How to Prevent Rodents From Entering Your Home

Mice and rats can bring hazardous pathogens into your home as well as cause damage to your house.

Rodents in your home can bring with them numerous problems that can poorly affect the condition of your living space, as well as the overall health of you, your family and your pet animals. With no real ability to know where rats and mice have lived before entering your home, rodents can bring disease and pests into your home that derive from unsanitary conditions. In this article, you’ll learn how to maintain the wellbeing of you and others in your home by preventing rodents from entering your home.

Why Do Rodents Enter the Home?

Food & Water

Both rats and mice can consume just about anything, including human and pet food when given the chance. The easier it is for rodents to identify a source of food in your home, the more inclined they are to find the easiest way into your home and to the source to then bring back to their nest or colony. With pet animals, food and water in your home is commonly left out for easy consumption which can make it easy for rodents to get to as well.

Rats and mice will chew through drywall and cause immense damage to your home in pursuit of food and water which is why it is important to prevent rodents from entering your home in the first place.

Shelter

Especially during the winter season, mice and rats will find their way into your home any way that they can to build a nest in a warm and cozy environment. Rodents are known to nest in areas of the home that are not frequented by humans and pets in order to be left alone and hidden from plain sight. Some common places that rodents will find shelter in your home are:

  • Drawers and cabinets

  • Gaps inside of walls

  • Gaps underneath floor cabinets

  • False ceilings

  • Inside of refrigerators and other home appliances

  • Within garage clutter

Why The Prevention of Rodents is Important

Home Damage

Rodents will stop at nothing to find their way into your home to find a good source of food and a place to nest. Mice and rats are known to chew through drywall and gnaw at cables and many other items in your home to identify and create easy paths through your home. Cables, baseboards, furniture and even home foundation are commonly gnawed at by rats and mice during their pursuit for food and shelter and can result in home damage that is very difficult to repair. Rodents are also known to chew on electrical wiring and cables that can lead to electrical fires and other electrical issues in your home.

Disease

It is always unclear as to where mice and rats had lived before finding their way into your home. With that comes the pathogens and other hazards that come along with frequenting unsanitary conditions. In addition to having favourite foods, rodents consume just about anything in their sight, including garbage and other toxic substances.

Some of the most common diseases found in rodent droppings are:

  • HPS (Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome)
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis
  • Plague
  • Typhus
  • Lyme Disease

For more about the diseases that rodents carry alongside the toxicity of rat and mouse droppings, read our article to learn how to handle rodent droppings in your home.

Signs of Rodents In Your Home

In most scenarios, it is more common to see signs of mice or rats in your home before you physically see any of them traveling through your living space. These nocturnal rodents are accustomed to hiding from plain sight for their safety despite leaving trails of their existence in areas that they frequent. While in pursuit for a source of food and water, mice and rats will chew, urinate and defecate throughout your home; Leaving enough evidence for you to decide if you’re experiencing a rodent issue or not. Here are some common signs of rodents in your home:

Common Signs of Rodents

Where to Look In Your Home

Mouse and/or Rat Droppings

Areas believed to be frequented by rodents including cabinets, corners of your home and nearby sources of food.

Pungent Urine Odour

In areas that rodents are frequenting as they urinate in these areas.

Grease and Dirt Marks

Trails of grease and dirt left by rodents in areas that they are frequenting including around cabinets and flooring.

Rodent Runways

Footprints and smudges near baseboards that rodents are using to safely travel through your home.

Mouse and/or Rat Nests

In garages, corners of your home and in areas that are tucked away from humans and pets.

Scampering Noises

Inside of walls, inside of cabinets and typically at night.

Abnormal Pet Behaviour

Pets pay an unusual amount of attention to places in your home that they typically do not pay attention to.

For more information on this topic, read our article to learn how to identify rodents in your home.

Important Tips for Rodent Prevention

In order to prevent rodents from entering your home, ensuring that your property is of no interest to them is the easiest way of making sure mice and rats never come back. Although it may require some short term adjustments and additional changes in your daily habits, the long-term outcome is worth it for the wellbeing of you, your family and your home.

Food Storage

Ensuring that there is no food in sight for rodents to find is the easiest way to prevent mice and rats from finding interest in entering your home. Here some core points to focus on when properly storing food away from rodents in you home:

  • Be mindful of food and water that is left out for your pets which rodents can also feast on. Leaving food bowls out for pets under your own supervision and cleaning soon after will make it difficult for rodents to reach the food.
  • Storing all of the food in your home in tightly sealed containers will not only make it impossible for rodents to chew through, but also make it extremely difficult to smell the food from afar.
  • After every meal, it is important to clean dishes and store leftovers immediately to make sure that there are no extra pieces of food that rodents can get to. Keeping a clean living space makes it difficult for rodents to hide and find food easily.  

Indoor & Outdoor Clutter

Keeping your home free of clutter will leave no options for rodents to consider for nesting purposes. Rats and mice are known to find areas of clutter that are commonly unattended for extended periods of time to hide, sleep and reproduce in. Consider following these steps to declutter your home to prevent rodents:

  1. Remove boxes and paper documents that are no longer needed.
  2. Organize belongings in cabinets and drawers to maintain some visibility into those areas.
  3. Clear out your basement of items you no longer need.
  4. Regularly manage garbage and recycling in your home and store them in outdoor bins frequently.
  5. Store items away from walls and elevated off the ground when possible to reduce places for rodents to hide.

