How Do Mice Get In Your House In The First Place?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: August 6, 2022
© Rudmer Zwerver/
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Although some people keep pet mice as little furry companions, they are a pest to most people. As such, mice are not a welcome sight in homes. Still, it’s a good idea to ask, how do mice get in your house in the first place? We’ll show you the most common ways mice get in your home, signs that they’ve already set up living quarters, and a few ways that you can get mice out of your house.

What Are the Dangers of Mice in Your House?

Mouse Poop vs Rat Poop - Rat Poop
Mouse feces can transmit diseases to humans.

©Photo – TMD/

Having mice in your house is not only bad because they’re unwanted pests. They bring along some significant problems with them. For example, mice can chew through electrical wires in your home, disabling electronics overnight. Mice also carry some very dangerous diseases, including the hantavirus, hemorrhagic fever, and the plague.

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As rare as these ailments can be, the scariest part is that a mouse doesn’t have to bite you to transmit any of them. Instead, most people get sick from mice in their homes just by touching their feces and urine. That’s why it is important to keep mice out of your home before they can present you with diseases.

Before we learn how to get mice out of your home, let’s learn how they get inside in the first place.

How Do Mice Get in Your House?

Baby pet Mouse - Baby Mice
The average mouse can squeeze into a hole the size of a dime.


Mice have several different ways to get into your home, including squeezing into cracks in the foundation, scaling the outside of the home to get in windows, climbing through holes in the roof area, and entering through doors that are left open such as your garage.

Mice are small creatures that can fit into many holes and cracks that other creatures would not. In fact, some people question whether these animals even have bones. Mice have bones, of course, but they are flexible enough to let them into your home through tiny spaces.

Also, the animals are primarily nocturnal (technically crepuscular), so they can use the cover of darkness to get into your home without you knowing. However, once they are in your house, you will often hear them scurrying around during the hours of dusk and dawn.

Now that you know how mice are getting into your home, the next logical step is learning how to stop mice from getting inside.  

How Do You Stop Mice from Getting in Your House?

Stopping mice from getting into your home is a process that requires attention to detail and a fair amount of time.  However, you can follow five steps to make it a lot harder for mice to get into your home. These steps include:

  1. Patch up holes around your home with cement, caulk, or even metal, depending on the situation.
  2. Seal up the food in your home, including your dog and cat food.
  3. Keep the plant life near your home to a minimum.
  4. Try using barriers like peppermint oil or poison bait traps around your home to ward off or kill mice before they enter your house.
  5. Don’t leave your doors or windows open unattended for long periods.

These are some of the best ways that you can keep mice from getting into your home. The good thing about these suggestions is that they provide overlapping protection. Sealing up your home is important, but making sure that you don’t leave food out will also attract fewer mice to your house.

Being proactive about placing traps and reducing the cover mice have to gnaw their way into your home also makes your place a less-enticing target for the mice. With these suggestions in mind, you can protect your home from a mouse incursion.

What Are the Signs of Mice in Your House?

A family of house mice eating spilled cereal off the floor
Finding bite marks on food in your pantry is a sure sign of an infestation.


How do you know it’s too late to protect your home from mice? Well, these small rodents leave a lot of evidence that they’re in your house. Knowing the signs that you have mice in your home is the key to taking steps to remedy the situation. Take a look at these signs around your home to know if you have mice.

  • Groups of brown pellets (mouse feces) or streaks of urine (especially along baseboards).
  • Mouse nests, circular nests made from grass, vinyl, cloth, and paper products measuring between 3 and 6 inches in diameter.
  • Evidence of mice gnawing their way into bags and boxes of food (rice, dog food, cereal, oatmeal).
  • A lingering stale smell in lesser-used places in your home.
  • The sound of scurrying animals in your walls or ceiling, especially at night and in the early morning.

Not only can you tell if you have mice in your home, but you can also get a good idea of how many mice are in your home. More pellets, nests, and food missing means you have more than one mouse roaming in your home. Now that you know how to identify mice in your home, it’s time to look at getting rid of mice.

How Can You Get Mice Out of Your House?

Cat with dead mouse
Keeping a pet cat can also help cut down on the number of mice in your home.

©Astrid Gast/

Many methods exist for getting rid of mice in your house. First and foremost, you need to make sure that your home is sealed up to prevent more mice from getting inside. Otherwise, nothing we recommend will help stop new mice from getting into your home.

Once mice are in your home, you need to start using traps and poison to cull their numbers. Snap traps are effective and deadly, catch-and-release traps help you preserve the animals if you desire, and electrical traps are more expensive but also fatal. Commercial poison bait is another solution, but it can take a few applications to kill the mouse.

Although using poison and traps to kill mice can seem a little harsh, they are the most effective ways to reduce their numbers in your home. As we’ve already mentioned, having mice in your home is no joke. They can cause serious harm in the form of diseases, spoil your food, and ruin your peace of mind.  

We’ve answered, “how do mice get in your house in the first place?” Take steps to keep them out, and you probably won’t have a mouse infestation problem.

If you do have a severe mouse infestation, don’t be afraid to call for help. Not every person is equipped to deal with such a situation.

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About the Author

I've been a freelance writer since 2013, and I've written in a variety of niches such as managed service providers, animals, and retail distribution. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

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