How Mice Get Under the Sink (and What to Do)

The kitchen is often a mess. This is where we cook, store food and wash dishes. It’s the heart of every home. Sometimes it can become cluttered with pots, pans, utensils and all sorts of other things that are just taking up space in our cabinets or on our countertops. What many people don’t realize though is that there’s another problem lurking under your sink: mice!

Mice love to make their nests in crawl spaces like under your sink because they’re warm and cozy and also because there’s plenty of food for them to eat – including the leftovers you put away from last night’s dinner. They can also find shelter from predators such as cats by crawling into small holes or cracks along the edges.

Mice get under the sink through holes and gaps in the sink cabinet. They usually find ways to get inside the house especially during winter through cracks in the wall, frequently opened doors, or even unsealed pipes.  Mice generally prefer the area under the sink because it’s rarely checked and cleaned by homeowners.

If you have a recurring problem with mice under the sink, there are simple solutions that could make you at ease.

Find out how to drive mice away from your home and why you have to do it right away.

What Are the Signs of Mice Infestation at Home?

There are several indicators that your house could be plagued by mice.

Instinctively, the first places you look for are the kitchen cabinets, drawers, and storage areas that are rarely opened.

Most of the time they can be located in the sink cabinet.

While it could be difficult to catch these mice on the act or while they are currently situated in the sink cabinet, there are indicators that they are living under the sink.

1. Mice droppings

Even if you don’t see the mice yourself, uncovering their droppings is enough evidence to confirm their presence.

Rodents and mice almost have identical-looking droppings also called pellets. They only differ in terms of size as mice pellets are smaller than that of the rodents.

Mice pellets are about eight to a quarter of an inch when it comes to length.

Fresh pellets appear dark or brown and are mostly moist. After a while, it becomes dry and crumbly.

Pieces of these droppings can be found in the kitchen cabinet, over the counter, or in areas where these mice run along.

You will typically find plenty of them in places where the mice thrive or have their nest.

Thereby, finding a saturated volume of mice pellets under the sink is a clear indicator that they have turned it into their habitat.

2. Gnaw Marks

One of the reasons we generally hate having mice inside the house is because they gnaw on almost everything.

Whether it’s a box of cereal, some pieces of wood, food packaging, or even electrical wiring, they simply don’t care.

It’s quite easy to recognize their gnaw marks as they appear to be tiny and uneven.

Gnawing is a habit innate to rodents and mice. 

Their front incisors continue to grow. If they are not polished by consistent chewing, it could lead to eating difficulties which in turn will lead to death.

3. Nests

If you found droppings and gnaw marks near the sink cabinet, then definitely check for nests in the area.

Mice nests are typically made of accumulated trash and accessible items such as wastepaper, pieces of plastic, string, fabric, plant materials, etc.

Finding their nests is a helpful first step to exterminating mice. However, the unfortunate news is, it could be a sign that the sink cabinet has become their breeding ground.

This means that you may be dealing with at least a litter of new pups.

4. Foul Odor

Just like any other pests, mice exude a distinct smell. This is why common pets like cats and dogs can identify them easily.

Their smell is often characterized as musky with a hint of ammonia which resembles old urine.

Even if you don’t have a sensitive nose, you can immediately catch on with the smell especially in enclosed areas.

Thereby, if you recognize such a smell under the sink, it is strong evidence of mice infestation.

Why do Mice get Under the Sink?

Of all the places in the house, you find mice almost always under the sink.

While it’s even more troubling when you find them in the kitchen cabinet or hanging cupboards, it is not a picnic either to know they’re hanging out in the sink cabinet.

But what is it exactly under the sink that invites them to take residence?

Here are several reasons why mice get comfortable staying in the kitchen sink cabinet?

1. It is rarely opened.

How many times do you open your sink cabinet?

For most homeowners, the sink cabinet is a storage area for unused kitchen items or cleaning materials.

If you’re a busy person, chances are it is rare for you to take a close inspection of what’s going on under the sink. It is this reason why mice find security in this place.

