Here’s how to keep mice out of your kitchen

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 furball started to move, I let out what I think anyone could describe as a blood-curdling scream.

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How to keep mice away
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How to keep mice away

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 enticing them. It’s one of these 11 things 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 to (or even inside) your cabinets, by 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—especially dried goods such as crackers or pasta­—and I could have done 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. With sealed containers, there won’t be anything available to snack on, so there would be no reason for the mouse to be attracted to my food. Check out these 10 true stories of crazy things mice have done in homes.

Keep the kitchen swept and tidy

Mice can be sustained on very small amounts of food a day. They only need about three to five 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. Don’t miss these other 10 chemical-free ways to get rid of pests.

Eliminate “nesting” places

Of course the mouse liked my oven mitt—it was a cozy and warm little home for the critter! 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 CDC.

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 outThe rodents 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 also keep that mouse’s little rodent friends away (I hope). Next, find out about 13 more things that could be attracting pests in your home.

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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 an 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.

The post Here’s How to Keep Mice out of Your Kitchen appeared first on Reader's Digest.

RELATED: Cleaning hacks to learn

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Lazy cleaning hacks

Make a habit of putting at least one thing away when you enter a different room in your house. 

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Spray an all-purpose cleaner every time you shower. This will prevent mildew build up and ensure you never have to an entire two hours to clean your showers.

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Opt for a shower gel or body wash instead of using a bar of soap to avoid extra shower scum. Bath & Body Works has a Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte variation perfect for this season. 

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Get rid of pet hair (and your own) by wiping all your hairy surfaces with a pair of slightly damp rubber gloves. 

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Has this ever happened to you? ::tragic::

Grab your iron and lift that stain right up. 

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To clean a dirty microwave take a simple sponge and throw it into a bowl with water, dish soap and vinegar. Then, place the damp sponge inside your microwave and heat for three minutes. Once that's done, the microwave will be full of condensation and much easier to clean. Be careful though, the sponge will be very hot so it's best to wear rubber gloves as you clean. 

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Clean your shower liner by throwing it in the wash with a few soiled towels. Add a half-cup of baking soda in with your normal amount of detergent. At the rinse cycle, dump in a half-cup of vinegar. Hang your shower liner to dry.

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Keep coal or baking soda in your fridge to absorb gross odors. 

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Line your George Foreman grill with aluminum foil before using it to avoid hours of scrubbing post-eating.  

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Eat straight out of takeout containers or a tortilla to avoid having dishes to wash. 

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Keep cleaning supply where you use it. 

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Avoid heavy-duty fridge cleaning by lining your fridge shelves with Press' N Seal

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