What Attracts Mice To A House? (We Have The Answer!)

Jalin Coblentz
by Jalin Coblentz

Mice are some of the most invasive and annoying pests that homeowners have to deal with. They invade houses all across the country and begin to eat food that’s left out and repopulate. If you’re not careful, you can quickly get overrun by a mouse infestation. But why are mice drawn to houses in particular?

Mice are attracted to houses because of the warmth, food, and shelter that a house provides. Mice want to live in houses for the same reasons that people do, because houses are safe and warm. Mice also have a great sense of smell and want the food that’s inside your home. They’re especially drawn to pet food if you have dogs or cats.

Mice truly are nasty and invasive little creatures that decrease the value of your home. Nobody wants to buy a house that they know is infested with mice and you’ll find it difficult to sell your house if that’s your desire. Many people are also extremely afraid of mice and will go to great lengths to keep mice out of their houses. In this article, we’ll look at what draws mice into a house and how to keep them out.

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What Attracts Mice to Your House?

Mice are like most other animals as they survive by instinct and circumstance. In order to survive, their instincts tell them to seek basic things like food, shelter, warmth, water, and safety. All of these things can be found in most homes around the country. Let’s take a more in-depth look at what attracts mice to your house specifically.

Warmth and Shelter

One of the main things that all animals, no matter their size or species, seek out is warmth and shelter. This is especially crucial for pregnant mice or mice looking to reproduce. Freezing temperatures and weather elements are some of the leading killers of mice and they seek to avoid them in the comfort of your home.

Shops, barns, and garages are also popular hubs for mice, but they lack the essentials of life which means that mice will still get into your house from time to time. While they might set up their permanent residence in a building nearby, they will enter your home on cold nights or to find food and water.

Safety From Other Predators

Mice are extremely small creatures and they don’t have the benefit of good eye-sight. While they’re fast and elusive, they’re easy targets for birds such as hawks, owls, and other birds of prey. The only way for them to find permanent safety and shelter is inside a house or other building. Like I said before, however, mice will always choose the warmest environment with the benefits of food and water. Therefore, a house is their home of choice.

Easy Access to Water

All humans and animals rely on water to survive, and mice are no different. Houses are a great source of water, whether it’s from a leaky pipe, water droplets around your sink or dishwasher, or spills in the bathroom or laundry room. An adult mouse only needs 1 ounce of water to survive, and this amount can easily be found in and around your house.

Different Types of Food

The need for food is right up there with the need for water, warmth, and safety. Mice need food to survive and they’re natural scavengers even when they’re living outside. If you have even the tiniest crumbs lying around, mice will find it with their great sense of smell and they’ll eat anything in sight. Even things like pet food, fat, grease, and trash aren’t off-limits for mice.

If you’ve ever had a mouse infestation, you also probably had the uncomfortable experience of going into your pantry and seeing a box or bag of food with a tiny hole in the package. It’s likely because a mouse got hungry enough to eat its way through the package in order to get to the food inside. Fruits, grains, rice, cereal, and anything else that they can get ahold of is what mice will go for.

Cracks or Openings in Your House or Its Foundation

Mice aren’t super spies or overly aggressive animals and they don’t get into your house by accident. It’s extremely rare that a mouse is able to chew its way through your walls and get into your house. It’s usually through a crack in a wall, door, or foundation that they gain access. Making sure that your house is intact is essential at keeping scavengers like mice out of your home.

Smells and Odors

While mice have terrible eyesight and can only see shapes and movements a short distance in front of them, they have incredible senses of smell. They also have great hearing, but it’s their sense of smell that helps them get into homes. They can smell food, trash, and other things in your home from a great distance and this is what helps them choose a home as a dwelling rather than other buildings.

How to Keep Mice Out of Your House

Now that you know why mice want to be inside your house, let’s look at what you need to do to keep them out. There are many different ways, but doing all of them is the only way to ensure mice stay outside where they belong.

Clean Up After Yourself

If you’re a messy person who leaves their house cluttered and messy, there’s an excellent chance that you’ll end up with mice. Mice seek out safety, shelter, and warmth and if you leave clothing or other objects lying around, they’re likely to make a nest underneath of them. Even empty food containers and shoes or socks are all that a mouse needs to feel safe and warm. Cleaning up after yourself will reduce the chances of a mouse infestation.

Don’t Leave Food Lying Around

Part of cleaning up after yourself is making sure that there isn’t open containers of food lying around. Leftovers, pet food, or even tiny crumbs will attract a mouse’s sense of smell and draw them in. It’s a good idea to always clean up after your meals and store your food on shelves that mice can’t get to. If a mouse can smell food and reach it, they’ll devour it little by little.

Seal Any Cracks or Openings in Your Home

The best way to keep mice out of your house is to not give them an access point in the first place. Unfortunately, if you have an older house, there’s a good chance that some of your doors or windows don’t seal perfectly. There’s also a chance that you have holes in your siding or cracks in your foundation. Mice are tiny, agile creatures and they only need a sliver of room to get inside your home.

For holes in your siding or foundation, the best thing you can use is silicone caulk or insulation. The downside of insulation is that mice have super sharp teeth and can chew through it. Another great option for holes and cracks of every sort is to use steel wool. We had to do this on a house that we owned and it eliminated our pest problem. Simply tear off a tiny piece of the wool and stuff it into the hole. Mice have sharp teeth, but they’ll be unable to chew through steel.

Have a Dog or Cat

Having a dog or cat in your home can work for you or against you. Cats are a much better option than dogs as they have the speed and agility necessary to catch mice. Dogs are fast, but they’re not as quick as cats and they aren’t as gifted at hunting mice. If you have a pet, there’s also a good chance that some of their food and water will spill from time to time. These provide excellent meal options for mice and can actually make the problem worse.

Use Baits, Traps, and Poisons

The best way to eliminate mice that are already inside your home is to use baits, traps, or poisons. There are tons of different options, from the most basic of mouse traps to sticky baits to poisons. If you have pets or small children in your home, I would advise against using poison. Most types of mouse poison are dangerous or deadly to dogs, cats, and even toddlers.

Related Questions

What’s the best way to get rid of mice?

The best way to get rid of mice that are already in your home is with a combination of bait and traps. Poison will kill mice, but it also presents a danger to the rest of your household. Poisoning a mouse also presents the risk of that mouse consuming the poison, returning to their home inside a wall or under a floor, and dying. A dead mouse will stink up your house and depending on where it is, you won’t be able to get rid of it.

Where can I find steel wool?

Steel wool can be purchased at any hardware or home improvement store. It’s also available at places like Wal-Mart, Target, or Amazon.

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Final Thoughts

Mice are pesky and annoying creatures and nobody wants them in their houses. They’re attracted to many different things and features about your house. The only way to keep them out is to make sure that there are no points of entry and that your home is clean and tidy. By doing this combination of things, you’ll be able to live mouse-free inside your home.

Jalin Coblentz
Jalin Coblentz

Before I started writing, I worked for 6 plus years in the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC business. I was primarily an HVAC installer but also worked as a plumber and electrician. Now I'm a copywriter, focusing on home improvement content and guides.

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