As the cold weather settles in, mice often start looking for food and warmth, which could lead them straight into your house.

If mice do find a way in, the telltale signs are simple. You'll find mouse droppings, little bits of chewed-up food packages, and you can often hear them in the walls and ceiling of your home.

It is important to keep them out. Mice may carry diseases, they contaminate food and leave a mess and they can chew through parts of your home, such as electrical wires, insulation and even wood.

Here's how to get rid of mice, clean up after them and keep them out.

Get Rid of Mice: This can be the tough part if you're squeamish, but here are some suggestions:

  • Try setting traps – there are different types available. Some are disposable; others need to be re-set after you catch a mouse. Remember that mice love cheese or peanut butter if you need to use bait.
  • Call a pest company – treatment will include sourcing and blocking entryways with products such as mesh wiring, wood, or spray foam insulation.

Clean up after them: The maid service experts at MOLLY MAID stress the importance of cleaning up any areas that have been visited by mice.

  • The first step is to spray the area with a disinfectant. It will help keep small particles from droppings, urine, saliva or nesting materials from flying about in the air as you clean.
  • Wear gloves and even a disposable mask, and sweep or vacuum the area.
  • Finish by wiping with a disinfectant cleaner, then drying the surface with a dry rag.  

Keep Mice Out: Now you have to block the entrance points and keep mice outside where they belong.

  • Always close garage doors at night.
  • Declutter your house, including the garage and basement. The house cleaners at MOLLY MAID also recommend getting rid of clutter and trash. (Mice love messy spaces, which make it easy for them to nest and hide.)
  • Be sure that all food sources are in sealed containers and cupboards. Don't leave pet food out overnight.
  • Place weather-stripping around doors (which will also improve energy efficiency).
  • Look closely outside of the home for cracks in a wall or foundation – that's all mice need to get in – and seal these cracks.
  • Move firewood or mulch away from your home's immediate exterior. Again, these are the kinds of places where mice hide.
  • If all else fails – get a cat!