The name "crawlspace" may make this area sound like the perfect place for mice to crawl, and in fact crawlspaces are a common place for mice to hang out in your home. If you've heard the pitter patter of little feet coming from your crawlspace and perhaps even seen the little critters in person, then it's time to take action. You don't want to share your home with these tiny rodents for any longer than necessary! Follow these steps to get rid of mice—and the evidence they leave behind—in your crawlspace.
Step One: Plug any holes and cracks.
You might think that you should eradicate the mice and then close up the crawlspace, but it's actually best to seal any cracks first so you keep additional mice from entering while you're working on eradicating the ones that are already inside.
An easy way to plug all of the cracks in your crawlspace walls, floors, and ceiling is with spray foam insulation. You can buy a can at a hardware store and just spray a quick dab onto any little crack or crevice you see. (Work from the inside of the crawlspace.) Do not skip gaps around pipes or cords; even if they look small, a mouse can probably squeeze through there.
Step Two: Trap the mice.
There are two ways to do this. You can set a bunch of standard, spring-loaded mouse traps, placing a dab of peanut butter on each one. (Maple syrup and slices of hot dog also work well.) Or, you can purchase a humane mouse trap, which will cost a bit more but won't kill the mice.
Whichever type of trap you choose, set it up in your crawlspace at night, and check it in the morning. Repeat this step every night until you are no longer trapping new mice or hearing them move about.
Step Three: Remove all droppings and nest material.
Now that the mice are gone, it is time to clean up your crawlspace. Make sure you don long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, protective gloves, and a face mask before you do this. Rodent droppings can irritate your respiratory tract and may contain infectious bacteria.
Scoop any torn insulation and other nesting materials into a garbage bag. Then, use a shop vac to suck up all of the rodent droppings. You may need to lift up intact sheets of insulation in order to vacuum underneath them. Empty the vacuum bag outside immediately so you don't contaminate anything, and wash your hands (or maybe even take a full shower) after you're done cleaning up.
Step Four: Deodorize the crawlspace.
Even after you have removed all of the droppings, your crawlspace will probably still have a bit of a rodent odor. There are a few things you can do to remove this odor. First, set up a dehumidifier in your crawlspace. This will draw excess moisture from the air, which should leave it smelling fresher. After the dehumidifier has run for a day or so, set out a few bowls of vinegar. The vinegar will help refresh the air even further.
After three or four days with the vinegar and dehumidifier, remove both of these items and set a few open boxes of baking soda up in the crawlspace. The baking soda will help absorb any lingering odors. You may need to replace the boxes a few times over the course of a few weeks, but before long, your crawlspace will smell entirely fresh.
If you have trouble getting rid of the mice, contact an exterminator who specializes in mouse control. They can help you set up traps and secure the space to prevent additional mice from entering.