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How To Keep Mice Out of Garbage Cans

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In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various strategies on how to keep mice out of garbage cans. We’ll delve into the reasons why mice are attracted to garbage cans, effective and humane strategies to deter them, types of garbage cans that prevent mice access, and how to make the surroundings of garbage cans less appealing to mice.


To keep mice out of garbage cans, ensure the cans are clean and have tightly-fitted lids. Use rodent-proof garbage bins and consider building an enclosure for your trash cans. Regularly empty indoor garbage bins and maintain a clean environment to deter mice. Make the surroundings less appealing by keeping garbage cans away from tall grass, weeds, or shrubs and using natural mouse repellents like peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, or vinegar.

Why Are Mice Attracted to Garbage Cans?

Mice are primarily attracted to garbage cans due to the availability of food and shelter. Decaying food items provide a high moisture content and a great source of nutrition for mice. Furthermore, garbage cans are usually left dark and unattended, making them ideal hiding places for mice. If garbage cans are situated near tall grass, weeds, or shrubs, mice can use the surrounding vegetation to remain out of sight. Poorly managed garbage cans with unsecured trash bags or bins containing food scraps, fruits, and seeds serve as magnets for mice. Additionally, clutter and warmth around garbage cans can also attract mice. To prevent mice from being attracted to garbage cans, it is essential to keep the area clean, use containers with tight lids, and maintain proper sanitation.

Effective and Humane Strategies to Deter Mice

  1. Keep bins clean: Regularly wash your trash bins, especially if there’s a spill or broken garbage bag. Use a garden hose with soap or bleach to clean the bins.
  2. Seal trash cans: Use air-proof lids to seal your trash cans, preventing smells from attracting mice. If you don’t have an air-proof lid, secure the lids with bungee cords.
  3. Store garbage cans away from your house: Keep trash cans far from your home, as having them in your garage or directly next to your house makes it easier for mice to enter.
  4. Construct a trash enclosure: Building an enclosure for your trash cans can help deter mice and other pests from accessing your waste.
  5. Secure trash can and dumpster lids: Use clips, bungee cords, or self-securing tops to keep animals and pests out of your garbage.
  6. Regularly empty indoor garbage bins: Don’t let trash overflow, as it attracts rodents.
  7. Maintain a clean environment: Eliminate easy access to food and water by keeping your surroundings clean. Seal off access to food sources and keep garbage bins covered tightly.

Types of Garbage Cans That Prevent Mice Access

To prevent mice from accessing garbage cans, consider using specific materials and designs that deter rodents. Metal garbage cans, rodent-proof garbage bins, trash can enclosures, sealed garbage containers, and using ammonia or pepper are some of the options.

Making the Surroundings of Garbage Cans Less Appealing to Mice

To make the area surrounding garbage cans less appealing to mice, you need to rinse food containers before disposing of them, use garbage cans with tight-fitting lids, clean the garbage cans regularly, store garbage cans away from tall grass, weeds, or shrubs, and use natural mouse repellents like peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, or vinegar.


Keeping mice out of garbage cans requires consistent efforts to maintain cleanliness, use the right type of garbage cans, and take preventive measures to make the surroundings less appealing to mice. Remember, preventing a mouse infestation is always better and easier than trying to get rid of one.

Frequently Asked Questions

What other pests can be attracted to garbage cans?

Apart from mice, garbage cans can also attract rats, raccoons, squirrels, cockroaches, and even bears in some regions. The same preventive measures can work for these pests as well.

How often should I clean my garbage cans to deter mice?

Ideally, you should clean your garbage cans once a week. However, if there’s a spill or broken garbage bag, clean it immediately to prevent attracting mice.

Can I use any type of soap or bleach to clean my garbage cans?

Yes, any type of soap or bleach should work. However, bleach is more effective as it not only cleans but also disinfects the bins.

Is it safe to use natural mouse repellents around pets and children?

Most natural mouse repellents like peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, or vinegar are safe to use around pets and children. However, always keep these substances out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion.

What should I do if I already have a mouse infestation in my garbage cans?

If you already have a mouse infestation, you should contact a professional pest control service. They have the experience and tools to safely remove the mice and help you implement strategies to prevent future infestations.

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