Mice can show up as uninvited guests in your garage. You may find a nest of mice in a drawer full of old work gloves in your garage. Or you may see mouse droppings on a shelf. These critters can create a mess and sometimes cause major damage in your garage. Consider a few ways you can be proactive and discourage these critters from inviting themselves over for an extended stay.
How to Keep Mice Out of Your Garage
Mice are tiny creatures that can squeeze through very small holes. If you can fit your little finger under a door or through a hole, then a mouse can get into your garage through that space, making it almost impossible to keep mice out.
Even if your garage is sealed, mice can often chew their way in. Mice have sharp teeth that keep growing. So they need to constantly gnaw on things to keep their teeth from growing too long. Mice can chew through wood, fabric, plastic, vinyl, rubber, fiberglass, thin aluminum, and foam.
There are several things that mice can’t chew through, including sheet metal of any decent thickness. They also can’t shew threw rock, brick, or properly cured concrete. Glass is another material that is mouse-proof, so you don’t need to worry about mice chewing through your windows. If you have a steel garage, you can turn it into a mouse-proof fortress if you want to. But if you need a simpler solution, consider the tips below for keeping mice out of your garage.
Secure All Food Sources
If you store any food in your garage, you need to keep it sealed so mice can get to it. For example, perhaps you have a gigantic bag of dog or cat food in your storage area. Instead of leaving it in a bag, transfer it into a metal garbage can with a tight-fitting lid.
Glass jars with glass lids can secure other smaller food items. Think, heavy-duty plastic totes can deter mice for a while, but if they are persistent enough, they will be able to break through. So stick with containers made out of sheet-metal or glass.
A fridge or freezer can also be used to store food in your garage. If you are storing food that doesn’t need to be kept cool, you don’t even need to plug it in.
Keep the Floors Clean
There’s nothing more encouraging to a little critter than a dirty floor. If you drop pieces of dry dog food while filling your dog’s bowl, be sure to sweep them up right away. I know, it’s tempting to kick those stray pieces of food off to the side of the garage, but that can come back to bite you! If you spill a packet of flower seeds on the floor, it’s best to clean those up, too. A few sunflower seeds or a stray piece of dog food in a corner are open invitations for mice looking for a meal and a place to stay.
Do a Complete Cleaning of Your Garage
It does not take much to attract pests. Once pests find a warm place to sleep and a steady supply of food in your garage, they are very unwilling to leave. That half-eaten cookie that your child dropped behind the spare tires in your garage could be all it takes to bring in a family of rats that will never leave. That is why the first step to getting rid of pests and keeping them out of your garage is to clean your garage thoroughly from top to bottom. Remove all garbage, especially rotted food items, and do your best to remove the low-level areas where pests can hide.
As you clean out your garage, you may start to find nests that are filled with pests. Sometimes these nests can be neutralized and removed with a store-bought repellent. But if you run into a large nest, then it is important to contact a professional exterminator immediately. Do not allow access to your garage until the exterminator has completed their job.
Re-Think How You Use Your Garage
Instead of just throwing items into your garage for storage, you need to get organized and eliminate the dark places pests like to hide. Before storing your grill in your garage, be sure to clean it thoroughly and remove all food debris.
May people put their trash cans in their garage during the week because it is convenient. If you have your trash cans in your garage, then be sure to have lids securely in place at all times. It is a good idea to build a small platform for your garbage cans that is raised off of the floor of your garage to prevent pests from having access to your garbage.
Protect the Perimeter
Piles of sticks, logs, and branches can attract mice and other small rodents. If they are piled near your or garage, it’s only a matter of time before these critters find their way inside. If you have a stack of firewood, keep it way from the side of your garage.
After you have removed the pests from your garage, you then want to take the necessary steps to keep them out. There are powerful pesticide powders, sprays, and strips that can be placed around the interior and exterior perimeter of your garage that will keep pests out. Read the instructions for each repellent to learn how to properly apply it and how often to replace or replenish it.
Perimeter products work well, but they are not as foolproof as you would like them to be. That is why you should also lay traps inside your garage, along the interior perimeter, to catch the pests that manage to break through your defenses. Place the traps in areas where they are easy to check visually and easy to access when it comes to cleaning and replacing them. Check your traps often to make sure that you do not leave unwanted pests decomposing in your garage.
Tips for Keeping Other Critters Out of Your Garage
Check the Doors and Windows
Make sure that the windows and doors in your garage are closed. Even though this won’t keep mice out, it will keep out squirrels, raccoons, snakes, and stray cats that might be able to squeeze through an opening a few inches wide. If you have a doggy door leading into your garage, you may want to find a way to fasten the door shut when your dog isn’t outside. Raccoons in search of food have been known to use a doggy door to get into a garage.
Fill in the Cracks
Uninvited pests do not need an open door to find residence in your garage. After you have cleaned your garage, your next step is to take a flashlight and find all the cracks in your garage walls, around your windows, and around your doors that could allow pests in. Fill those cracks in with a strong insulation product, or, more preferably, reinforce those areas by putting in new wood and new frame material to deny the pests covert ways into your garage.
How to Find Out If You Have Mice in Your Garage
There are several ways to detect mice in your garage. Here are some things to watch out for.
Does It Smell Foul?
Mice urinate frequently and leave behind a nasty smell wherever they live. Sniff around your garage for foul ammonia-like smells in cabinets and other areas mice may be hiding.
Look for Droppings
Mice leave small pellet-sized dropping in their nests and as they travel back and forth looking for food. Look around all the edges of your garage and especially in corners and places where mice might make their homes.
Listen for Chewing
Since mice like to chew through walls and other things, if you have good hearing, you may hear them. Mice are must active during the night, so wait until after dark. Go sit in or near your garage for a while and take the time to relax and reflect on your day or the meaning of life. If you hear chewing noises after a while, quietly follow the noise to identify the location of the mice in your garage.
How to Remove Mice from Your Garage
If you have mice living in the walls or other inaccessible parts of your garage, how do you remove them from your garage?
Poison isn’t the best solution, because you might be left with dead mice rotting in the walls. Yuck. A better solution is to set traps, and remove the mice as the traps catch them.
Standard spring mouse traps are effective, and peanut butter or cheese makes good bait. Check your traps daily. If you find a dead mouse in your trap, use disposable gloves or a plastic bag to transfer it to an outdoor garbage bin. You should never touch dead mice with your bare hands since they often are carriers of unpleasant diseases.
If feel sorry for the cute creatures that are ruining your garage, you can use a small cage trap to catch them alive. But you shouldn’t release them in your back yard. You’ll have to take your prisoners out of town and release them in the woods.
Other option for catching mice is a cat. Some cats will eat the mice, others will just kill them and leave them somewhere for you.
If none of these options fit your personality, or if your infestation is serious, you can call an expert exterminator to remove the mice for you.