10 Cleaning Habits That Attract Rodents to Your House


Beware of these cleaning habits that attract rodents to your home!

Mice and rats are some determined critters. They will scale walls, walk across wires, climb ladders, and even swim through sewers to make their way into your house.

Just when you think you’ve put into practice all the precautions, you find a rodent hiding in your home. How on earth could the critter get inside if you’ve been careful to specifically avoid this from happening? The answer may lie in how you clean your home.

It’s true that this activity can often feel like a thankless chore. It’s frustrating and tiring, and the second you’ve finished one task, another mess rears its hideous head. However, if you’re avoiding specific steps—or doing them in certain ways—dust and clutter could soon be the least of your worries.

We’ve spoken with some pest control experts, and they shared with us some cleaning habits that attract rodents, so make sure you read this to avoid any intruders.

cleaning habits that attract rodents
Photo by Damian Lugowski from Shutterstock

1. You leave your laundry in piles before putting it away

Sorting and putting away laundry may sound like an awful household chore, and we don’t think there’s anyone who loves doing it. Not to mention it can take a surprisingly long time, which is most likely why many people tend to leave their clean clothes in piles or hampers for days at a time.

However, you may want to think twice before doing this because this is one of those cleaning habits that attract rodents to your house. According to pest control experts, piles of clothes are a haven for critters, so it’s better to avoid having them in your home.

2. You leave dishes soaking in the sink

This may sound like a great idea, but leaving your dishes to soak overnight in your kitchen sink also adds to the list of cleaning habits that attract rodents. Yes, it will be easier to clean your dishes the following morning, but will you sleep peacefully knowing that mice or, even worse, rodents, may be somewhere in your kitchen?

According to experts, an open water source is a factor that makes rodents come back, so make sure you cover any possible water source.

3. You store food in plastic bags

This is by far one of the worst things when it comes to cleaning habits that attract rodents. Sure, stashing a sealed bag of some leftovers in your pantry may seem like a great way of keeping a potential mess contained, but that seemingly innocent habit could leave you with a mouse issue before you know it.

Rodents are constantly looking for sources of food, so to avoid turning your kitchen and pantry into a mice magnet, it’s essential to ensure that you haven’t left any food stored in unsealed containers or out in the open.

If you want to avoid cleaning habits that attract rodents, invest in metal or glass containers with secure lids (here are some budget-friendly options) so you can safely store food items. Experts suggest labeling your containers with expiration dates to make sure you eat the food before it goes bad. This way, you’ll reduce the odds of attracting mice with stale food.

4. You use cardboard boxes to organize your basement

Another example of cleaning habits that attract rodents to your home is using cardboard boxes to keep clutter at bay. According to pest control experts, doing this, especially in your basement, can quickly turn your space into a mouse magnet.

That’s why it’s best to store things in durable plastic bins with tight lids. Rodents can chew through cardboard, so you’re not exactly keeping your items safe.

Moreover, dark spaces like basements give mice and rats the opportunity to make a nest out of view of humans, making your house their own.

Keep reading to discover other cleaning habits that attract rodents!

Photo by Ivan Krivenko from Shutterstock

5. You don’t vacuum frequently

Vacuuming may not be the most enjoyable task you do all week, but it’s an important one if you want to fend off pests. Cleaning habits that attract rodents are also when you don’t do certain tasks as often as you should.

According to pest control professionals, keeping your floors clean, whether carpet or hard surface, is essential to preventing mice. The slightest trace of food spillage or crumbs on the floors can attract mice or even rats, so be sure to vacuum often and clean up any spills in your house as soon as possible.

6. You leave pet food out overnight

If your kitchen is an all-night buffet for your furry companion, it serves the same purpose for intruders like mice and rats, too. Basically, if food is left on the ground, rodents can easily seek it out and invade your house to try and get to it.

This being said, make sure to keep pet food in an airtight container and to clean up the bowls when your four-legged friend isn’t eating.

7. You don’t get rid of old food

Similar to other cleaning habits that attract rodents, this one can turn your house into a mouse magnet. Pay attention to the food items you store in your pantry and fridge and for how long, because these areas are known for getting easily cluttered.

Regularly cleaning your pantry and refrigerator for expired food is essential, as these things can release even stronger or more compelling scents, attracting mice.

It’s also very important to clean the area under refrigerators and stoves because, over time, crumbs and food debris can build up on and under appliances and provide food sources for pests.

8. You’re not cleaning the dryer vent

Some cleaning habits that attract rodents aren’t so obvious, but don’t worry; we’re here to shed light on some of them. For instance, when you forget to clean lint out of the dryer vent, not only are you risking potential fires, but you’re also leaving space for pests.

According to experts, lint makes an excellent nesting material and will be readily collected by nesting rodents. Moreover, pregnant mice and rats may actually have a preference for nesting materials over food later in their pregnancy, so keep this in mind when you delay cleaning your dryer vent.

Photo by New Africa from Shutterstock

9. You don’t take out your trash frequently enough

If you think tying up your trash is enough to keep rodents out, think again. Both mice and rats have a great sense of smell and can fit through very small spaces, so even if it just seems like some harmless, small crumbs, it’s vital to clean or rinse your trash cans and have them lined with bags.

You may think that taking out the trash once every couple of days is fine, but like other cleaning habits that attract rodents, this one may require more attention than you think. Moreover, plastic bags offer no challenge to hungry pests.

Make sure that your trash, especially food waste, is in a properly sealed container, and dispose of it as often as you can. It helps a lot if the trash bags are tear-resistant and tightly sealable.

10. You aren’t maintaining your yard

Last but not least on our list of cleaning habits that attract rodents is something that most homeowners may not pay attention to: their yard.

Outdoor cleaning is just as essential as tasks inside the house when it comes to keeping intruders away. Pest control experts suggest moving piles of debris and wood that rodents can use as shelters. They also recommend landscaping with rodent-resistant plants and keeping bushes and grass trimmed.

Moreover, you’ll want to keep your lawn maintained even when the weather gets colder. Why? While the weeds may not have survived the first frost, some seeds may remain and provide a food source for pests. It’s always best to also remove weeds to help reduce the natural forage outdoors and ultimately lessen the pressure that exterior rodents put on your house.

If you liked our article on cleaning habits that attract rodents, you may also want to read 7 Plants You Should NEVER Keep in the Bedroom.