Recently, a visitor came to my house. It was a little gray mouse, who scared me a bit at first. That was before he grew on me.
I’d never had a mouse in my house before, except briefly when I lived in the country. However, I always had a cat at the time, so that problem was really over before it had begun. These days, I live on the outskirts of the city, and I don’t have a cat — just a very old dog who would rather cuddle up with mice than eat them. For the first time, I had an issue that I knew I needed to handle, but for some reason, I kept putting it off. Really, I was unsure of what to do, and buying snap traps and killing the little guy seemed cruel.
Still, people warned me that if I didn’t take care of the problem soon, I’d have more than one visitor.
I kept finding mouse droppings all along the back edge of my counter every morning, too. The problem was getting pretty gross. I worried there might be more mice already. I asked Facebook for suggestions for how to get rid of the little guy, and I got tons of responses. I took the best ones and got to work. But in truth, the problem wasn’t as easy to solve as I’d hoped.
When I asked my Facebook friends what to do, there was absolutely no shortage of answers. People told me all kinds of reasons why he might have found his way in, from the cold weather to the fact that he could be attracted to my dog’s food. Either way, one thing was for sure, people said: He (or she) was going to start making babies. Yikes.
Some suggestions made me nervous. Some friends said, “You better just kill him before there are more.” I thought about it, but I imagined there had to be a better way — a way that I could end up setting him free. The reviews were mixed, so I knew I’d actually have to try the “humane” ways out myself if I was committed to not killing the little guy or gal.
1. Dryer Sheets
The first suggestion I got seemed pretty simple. Apparently, mice don’t like the smell of dryer sheets, and it will deter them from hanging out. I bought a box of dryer sheets and stuffed them in all the places I had seen him scurry. Alas, they didn’t do a darn thing. The next morning, I saw droppings right next to and even on top of the dryer sheets. Mouse: 1. Me: 0.
2. Peppermint Oil
The next suggestion seemed easy enough to enact, as well. Now, essential oils are often touted as a cure-all for just about anything. I was skeptical of this suggestion, but several people said that cotton balls infused with essential oils, specifically peppermint oil or tea tree oil, would shoo him away. I tried it, but he definitely didn’t hate it. I caught him lurking all around those cotton balls. He might’ve even given himself a little scrub with one.
3. No-Kill Trap
I was seriously starting to worry that all of the people who said, “Just kill him!” were totally right. Maybe I’d been too optimistic about this venture. He’s just a mouse, after all! Maybe I should just get rid of him the old-fashioned way. Still, I kept up hope. I purchased a no-kill trap from Amazon and filled it with peanut butter to tempt him. But the mouse never went in. Or if he did, he somehow got away without the trap door closing behind him.
You can try it for yourself by buying one on Amazon.
4. Block Holes With Steel Wool
Some people said that if I kept my kitchen super clean and filled the holes where the mouse was getting in, then eventually he’d leave because there’d be no way to get in and nothing for him to find. But it was winter, and I knew he was nice and cozy. I used steel wool to block some holes around my kitchen. But I live in an old house. Unless I was going to hire someone to come in and do this professionally, I was pretty sure my little friend would find ways to get in and stay. And he did.
5. Glue Traps
Let me just say this: I was warned against glue traps. In fact, I was told a horror story involving a rat getting stuck to one and my friend having to kill it in a very, very gruesome way. Glue taps basically terrified me, and more than one person said, “Do not do it.” But the idea of snapping the mouse’s head off irked me. I figured if I used the glue trap, I could find a way to get him off it and set him free. People said it was a bad idea, but I went ahead with it anyway.
The glue trap sat out for two days, and I was feeling hopeless. Now, these particular traps said they were prebaited. But he hadn’t set a tiny foot on any of the three I had placed in all his favorite spots. I decided to kick things up a notch.
You can find these glue traps on Amazon.
6. Glue Trap + Peanut Butter
This was it: The final effort before I did what I really didn’t want to do. I put the peanut butter on the glue trap and took my kids to school. When I got home, there he was, hanging out in the corner, desperate to get free! I had caught him, only now I had no idea what to do with him. I feared I had made a big mistake!
I frantically consulted Google for answers. The first thing that came up said to use oil to help free him. I put the trap in a Tupperware and dumped oil on the little guy while he squirmed. At first, it seemed like more torture, but in just a minute, it looked like he was starting to slip off. Soon only one foot was attached to the sticky pad. I dumped a little more vegetable oil on him, and he landed right in the Tupperware. He looked miserable and pathetic, but I told him, “Don’t worry dude! Soon, you’ll be free — far, far away from my house!”
Yes, it was a lot of effort to not just murder the mouse, and I definitely don’t fault anyone for wanting to set the regular old traps. But knowing that the sticky traps work and that there’s still a way to set the mouse free made me feel really glad I’d put in the effort.