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Willard’s in the House… How to Keep Those Mice Away!

When we moved into our little suburban fixer-upper some time ago, we found visitor ‘calling cards’ (aka droppings) all over the kitchen. We cleaned. We sanitized. But weren’t sure whether the mice were gone, so we set mouse traps in the kitchen and laundry room—wherever there had been droppings.

On the first night in our new home, close to 3 a.m. SNAP! Hubby and I hit the ground running and headed downstairs. We discovered the remains of two night-time marauders, plus a live varmint rustling around in the kitchen garbage.

Meanwhile, a rather large mouse contentedly grazed on the dining room carpet, blissfully disinterested in either the recent demise of his colleagues or the sudden appearance of humans at 3 a.m. The instant he heard my shriek, however, he dashed toward the hall. A chase ensued. Corpulent ‘Willard’ scampered to the powder room, my husband on his heels. The door closed. Then it was over. I was completely traumatized.

So what can you do to prevent mice from invading your home?

  • Fill in any openings on the outside of your house (especially around pipes) with cement, spray foam, epoxy, or green scrubbing pads. If you aren’t comfortable doing this job, hire a handyman.
  • Fill in openings inside your home in the rooms where droppings have been found. Check behind furniture and appliances as well as inside cupboards— lower and upper. Use cement, epoxy, or steel wool.
  • Place several mouse traps, baited with thinly-spread peanut butter, in mouse activity areas. Many types of traps are available. Check your traps daily and perform the necessary cleanup and disposal. If you catch a mouse alive, release the creature into green space, far enough away that he won’t follow you home. Keep track daily of the number of catches.
  • Conscientiously wipe crumbs and spills from countertops, and clean the floors. Seal and remove garbage from the kitchen daily, and clean garbage spills. Curtail those tasty night-time rodent feasts.
  • Soak cotton balls with peppermint oil (a strong mouse repellent), then place them close to outside entry points. Moth balls also work.
  • A cat might help. If kitty isn’t a mouser, place trays of used kitty litter around the outside of your house.
  • Don’t use poison only mouse repellents. Children or pets could be seriously harmed, and poison can also linger in your home for years.

After taking these measures, we haven’t seen another mouse or any evidence of ‘rodential break and entry’ since.

If you have done all of the other steps here and still have a rodent problem, seek the help of a pest control professional. You can find them in our service pro directory at

By Zoë Waller

Share your tales of successful mouse extermination below.

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