How To Plug Mouse Holes With Steel Wool: A Complete Guide - (2022)

Rodent infestations are a homeowner’s worst nightmare. The creatures can easily find their way into your home through gaps and holes in the wall. Mice can get into your house through cracks the size of a nickel. Rats may be slightly larger, but they can still enter your dwelling through holes the size of a half-dollar. An easy way to keep them out is by plugging the mouse holes with steel wool, but how?

To plug mouse holes with steel wool, you must pack the hole tightly with the metal and cover the steel wool with silicone caulking. This clog will prevent mice from passing through the hole while also keeping them from eating the steel wool and dying inside your walls.


Filling Mouse Holes With Steel Wool in 5 Easy Steps

Plugging the mouse holes with steel wool isn’t complicated, but you must follow certain steps to make sure the rodents won’t find their way back into your home.

1. Gather the necessary supplies

You only need a handful of things to plug mouse holes in your home:

  • Medium or coarse steel wool (or brass wool or copper wool)
  • Silicone caulk
  • Caulking gun
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Mouse poison or traps

2. Eliminate the mouse infestation

Rodents can find their way into your home through small cracks and holes through your walls. However, mice rarely build their nests in your rooms. Instead, they nest inside the walls and only come out in search of food.

For this reason, sealing the mouse holes inside your house will only partly solve the problem. The mice population will still live inside your home’s walls, from where they’ll eventually chew their way back into the house through the drywall.

To get rid of a rodent infestation, you must seal all potential entry points. Doing this without eliminating the infestation first could result in trapping mice inside the wall, where they can die and start to smell bad, not to mention that they could find their way back into the house before they perish.

Mouse traps represent an effective pest control method if you don’t suspect a large infestation. The main advantages of this method are that you can dispose of the carcasses and avoid the smell of dead mice, and you don’t have to use poison.

If you suspect a larger infestation, mouse poison is the most effective method to get rid of the rodents.

Whether you use traps or poison, place the baits at no more than 10 feet from the place where the mice are active. Restrict child and pet access to the area if you’re using poison.

If you’re not sure where the nests are located, you can place several traps or poison baits at a distance of no more than 10 feet from one another, preferably closer. Make sure the bait is available continuously until you stop noticing mouse activity – this could take a few days to a couple of weeks.

3. Find all entry points

Inspect your entire home (inside and out) and find all cracks and holes that could be an entry point. Mark them for easier filling.

4. Seal the holes with steel wool

Rodents are famous for chewing their way through most things, but steel wool is very hard for mice to chew through. Thus, it is your best bet for sealing all entry points.

Pack each hole as tightly as possible with steel wool by pushing it into the hole with a screwdriver. Some mice might still chew through it, but steel wool would kill them once ingested.

Tip: Steel wool is subject to rust, and it could stain your walls if moisture gets to it. For this reason, you can replace it with brass or copper wool. Copper wool is also believed to get stuck into the rodents’ teeth, making it harder to chew through. Stainless steel wool is another excellent option.

5. Secure the steel wool with silicone caulking

While most rodents won’t chew through steel wool, you should know that mice and rats are intelligent creatures. It won’t take long for them to figure out that they can pull the steel wool out of the hole if you don’t seal it in some way.

An easy way to do this is with silicone caulk. Push the caulk tube’s tip through the steel wool and start dispensing the product. Make sure to cover the entire steel wool surface while pulling the caulking gun gently toward you.

Keep dispensing the product until the entire steel wool is covered in silicone caulk, then let the caulk cure. This clog will keep rodents out of your home.

Can Mice Chew Through The Steel Barrier?

Although rodents won’t willingly chew through steel wool, they can technically do it. As a rule of thumb, the finer the steel wool grade, the more tempted the mice will be to chew through it. That’s why you should use medium or coarse steel wool when plugging mouse holes.

If you want to make sure the rodents around your house can’t chew through the plug, use stainless steel wool with a hole diameter of 0.039 of an inch or less.

Copper wool isn’t as strong as stainless steel, but it often gets stuck in the rodents’ teeth, stopping them from chewing through it.

What’s The Difference In Steel Wool Grades?

We mentioned that you should use medium or coarse steel wool to plug mouse holes. This might leave you wondering what’s the difference in steel wool grades. Let’s find it out.

Super Fine

The finest type of steel wool, also known as 0000, resembles real wool and doesn’t feel coarse to the touch. It is generally used to remove stains or the final rubbing of finishes. It is not suitable for plugging mouse holes.

Extra Fine

The extra fine (000) type of steel wool is usually used to remove stains and paint spots from wood. You can also use it to clean polished metals. It isn’t suitable for plugging mouse holes.


Fine steel wool (00) is usually used to sanitize high-gloss finishes with linseed oil. It is not suitable for plugging mouse holes.

Medium Fine

One of the most popular types of steel wool, the 0 steel wool, is used for cleaning tile, strip paint, or varnish products or for cleaning brass finishes. It could be used to plug mouse holes, although you should choose a coarser option.


Medium (1) steel wool is found in most homes in the form of steel wool sponges. Most homeowners use it to clean tiles, remove marks from wood, remove finishes and paints, etc. You can use this type of steel wool to plug mouse holes.

Medium Coarse

The type 2 steel wool is more abrasive than its 1 counterpart and generally used to remove scratches from brass or scrub floors between finishing coats. It is ideal for plugging mouse holes.


