How to Get Rid of Mice in Kitchen Cabinets – Once and For All!

A mouse in the house is never fun, but an especially awful feeling arises when you spot one scurry across the kitchen floor, climb up onto the countertop, and shove itself into one of your cabinets through a whole no bigger than the tip of a pencil. Unfortunately, this sort of problem is not uncommon; mice are resilient, incredibly fast reproducers, and sneaky. Therefore, it is incredibly important to take the necessary precautions and steps to keep mice from entering, get rid of mice from your home, and prevent your home—particularly your kitchen—from becoming a mouse magnet.  

Please keep in mind that much of the information in this article can be applied to pest control in many locations in the home, but the kitchen deserves special attention due to its importance to human health, and because mice are found in the kitchen quite often.

Why do I have mice in my kitchen?

Chances are if you have a mouse problem, you will spot one (and/or its markings) in your kitchen. To put it quite simply, mice need food and water, and what better place in your house for them to go to than your kitchen? 

However, it’s important to understand that mice are only attracted to food and water sources that they can access. For example, there may be a main source of food or water in your kitchen that a mouse may be attracted to, such as a garbage can without a tightly fitted lid, and if you properly fix that source, he may have no reason to return. But more likely than not, there are a number of feasting and drinking options for a mouse in a person’s kitchen. 

So, take a look around your kitchen. Are there crumbs on the floor or countertop? Are there open bags of nuts, chips, bread, candies, or other snacks out in the open OR in your cabinets? Remember, mice can squeeze through incredibly small sized openings, so just because you store your snacks are in cabinets or a cupboard doesn’t mean a mouse won’t be able to get to them. 

What to do if there’s a mouse in your kitchen?

So, you’ve spotted a little furry friend scuttling around your kitchen. The absolute best thing you can do? Clean, clean, clean, and keep cleaning! 

For more detail, follow the tips and strategies below to ensure the best results:

Clean up the Kitchen

Cleaning your kitchen should become a weekly chore.

  1. Vacuum your kitchen floor and any rugs if you have them: crumbs often go unnoticed in people’s homes.
  2. Wipe down all countertops and flat surface areas in your kitchen where food scraps and crumbs may have accumulated: don’t forget often unnoticed places such as in and around your toaster, microwave, and stove.
  3. Take away all of their food sources. All food outside of your refrigerator and freezer should be stored in tightly sealed plastic and glass containers; yes, this even includes items like pasta, cereal, and chips. Don’t hold back…it is better to over exaggerate the security of your food storing than under exaggerate. 

Peppermint Oil

Not only do mice hate the smell of peppermint oil, but many people also find the fresh smell to be quite enjoyable, particularly in the kitchen! There are many ways to use peppermint as a mouse deterrent, but one of the best ways is to soak cotton balls in the oil and place them around your kitchen. If you suspect mice to be dwelling in certain cabinets or areas or you suspect them entering through certain, visible holes, place them close to these spots and chances are the mice will stay away. 

Steel Wool

Look for any mouse sized openings in your cabinets and cupboards. Generally speaking, an adolescent mouse can fit its whole body through the size of the circumference of a pen, while an adult mouse can fit its whole body through the size of a dime. If you find any of these sized entry points, stuff them with steel wool (dryer sheets and caulking also work) to keep mice from getting through them.

Pro tip: Don’t hold back. This stuff is incredible durable and works wonders, especially in awkwardly shaped cracks and crevices.

Snap Traps

Set traps away from your kitchen. Sure, you could set some in your kitchen if you don’t mind dealing with crime scenes in your cooking and eating space, but it’s much advised to place them elsewhere in your home to minimize the amount of mouse traffic (including urine, droppings, hair, etc) in your kitchen. Make sure you get rid of the each trap after each kill and put out new ones.

Pro tip: most people have found snap traps with peanut butter to be the most effective trapping method.

Also, don’t worry about your mice not finding the traps: they will go through great lengths to track down the source of that delicious peanut butter smell. However, if a trap is empty after a few days, you may try moving it to other locations; sometimes mice stray away from traps placed near a lot of human traffic.

Cayenne Pepper

This common household pepper, which is a moderately hot chili pepper, can help repel mice, as well as flavor your dinner! The most common use of cayenne pepper as a mouse repellent is to sprinkle cayenne pepper powder around areas that you don’t want mice to cross. For example, if you suspect or know mice are entering through a specific hole, sprinkle some powder around the hole. Also, some homeowners have had success sprinkling powder around the entire perimeter of their homes to prevent mice from entering. 

Pro tip: Make sure you buy cayenne pepper in bulk because you may end up using a lot of it.

Can you get sick from mouse droppings?

Yes. In fact, you can get very sick from mouse droppings. Mice can carry many different types of bacteria, viruses, and diseases, and they commonly transmit them through their droppings. They can also commonly transmit them though their urine, hair, and saliva (a mouse bite). Some of the illnesses transmitted by mice include Hantavirus, Bubonic Plague, Salmonellosis, and Rat-Bite Fever. 

While it is statistically unlikely to contract a serious illness from your typical house mouse, I cannot stress enough how important it is to take the issue seriously; in rare cases, people have become fatally ill from mouse droppings. 

How do you get mouse poop out of drawers?


  1. First things first…gear up and prep for the clean up. Always wear a face covering (preferably a medical face mask), gloves, and eye protection when handling mouse poop.
  2. Now it’s time to scoop up the poop and get rid of it. Depending on how much is in your drawers, you can use a mini vacuum, a damp paper towel, or another method of your choosing. Whichever method you choose, immediately dispose of the droppings. 
  3. Lastly, clean both yourself and your drawers. Disinfect your drawers with soap and a wet sponge or cloth/paper towel. Once your drawers are cleaned, dispose of your gloves and wash your hands (you can never be too careful). Finally, take off your face and eye covering and wash or dispose of them. Wash your hands again!

Can mice come through kitchen sink?

Yes, mice can enter your house through holes around sink waste pipes, and while it is unlikely a mouse can also enter your house through sewer lines; if your drainage pipes are not properly sealed, a mouse can certainly enter through your kitchen sink drain. If you suspect you have a mouse problem, particularly in your kitchen, open the cabinets below your sink and check around the pipes frequently to ensure that mice are not hiding or entering, and also speak to a pest control specialist to assess your piping conditions.

Can mice open cabinet doors?

No, mice do not have opposable thumbs and do not have the size or weight to open a closed cabinet door. However, all mice need to enter your cabinet is a hole or crack with a diameter of a dime. So, if you notice mice—or signs or mice—in your cabinets, it is because there are vulnerabilities in the cabinets such as gaps or holes near or around the cabinet doors. 

Where do mice hide in stoves?

Your stove may be the last place you want a mouse to be in your kitchen, but it is sadly a popular spot for them to dwell. Stoves are often surrounded by crumbs, juices, oils, and flavors that all keep mice close by. Furthermore, many ovens have cracks and openings around them that lure mice in: it is not uncommon for mice to nest in these openings. Mice will tend to stay out of the interior of the oven, but they can still do plenty of damage around the exterior. 

When examining your stove, look for gaps and openings along the sides, the bottom where it meets the floor, and along the back of the stove where it meets the wall

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