Affiliate Disclaimer: All products and services featured are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Having mice scurrying around in your walls can be frustrating, if not frightening. These tiny rodents can cause big problems by gnawing through electrical wires, raiding your pantry, and exposing your family to disease. In this article, we’ll explain how to get rid of mice in the walls, including both do-it-yourself (DIY) and professional pest removal options.
Signs of Mice in Your Walls
Since mice are active at night and exceptional at hiding, you aren’t likely to spot one. This is especially true if the mice have taken up residence in your walls. However, you may see, hear, or smell other signs of an infestation, such as the following:
- Damage: Disturbed insulation, chewed electrical wires, and damaged drywall could indicate a mice infestation.
- Droppings: One clear sign of a mouse infestation is the presence of small, dark pellets along your baseboards, inside cupboards, or in secluded corners.
- Gnawing: Mice chew on inedible materials to file down their teeth, so you may see gnaw marks on wood, plastic, and cardboard boxes.
- Noises: You might hear scurrying, scratching, or squeaking sounds coming from your walls, attic, or air ducts, particularly at night.
- Nests: Mice use soft materials, such as shredded paper or fabric, to build nests in dark spaces.
- Stains: As mice run along your floors or baseboards, they often leave behind greasy or dirty smudges, known as runways, on surfaces they rub against.
- Urine: You might notice urine pillars, which are small mounds of grease, dirt, and urine that shine under ultraviolet light.
- Odors: You may smell an unpleasant musky odor or even the stench of a dead mouse.
Health and Safety Risks
The presence of mice in your walls isn’t merely a nuisance. Rodent infestations can also pose serious health and safety risks.
- Disease: According to the CDC, mice and other rodents carry several diseases that spread to humans through bites and scratches or contact with contaminated air, food, or surfaces.
- Food contamination: As mice scavenge for food in your cabinets and pantry, they may contaminate food, dishes, and countertops. Eating contaminated food can cause illness.
- Parasites: Mice can spread several diseases indirectly through the parasites they host. Fleas, mites, ticks, and lice that hitch a ride on mice into your home can infect you or your pets.
- Property damage: Mice’s gnawing and nest-building can cause extensive damage to drywall, insulation, and appliances. They may chew through electrical wires, which can create a fire hazard, and destroy important documents, books, and heirlooms.
DIY Mice Removal
Homeowners can use baits, traps, exclusion devices, repellents, and deterrents to address a mouse problem on their own.
Exclusion devices such as one-way doors and netting can be a humane and nonlethal way to evict mice from your walls. A one-way door allows mice to exit your home but prevents them from re-entering. You can buy one-way rodent doors at a home improvement store or from digital retailers, such as Amazon.
Start by identifying potential entry points. Choose one or two locations to install a one-way door. Use rodent mesh, caulk, or steel wool to seal other entry points and encourage mice to use the one-way doors. Since mice are most active around dusk and dawn, you’ll want to install these devices during the day so they’re ready by nighttime.
Repellents and Deterrents
Several natural substances and household items can be effective in repelling mice. Examples include mothballs, vinegar, citronella, ammonia, cotton balls doused in peppermint oil, and strong-scented powders such as cayenne pepper or cinnamon. You can also find ultrasonic devices that emit a high-frequency sound designed to deter mice.
The main advantage of DIY remedies is that they’re inexpensive. However, they can also be time-consuming and may not be effective against a large infestation. Repellents and deterrents work best as preventive measures.
Traps and Baits
Mice living in your walls will eventually emerge in search of food, so you don’t need to place traps inside the walls to catch mice. Instead, you can place them in areas where you have noticed mouse droppings or gnaw marks. Glue traps and snap traps are both effective, but you can also find humane catch-and-release traps.
Place multiple mouse traps in strategic locations, such as along walls or behind appliances. Bait traps with peanut butter, cheese, nuts, or seeds. Check and reset the traps regularly. If you use live traps, be sure to release the mice far away from your home to prevent them from returning.
