Mouse in the Pantry!

motherof3sonsFebruary 12, 2013

Well, we caught a mouse in the pantry last month and another a week later. We have been mouse free for three weeks (I hope). I am in the throes of the deep cleaning. So far I pulled out all the dishes, serving pieces, etc. The dishwasher is on its 10th load since last evening. All the linens are laundered, extra plastic and paper bags are gone. I plan to put the grandbabies booster seats in the dishwasher, too!

Now my question is - what do I do with the food? The little rodents chewed on every box and we tossed those. But what about the canned goods? Do I give them a good bath in hot soapy water, remove the labels and write on the cans? Part of me wants to pitch everything and start over. Expensive yes, but I certainly do not want all the germs.

Suggestions please...

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There is no reason to discard the canned or bottled food stuffs. You have the heebie-jeebies, and I get that, but reason must prevail.
Clean the can and bottle lids with warm soapy water. They are fine.
You caught 2 mice, but have you filled the hole they were coming in through?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 4:42PM
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Have you considered cats? :)

I have to put up with their shenanigans but it's a small price to pay for being rodent-free.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 4:45PM
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Yep, just wash in hot soapy water. You will probably want to pull off the wet labels and use a piece of tape to re-label when they are dry. I highly suggest keeping all food in glass or heavy duty plastic containers.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 4:48PM
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Fori is not pleased

If it hasn't been chewed open, it's fine. Spray the canned and jarred stuff with aerosol Lysol if it'll ease your worries.

Sticking the booster seats in the bath tub and spraying with a bleach solution and letting it soak would probably work as well as the dishwasher.

If you have Hanta virus anywhere near you, torch the place. I mean toss what you can and bleach the heck out of everything else while wearing a mask.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 4:50PM
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Re Hantavirus: It is a serious disease risk but it is NOT a risk if the mice are common house mice as opposed to wild mice.

See below for info from the CDC.

It is imperative to discover how the mice got into your pantry. Without doing that you will have continuing problems.
As far as storage for the future, I live on a farm and keep all perishables in glass jars, or heavy duty food-safe storage buckets. Paper goods are stored on top shelves where there is no food.

A cat is a good solution Since I have ten indoor cats (all formerly self-sufficient outdoor predators), I rarely have any mouse damage issue. The occasional hapless critter who ventures into the house triggers a ding-dong, whole-house, hunt frenzy. You don't need ten cats - one will do, especially if it is a former feral which will readily recognize the snack potential of a mouse.

Washing any closed cans and bottles with hot soapy water will suffice. Cleaning the shelves with a sprayed disinfectant counter cleaner is good, too.


Here is a link that might be useful: CDC link to Hanta Virus info

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:27PM
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Honestly, it sound like you are massively over reacting. I live in a 1882 home, every couple of years we get a couple of mice. I go whole hog in catching them quickly to prevent breeding (we put out probably 80 glue traps, completely blocking entry/exit areas to kitchen and under appliances), but I don't attempt to wash everything in the house afterwards. Mice stay where the food is and in a warm spot under an appliance. They are very unlikely to go into your dish cabinets, silverware drawers or on your furniture. They travel near walls and under cabinets to reach the nearest food supply and then back to where ever they are nesting.

If you have many boxes that were chewed on, you probably had/have more than two mice.

The best way to make sure you have captured every mouse is to completely clean up the droppings, place traps all around the area (many traps, for example line traps across the entire doorway/floor near the area where droppings were found). Check daily for more droppings. If you haven't found the mouse droppings from the two mice you caught, you haven't found the nesting area and probably have more mice.

It is also helpful if you can find out where the mouse entered the house (although this isn't always possible, my historic district home has more little openings that I could ever close). Common entry areas are around plumbing pipes that come up from the basement, vent areas, etc. A mouse can get through an opening of 1/3".

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:38PM
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Not sure what your basement is like.
Our neighbor had a problem a few years ago and the pest control person told her to put the bait on the top edges of the foundation wall in the basement (we have unfinished basements with stone foundations) He said that around the water hose from the garden faucet is a very common entry point, so seal it up with that expanding spray foam.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 7:27PM
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Thanks for all the responses. We have not had a mouse for 30 years. So, yes it is frustrating.the house is new construction and we have not found any openings, We believe they are coming in when the kids come to visit and leave the door open from the house to the garage. The last one came in when they were back for a visit.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:03PM
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Eek! We get them in our attic and occasionally hear them scrabbling away in the ceiling or walls. I put out mouse bait/poison and this clears up the problem (at least for a while). Good luck! By the way, there's an old wives tale that if you post pictures of your backsplash, it keeps the mice away....

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:50PM
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OB2B!!!!! I was reading away and did not look at who posted until I read the backsplash old wives tale. You are a hoot! If only I could have a backsplash. The tile company is supposed to come "soon" to review the job. The guy who was supposed to install the backsplash back in December is AWOL. I called and left a VM, sent a text, called again and left another VM. Still no response. So, needless to say I had to start the search all over again. When Dad went into the hospital it went way on the back burner.

Now, I did clean up all the droppings and set out a delectable menu of kidney beans for the lovely mice to chew on - if they continue to exist. I did find where they attempted to build a nest by shredding napkins. It is amazing how productive those little rodents can be!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 9:00PM
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once we got our cat, no more mouse droppings and empty traps. her mother was a hunter and would chase all the squirrels away!.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 9:57PM
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A cat would be great, however, we have asthma so no pets. Though we did have hermit crabs and an iguana named Buck Finster.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:21PM
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Not sure how well they work, but it may be worth trying one of those anti-mice high-frequency plug-ins? I think it's called Riddex.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 11:08PM
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I just bought some of these from I hope they work. Some say they do, some say they don't.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mouse repellent

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:19PM
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We didn't have any noticeable change after we put in electronic or scented repellents, but I think our mice are direct descendants of the Hulk. Poison is the best way to go. As noted above, basement and crawlspace is the best place for poison. We also leave poison in main living areas in boxes we built. Pets and children can't get to it, but mice can.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:37PM
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A couple of years ago I got up one morning, made my coffee and went to sit at the dining room table. There were mouse droppings on the table. I felt like the damn thing was taunting me. I was able to follow the dropping trail back to the little hole next to the downdraft vent and get it plugged with steel wool. If they are coming in from the garage, you might start trapping or poisoning out there. Rodents are everywhere, we just don't always see them.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:43PM
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We live in the country surrounded by corn and soybean fields along with horses and cows. We too get the occasional mouse in the basement when the garage door gets left open (that's in the basement).

We put out mouse poison in a couple of spots. You have to be careful though because it turns out they really liked my snow boots which were in the basement. I went to shake them out this winter, and a ton of mouse poison fell out-no mouse though. So they must put it in their cheeks like hamsters and carry it until they can munch on a little. Needless to say I have to get new boots.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 7:34PM
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