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How to Keep Mice Out of the Pantry

January 29, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

Cartoon mice and pet mice may be lovable, but finding a wild mouse in your pantry can be alarming. A treasure trove of food sources, dark hiding places, and the soft chewable cardboard materials that could be used for a nest, a pantry is ideal for mice. 

If you suspect mice are enjoying your pantry as much as your hungry kids so, knowing how to address it will help you take quick steps to address a possible mouse infestation. In this guide, we review ways to spot an infestation and tips on how to get rid of mice and keep them out in the future.

two mice eating cereal in a pantry

How do mice get inside? 

Before you can fully understand how to get rid of mice, you may want to know how mice get inside your home in the first place. With their wriggly bodies, mice can squeeze through holes, cracks, and openings that are as small as a dime. 

Mice can enter through:

  • Air conditioning compressor and gas lines
  • Attics
  • Bay windows
  • Cedar shakes
  • Closets located near floor corners
  • Crawlspaces
  • Decks
  • Doors
  • Dryer vents
  • Electrical meters
  • Floor drains and vents
  • Foundation overhanging
  • Kitchen cabinetry
  • Points where different types of building materials meet
  • Refrigerators, stoves, and other appliances
  • Window wells

Because there are so many potential entry points for mice, you may not be able to determine how these rodents got in.

Signs of a mouse infestation

Mice are small and capable of moving quickly. You may never spot one on the move. However, having one mouse can quickly lead to a major infestation, as some species can give birth to six to ten litters of babies yearly. To lower the likelihood of your pantry becoming a home for a mouse family, be on the lookout for these signs of infestations:

  • Tiny droppings
  • Chew marks on wood, food packaging, and other materials
  • Soft fabrics, scraps, and other nesting materials scattered in the kitchen
  • Sound of skittering inside of the walls, particularly at night
  • Strong ammonia-like odor from mouse urine

How to keep mice out of the pantry 

To keep mice out of the pantry and your kitchen, follow these tips:

  • Try humane traps: Catch and release traps may help you remove rodents without harming them. Make sure that you wear protective gloves when handling full traps.
  • Plugging entry points: If you have holes and gaps in your walls, ceiling, or floor, stuff them with duct tape or steel wool, which mice can’t chew through.
  • Clean thoroughly: At least once per month, deep clean the shelves in your pantry and the rest of your kitchen with a household cleaner and warm water. Wear gloves to protect your skin from mouse droppings and urine if you suspect you have mice. You should also wipe countertops and tabletops and sweep the kitchen floor daily.
  • Inventory your stored foods periodically: Remove everything from your pantry every few weeks. Check any packaging for expiration dates and throw away anything that is no longer good. Look for any signs of chewing damage and evidence of infestations like mouse droppings.
  • Don’t use shelf paper: Small crumbs, dead insects, and other debris can collect under shelf paper, creating a tasty buffet for mice.
  • Keep foods in reusable containers: Instead of storing cereals, sugar, flour, pasta, crackers, and other foods in their original packaging, empty them into tight-sealing containers that mice can’t chew through.
  • Deal with spills quickly: If anything spills in the pantry, clean the mess up as soon as possible. Make sure that you don’t leave any crumbs or sticky spots behind.
  • Remove trash daily: Take out your kitchen garbage every day. Use a covered trash can in the kitchen to make it more difficult for mice to get inside. Keep your trash can stored somewhere other than the pantry.

mouse eating flour in a pantry

Premium pest control services

Following the above tips may aid in your efforts to get rid of mice in the pantry, but often, professional pest control services are necessary to address infestations. Experienced technicians from Hawx Pest Control can check your home for entry points and locate nesting areas. Then, we use state-of-the-art tools and technologies to control mice and recommend prevention methods to prevent their return. If the rodents appear between treatments, we’ll come back and deal with the problem at no cost to you.

Do mice carry diseases? 

Rodents like mice and rats do have the potential to spread diseases. An infected mouse may spread germs directly or through their urine, feces, and saliva. In addition, mice often harbor fleas, mites, and ticks, some of which can also cause illnesses in humans and pets. 

Mice can also pose safety risks. If they chew through wiring in your home, they could create dangerous conditions that could lead to electric shocks or even a fire.

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