Professional Mice Removal
Some infestations warrant a professional exterminator’s expertise. Knowing when to enlist the help of a professional pest control company and what to expect from their services can ensure a quick solution to your mouse problem.
When to Hire a Professional
If you have a large infestation or the pests are located in hard-to-reach areas, professional pest control services are your best option. Often, having mice in your walls ticks both of these boxes. You might also hire a professional if DIY solutions have not worked or if you have allergies.
Look for licensed and insured professionals with good reviews and clear, up-front pricing. Terminix and Orkin are two well-known companies with excellent reputations. Any company you hire should be willing to discuss their methods and any potential risks involved.
What to Expect from a Professional Service
Pest control companies usually start with a thorough inspection to identify the extent of the infestation, the species of mouse, and potential entry points. Following this, an exterminator may employ a combination of exclusion methods, bait traps, and rodenticides. Rodent control professionals are trained to use these methods safely and effectively.
Most companies offer cleanup services to remove droppings and sanitize affected areas after removal. They may also do home modifications to mouse-proof your residence and prevent future infestations.
The cost of pest control depends on the severity of infestation and the necessary steps for resolution. Investing in a professional service can provide lasting peace of mind and prevent expensive damage. Many companies offer ongoing quarterly pest control services at a discounted rate and with a satisfaction guarantee.
How to Prevent a Mouse Infestation
After addressing an existing infestation, it’s important to take steps to prevent the problem from recurring.
Seal Gaps or Openings in Your Home
Mice are nimble creatures capable of squeezing through remarkably small holes to enter your home. Adults can fit through holes the size of a dime, while adolescents only need a pen-sized hole. To prevent mice from getting inside your home, regularly inspect your home and seal potential entry points. Use caulk for smaller openings and sturdy materials, such as steel wool or hardware cloth, for larger gaps.
Follow this checklist to ensure you don’t miss anything:
- Cracks in the foundation
- Crawl spaces and attics
- Deteriorating siding
- Exhaust vents and air ducts
- Gaps around doors
- Gaps in building materials
- Poorly sealed window frames
- Roof vents and chimney pipes
- Utility pipe and wire entries
Maintain a Clean and Clutter-Free Environment
Mice are in constant search of food and shelter. By maintaining a clean environment and reducing potential hiding places, you can make your home less attractive to these critters. Here are a few tips to follow:
- Clean up food spills promptly.
- Wipe down your counters and table regularly.
- Store both human and pet food in sealed containers.
- Keep trash cans tightly closed.
- Trim trees and shrubs away from your home.
- Keep your yard free from debris.
Regular inspections, sealing off potential entry points, and maintaining a clean home are your first line of defense against a mouse problem. For an existing infestation, baited traps and one-way doors can be effective DIY solutions. You can also call a professional pest control company for assistance.
How to Get Rid of Mice in the Walls FAQ
How long do mice live in walls?
A house mouse can live for about two years in your walls, assuming it has access to food and water.
What do mice eat in walls?
Mice living in walls will eat food they find in or around your home, such as pet food, crumbs, and garbage. They may also chew on insulation, wiring, drywall, and other nonfood materials in your walls to build nests or file their teeth.
What scent will keep mice away?
Like many insects and rodents, mice dislike the smell of peppermint. Mothballs, ammonia, cinnamon, cloves, cayenne pepper, and vinegar may also help keep mice away.
How We Chose the Top Pest Control Companies
Our pest control research process starts with analyzing customer reviews on third-party websites such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot, and Google Reviews. We then do a deep dive into each company’s website, service plans, and available cost information. We also secret shop the companies we review, reach out to representatives, and request quotes.
From there, we compile the information we’ve gathered and compare each company using our in-depth pest control methodology and review criteria. This process uses a series of factors that are important to our readers, and we score each company depending on how well they perform in each factor. For instance, companies that offer more guarantees for their service earned more points than others, and pest control plans with a larger range of covered pests earned more points than ones with fewer.
After analyzing dozens of residential and commercial pest control businesses through this process, we were able to determine the best pest control companies on the market.