How to Prevent Mice in the House and Garden


Mice can be quite frustrating when they munch on your plants and on your pantry snacks. Here’s how to prevent and control mice in the house and garden.

Mice in the Garden and Home

Mice live near humans. You may need to learn to live with mice, but you need to keep them under control before they chew your garden and house apart.

Mice are bothersome and costly, because they contaminate a great deal of food for humans—from our crops to our cupboards.  They chew holes in wires and destroy houses. They also carry disease and bacteria. 

Mice traps are not only inhumane but also they don’t keep mice out of your house. It’s more important to prevent mice with exclusion methods that deter mice from entering your home in the first place.


How to Identify Mice

Mice are small rodents that have relatively large ears and small black eyes. They are usually gray or light brown. Mice weigh about ½ of an ounce, and they are five to seven inches in length. Their tail adds an additional three to four inches to that length. Mice are characterized by a musky odor, and they are often active at night.

Mouse Damage

Mice love to tunnel and chew. Partially eaten potatoes or carrots are a sign of mice activity. They also love to eat newly sown seeds. In the home, they’ll chew small holes in cloth materials. Mice leave small droppings too, so if you see any, you might have an infestation.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Control and Prevention

How to Prevent and Control Mice

Try some of these methods for your garden and home:

  1. In the home, check for pathways that are allowing mice to gain easy access. Seal them up. Try stuffing steel wool into the cracks and holes around your foundation.
  2. Remove easy food and water. Clean up pet food dishes and keep garbage bins closed.
  3. In the garden, avoid using straw as mulch or any fluffy mulch that provides nesting places. Do not mulch heavily nor put mulch near base of trees.
  4. There are several plants that are believed to repel mice. Mint, pennyroyal, garlic, and onion are just a few. Try planting them in your garden.
  5. Mice are also repelled by camphor, lavender, and wormwood. You can find dried lavender in health food stores and some garden centers. 
  6. Get a cat! Sometimes, even just the scent of cats will be enough to deter mice from returning to an area.
  7. To make sure that mice aren’t getting to your favorite spring flowers, check out this list of rodent-proof bulbs.
  8. Try using dryer sheets to keep mice out of linen closets or stored clothes.
  9. To protect bulbs, cage them or surround the bulb with crushed gravel in the planting hole.
  10. Wrap tree trunks with tree wrap or hardware cloth at their base. Be sure to remove come spring to avoid harming the tree!
  11. Try a mouse repellent containing ammonium; see your local garden center.
  12. Use a humane mouse trap or snap trap baited with peanut butter near mouse paths.
  13. Sonic mouse deterrents placed in the garden may help to keep mice away.

See more about common garden pests like rabbits and moles.


Reader Comments

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How do you get rid of mice that eat onions? (Yes it is mice - I've seen them!)


We leave a snap trap set in our crawl space in the attic all the time. Inevitably there is a mouse caught now and then, especially in the fall when temperatures cool and they look for warmth and food. It's very difficult to find a place where they may be entering because the nasty little critters can climb, too. Bird feeders help to draw them into our yard, too, but we love to feed and watch the birds. I guess our best bet it to keep the traps set.

thank you

you're the only site that gives good advice on deterring mice rather than all the other that say "get a professional". thank you. I will try your tips

mice in car

I have an '09 Forrester and I have a problem with mice getting into the car. Have tried Bounce sheets and moth balls, they used the sheets in their nest right next to he bag of moth balls. I put bags of "Mouse Magic " down and they just ate into the bags. I now have 3 battery run sonic boxes that seemed to work for a time (yes, the batteries are good) but now that cold weather is here they are back in my car. I have put snap traps in the car and the snap traps work but I would rather deter them than trap them. Any ideas? I don't mind sharing my space but when driving down the road and one jumps up into the passenger seat it is disconcerting and I worry about the damage they can do. Also can't find where they are getting in.

Not a Mickey Mouse Problem!

The Editors's picture

Hi, Sally: We feel your pain. Have you asked your local Subaru dealer where they might be getting in? They probably get this all the time. The glove compartment is always a main suspect in any car. Take it out if you can, to get a better look, but even if you can’t, try to cover any openings that you see in there with duct-taped wire mesh or screening, being careful not to restrict any necessary air flow. Another possibility is what is called the rear air vent grilles on either side of the tire/ trunk compartment, which let air escape when you close the car doors—but these are hard to get to. In the end, the best thing to do is to mouseproof your car as you would a house foundation: Go through the engine compartment sides (firewall between it and cabin), the trunk, and the underside of the car as best you can, and painstakingly screen off every single opening of every size. Good luck, and thanks for asking!

Mice Traps

I've seen a DIY mouse trap that works good for in shops or garages. Get a 5 gallon bucket, a stiff piece of wire and a tin can. Poke holes in the top & bottom of the can and run the wire though it so the can will spin on the wire. Next make a hole on either side of the bucket and put the wire through them so you have the can laying horizontal in the center of the top of the bucket. Smear peanut butter on the can. Lean a board or something from the ground to the top of the bucket so the mice have something to climb on. They will smell the peanut butter, climb the board, jump to the can to get the peanut butter. The can will spin and the mice will fall into the bucket. You can dispatch them from there or have a couple inches of water at the bottom of the bucket so they fall in and drown. Seems a little cruel but it works.


My brother invented a natural product that you can use on mousetraps. It attracts them to the trap. Good stuff.


they say to pour ammonia or soak rags with ammonia and put where the mice enter your home.

Mice !

The mice I had in the house cannot get to any dried beans, rice,pasta, etc because I keep everything that is dried in glass jars. Fresh produce [ root crops ] are in bins, up on shelves, and they didn't seem to find them. My biggest problem was Ivory BAR SOAP ! By the time I discovered there were mice in the house, they had chewed the edges of ELEVEN BARS, as well as 3 brand new tubes of tooth paste ! ACK ! Mouse traps baited with peanut butter did not work . . . I would find the traps tripped each morning. Smart little critters ! I finally had to resort to poison, but they didn't "take them" . . . they just moved them to different locations ! I set a few under the bathtub and under the bathroom sink, and would find the little cubes in the drawers with the tooth paste the next day. Then all of a sudden the mice were gone, so I am thinking they got enough poison in their system, while moving them, to finally kill them. That is the last I have seen of mice, and we closed up all the gaps where the plumbing comes through the walls. Mice ! Nasty little critters !


I used to get mice - only one or two at a time, then nothing for months. Bait stopped working, they wouldn't eat it. So I switched to snap traps (Victor easy set) baited with peanut butter. Mice cannot resist PB (who can?). They have worked great. I haven't had a mouse in well over a year, but I keep a trap baited and set just in case. It gets them before they get into anything else.

My landlord removed my deck and put down patio stones. I think they were nesting under the deck and now that it's, gone, they have gone. So, if you have a deck and you have mice, they may be living under it.

My tomatoes are still green

My tomatoes are still green and something is putting holes in them, wat can I do


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