How to Get Rid of Mice in Your Garage

Regardless of whether your garage is connected to your home or not, it’s essential to keep it mouse-free!

Whether your garage is meticulously organized or a bit chaotic, a mouse infestation can throw things off track. Let’s face it, having mice in the garage can be frustrating and even frightening.

Dealing with a bunch of rodents can feel overwhelming if you don’t have a plan. But don’t worry, it’s manageable.

Signs of a Mouse Problem in Your Garage

You might notice a musty smell, find your pets pawing at walls, or come across nests made of shredded materials like paper, fiber, or cloth. And of course, spotting a mouse itself is a clear sign, especially in dimly lit garages.

It’s important to confirm whether you’re dealing with mice or rats. These tips apply to both, but knowing which you’re up against helps with choosing the right control methods. Look out for these five signs:


Rub marks


Gnawing or chewing marks


Generally, smaller signs indicate mice, while rats tend to make more noise by gnawing and fighting. Keep an ear out for squeaking, which is common with mice.

What Do Mice and Rats Look Like?

Mice are small rodents that often invade homes and garages in search of shelter and food. Garages are particularly attractive to them because they offer plenty of food, like bird and pet food.

The most common mouse in the U.S. is the house mouse (Mus musculus), which is about 3 to 4 inches long, brownish, with a pointed nose and a long tail. There are also field mice and deer mice that can sometimes infest homes, garages, or other buildings. They look quite similar to house mice but have white bellies.

Rats are another type of rodent that can be a big problem in garages. There are two main types: black rats and brown rats. Black rats are usually black to light gray and about 5 to 7 inches long, while brown rats can be brown or light gray and much larger, sometimes over 13 inches long. Some brown rats have even been kept as pets.

Rats can cause more damage and carry diseases, but the methods for getting rid of them are similar to those for mice. However, you’ll need larger and stronger traps for rats.

5 Best Ways to Get Rid of Mice in the Garage

Here are five simple ways to get rid of mice in your garage:

1. Spring Traps

These traps have a basic design, with a bait tab that triggers a spring-loaded bar to snap down on the mouse when it tries to eat the bait. Cheese is the classic bait, but any food will work. Ideally, the trap will catch the mouse by the neck or body, leading to a quick and relatively painless death from suffocation.

However, sometimes mice can get caught by their legs or tails, in which case you’ll need to deal with them carefully.

Remember to check the traps regularly, as a dead mouse can start to smell unpleasant pretty quickly.

Tip: Peanut butter is an excellent bait choice. Put the baited trap near areas where you’ve noticed mouse activity, like where they nest or leave droppings.

2. Sticky Traps

These traps use a very sticky wax-like substance to capture mice that walk onto the pad in search of food. Some people believe these traps are more humane than spring traps, but they can actually cause mice a lot of suffering.

Mice can get stuck for hours and may even try to chew off their own paws to escape.

Plus, if you catch a mouse, you’ll still need to deal with killing it because it’s nearly impossible to free a live mouse from a sticky trap.

Sticky traps might seem like a gentler option for those uncomfortable with spring traps, but they’re not any more effective and can be even less humane.

3. Live Traps

If the idea of killing a mouse bothers you, there are live traps available. These traps work by luring the mouse inside with bait, then triggering a door or hatch to close and trap the live mouse inside.

But once you catch the mouse, you’ll have to decide what to do with it. Releasing it in a residential area just passes the problem to someone else.

Releasing it in the countryside can burden farmers. If you choose to use a live trap, releasing the mouse in the woods or another wildlife area might seem like the best option.

However, keep in mind that there, the mouse will likely become prey for predators like owls, foxes, or hawks. This fate isn’t necessarily more humane than using a traditional live trap to dispatch the mouse.

4. Rodent Bait

Various poisons are available to kill mice, often containing anticoagulant substances. These work by causing the mouse to bleed internally, which typically takes several days. Besides being painful for the mouse, these pellets or bait stations pose a risk to pets and children if ingested, potentially leading to serious illness or even death.

