moved to behind cupboards.

          • Lynn Brown

          Disgusting smell isn’t it

        • Caroline

        Lucky you, we had used a mouse poison and it died on top of one of our central heating pipes under the wooden floor boards, it stunk for weeks and not just upstairs it was the whole house, as soon as you walked in you were hit with the most revolting stench that I can not describe that I never want to smell again, it just kept getting worse, after 2 1/2 weeks my husband was determined to find it, he had to rip up all our wood flooring and then our wooden floor boards until we could find it dead wedged between the 2 central heating pipes, it was in our landing upstairs this is maybe why it stunk out every room as it was straight off the bedrooms and bathroom, but worse it was right above my dinning room and kitchen, the smell thankfully cleared within a couple of days but my memory of it has not. No amount of air fresher or fabreeze could mask that smell. I would now say If you have mice in your home catch then in a trap (dead or alive ) and take it out off your house yourself

        • nan

        Just this spring we had a mouse apparently crawl up in our refrigerator…it had an enclosed back on it ….it died there & every time the fridg fan came on the smell was terrible. We tried to find it but it wasn’t underneath the machine. And we have had them die in walks where they’ll stink for about 2 Weeks. Husband left chocolate beside his chair in a foil wrapper….sure enough we have a chocolate addict.

    • Nikayla

    Mice really enjoy coming into my 80 year old house during the winter. We’ve lived here for 4 years and total i have killed close to 30 mice. I keep finding holes around the house and tend to fill them with balled up aluminum foil and then packed again with soil. One bait i’ve had great luck with is olives! That and peanut butter works great! I stay away from poisons since i have 2 dogs. Didn’t know that dog feces could be attracting them, i’ll try to keep up with the yard cleaning better.

    • Charles P

    I live in a pretty thatched house in the Cotswolds area of the UK. Its great living in the countryside but with a roof made out of water reed we get lots of mice trying to share our warmth in the Winter.

    In order to stop being nibbled out of house & home I have to catch these (50 or 60 a year) and my favourite method is a metal trap baited with…. chocolate! Mice love it and if you use a flame to warm the metal bait tines on the trap before pushing the chocolate onto them they can’t get it off even with a really good tug and….>SNAP!<

    Their real favourite is chocolate with nuts in it if you want to pamper them in their last moments :^)

      • David

      I use antifreeze and gummy bears to use in a trap.

        • Mary T

        Not safe if you have dogs.

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