Here’s How to Keep Mice Out of Your Kitchen

Updated: Jun. 16, 2023

Now that the mouse is out of your kitchen, how do you keep it out for good? These tips will help you keep those pesky rodents out.

mouseSergey Zaykov/Shutterstock

I had just returned from a glorious 12-day vacation, feeling relaxed and surprisingly ready to get back to work the next day. I was cooking something easy for dinner that night—sloppy joes, I believe—with some fries roasting in the oven. As I went to grab my oven mitt to take the fries out, my hand ended up cupping a tiny, little mouse. I was confused at first, but when the little fur ball started to move, I let out what I think anyone could describe as a blood-curdling scream.

After catching the mouse and putting it outside, I referred back to some of my former research on mice, like this surprising hack that will keep mice away for good. Although it’s a solid tip, I was determined to make sure that nothing like this would ever happen to me again.

In attempt to make my kitchen a rodent-free zone, I came across a few tricks that can assist in making my kitchen—and my oven mitts—an even less attractive place to make a home.

Eliminate all entry points

Did you know that mice can be master contortionists? These suckers can actually fit inside holes that are less than an inch wide. There are even YouTube videos that prove this theory. Mice can squeeze their way into tiny holes, especially if there’s food to entice them. It’s one of the many things that mice don’t want you to know.

The first thing to do is go through your entire kitchen and find any entry points that could possibly have enticed the mouse to your kitchen. Look for holes next (or even inside) your cabinets, all of your shelves, behind or under the stove (or even the refrigerator), and much more.

Seal all of your food

No wonder the little mouse liked my kitchen—there’s food there! I admit that I’m not the best at properly sealing all of my food—like dried goods such as crackers or pasta­—and I could do a much better job at keeping these things sealed tight.

After this incident, I decided to grab some seal-tight containers and jars to store all of my food. That way there’s no reason for the mouse to be enticed to my food. With sealed containers, there won’t be anything available to snack on.

Keep the kitchen swept and tidy

Mice can be sustained on very small amounts of food a day. They only need about 3 to 5 grams of food a day, so yeah, your crumbs are the perfect snack for these little guys. They may not seem like a big deal on the floor, but trust me, it’s enough for the little mice to come swooping.

It may seem obnoxious, but one of the best ways to keep mice out is to keep the kitchen tidy—not just once a week, but every day. After cooking that meal, give your kitchen floors a quick sweep and those counters (and stovetops) a good wipe.

Eliminate “nesting” places

Of course, the mouse liked my oven mitt, it was a cozy and warm little home for it! My oven mitts were hanging in a spot close to my kitchen counters for easy access. Which, of course, meant the opening for the mitt was out in the open and perfect for a nesting little mouse.

After realizing this, I evaluated all of the “nesting” places inside of my kitchen that would seem cozy for a rodent. This also can help eliminate places where mice can poop…which yes, can host a variety of poisoning diseases, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.

Try using peppermint

Again, this is a part of the surprising little hack to avoid mice that I discovered a few months back. Some people have reported that peppermint plants or essential oils are a great way to keep mice out. They repel at the smell of it. Although I don’t have personal experience with this theory, I went out to buy a candle with mint as a prominent scent. Burning this after cooking a meal not only makes my clean kitchen smell fresh, but will keep that mouse’s little rodent friends away (I hope).

Now that you have mice safely out of your kitchen, here’s how you can keep mice out of the rest of the house.