How to Catch a Mouse

How to Catch a Mouse In Your House Easily

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Mice are an important part of the ecosystem, but their importance ceases when they start invading your house. Primary, rats and mice are attracted to your dwelling due to warmth and stable food supply. Unlike the orderliness of Jerry in the cartoon, real-life Jerries cause damage to household items and spread diseases to your family. Therefore, learn how to catch a mouse before facing a mouse infestation.

Accordingly, we have prepared a guide on capturing and driving out any early signs of a rodent infestation. Catching mice can be done in various ways, including humane and harsh methods. In some homes with serious rodent infestations, they contact a professional exterminator to take care of the mess. So, before one mouse turns to a whole community, let's look at the process of trapping that first explorer.

Process of Catching Mice

Step 1: Find the Entry Point (s)

How to catch a mouse begins with finding small gaps in the house that lead outside. As such, you can start by searching any crannies around wiring, plumbing and cable infrastructure. Also, search for entrances around garage doors and anywhere there is a potential mouse-size crevice. These rodents often squeeze through small holes.

Check for Droppings

You can identify entry points where you find mouse droppings (poop). Always remember that rodent poop and urine can spread diseases to your family, especially when they dry and become airborne. Therefore, as you begin this exercise of capturing rodents, consider wearing a face mask and gloves to reduce exposure. As you get rid of the droppings, ensure you use a broom and dustpan to avoid spreading the potential bacteria across your house.

Look for Oil

Another indicator of a mouse entry point is signs of activity which include oily residues. You'll often find grime or grease, also known as sebum, around where a mouse accesses and lingers. Besides entrances, you can also find sebum on the floor, cabinet doors and walls.

Ideally, the sebum is a path marker for other mice to know food sources. When you find lingering sebum, clean the spots using a strong disinfectant to avoid the entry of more rodents. Moreover, you'll be able to remove any potential disease-causing organisms. For a better clean-up, learn tips for cleaning your house.

Step 2: Choosing the Mouse Traps

There are different mouse traps in the market today, including live traps, electronic traps, spring-loaded traps, scent repellents, rodenticides and glue traps. Subsequently, you can kill or trap and release mice outside, away from your house. So, with the possibility there is more than one mouse in your house, we recommend buying multiple traps.

Even so, avoid poison since a mouse will die in a hidden crack causing a stench in your house and can be dangerous to animals and children. Moreover, you can choose humane mouse traps such as the cage-style or a trap door to avoid a dead mouse. Alternatively, you can make a DIY humane mouse trap with a toilet paper or paper towel roll as a ramp that trips into a bucket.

DIY Paper Roll and Bucket Mouse Trap

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Step 3: Choosing Mouse Trap Bait

Most commonly, mice have been depicted to love cheese. Indeed, they can eat cheese, but you can use other better baits. Always remember that the mice are attracted to strong-smelling and soft bait. Also, the effectiveness of your mouse trap depends on the ability of bait to lure mice to the trap.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a favorite food for mice since it has a high protein, high-calorie, and high-sugar content. It is like an alternative to the nuts, seeds and grains they eat in the wild. Also, you can use hazelnut spread or fruit jam as mouse trap bait. However, using fruit jam might attract undesirable pests like ants and cockroaches.

Speaking of seeds, mice love to gather seeds for immediate food and storage. In most cases, mice will check bird feeders for any leftovers. Ideally, seeds are easy to carry and can be stored for a long time since they are dry.

Pet Food

Pet food also comes packed with nutrients that mice love. Therefore, if your lazy cat doesn't catch mice, you can use its food as bait. As a result, pet food is better than poison since it won't harm your pets if they still end up eating the bait. Nonetheless, store any bag of pet feed safely where mice can't reach.


Moreover, some people also use chocolate on mouse traps. Mice love chocolate due to its strong smell and its high sugar content. So you can use different types of chocolate to see which works best in your mouse traps.


Mice also eat meat, and bacon is a good option for bait. This bait has a strong smell that will attract any rodents from their hiding. Considering that meat rots, replace such baiting food frequently to avoid bad smells in your house.

Nesting Materials

Other items that mice collect are materials to make their nests. Especially during cold seasons, breeding females collect nesting materials. For instance, mice chew on clothes to get materials to build nests. As such, you can use materials like cotton, yarn, twine and dental floss as bait.

