A happy home is one that's free from rodents, and you want to keep it that way, whether you've never had a rat or mouse problem or you've just overcome one. Rodent-proofing your home, apartment, or other buildings involves identifying and eliminating the conditions that make it possible for rats and mice to survive—mainly, their food, water, and shelter. It's also helpful to be aware of the kinds of situations that can drive rodents inside—think storms, cold, and other inclement weather—so you can be prepared before they happen.
Follow these four simple steps to prevent mice, rats, and other rodents from getting inside the house.
Quick Guide to Rodent Prevention
- Don’t leave rodents anything to eat or drink.
- Remove the places rodents like to live.
- Block potential entrances to your home.
- Put bait stations around your home’s perimeter.
How to Keep Mice and Other Rodents Out of Your Home
1. Remove Sources of Food & Water
Improving sanitation conditions is one of the best ways to prevent and to get rid of rodent problems. Rats and mice are opportunistic feeders that will eat any food discarded by humans. Eliminating their sources of food and water is critical to controlling them.
- Pick up trash and any fruits or vegetables that might have fallen from your garden.
- Keep tightly sealed lids on garbage cans.
- Store pet and bird food in sealed containers.
- Get rid of standing water by filling holes or low spots in the yard where puddles might form and by properly storing or covering buckets, pools, or other containers.
- Clean up spilled food in cupboards and on floors.
- Keep counters and food preparation areas clear of food at night.
- Use kitchen trash cans with lids.
- Keep all food packages tightly sealed.
2. Get Rid of Rodent Habitats
Eliminate rodent habitats in and around your home to help repel mice and other pests.
- Remove clutter and debris.
- Keep grass, shrubs, and other vegetation around your home trimmed.
- Trim overhanging trees. They create shadowy areas where rodents feel protected and can serve as a bridge for mice to get into your attic.
- Clear out boxes and other clutter in basements and storage areas.
- Store materials off the floors on shelves, wherever possible.
3. Keep Rodents From Entering Cracks & Crevices
How do mice get in the house? They can enter through even the tiniest of cracks and crevices. Identify areas that need to be sealed or blocked to keep rats and mice out. Rats can fit through an opening about the size of a nickel. Mice can squeeze through an area smaller than a dime. So, be sure to conduct a thorough inspection of your home—inside and out.
- Repair holes in the foundation of your home, garage or other affected buildings as well as exterior & interior walls.
- Seal any openings over ¼"—particularly around doors & windows.
- Install self-closing devices on frequently used doors.
- Install vinyl or rubber seals under garage doors to eliminate gaps.
- Weather-strip gaps in doorways leading into buildings.
- Make sure that the areas around pipes, drains and vents are tightly sealed.
- Chimneys should to be capped and kept in good condition.
- Spray potential points of entry, such as doors, windows, pipes, cracks, crevices, and vents, with Tomcat® Repellents Rodent Repellent Ready-To-Use. It uses essential oils to deter mice and rats from entering your home. Repeat the application every 30 days.
As you go about plugging, sealing and repairing your home, you can use a variety of rodent-proofing materials to complete the job, including:
- Steel wool
- Hardware cloth - 19 gauge or heavier
- Perforated metal - 24 gauge thickness
- Sheet metal (galvanized) - 26 gauge thickness or heavier
- Cement mortar - 1:3 mixture or richer
4. Use Bait Stations
Some areas are just more prone to repeated rodent problems, like those close to wooded areas or located in urban centers. Rodents tend to enter homes as the weather starts to get cooler in the fall. To help control rodents around the outside perimeter of your home, place bait stations approved for outdoor use, like the Tomcat® Rat & Mouse Killer Disposable Bait Station - Advanced Formula or Tomcat® Mouse Killer Disposable Bait Station - Advanced Formula, in areas where rodents may try to enter your home such as near windows or vents.
A single Tomcat bait block kills a lot of rodents, but for larger infestations try a refillable station. Tomcat® Mouse Killer Refillable Bait Station - Advanced Formula can be used indoors or out, and is resistant to dog or child tampering. For a rat problem, try the Tomcat® Rat & Mouse Killer Refillable Bait Station - Advanced Formula. It’s also weather-resistant and designed to keep paws and little fingers out.
*Based on no-choice laboratory testing