2. It is dark and hidden.

Mice are known as shy creatures. They avoid exposing themselves as much as possible.

In this case, they prefer areas in the house that are consistently dark and enclosed.

Based on these criteria, the sink cabinet is a perfect place to hide and breed.

Since it’s not opened regularly or is stuffed with numerous items, light becomes limited, and they remain undisturbed.

3. It has a viable source of food.

What you keep under the sink could be appealing to mice.

That’s why it is a big NO to make your sink cabinet storage for food items such as dog or cat foods.

This could increase the value of the kitchen sink cabinet to the mice community.

In the same way, if mice can find easy access to your garbage disposal, they will probably settle under the sink for good.

Just like how humans find their permanent homes, mice also consider the availability of resources in their targeted breeding ground.

4. It has passable gaps.

An entryway, even as small as a crack, could be an opportunity for mice to get in.

Compared to other enclosed areas, a sink cabinet is easier to get into as it is located on the floor.

If there are gaps already present under the sink, mice would go for it instead of going on the kitchen counter or hanging cabinet which would take a lot of effort.

Another possible entryway under the sink is through the drainage pipe.

If a part of the pipe is busted, it would allow mice to pass through.

How Dangerous Is Having Mice Under the Sink?

There are fair reasons why nobody wants to have mice in their home. And by extension, why a lot of people are terrified of these little creatures.

Simply put, if you have mice under the sink, it presents different kinds of hazards that could compromise your health and the integrity of your household items.

Here are some hazards you might be exposed to when you have mice at home.

1. Health Risks

Mice and rodents are not clean animals. In fact, they are considered by many as the filthiest creature to pester many homes.

They are known to be carriers of diseases that can lead to death. These diseases include the following:

1. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)

The deer mice are the most common carrier of the virus that brings Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS).

It can enter the human body through inhalation of droppings and urine, ingestion of contaminated food or water, or close contact via an open wound with infected material.

According to CDC, symptoms of this disease are similar to the flu at the early stages.

As it progresses, an infected individual will have trouble breathing, with low blood pressure, and lungs filled with fluid. 

2. Salmonella Infection

Salmonella is a known bacterium that causes an infection characterized by diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever.

In most cases, this disease does not pose grave conditions. However, some people develop a more serious immune response to the bacteria.

Mice can carry Salmonella in their intestine that could stay in their droppings.

Having any contact with the infected feces will allow the transmission of salmonella in humans.

3. Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCMV)

House mice are commonly associated as the carrier of the LCM virus. It is transmitted through their droppings.

LCM is a deadly neurological disease with symptoms ranging from fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea to paralysis, chest pain, and inflammation of the spinal cord.

4. Leptospirosis

Mice and other rodents are typical reservoirs of the bacteria Leptospira sp., the causative agent of leptospirosis.

The most common route of the bacteria from mice’s urine and droppings is through open wounds.

This disease can be fatal if symptoms such as fatigue, irregular heartbeat, jaundice, and nosebleeds are not immediately recognized.

5. Tularemia

Tularemia is a life-threatening disease that can be acquired if you ingest food or water contaminated by infected mice.

Once the bacteria enter your body, you will develop symptoms such as fever, skin rash, fatigue, joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes.  

6. Bubonic plague

The disease which cost the Black Death in Europe and some parts of Asia still exists.

This is because mice and rats still harbor the bacteria responsible for its spread, Yersinia pestis.

Anyone is susceptible to the bubonic plagues once they inhale the infected mucus or have close contact with the infected tissue of the mouse.  

The most recognizable symptom of the bubonic plague is the swelling of the lymph nodes accompanied by increasing pain, fever, headache, and chills.

2. House damage

Aside from the health risks mice cause in your home, there are also critical damages not only on a variety of items but even on the integral structure of your house.

These damages could worth thousands if not millions of dollars when left unnoticed.

1. Gnawed Materials

Finding parts of your sink cabinet damaged with bite marks can be frustrating.