Other toxins used for rodent control can also be harmful to pets and humans. Using rodent poisons isn’t advisable for homes with pets or children, as they can accidentally consume them.

Moreover, these poisons can spread outdoors, affecting wild animals like foxes or owls that prey on contaminated mice. Overall, poison bait isn’t the best solution for eliminating mice from your garage.

5. Keep a Cat or Dog

While not all cats or dogs are natural hunters, some breeds excel at catching mice. Homes with domestic pets, however, may still attract mice due to stored pet foods.

Certain cats, particularly younger and more aggressive ones, are skilled mousers. Similarly, many terrier breeds of dogs are bred for catching small animals. If you have such a pet, allowing it some hunting time in the garage, especially at night, can be an effective way to control mice.

Why Mice Invade Garages

Mice tend to infest garages for several reasons. These spaces offer plenty of dark hiding spots and nesting areas, along with accessible food and water sources. Additionally, the presence of numerous cracks and crevices makes it easy for mice to enter and exit. In essence, if a space was custom-made to accommodate mice, it would resemble a typical garage.

Conversely, garages that are impeccably clean, well-lit, and tightly sealed are less appealing to mice and other rodents.

How to Stop Mice from Getting into Your Garage

Preventing mice in your garage involves a few key steps to cut off their hiding spots, food sources, and entry points. Here’s what you can do:

1. Eliminate Food Sources

– Keep all food sealed or stored outside of the garage.

– Store items like dog food, fertilizers, and grains in tightly sealed containers.

2. Maintain Landscaping

– Keep the area around your home’s foundation clear of dense vegetation and thick layers of mulch.

3. Seal Cracks and Holes

– Inspect concrete slabs and foundations for any openings and fill them with concrete patch.

– For wide cracks in wood walls, stuff them with steel wool before patching over to prevent further gnawing.

4. Use Natural Repellents

– Create a natural repellent by mixing 2 tablespoons of hot pepper sauce with a gallon of water and a few drops of liquid soap. Spray it around the outside of the garage.

– Peppermint is another effective natural deterrent. Spray a solution of peppermint extract and water around the perimeter or plant peppermint around your home and garage. Reapply after rainstorms.

– Ultrasonic mouse repellers emit sounds that are painful to mice but inaudible to humans. Place these devices inside the garage.

Remember, preventing mice from entering your garage requires ongoing effort, especially in colder climates where mice seek warm areas in the fall to overwinter.

Quick Comparison


– Size: Typically 3 to 4 inches long

– Color: Brown, sometimes with a white belly


– Size: 5 inches long or larger

– Color: Black, light gray, or brown


1. Where do mice come from?

Mice can enter your garage through gaps, holes, or even tiny cracks in walls or doors. They have surprising abilities to jump, run along wires, climb, and even swim, so there are many ways they can find their way in.

2. Will mice go away on their own?

It’s unlikely. While mice are more common in garages during the fall, if they find your garage comfortable and safe, they may stick around even after the weather warms up in spring.

3. Do mice bite?

Mouse bites are very rare. Although mice can carry diseases, the main risk usually comes from contact with their droppings, not from bites.

4. How long do mice live?

In a protected environment like a garage, a mouse can live for two or three years. Because they reproduce rapidly, once a breeding pair is established, you’ll likely have mice around indefinitely unless you remove their habitat and control their population with traps or bait.

5. How do I dispose of dead mice?

If you kill a mouse with a trap or poison bait, carefully double-bag it in plastic and dispose of it with household trash. This prevents other animals from accessing the carcass. Never put dead mice in a compost pile, and flushing them down the toilet isn’t recommended.

When to Call a Professional

While eliminating mice from a garage is usually doable, severe infestations may require professional help. If you hear mice in hidden areas or within walls, can’t trap them, or still see droppings after trying all methods, it’s time to call an exterminator.

Professionals can identify entry points, resolve issues faster, and provide pet- and family-friendly solutions.

How to Get Rid of Mice in Your Garage

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