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How to Get Rid of Mice in Walls – Safe, Effective Ways to Scurry Away Unwanted Pests

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Home > Blog >  How to Get Rid of Mice in Walls – Safe, Effective Ways to Scurry Away Unwanted Pests

One of the most unsettling sounds you can hear while at home is the scratch of paws inside your walls or ceiling. Mice want the same protections and luxuries that we work so hard to secure for ourselves. They want shelter from the wind, rain, and uncomfortable temperatures outdoors. They want to feel secure in a safe place that allows them to feed, hydrate, and rest as they nest and bring offspring into the world. 

Mouse coming through hole in the skirting board

Unfortunately for them, you don’t want to share the luxuries of home with pests that can bring disease. That’s why it’s essential to know how to get rid of mice in walls. Even more important is understanding how to prevent mice from getting into your walls in the first place. We’ll cover all of that plus more in this convenient guide to eliminating mice from your walls. 

How Do Mice Get into the Walls of a Home? 

Mice can enter your home through any crack or hole that is large enough for them to squeeze through, and mice will flatten themselves out to fit through a small space. You only need one mouse to make its way inside to quickly develop an infestation. A single mouse can deliver more than 30 babies in just one year, so they multiply quickly. 

Mouse peeping out of hole near electric outlet

Mice aren’t only interested in entering homes that are kept unclean. While dirty dishes in the sink, small particles of food on the floors, and even stacks of newspapers or magazines will attract mice, they may take up residence in a clean home if they can live in warmth within the walls and secure food and water from outside. 

Once a mouse takes up residence, you should act quickly to remove them. The rest of this guide will tell you how to determine that you have mice in the walls and what you can do to get rid of them and prevent them from coming back. 

Signs You Have Mice in Your Walls 

Noise from inside the wall is often the first sign that something is living there. While mice or rats are a good possibility, there are other options like squirrels, raccoons, and bats. These nocturnal animals often make scratching sounds throughout the night and may go undetected during the day. 

Other signs that you may have mice in your walls include: 

  • Mice droppings inside cabinets, behind appliances, and in other dark, secluded areas. Mice living in your walls will often come out to search for food and water. They urinate and defecate along the way. In the case of long-term infestation, you may notice large accumulations of droppings in areas they frequent. 
  • Holes in food packaging and scraps of food left behind. Mice can get into boxes and many bags that are now used to hold food. They particularly enjoy dog food and birdseed. You may see small bits of food left behind on floors and tabletops in addition to holes in packages. 
  • Circular holes in hidden areas of the wall or in your insulation. Mice use their sharp teeth to gnaw their way through a wide variety of housing materials. Those entry points allow them to move through the walls and into various rooms of your home throughout the day and night. Think of it as modifying your home to create hallways that accommodate their needs. 
  • Bedding made of shredded paper, cloth, and other soft materials. One of the luxuries mice enjoy is a soft, warm bed. They will create small beds by collecting materials from around your home and shredding them up. Those materials are often found inside closets, behind furniture, and in other areas where they can rest without easy detection. 

Notice that most of these signs are specific to mice in your home but not necessarily to living within your walls. That’s because a mouse infestation easily leads to appearances throughout the home, not just inside the walls. Hearing sounds of something scratching or moving around inside the walls, ceilings, or inside floor vents remains the best sign that you need to learn how to get rid of mice in your walls. 

The First Step to Eliminating Mice from Walls 

Finding the points of entry is always the first step to eliminating mice from your walls. You don’t want to figure out how to get rid of mice in your walls only to have them come back because access is easy. Spend some time looking over the interior and exterior of your home to determine exactly where the mice are entering. 

You’re likely to find multiple places where a mouse can enter your home. Look for even the smallest holes because mice can squeeze through spaces as small as 6 mm. That’s about the width of a pencil

Where should you look for these holes? They can appear anywhere that mice find vulnerable materials that they can chew through to gain access to a warm, dry place to nest and rest. Some places that you should check include: 

  • Inside and around kitchen cabinets 
  • Behind appliances and furniture 
  • Areas surrounding windows and doors
  • Inside closets 
  • Room corners 
  • Around and inside fireplaces 
  • Around pipes entering the home
  • Areas surrounding HVAC systems, hot water heaters
  • Dryer and floor vents

You should also go into the attic and basement to check for potential entry points there. Look around the exterior of your home, paying close attention to windows and doorways plus areas around HVAC equipment and holes cut for pipe entrance. 

Finding all potential entry points for pests is difficult without a trained eye. You can easily miss opportunities that mice and other rodents won’t. Working with a trained specialist to handle at least this step of the process may deliver peace of mind that you have found every potential entry point. 

Eliminating Nearby Sources of Food and Water

Mice may come to your home because they find food and water sources nearby. That may include a garbage can kept outside the back door or water features in your landscaping. You may also have areas around your home where water tends to pool when it rains or snows. Those are all potential resources for mice who want to live in the warmth of your home. 

As you look over your property for potential entry points, also find ways to remove all sources of food and water from the surrounding area. The further you place birdbaths and garbage cans from the house, the better. 

