Home > Mom's Life > Managing Your Home > Home Improvements > Sanitizing Your Home to Keep Rodents Away

Sanitizing Your Home to Keep Rodents Away

Sanitation means keeping food away from rodents and making your home and its sur-roundings less rodent-friendly.

Food Sanitation

A Fine Mess

All three control measures -- sanitation, rodent-proofing, and reducing populations -- are essential for a successful rodent-control program. Don't skip one of these steps!

Around the House

Food, water, and shelter provided for pets often contribute to rodent population problems. Pet food and bird food are two of the most common rodent attractors. The smells of both are extremely attractive. Once rodents get a taste, they'll try to feed there as often as they can-daily, if possible.

Food-sanitation measures include the following:

  • Storing bulk foods in rodent-proof containers or rooms. Metal canisters and glass containers with lids that seal tightly are as rodent-proof as you can get. In a pinch, very thick plastic is also an option. If you enjoy feeding birds, keep feed in rodent-proof containers, too.

  • Keeping stored foods off the floor and away from walls. This is a step more suited to places where large quantities of foodstuffs are stored, but one to keep in mind if you have a pantry or closet where you keep food.

  • Wiping or vacuuming up spilled food, from either cooking or storage, as soon as you see it. Flour and sugar easily migrate from their containers, especially if you store them in their original packaging. Rodents love both. Corn meal and other grain products are also prime rodent targets.

  • Picking up animal food after your pets eat. Many owners "free-feed" their pets, allowing their animals free access to food 24/7. Switching to a controlled feeding program — you put food down, your pet eats what it wants during a specific period of time, after which you pick it up — may take some adjusting to for animals and owners, but it will also keep the food away from rodents.

Outdoor Sanitation

Making your home less hospitable for furry creatures involves outdoor and indoor measures. Outdoor sanitation includes…

  • Clearing away brush and grass growing near or next to your home's foundation. Rodents use both to build nests, and as hiding spots when they're not in your house.

  • Relocating bird feeders. If you have bird feeders near your home, move them to another spot farther away. If this isn't possible, use squirrel-proof feeders and clean up all spilled seed every night.

  • Finding new places to stack wood, lumber, and other building materials if necessary. All should be located at least 100 feet away from your home.

  • Hauling away trash or anything else that rodents can nest in, including old tires, fallen trees, abandoned cars, and old lawn mowers.

  • Keeping trash and recyclables in rodent-proof containers with tight-fitting lids. Old-fashioned metal garbage pails are ideal.

  • Keeping grass closely mowed. Also, cutting any limbs on trees that overhang your house will give roof rats less access to your roof.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Common Household Disasters © 2005 by Paul Hayman and Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


8 Epic Emoji-Themed Crafts, Activities & Recipes
Check out the best emoji crafts, activities, and recipes! They're perfect for an emoji-themed birthday party or anytime you need DIY (and screen-free!) summer activities for kids, tweens, and teens.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme!

10 Free Summer Learning Worksheets
Print these free printables for preschoolers and kindergarteners to help your child's mind stay sharp until September!

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks