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How to Keep Mice out of a Shed

The shed outside your home welcomes mice inside if you look at it from a mouse’s point of view. There are plenty of holes and cracks to get in and out. 

They’re dark and undisturbed by humans most of the time. You’ll often find many boxes and cartons to hide and nestle in. 

And there are plenty of insects and leftovers around the yard to feed on. The shed regularly looks like the perfect place to spend those cold wintery nights to the mice. 

As winters approach, mice are on the lookout for places where they can stay warm and access a steady supply of food. Most of us seal our homes against pest infestations, yet we don’t do the same for our sheds. 

Well, we don’t until a mice infestation hits us smack in our faces.

Here’s how to keep mice out of a shed:

  1. Clean up your shed
  2. Use bleach
  3. Employ natural scents
  4. Place mothballs
  5. Hang dryer sheets
  6. Put out used cat litter
  7. Block gaps with steel wool
  8. Get a predator
  9. Try humane traps
  10. Remove any pet food
  11. Clean up any electrical wires
  12. Call pest control

Once you have a mice infestation in your shed, the quickest solution is to poison and kill them. This is often necessary because driving out many mice might not be very practical. It’s an unpleasant task, but someone has to do it. 

Mice are not dumb creatures, and they remember traps and baits. And they won’t fall for them once they have figured it out. 

This makes it necessary for you to bring in a professional exterminator. So save yourself the hassle by preventing mice from nesting in your shed in the first place. 

How to keep mice out of the shed

Why let the situation worsen before you even have the chance to take action? As winter draws closer, start preparing your shed so you don’t leave any reason or means for mice to visit the place. 

If you suspect a mouse has somehow gotten in, take immediate action to drive it out. If you don’t, one mouse turns into ten before you know it. And suddenly, your shed is crawling with hundreds of the little critters. 

Here are some things you can do to pest-proof your shed from mice.

1. Clean up your shed

If you have many storage boxes, containers, barrels, or cartons stored away in the shed, it might be time to clean up. The piled-up junk gives mice dark hiding places (and potential food sources). 

Here, they can build their nests without crossing paths with you. Empty containers also provide shelter from the cold winds and temperatures. 

This gives the mice a perfect place to stay. Clear away empty, useless cardboard boxes to start. Then, throw out the unnecessary junk that might become home to small insects that the mice can also feed on. 

2. Use bleach

After clearing away the floor space as much as possible, wash the shed thoroughly. Wipe the floors with bleach and water. 

Bleach has an overpowering smell. The mice hate it, but it also eliminates all odors of mouse urine and droppings. 

Pee and poop attract other mice to the location, and they also remind the mouse where they have been before, encouraging them to return. 

Mice use their urine to serve as a reminder of where they have been. Their keen olfactory senses help them sniff out places they’ll find shelter and food. 

3. Employ natural scents

Other scents irritate and repel mice. Peppermint oil, chili oil or chili pepper, cloves, and other spices are irritants. 

An effective way of preventing mice is to soak cotton balls in these oils. Or, you can put pieces of cloves and cayenne pepper in the corners of the shed. 

When a house mouse picks up on the unpleasant smell, it’ll dart off, searching for food sources in a better-smelling place. 

4. Place mothballs

Many people follow the practice of leaving out mothballs to keep mice (and other rodents) away from the shed. But, if you do a bit of research, you’ll see that naphthalene does virtually nothing to deter mice. (Contrary to popular belief.)

Mothballs are pieces of fabric soaked in naphthalene. Naphthalene is an active chemical that gives off an overpowering smell. 

It can cause dizziness and kidney and liver damage in humans if inhaled excessively. So, whether it’s an effective mouse repellent or not becomes a secondary concern, and its damaging effects on humans become the first.

Studies conducted on naphthalene’s effects on mice are intriguing. Many discovered that it causes lung damage and tissue breakdown in the nasal canal.

This is certainly not enough to keep the mouse away. And it renders other preventative measures useless. 

Using scents, for instance, is useless. The mouse can’t pick up on any smells after its nasal tissues become damaged. 

5. Hang dryer sheets

Another familiar remedy people use to get rid of mice is hanging dryer sheets in areas of infestation. The practice carries on without any considerable evidence of its effectiveness. 

While mice do not like the smell of dryer sheets, this method will only work temporarily. The sheets will lose their scent in a few days, warranting replacements. 

6. Put out used cat litter

Some people say you should put out a tray of used cat litter in the corner of the shed. While cat litter shouldn’t bother you, mice pick up on the scent because of their powerful nose. 

A whiff of cat urine will fool the mouse into thinking that there’s a cat around, and it will run for its life. Cats are one of the most notorious predators of mice, and any sensible mouse would want to steer clear of the space. 