Sealing Holes to Prevent Mice from Entering Your Home 

Once you find holes that are potentially allowing mice and other pests to enter your home, it’s time to seal them. Steel wool works well for small holes, but you should secure it in place with caulking or spray foam. The CDC recommends one of the following materials to seal larger mice holes: 

  • Lath screen or metal 
  • Cement
  • Metal sheeting 
  • Hardware cloth 

Keep in mind that mice can easily chew through wood, rubber, and soft vinyl. Even fiberglass screening and aluminum aren’t guaranteed to keep them out. 

Once you have every hole that you found sealed, it’s time to start eliminating the mice that are already in your walls. There are multiple ways to do this, so let’s discuss your options right now.  

How to Get Mice Out of Your Walls 

You’ve discovered mice living in your walls, and you want them out quickly and permanently. There are a few ways to approach this, so pick one as a starting point. You can always bookmark this page and come back for more options if you aren’t successful the first time around. Long-standing infestations are better dealt with by professionals who know how to do the job thoroughly and efficiently. 

Bait and Trap 

Mouse traps are one of the oldest yet most affordable ways to capture mice quickly. Traps range from standard pieces of wood with bars that snap down over the mouse when triggered to small containers that trap mice once lured inside. You can find these solutions plus others in most supermarkets, hardware stores, and even flea markets. 

The simplest approach is to place traps along the walls you believe are infested with mice. You can set them behind furniture if you notice mice running behind couches or cabinets to avoid detection. Placing them in corners near the wall may work as well. 

Unfortunately, many mice will evade traps that are easily seen as they run. It’s common to notice the peanut butter or cheese that you place on the trap gone while the trap is still activated. In that case, you may need to place a trap inside the wall. You can do this by cutting a small hole in the wall and then placing a trap inside the wall. 

If placing traps inside the wall works, make sure you eliminate the problem entirely and then reseal the hole. We discussed some ways to seal holes a moment ago when discussing how to seal entry points so that the mice cannot return. Scroll up and review that section when you’re ready to reseal the holes you created in your wall. 

Natural Mouse Repellants 

Mice will turn away from smells that are deemed a safety hazard or threat. We’ll get to the smell of cats in a moment, but let’s start with solutions that you can mix up at home using common ingredients found in your supermarket—and likely already in your home somewhere. 

Mix these ingredients in a spray bottle and apply them around the exterior perimeter of your home and inside doorways. If you don’t mind the smell lingering in your home for a bit, you can also use these solutions indoors because they’re safe for children and pets. 

Even if you only hear the mice in your walls right now, you can assume that they are going outside of your home and even entering your interior rooms—or they will before long. These sprays can help prevent reinfestation after you have removed an active infestation with traps as well. 

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Create a solution that is 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% water. The vinegar is made from apples and water, so it’s completely safe for your dog or cat even if they decide to lick a surface where it was sprayed. In fact, some people put apple cider vinegar in their dog’s water bowl because its acidic nature can help soothe an upset digestive tract

Essential Oils & Plants 

Mixing essential oils with water is a safe, natural way to repel mice. You can also use essential oil diffusers throughout your home or grow fresh peppermint plants and place them in each room and near walls you believe contain mice.

Some of the most beneficial oils include: 

  • Eucalyptus oil 
  • Citronella oil 
  • Peppermint oil 
  • Lemon oil 

Laundry Dryer Sheets 

Mice are naturally repelled by the strong aroma of most dryer sheets. You can put them in the corners around walls you believe contain mice to help discourage them from entering your home. This isn’t the most effective method because the mice need to come close to the sheets to pick up on the smell, so they’re likely already in your home. It’s still a good tip on getting rid of mice in the walls because you may find some practical applications specific to your property. 

Adopt a Feline Friend 

Cats are a great tool when battling a mouse infestation, but they aren’t foolproof. Their natural hunting instincts and ability to smell mice within the home will help eliminate some mice brave enough to enter the rooms of your home in search of food, water, and shelter. The problem with mice in the walls is that your cat cannot get into the walls to hunt. 

What a cat can do is naturally emit a chemical that mice detect, causing them to flee for safety. If you have an indoor/outdoor cat, they can also patrol the exterior of your home and eliminate some mice as they go in and out of existing entrance points. Just don’t count on cats completely solving the problem, especially if you already have a long-standing infestation. 

Ultrasonic Mouse Devices

Head to the local home improvement store or hop on Amazon and look at some of the plug-in devices that emit noises believed to scare away mice and some other pests. The sound isn’t detected by human ears but may provide some deterrent for rodents that find your home of interest. The inconvenience here is that they can get pricey to install in every room of your home. They also occupy a wall plug, so you may need to alter how you plug in electronic devices in each room for proper installation. 

When to Call the Professionals 

If you don’t want to waste time trying to get rid of mice in the walls, your first step is to call a professional. They can help you through every step of the process, including finding entry points and making sure they’re sealed efficiently. 

If you do decide to try eliminating the mice on your own, make sure you know when to call it quits. If you see signs of a large or long-term infestation, you will need to clean up all mouse droppings and urine tracks in addition to getting rid of the mice. That’s a job best left to professionals who can ensure that your home is safe and sanitary when treatment is complete.

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