Outdoor Garbage Maintenance

Rats and mice can frequent your garbage, recycling and food garbage bins in search of old food packaging with leftover food in them. These rodents only require up to 1.28 grams of food each day which is merely crumbs of food to humans and can easily be found in old food packages. Follow these tips to properly dispose and store garbage properly for garbage pickup:

  • Keeping all of your recycling, garbage and food garbage bags tightly knotted will reduce the chance of garbage spillage and the potential for rodents to bite their way through your garbage.
  • Being mindful of when the garbage gets picked up from your home helps in avoiding the potential of leaving garbage out for rats and mice to get into. Rather, store your garbage somewhere secure to then bring curbside on garbage day so that your waste does not attract nearby rodents.
  • Avoid leaving garbage bags exposed to rodents by having enough garbage bins to securely store bags. Using only tightly sealed garbage bins will reduce clutter and make it difficult for rodents to find their way into when garbage bags are enclosed in a bin.

Sealing Potential Entrances

Rodents only require a mere crack in the corner of your home to begin finding their way into your living space. Industrial tubing, pipes and broken window screens are easy entrances into your home that mice and rats can easily make use of. Sealing these types of entryways are essential to preventing mice and rats from entering your home.

Maintaining Home & Garden

Maintaining a well-kept yard and garden will not only naturally force you to frequent areas of your home’s exterior, but it will also reduce the chances of rodents hiding in these areas. Overgrown weeds and shrubs in your yard are notorious places for rodents to frequent as it gives them enough space to hide and burrow underneath to set up their nest.

Weeds and Shrubs

It is important to keep tall grass, bushes, shrubs and mulch away from home and building foundations to reduce the chance of rodents chewing into your home while remaining hidden from plain sight. Large weeds and shrubs can also be used to hide burrowed holes from exposure to humans and pet animals which makes them safe environments for mice and rats to thrive.

Burrowing Holes

Burrowing holes that lead to rodent nests can be found near the root stems of tall grass and shrubs in situations where the rodents have identified that very little activity occurs there. Burrow holes that are no longer in use typically have cobwebs, shrubs and debris that rodents would have cleaned up. Burrow holes that are no longer in use should be covered up with fresh soil to avoid future rodents occupying the space.

Cleaning Up After Rodents In Your Home

Cleaning up after rodents is an important part of recovering from having rodents in your home. Mice and rats are known for leaving droppings and urine stains that are highly toxic to humans and pets while also damaging your home. Cleaning up all remnants of mice and rats and sanitizing your living space are important steps towards a clean home.

  • Reduce the chance of inhaling pathogens and contaminating other areas of your home by wearing protective equipment when cleaning up after mice and rat droppings.
  • Avoid contamination by designating one dustpan and broom for use when cleaning up after rodents and then simply disposing of the dustpan and broom soon after.
  • Sanitize your home post-rodent problem by spraying down all areas that you had suspected rodents to frequent during their time in your home.
  • Alongside spraying disinfectant, paper towels can be used to easily wipe surfaces and immediately dispose of in the garbage.

Disposal of Droppings

  1. Apply gloves and facemask.
  2. Sweep up any physical droppings that you find in your home and immediately dispose of the droppings in a garbage bag designated for the mouse cleanup.
  3. Once the droppings are removed and disposed of in the garbage, spray all surfaces that mice have interacted with.
  4. Let the disinfectant spray settle into the surfaces for over 30 seconds before wiping down each surface. All paper towels used for wiping should also be disposed of in the garbage immediately.

For more information, read our article to learn how to handle rodent droppings in your home.

Getting Rid of Rodents In The Future

Useful Products

Thankfully, there are many products specifically designed to help get rid of mice and rats in your home. Choose from the following selection of products to control rodents in your preferred manner:

Rodent Removal Product

Product Is Ideal For:

Indoors/Outdoors?

Does it Kill Rodents?

Will You See Dead Rodents In the Trap?

Does it Require Poisonous Ingredients?

Is it Child & Pet Resistant?

Can It Be Reused?

Bait Stations

Mice & Rat Infestations

Both

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Spin Traps (Mechanical)

One Mouse or Rat

Both

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Snap Traps (Mechanical)

One Mouse or Rat

Both

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Wooden Traps (Mechanical)

One Mouse or Rat

Both

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Glue Traps

Up to 4 Mice or Rats

Both

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Catch & Release Traps

One Mouse or Rat (Single Style Trap) & Up to 10 Mice (Multi-Catch Style Trap)

Both

No

No

No

No

Yes

Bait Stations: This product helps with getting rid of rodent infestations and offers a poisonous bait block to mice and rats that is formulated to lure rodents into the station. It takes up to 48 hours for rodents to die after consuming the bait block as they also share bits of the bait block amongst their nesting colony.

Mechanical Traps: This product catches and kills rodents instantly by using a trap mechanism that snaps onto the body of mice and rats that attempt to consume bait that you’ve left out for them.

Humane Mouse Traps: For a more socially responsible way of capturing mice, Humane Mouse Traps are designed to catch mice and then allow you to release them back into the wild without hurting any rodents in the process.

Glue Traps: Catch mice and rats by laying out these ready-to-use glue traps that are formulated with a sticky adhesive that lure rodents into the glue tray to then get stuck to.

Read our article to learn more about how to choose the right product for you.