7. Block gaps with steel wool

Any scent-based prevention will only work until the mouse is not bothered by the scent. The only practical way to keep mice out is to seal their entry points.

Seal cracks in the shed’s doors and walls. This should honestly be one of the first things you should do to prevent field mice. 

Mice are agile. They’re also excellent climbers and jumpers, which means they may access any accessible aperture. 

They are also small and can flatten their bodies to squeeze through gaps as small as 0.6 cm. You need to be very vigilant and leave no potential entry points for these creatures. 

But they are excellent chewers too. So whatever you stuff the cracks with, they might be able to chew through it to enter. 

Thus, an excellent sealant is steel wool, and this material is inexpensive and available at all supermarkets. 

It’s also tough to bite through and irritate the mice’s teeth, making it an effective deterrent. 

8. Get a predator

You can always keep a house pet that is not very fond of field mice, cats being the most obvious choice. Mice are a cat’s favorite game, and it has been observed that mice clear the place within days of a cat’s arrival. 

But, cats are full-time pets. And if you do opt to bring in a cat to deal with the mouse infestation in your shed, make sure to treat the pet well. It is a pet, after all, not a mouse-killing machine. 

Other natural predators you can attract to your yard that will expel the mice from your shed are owls. Owls can swoop down and hunt up to 15 mice in a day, making for quick and effortless expulsion of the mice in your shed. 

You have to put up an owl house in your yard, put out food and water, and wait for an owl family to arrive.

9. Try humane traps

Often, people resort to traps and baits to kill mice. In the case of severe infestations, sometimes, it is the only practical option left. But, you are still left to deal with their dead bodies and the awful smell.

If you are not on board with killing off the mice, you can choose more humane traps. Lure the mice into a container with a scrap of food. Then, trap them in there to later release them out into the wild, or, at the very least, far away from your property. 

10. Remove any pet food

House mice are a common problem in many homes, and they can be attracted to your pet’s food. If you have (even unopened) dog or cat food in your shed, it’s important to remove it.

Remember, it’s now a food source for them, so removing it will help prevent mice from taking up residence.

Mice are always on the lookout for food sources, and animal feed is an easy target. Removing their food from your shed will make it less appealing to mice and help keep them out of your home.

Additionally, keep pet food sealed in airtight containers and stored in a cool, dry place so that it doesn’t become a food source for other creatures like ants or spiders. Taking these precautions will help you keep your home free of unwanted pests.

11. Clean up any electrical wires

Mice are notorious for their ability to gain access to small spaces, and this often includes sheds. If your shed has any electrical wiring, it’s important to clean it up to deter mice from accessing your stored items.

Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to properly clean up electrical wires, leading to more damage and an increased risk of fire. The first step is to unplug all cords and remove them from the shed.

Next, use proper tools, such as wire cutters and strippers, to remove any insulation. Be sure to dispose of the insulation properly so that mice can’t use it to build nests.

Finally, store all cords in sealed containers so that mice can’t gain access to them. This will help to ensure your shed is protected from any future infestations.

12. Call a rodent control or pest control service

Call a professional if you don’t want to deal with the problem yourself. Skilled pest control workers will clear out your shed for you. 

This way, you never have to lift a finger. Extermination is a fast and easy way to get rid of the problem quickly. 

Still, it does not guarantee that there won’t be an infestation in the future. The only way to prevent an infestation is to take measures to block out the mice’s entry points. 

Also, please do something to deter them from making their home in your shed. Prevention is better than a cure. By taking some of the measures listed above, you can have a mice-free shed.

How do I clean up mouse droppings?

No one likes dealing with mouse poop, but it’s an unfortunately common problem in many homes. You may be particularly vulnerable to an infestation if you have a shed.

Mice are attracted to sheds because they offer shelter from the elements and plenty of hiding places. Plus, if your shed is full of stored food, it’s like a buffet for mice. If you find mouse poop in your shed, it’s important to clean them up immediately.

Mice can spread disease, and their droppings can attract other pests like insects. To clean up mouse poop, start wearing gloves and a face mask to protect yourself from exposure. Then, use a wet vac or paper towels to pick up the droppings.

Why shouldn’t I use snap traps?

Related questions

What animals hunt and eat mice?

Field mice are an essential part of the diet of many animals—namely, cats, foxes, hyenas, owls, eagles, hawks, snakes, etc.

Why do mice appear more around winters?

Mice start sneaking into homes during the winters because they feel cold. Mice hate the cold. As soon as it approaches, they go on the lookout for warm places that they can take shelter in for the season.