Top 5 Most Common Ways Mice Get Inside

October 5, 2023

Although many of Iowa’s pests can withstand colder temperatures, many insects and rodents still seek warmth and shelter during fall and winter to escape the outdoor elements. There’s no better place to find those luxuries than our own homes, but there is no need to fear mice in your home this time of year if you take the right precautions to prevent an infestation. Our mice exterminators in Des Moines reveal the 5 most common ways mice get inside and how you can keep them out of your home.

Where are mice most likely to come inside?

Mice are known to enter homes in various ways, whether through a cracked door or window, your garage or even small openings high off of the ground. These critters are capable and oftentimes desperate to succeed as temperatures drop.

Adult mice typically weigh between 5 to 10 ounces and may grow to around 7 inches from their nose to the tip of their tail, yet, these rodents can fit through incredibly small spaces like cracks and crevices. Mice have been known to squeeze through openings the size of a nickel. To make matters worse for homeowners, mice can climb! That’s right, these rodents can actually scale the walls of a home to reach entry points that are high off of the ground. So, how does a homeowner avoid mice?


By knowing the most common ways mice get inside, you can inspect and protect your home this fall and winter. Our rodent control experts share the 5 most common ways mice can enter a home below, and some of them might surprise you:

  • Open garage doors. Keeping mice out of your garage is potentially the best way to prevent them from entering your home. Mice tend to gravitate towards garages and sheds because they provide shelter, they keep intrusive light out and it’s a place where mice can experience less encounters with humans. Additionally, garages will usually contain food like grain, dog food and more.
  • HVAC units. An AC condenser is the outdoor portion of an air conditioner and mice and rats like to crawl into the small spaces in the condenser. Inside this space, they will harvest air duct materials to build their nests. These rodents can also chew through refrigerant lines, electrical wires and other AC components leading to expensive repairs. Mice and rats can also make their way into the ducts of your HVAC system. Once inside this cozy space, they immediately start making a home. You’ll know they’ve made their way in if you begin hearing a pitter patter in your ceiling or attic at night, or there’s an unexplainable odor in your home, there may be a mouse in your house.
  • Laundry vents. Finding anything other than your clothes in the laundry room can be an extremely unpleasant sight – especially if it’s a rodent! Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for mice to find a nesting area near laundry appliances. Dryers in particular provide warmth during Iowa’s winter months making them the ideal nesting spot for mice. These pests can enter through tears in vent tubes or if the vent tube isn’t tightly sealed to the appliance or wall. However, the most common reason for mice ending up in the laundry room is a faulty vent flapper which is located on the outside of your home.
  • Home additions. Adding more space to your home is a great decision, but double check that all cracks and crevices are sealed properly! Home additions are a common way for mice to get inside because rodents can sense gaps where warm air is being released. Oftentimes, our rodent control team in Des Moines is called to a home where mice or other rodents have torn through the corners of walls with their big, strong teeth.
  • Thresholds. Ensuring gaps under your door aren't too large can go a very long way in protecting your home from mice and other rodents. Be sure to keep doors and windows sealed for protection against all sorts of infestations this time of year as rodents aren’t the only, or smallest pests that are trying to get inside.

Best Ways to Prevent a Rodent Infestation

Mice infestations can be a huge inconvenience to homeowners and can even be hazardous to their health. To help you keep your home, and those in it, protected from rodents this fall and winter, check out our top tips to prevent a rodent infestation:

  • Keep doors closed. It can be tempting during Iowa’s glorious fall weather to crack the door open and let fresh air in, but this can leave your house vulnerable to many pests, including mice. If you’re leaving the door open but have a screened door still in place, you should still be cautious since rodents can tear through a wide variety of materials with their claws and teeth.
  • Seal off any cracks and gaps. Rodents can sense the heat loss through the smallest gap and will work their way inside if they get the chance. Use a rodent-proofing material, such as steel wool or aluminum foil, to fill and close off any cracks and crevices around the exterior of your home. While rodents can chew through incredibly tough materials, steel wool and aluminum foil require them to work much harder. More likely than not, they will move past your home in search of shelter elsewhere.
  • Keep bins covered. Whether it’s trash or pet food, keep all containers outside or in the garage sealed. Without access to a food source, there is no reason for rodents to want to invade your home. Don’t leave food sitting out in or around your home and be sure to securely contain any garbage cans or bins containing food to avoid mice in your home.
  • Maintain your exterior. Mice and rats are creatures that like to burrow during the colder months for warmth and shelter. Keep your lawn, landscaping and gutters free of debris to discourage rodents and other pests from making your yard their home. Damage from burrowing mice can be extensive and costly, so it’s important to act quickly if you spot an infestation on your property.

While we hope these tips will help homeowners enjoy a rodent-free fall and winter, reaching out to professional rodent control experts is always the best form of pest control and prevention.

Get Rid of Rodents Quickly With Help From Our Mice Exterminators in Des Moines

If you think you might have mice inside or near your home and are seeking rodent control in Des Moines, Preferred Pest Control has you covered! Simply give our mice exterminators a call for help with rodent prevention or getting rid of a mice infestation. With our trapping methods and decades of experience, our exterminators will keep your home free from pests! Call us now at (515) 415-5550 to schedule an appointment.