There are a multitude of mouse traps that can successfully de-mouse your premises, some of them available in stores and others that you can build yourself at home.
A homemade mouse trap can save you a lot of money if you have to catch a lot of mice and need numerous traps. The materials are usually all free or very, very cheap. Plus, you get to “recycle and reuse, ” two of the three elements of “greener” product consumption habits.
Finally, making your own mouse traps at home will be a fun, creative learning experience for the whole family.
Keep reading to find out how to make a variety of different homemade mouse traps that really work!
How to Make Homemade Mouse Traps
Homemade mouse traps can literally be made using your garbage (empty 2 liter bottles) and a few other common household items. You can find a wide variety of make-at-home trap plans online, and there are probably hundreds of different specific traps when you take into account all the ways even similar traps can differ based on “extra” features.
In the broad view, there are really only three steps to making a homemade mouse trap:
- Research the different trap options out there, select one, customize it if you like, and study up on how to construct it.
- Gather all of the materials and tools you’ll need into one place.
- Patiently follow a step by step guide on building your particular trap – or write one up yourself based on your prior research and then follow that.
I Need a Good Humane Trap
One reason many opt for a DIY mouse trap, aside from saving money and the pure interest of the project, is to ensure their traps are humane.
What is the best humane mouse trap? Hard to say. There are many human traps both in stores and in the DIY world.
But here are some things a human mouse trap will avoid doing:
- Death by suffocation, drowning, or any slow and agonizing method.
- Poisoning that works slowly and may make predators who eat the now-sickly rodent sick or even kill them.
- Letting the mouse suffer long hours trapped in sticky glue, get its tail cut off, its whiskers ripped out, or any other body parts maimed.
- In many cases, a humane trap will not kill the mouse at all but work on a catch and release basis.
A number of the DIY bottle-based mouse traps listed below are fully humane.
A few of them aren’t; but then, not everyone is as concerned about these matters as is everyone else. Some just want to kill mice, and they don’t much care how. Others are more sensitive to the sufferings of the rodent population.
Making a DIY Trap With the Help of a Bottle
The first bottle trap we’ll give you instructions for making is one of the trickier ones to make but also, perhaps, the most humane one.
It is a small 16 ounce soda bottle OR a full 2 liter bottle, that rocks up and down on a specially bent hanger wire. A block of wood or the bottle cap turned backwards with a hanger tip stuck through it, block the entrance when the bottle see-saws to its “down” position.
The mouse’s own weight moves the bottle up and down, so when it’s at the far (back) end of the bottle, the entryway is open but the mouse isn’t near it. When it see-saws back down as the mouse moves toward the exit, the exit gets blocked off.
Four humane features of this trap are:
- The mouse gets oxygen and won’t suffocate.
- The mouse isn’t harmed in any way.
- You can even leave food in the trap until you go to release your catch.
- You don’t even have to handle the mouse when it’s released, so it won’t catch your germs and you won’t catch its germs (fair enough.)
To build this trap, bend your hanger wire(s) to form a stand on which the bottle can rock, while one arm of the wire passes through the bottle via small holes you’ve put in it.
You have to test bottle a little to ensure it’s at the right angle and position, but you want to nearly evenly divide the bottle’s weight on the “balancing wire” under it so it see-saws based on the presence or absence of the mouse’s weight.
And you also need to ensure the bottle is tilted up (open position) when mouse-less and that it tightly snugs up against your blockage mechanism when tilted down (closed position.) A little testing, and perhaps, a couple tries, and you build this clever little trap. Then just stick some PB inside to set it.
Easy-to-do Soda Bottle Mouse Trap
Probably the simplest, easiest to make of all bottle mouse traps is the “funnel” variety.
Mice who enter these traps slip down the funnel, which is an upside down cut-off of the top of a 2 liter bottle, and into the remainder of the 2 liter bottle below. There’s no way they can climb back out, so unless they can tip over the trap, they’re stuck.
Here are the steps to build a DIY funnel-style mouse trap:
- Cut the top off your 2 liter soda bottle, cutting just above where the label is (or was.)
- Pour a little sand or gravel into the bottom of your bottle to weight it down. Or you can tape or glue it to a piece of cardboard to give it stability.
- Turn the top (funnel piece) upside down and press down into the bottle’s bottom. Then tape around the circumference with duct tape to make it extra secure.
- Spread vegetable oil all over the inside of the funnel to make it slick so your mousy visitors will slip and fall through the hole.