Mice chew on anything from wood, plastic, rubber, and even fiberglass.

If these pests are not immediately exterminated, it may cost you some valuable items not only under the sink but in the entire house.

2. Electrical Fires

A proven hazard of mice’s never-ending gnawing marathon inside the house is the increased possibility of electrical fires.

Mice and other rodents don’t give a rat’s ass about what items they chew on. In some cases, they turn their attention to the electrical wirings in the wall.

When this goes on, it could trigger an electrical short circuit or frayed wires which can lead to a huge fire.

Nowadays, despite the rapid increase of technology and medicine, the dangers of mice or rodent infestation still persist if not acted upon immediately.

Thereby, knowing if you have mice under the sink or anywhere else in the house is critical for your safety.

What Should You Do If You HaveIf Have Mice Under the Sink?

Don’t panic. Mice under the sink is a problem you can address in proven ways.

If you know the dangers of having a mouse let alone mice under the sink, it is even more important to drive them all out of the house.

If you detect a mouse and do nothing about it, there is a big chance that it would nest and breed over time.

A mouse can produce 6 to 8 pups in a single birth. Hence, you must take action right away.

1. Clean the Sink Cabinet and Other Hidden Areas

A messy and unsanitary sink cabinet is a sanctuary for mice.

If you don’t check under the sink or in other enclosed areas of the house, you could be blindsided by the growing mice population.

Regularly clean your sink cabinet, kitchen drawers, and cupboards. Make sure that there are no traces of food around.

2. Look For Gaps and Holes on the Wall, Doors, and Windows

An important task to carry out when you find mice under the sink is to look for entryways.

Sealing these holes and cracks with steel wool is a recommended action.

Mice hate steel wool. Not because they can’t chew it (they can) but because gnawing on steel wool causes them pain.

3. Seal All Food Packages and Containers

All food containers and packages must be properly sealed as to not attract these mice.

Rodents in general have a heightened sense of smell.

The scent of food is often the main reason why they will find ways to enter the house.

Likewise, the mere idea that food is easily accessible for mice will have stem stay under the sink or near the kitchen for a long time.

4. Avoid Storing Food-Related Items Under the Sink

Your sink cabinet is often used for the storage of cleaning materials.

However, in smaller houses or apartments it becomes an area for pans, pots, and other materials used for food preparation.

As a safety precaution, avoid using your sink cabinet to keep these items. Instead, consider other more efficient places to keep your pots and pans

5. Consider Using a Mouse Trap

The classic mousetrap is still an effective way to get rid of mice in your home.

Professional exterminators still recommend traps over baits with poison.

It poses more danger than benefit for your household if you don’t do it correctly.

Likewise, a poison takes hours or days before the poison kicks in.

The mouse could die in an obscure area of the house such as inside the walls. This could stink up your entire home.

6. Call an Exterminator

If the infestation persists or the mice population has grown exponentially, let professional exterminators do the job.

This will guarantee that the mice under the sink or elsewhere are completely eradicated.

Plus, it will save you from unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Can You Repel Mice Naturally?

There are a lot of suggestions when it comes to making your home mouse-proof, especially during the winter.

The most popular one is using peppermint oil. Others would recommend using mothballs, bleach, and fabric softener.

Exterminators have corrected these myths.

Using peppermint spray can give you a homey ambiance but it is not an effective mouse repellent.

The same goes for other items intended to disturb their powerful sense of smell.

Fumes and aroma coming from these materials are not enough to drive mice away.

However, they are instrumental in making your house squeaky clean.

At the end of the day, it is the regular sanitation of your home that keeps these pests away.  

In a Nutshell

Mice under the sink is a significant wake-up call that you need to clean more often. Check for entryways regularly and seal them properly.

A mice infestation is a problem that requires immediate attention. Failing to do so can put your family at risk.

Create a cleaning schedule for your sink cabinet and other enclosed areas to protect your family from these little pests.

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