How to Get Rid of Mice in the Kitchen
It’s never nice to find what you believe to be house droppings on the kitchen floor, but it happens to the best of us. We want to say that it’s not your fault that you have a rodent infestation, but it is very often the fault of the homeowner or renter, leaving food and garbage in places it shouldn’t be left. Piles of garbage bags are an especially troublesome hazard, not just attracting mice to the party, but also other, nastier scavengers, such as rats, opossums, foxes, coyotes, and more. (The kind of pests you’ll experience will very much depend on where in the USA you live.) The average mouse will eat less than five grams of food per day, so you can imagine how many mice are going to have a great meal from the leftovers that you throw in the trash. The plastic bags are no match for the teeth of a mouse, and that’s the same for most materials, too. It has even been known for mice to be able to chew their way through concrete with some determination and time. Rats are commonly known for this aggressive chewing activity, too.
If you have mice in the kitchen, or you think you have seen signs that mice have been present, it is likely that you fill other signs elsewhere in the same house or building. It is rare to have an infestation in one room of the house and just that one room alone, with the mice using wall cavities and floor/ceiling spaces to move from room to room and floor to floor.
How will I know if I have mice in the kitchen?
Mouse droppings are usually one of the biggest indicators that you have a rodent problem in your kitchen, and your kitchen will be the place the rodents will hit the hardest. The reason for this is obvious — there is food in your kitchen and that’s just what the mice are there for.
Mouse droppings will be seen along the floor, usually close to where the floor meets the walls. you will also want to check under the washing machine, refrigerator, oven, and other large, white goods. While you’re there, check cupboards — inside and out, both on ground level and the higher-up ones, too. Just because they’re high-up doesn’t mean a mouse can’t get to them.
Check food packages, particularly those in boxes or plastic wrapping. If you notice holes, it’s probably a mouse hole — where one of the rodents has chewed through the packaging to get to the food inside. Breakfast cereals are often one of the first-chewed food sources in any kitchen, closely followed by rice and other grains. The chewed-up cardboard also makes pretty decent material for a nest, too. What they don’t eat, they’ll use for the construction of that nest.
Do you have crumbs on the kitchen floor? No? That’s good ... But were there crumbs on your kitchen floor yesterday? Or earlier on? Remember — mice need just three to five grams of food per day, which isn’t a lot of food at all. Those crumbs on the floor are basically all the food this rodent needs to flourish!
How to protect food from mice in the kitchen
It will take a little while for you to get rid of all the mice in your kitchen, and you’ll obviously want to avoid those mice from coming into contact with any food that they haven’t already touched. Moving food into glass, airtight containers is a good idea. You could also try plastic, but mice can chew through most plastic containers with some time.
Food that has already been nibbled at should be thrown out. You don’t want to risk contracting salmonella or any other nasty conditions that mice carry and transmit. Anything that the mice have been in contact with is considered to be contaminated, and that will include all food sources. If there are nibble marks, get rid of it. It’s not worth the risk.
While you’re moving food and making sure that nothing is left accessible to mice, you’ll also want to check for holes. In the kitchen, you’ll find that plumbing holes (where pipes enter and exit the space) are common areas for mice to get in. These holes can be filled with mesh wire wool and expanding foam sealant, although that doesn’t work well for a long-term hold. It also only solves a small part of the problem — that particular area of wall. Further behind that wall there could be other spaces that need filling, too.
You should also check around doors and door frames, around windows and window frames, and also underneath appliances, vents, and around pipes.
Make note of anything you spot that you can’t sort out right away. If you’re hiring a professional, you can give that information to them to make the job quicker and easier. (And cheaper for you.)
How to stop mice getting in my kitchen
By eliminating all food sources in your kitchen (moving them to mouse-proof containers, etc.), you’re making that particular room less appealing to the critters. They need food in order to survive, although they don’t need a lot, and if they can’t find it, they’ll simply move on. They tend to nest quite close to where they feed, so if that nesting spot is close to your kitchen, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor — now and in the future — by making everything inaccessible. They’ll have no food AND no reason to nest there.
Sealing up each and every hole you find is a great way to stop mice from getting in that particular room, but it doesn’t sort out the problem further on around your house. You will need to perform the same inspect-and-seal job that you did in the kitchen, in every single room of the house, and then again with the exterior of the house, too. You’ll be surprised by all the holes you find once you go looking for them, and we don’t doubt that you’ll thank your lucky stars for finding the small mouse problem when you did. Facing the removal of thousands of mice within a single building is not fun ... Not even for the professionals.
Your mouse removal and house-proofing should also take you out into the area AROUND your house and kitchen. If you have a backyard, clean it up. Lots of debris gives animals just like mice the opportunity to scamper around undetected. When this ground covering is removed, the mice are left vulnerable and detectable. Because of that, they’ll be more inclined to avoid that particular property.
And above all else, don’t forget to look at the garbage bag situation, too. In almost every household, it is the garbage bag situation that leads to a rodent infestation. If your bags are just thrown into the yard until the day that the big garbage trucks come and take it away, you’re basically inviting rats, mice, and other scavengers right into your home. By moving those garbage bags into metal garbage cans with lids, you’ve got somewhere to keep your trash that rats and mice can’t easily get to. In most cases, they can’t get to the food inside at all. And the smell will be contained. (That’s the best reason, if you ask us!)