- Finish setting your trap by rubbing PB around the hole entrance at the funnel’s bottom, providing a ramp so the mouse can get in, and placing the trap where mice are likely to find it.
How to Turn a 2 Liter Bottle Into the Perfect Mousetrap
This is my favorite DIY mouse trap made from a 2 liter bottle, even though it’s a little complicated (but still easy) to make. It very well may merit the adjective “perfect.”It snaps shut when the mouse tries to run with the bait and traps it inside, unharmed but with no possible way to get out (unless it can learn to chew threw plastic, which it can’t.)
Yes. You can make a trap with an old shoe box by cutting a hole in the top and taping flimsy paper doors over the hole that you lace with PB. You can squish the bottom of a cardboard toilet paper roll, set it on a ledge above a tall bucket, and put PB on the far end. OR, some have even used a heavy drinking glass, with PB on the inside top and held up by a nickel to trap mice!
This “snap-shut” version of the bottle trap can be made by the following steps:
- Cut the top of your 2 liter bottle “almost” off. You want to cut a few inches below the label line this time, and make sure it has good spring action to close (leave an inch or two uncut.)
- Use an awl to punch a small hole in each side of the “door” of your trap, about an inch above the cut line. Slip a chopstick through the holes.
- Now punch holes and insert another chopstick in the main part of the trap, maybe about at the halfway mark. Connect the chopsticks with a rubber band (one on each side of the trap.) Test it to ensure it closes tight and fast when pulled up and released.
- Tie a thread around the bottle’s neck. Ensure it reaches to the back end of the bottle, and then make a lasso on the loose end.
- Take a paper clip and unfold it with a pair of nippers. Create an L shape with the wire. Poke a hole in the upper back corner of the bottle and stick the paper clip up into it.
- Connect the lasso to the end of the paper clip that sticks up above the trap, till you get a tense fit and the clip stays in place but only precariously so. Put a chunk of cheese on the inside part of the clip, and maybe douse it with peanut butter too.
- Don’t forget to put the cap on the bottle – mice can sneak out through very small holes!
Now, to use the trap, lay it chopstick side down somewhere in your house often frequented by mice. Be patient if it takes a few days. The mice may explore the trap first to “make sure it’s safe” before finally venturing in, grabbing the bait, triggering the door to close, and getting hopelessly trapped inside.
Are There Any Homemade Traps for Mice That Kill Them?
If you don’t just want to catch mice but insist on killing them (you brute!), you can put water or antifreeze in the bottom of a funnel-style bottle mouse trap. Or, you can put the same into a bucket mouse trap.
And you can always poison the bait in any of the mouse traps we’ve mentioned.
Otherwise, consider an electrocution trap, such as discussed just below.
DIY Electric Mouse Traps
One more DIY option for eliminating mice is an electric mouse trap. There are many variations on electric mouse traps. Some of them involve switches that close doors to trap mice, but mostly they electrocute mice in an instantaneous, painless fashion. And so, though they kill mice, many consider electric traps quite humane.
One simple way to make an electrocution mouse trap is to connect jumper cables to a metal sheet and to a 12-volt battery. Of course, you need some electrical aptitude and need to always put safety first. And don’t use too high of a voltage or risk hurting a child or a pet.
Many other homemade electric mouse traps will involve wiring up snap-traps or trap-door traps with a lethal mouse-shocking volt based on their presence being detected by sensors or on their completing a circuit as they go for the bait.
Top 2 Traps That Really Work
What are the top two DIY mouse traps? As to overall effectiveness, electric traps and bucket traps are probably most productive in mouse-kills.
But, bottle traps can be very effective too, and here are a few advantages they have over these other top two options:
- They are safer (no antifreeze or electricity needed.)
- They are cleaner (no water to spill or dead mice laying around on sheet metal.)
- They are usually live-catch traps.
- They are very easy and cheap to make, even in large numbers.
What Is Actually the Best?
It is impossible to say which homemade mouse trap is truly number one because people value different traps for different reasons. Plus, in different environments and with different mice, which type of trap works best can vary.
I personally favor the snap-shut soda bottle mouse trap as the best DIY option, but there is no way I can say this is the best trap for everyone.
The best strategy is to try multiple kinds of DIY traps over a period of time and see what works best for you and worst for your mice!
A mouse infestation is a big problem. Mice contaminate your food, leave droppings trails around your house, carry diseases, and keep you up at night by their incessant scratching. But if you don’t want to spend a lot of money to rid yourself of your rodent nemesis or if you just like creative DIY projects, making homemade mouse traps from bottles, buckets, boxes, and more might be for you!