Are you at your wit’s end trying to find something to keep mice out of your home but are met with defeat every time you try methods that are “guaranteed” to work? We hear you, so we won’t sugar coat anything when it comes to rodent prevention. Let’s find out the truth about whether or not mice can chew through steel wool.
Mice can chew through steel wool, but since the edges scrape their noses, they are unlikely to persist. However, mice may remove the steel wool with their feet and squeeze inside. For optimal protection, combine steel wool with caulking and tightly pack every hole in your house — even the tiny ones.
For every mouse prevention-related question you have, we’ve got an answer. Keep reading to learn how to mouse-proof your home, why it’s important, and what to do if one gets inside.
Does Steel Wool Keep Mice Out?
Steel wool effectively keeps mice out because they know it can hurt them. While mice can chew through this material, they would rather not. The sharp, pointed sides of steel wool can harm a mouse’s nose, so even if they decide to gnaw it, chances are it’ll cause them too much discomfort to continue.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily mean steel wool will keep mice out. These rodents are smart and dextrous. If you don’t properly secure the piece of steel wool, the mouse may grab and remove the steel wool with their feet, creating a hazard-free entryway for them to move through.
Instead of using this material by itself, combine the steel wool with caulking. Then, use this mixture to fill the holes in your walls. Together, steel wool and caulking do a great job of firmly securing any gaps, making them unchewable and unmoveable.
Both steel wool and caulking are budget-friendly materials. You can purchase Loobani Steel Wool and DAP Painter’s Caulk on Amazon for an inexpensive DIY mouse control method. Combine the two materials and tightly pack any and all holes in your walls.
Why Mouse Prevention Is Important
Beyond the shock of seeing a mouse scattering through your home, these critters can be troublemakers. When it comes to pest control, prevention is the best solution. Here are some reasons you’ll want to do your best to keep house mice outdoors.
Mice are notorious chewers. They can and will gnaw on just about anything in front of them. Not only is this incredibly irritating, but it can also be a safety hazard. If a mouse munches on your electrical wires, the circuit can short. In fact, mice are common culprits of house fires because of this bad habit.
Droppings from any animal are never fun to clean up, but not all are equally dangerous. When it comes to mouse feces, you must act with extreme caution. Always wear gloves and a face mask when cleaning up mouse droppings.
If you find droppings but aren’t sure what type of animal they came from, carefully examine the shape and size. Mouse feces are about ¼ inch (6 mm) long and 1/16 inch (1.6 mm) thick with tapered ends and an indented center.
Instead of pulling out a ruler and getting up close and personal with the droppings, you can use rice for size comparison. Mouse droppings are slightly shorter than a piece of short-grain rice.
Like any wild animal, mice can carry a range of dangerous bacteria and viruses on them. The scary thing is that you don’t even need direct contact with a mouse to contract some of these diseases. All the more reason to step up your mouse-proofing game!
The most prominent concern with house mice is Hantavirus. This infection can range in severity but spreads through mere inhalation of a mouse’s bodily fluids like saliva, urine, and feces.
On the other hand, salmonellosis — a type of food poisoning — is much more common but typically less severe. If you’ve got a mouse running around your kitchen, there’s a good chance they’re contaminating your food, and you may not even know it.
Mice can repopulate at extremely high rates. In just a few months, there can be over 200 of them! That’s why they’re the second most populated mammal on the planet. If you don’t act quickly when you notice a new four-legged roommate, a couple of house mice can quickly grow into a full-blown infestation.
Mouse-Proofing Your Home
Mouse-proofing your home can be difficult as these little rodents are sneaky. You may not even notice you have a gap in your wall, but they certainly will. Mice can work their way through a crack as small as ¼ inch (6 mm). If a pencil can fit through, so can these critters.
On top of that, mice love to chew anything around them. Even if you didn’t originally have a hole in your wall, a mouse might create one. These pesky rodents can gnaw through plastic, rubber, wood, and even improperly set concrete.
As mentioned, the best way to keep mice out is by mixing steel wool with caulking. Look closely for even the tiniest of holes in your walls, especially near baseboards. Fill in the gaps with this combination of materials to make these openings impenetrable by a mouse. It may be tedious to fill the tiny holes, but as we said, it doesn’t take much space for a mouse to squeeze its way through.
Regularly check your building for cracks and examine how your fillings are holding up. Steel wool may rust over time, so copper wool may even be a superior material. Plus, copper wool gets stuck between a mouse’s teeth if they try to chew it, which will further deter them from attempting it again. You can purchase a 30 foot (9 meters) long roll of Stuff-fit Copper Mesh perfect for rodent control on Amazon.
How To Get Rid of House Mice
Have you mouse-proofed your home, but you’re still pretty sure an unwanted critter is running around? Keep in mind that if a mouse can’t enter your home, it also can’t exit. Use these tips to get rid of mice already in your home.
Bait the Mouse
Food is always a great way to find a mouse. They’ll eat just about anything they can find, so the type of food you leave out is not overly important. Chocolate, grains, and seeds are all effective options that the mouse in your house will love to eat.
Use Mouse Traps
Conventional mouse traps live up to the hype when it comes to rodent reduction. They’re a classic for a reason! You’ll want to set multiple traps in various spots around your home. Not only does this give you a greater chance at catching them quickly, but you may have more mice on your hands than you expected.
Remove Excess Clutter
Cleaning up your space may not eliminate mice, but it will make it easier to catch them. Additionally, a pile of junk can be a perfect nesting ground for these critters. Cleaning up clutter and food waste can prevent more mice from joining the party and make it harder for existing ones to hide.
Call an Exterminator
If you’re having trouble getting rid of house mice on your own, don’t want to risk leaving traps out because you have children and pets, or simply want these pets gone as soon as possible, call an exterminator. These professionals will remove the mice and give you specific advice on how to prevent infestations further.
There’s always a chance that you might not even have a mouse on your hands. In these cases, the techniques you were using may not have been suitable at all. An exterminator can properly identify the pests making your house a home and effectively get rid of them. When in doubt, leave it to the professionals.
While mice technically can chew through steel wool, they won’t do it. The sharp edges of the material scrape their noses as they gnaw, which deters the mice from attempting it again. However, if the steel wool is not properly secure, mice can remove the bundle with their feet and proceed to squeeze into the building.
The best way to stop these critters from getting inside is by combining the steel wool with caulking and using this mixture to pack all holes tightly.
- Terminix: What Can Mice Chew Through?
- How Stuff Works: Can steel wool stop mice?
- Orkin: Mouse Facts
- Terminix: The 8 Best Ways to Help Get Rid of Mice
- Orkin: What Do Mice Eat?
- CDC: Hantavirus