/ Home & Energy

There’s a mouse in my kitchen! What would you do?

An empty mousetrap outside a mouse hole with tiny footprints leading away

With the recent drop in temperatures, I’ve been warming up my house for the ensuing winter months. But it seems I’ve inadvertently created a nice cosy space for some uninvited guests…

Last week I saw a mouse dart out from behind the fridge and across the kitchen floor, quick as a pinball. My heart sank.

I’ve had to deal with rodents in most houses I’ve lived in, but I thought I’d solved the problem last year. I bought an ultrasonic deterrent that emits high-frequency sound waves heard by rodents, but not humans.

I try to live by the principle of no harm to living things. Finding a device that you simply have to plug in seemed like the solution after years of bloody battles with Micky and friends.

But, alas, it appears that after several months, the mice adjust to the sound. So, it’s back to the old dilemma: how to get rid of them in an effective yet not horrendously cruel way? I’m currently approaching the kitchen with loud stomps to make sure any crumb-seeking mice have fled before I enter. But it’s not a particularly relaxing – or hygienic – way to live.

Of mice and men… an uneasy relationship

When living in a house-share a few years ago, my friends resorted to the dreaded super-sticky mats, after poison failed to get rid of our furry little housemates. I used to walk into the kitchen to find the poor things quivering with sheer terror on the mats. There they would remain until someone with a stronger stomach killed them. Never again will I go down that route.

Many people swear by traditional spring-loaded mouse traps – with peanut butter overtaking cheese as the bait du jour. And it’s true that they’re the quickest – and thus potentially most ethical – device. But my brother’s tale of finding a half-dismembered mouse hopping helplessly around his flat with a trap on its back isn’t really an endorsement for this method either.

Poison seems ineffective. Humane, live-catch traps are something of a pain (mice have a homing instinct, so you have to release them miles away). So what’s the solution?

Is there such a thing as a mouse-free life?

For now, I’m going to buy another ultrasonic repeller, in the hope that it will work at a frequency the mice haven’t yet adjusted to. And I’ll attempt to keep the house scrupulously clean – ‘a single crumb can keep a mouse going for days,’ a pest-control professional once told me (which means the average toaster provides a feast).

But this all-too-familiar dilemma is making me think that, while a new-build apartment isn’t as romantic as the Victorian house I currently live in, perhaps a lack of cracks is the only real solution to a pest-free life? It’s either that or convince my landlord to let me get a cat. But do I really have to go to these extremes to make my house rodent-free?

How do you remove mice or rats from your home?

I kill them with traps or poison (60%, 1,033 Votes)

I don't have any mice or rats in my home (19%, 322 Votes)

I use humane traps and set them free (13%, 221 Votes)

I have a cat (9%, 160 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,738

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The effects of a mouse gnawing through plastic water pipes can be devastating.
My son’s church conversion had just one mouse. It had chewed through 2 plastic water pipes at mains pressure under the upper floor. Luckily the poison killed it before it got through all 3 layers of plastic. It had gone through the outer white layer, then the blue layer and the innermost layer of plastic was almost through. Can’t imagine the damage of all that water in the ceilinng spraying over everything, and then soaking the parquet on the ground floor. Very lucky!
But then the next problem; the smell of a deadun. Took us 8 hours and lots of work with a circular saw cutting the chipboard floor up before we found the little blighter between a noggin and a RSJ, lying there hidden until we crowbarred the noggin out. We just had the increasing smell to guide us.
We have now baited little nippers with a raisin and a small blob of chocolate.
That bait worked for me a few months ago in my house, when I set 3 traps. Although I still can’t work out how it ate the chocolate and raisin off one trap and just the raisin off the second one before the third one got the little menace. Those litle nippers took ages to set – any vibration was setting them off as I put them on the floor.

Peter Hulse says:
1 December 2012

I first had mice in this house a few years ago, and found them rather cute (I used to get up on Monday mornings at four o’clock to work away during the week, and could chase them half-heatedly arounf the kitchen). But eventually it got too much, so I set a classic mouse-trap with Toblerone. I was quite impressed the following morning when I found the three apexes nibbbled away, and the trap not set off. “Next time” I thought, but two days later the Toblerone had gone, and the trap had still not been set off (I tested it with my finger, and it was still working) So I went for poison, and got them. But I still feel guilty about it: these were clearly pretty bright mice


I too have found ultra-sonic plug-ins to be a waste of time. The mice, spiders and flies ignore it. After using humane traps for some time, I read on the internet about mice not liking the smell of peppermint oil. Since then, I have tried putting a few drops of the concentrated peppermint oil, (readily available from that well-known health food shop) onto a cotton wool pad. Then put the pad near when you have seen the mice; (in my case, under the sink ). You have to renew this every few days since the oil is very volatile and evaporates off the cotton wool pads. SO FAR, no further mice have been seen, nor has there been any visible evidence of their presence, if you know what I mean! This only works in a fairly confined space, but has the advantage of a pleasant smelling kitchen!

DickieMint says:
30 November 2012

Having suffered for years in the house – even in the loft, garage and shed and seen the destruction they cause I set standard traps. Except they’re the improved ones. Rentokil from Screwfix; model’s changed now though. Wild Bird Seed mix they love. And the dead mouse is shaken out onto the lawn for the magpies. Natural Recycling.
We stayed in a B & B in Lincolnshire a few weeks ago and saw a mouse in the room. It was literally nicking the coffee sachets; and the rustling noise that woke us was it chewing into the sachet!


My plumber was heavily in favour of using traditional copper piping in any property with a chance of getting mice i.e. older houses and anything in the country.
The additional cost is easily outweighed by a single repair being needed to a plastic pipe.especially in an awkward location.

Sarsaparilla says:
30 November 2012

I like the humane traps-they’ve always worked for me. They catch the mouse overnight (using chocolate for bait, although the smell of the cocktail of mouse urine and white chocolate toblerone has put me off the triangular peaked treat for life) and then I bring the mouse along with me on the way to work in the car and set it out somewhere I think it will enjoy. I’m not sure if this is in fact humane as the mouse seems terrified (though well fed) so would probably not survive very long in its new surroundings but at least I don’t have to deal with half dead mice.

Danny says:
11 January 2015

I just don’t understand why people “release” vermin, you’re just making your problem someone elses problem, they are pets like a dog or cat lol, please use a trap that kills them and then dispose of them. They are vermin and cause LOTS of damage to people property. If you just release them they will breed and cause massive problems, i caught 72 mice in 2 weeks of traps in my shed, they have caused massive damage to all my equipment, many £1000’s.

Danny says:
11 January 2015

sorry, typo, they AREN’T pets like dogs and cats haha

Alison says:
27 November 2015

i must admit i was rather confused by that concept