Step 4: Bait Your Mouse Traps

As you learn how to catch a mouse, it's important to know that too much bait doesn't increase the chances. Instead, you only need small baits firmly placed in your trap. For instance, too much bait will allow a mouse to gnaw the bait before it steps onto the trap. In addition, too little bait might not be enough to attract pests.

Additionally, use thin baits to make the mouse work more to reach and eat them. However, if you use a thin layer of peanut butter, it will dry before luring a rodent. Also, always bait your traps before setting them. This approach will protect you from snapping your fingers while working the spring-load traps.

Step 5: Find Potential Locations to Place your Traps

Part of learning how to catch a mouse is being strategic in the location of your trap. So, let's call this a reconnaissance, to know where your enemy frequents. Naturally, mice dwell in dark and small spaces like under furniture, in a cupboard, cracks in walls, stoves and fridges. Combining such hiding with the fact that they only come out at night to gnaw on food, it might be difficult to know the best placement for your traps.

One way of knowing where there is a mouse is its droppings and urine smell. Alternatively, you can pour some powder around suspected areas to confirm if there is a mouse problem in your house. Ideally, as they come out in the night to feed, they will leave tracks in the sprinkled powder.

Step 6: Place the Traps

Primarily, place traps where you found evidence of mice. Such a strategy will increase the chances of extermination if you want to kill the mice or simply trapping. Notably, always place your traps along a wall as the trigger part remains in contact with the wall. Whether on counters or floors, mice always run along walls.

Also, place your traps perpendicularly to avoid premature triggers. If you don't have adequate evidence, place traps behind suspect areas like behind a stove, a fridge, under furniture, and in cupboards. Moreover, you can place traps in ceilings, room corners, corners of gnawed cardboard boxes in the pantry. If you are using a bucket trap, place it strategically, so the mouse doesn't miss and run free.

Furthermore, using repellants can guide mice to traps without their knowledge. Specifically, spray repellants on surfaces with mice activity as you leave some sprayed. The narrow unsprayed places will act as the path to the trap. Once again, always place a few traps in areas with evidence of mice to increase your success rate.

Step 7: Force Mice Out of Their Nest

If the baits don't lure these ground-dwelling rodents, you can also drive them out of their nests. Ideally, treat any door or crack to a nesting area with strong repellants. Mice have a strong sense of smell, making them sensitive to strong odors. Specifically, mice dislike smells of naphthalene, ammonia and any other pungent smell.

However, repellants might also cause harm or be unpleasant to your family in the same dwelling. Subsequently, if you're going to use a pungent smell in your house, ensure your family is not around the house, probably out for vacation. Alternatively, you can use natural smells like citronella, peppermint oil or eucalyptus to repel or force mice from their hiding. Such natural alternatives will be safe for your family.

Step 8. Check Your Mice Traps Every Day

So far, you have the resources on how to catch a mouse. In addition, you need to keep checking your traps every day to see if any has been caught. If a mouse has been caught, dispose of it as soon as possible to prevent any decomposition that might cause bacteria and a bad smell. Moreover, when using a live trap, ensure your release it as soon as possible to avoid starving your little furry intruder.

Even more, check your traps twice a day, in the morning and evening. Moreover, checking a trap frequently will help you replace bait when necessary. Always, after trapping mice, sanitize your floors, surfaces and traps to get rid of any disease-causing microorganism. Remember, to this very step, you should be donning your rubber gloves as part of protecting yourself.

Finally, seal or fill any spotted holes with steel wool to avoid entry of other furry explorers. If the floor or wall is cracked, be sure to repair them to seal any entry points. Additionally, learn how to clean air ducts and vents to eliminate mice nests. By and by, don't forget to remove all the traps when sure there is no mouse in your house to avoid harm to kids and pets.


In closing, catching a mouse or mice should be easy with the highlighted instructions. Getting rid of a few furry pests will help you avoid the materialization of an infestation. Nonetheless, if you are faced with an infestation, you can always seek the help of professional exterminators.

Since your home is a potential food source for mice, store your food properly to avoid unnecessary explorers. For example, food stored outside a fridge should be kept in sealed metal or glass containers where mice cannot reach. Also, besides storing food properly, you can consider having cats in your home to keep mice away. Eventually, keep mice away from your house by keeping your garden pest-free.

Image Credit:

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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