The most abrasive type of steel wool, coarse (3) steel wool, is mostly used for stripping paint finishes, generally with paint stripper. It is an excellent option for plugging larger mouse holes.

5 Benefits Of Using Steel Wool For Mice

Plugging mouse holes with steel wool is not only easy; the method comes with additional benefits. Let’s check them out.


Steel wool can cost more or less, depending on its grade, but all options are affordable. Medium steel wool is used for a variety of domestic purposes, and you can find it in supermarkets, home improvement stores, or online.

It Is Hard to Chew Through

While rodents could technically chew through steel wool, most will choose not to. The abrasive material can hurt their teeth, gums, and noses. Thus, steel wool is an excellent deterrent.

Safe to Use

Steel wool contains no poison or dangerous chemicals, making it a safe choice for households with pets and kids. Once the silicone caulk cures, it will also be difficult to extract from the hole. Hence, you won’t have to worry that your kid or pet might unplug the hole.


Steel wool might be difficult to extract from a hole but not impossible. If you’re planning a major renovation or want to try alternative solutions to plug the hole, you can remove the steel wool clog and repair the entry point.

Ease of Use

Plugging a mouse hole with steel wool is child’s play – all you have to do is stuff it into the hole with a screwdriver and seal it with silicone caulk. If you want to plug finer cracks or holes, you can do so with a finer type of steel wool (0 or 1).

Final Thoughts

Rodents are famous for finding their ways into a dwelling, but plugging all cracks and holes with steel wool allows you to stay one step ahead of them. Keep in mind, though, that you should get rid of any infestation before using this method, or the mice could gnaw the drywall and chew their way straight back into your home.


Prevent Rodent Infestations – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

House Mouse Prevention & Control – Illinois Department of Public Health

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  • How To Disinfect Oven After Mice Infestation
  • Rats Coming from Neighbors Yard: Avoid Future Infestation
  • Why Do Mice Come In The House In The Summer?
  • How To Stop Mice Getting Under Door: 5 Sealing Tips
  • Can Mice Be In Your Mattress? (Here’s What To Do)


Can you block a mouse hole with steel wool? ›

Steel wool is a great way to block the small holes pests use to enter your home. First off, steel wool is tough but flexible; it can be pushed into all shapes and sizes of cracks and crevices. Pests like rats and mice hate chewing through steel wool, since the sharp edges hurt them the more they try to chew.

What to use to fill holes so mice can't get in? ›

Fill small holes with steel wool. Put caulk around the steel wool to keep it in place. Use lath screen or lath metal, cement, hardware cloth, or metal sheeting to fix large holes. These materials can be found at your local hardware store.

What kind of steel wool do you use for mice? ›

Use stainless steel wool grade MEDIUM so that mice, rats and other rodents do not make them larger. Make sure that, in addition to looking for holes in your walls, you also check electrical and plumbing entrances, doors, gutters, vents and chimneys for rodent access.

How do you repair mouse holes with steel wool? ›

Use caulking gun to cover steel wool. Fill the hole with steel wool, and cover the steel wool with silicone caulking. The steel wool will clog the hole, preventing the mice from passing through the hole. The silicone caulking will prevent the mice from eating the steel wool and dying in your walls.

Should I block up a mouse hole? ›

Should You Block Mouse Holes? The short answer is “No.” Blocking off a mouse's entrance and exit point inside a house can lead to more damage to your home as they try to chew their way to freedom. Sealing them off completely limits your ability to trap them.

What material can mice not chew through? ›

If you want to keep mice out of your house, bring on the steel wool. Unlike insulation, paper, or even drywall, mice can't chew through steel wool, and even if they did, they'd be dead before they made it into your pantry.

How do exterminators get rid of mice? ›

They use strategic means to lure and exterminate mice. Exterminators place mouse and mice traps in clever spots in the home. These hot spots include your attic, crawlspaces, and corners in your basement if you have one. Pros never place traps in food areas or common areas where you and your family hang out.

How do exterminators get rid of mice in walls? ›

Spring-loaded traps, glue traps and live-catch traps are commercially available. Some are designed to kill captured rodents, while others require homeowners to release mice outside. In order to be effective, the traps must be placed properly and along areas frequented by the mice.

What keeps mice out of your house? ›

How Do I Keep Mice Out Of My House?
  • Use a mouse-proof barrier. ...
  • Mind your weather stripping. ...
  • Add screens. ...
  • Place a dehumidifier. ...
  • Keep exterior doors closed. ...
  • Be mindful of what you bring in. ...
  • Keep your landscaping neat. ...
  • Only eat at the table.
Aug 16, 2022

Can steel wool catch on fire? ›

Live Science interviews UB chemist Jason Benedict in a story titled, “Here's How Steel Wool Burns (and Why It Looks Like the Death of Krypton).” The story explains that steel wool burns because it has lots of thin strands holding atoms that come into contact with oxygen in the air, making it more difficult for heat to ...

Can mice get through Brillo pads? ›

I have used Brillo pads at times; I figure the combination of soap and steel wool can't be fun to chew through. With any of that, you have to check it regularly. The caulk dries up and will fall out. If the siding is loose enough, mice can find their way in through here.

How do you plug holes in steel wool? ›

How to Use Steel Wool for Pest Control - YouTube

Do mice eat through steel wool? ›

Can mice chew through steel wool? Yes, but they choose not to in most instances because a steel wool bundle has sharp edges that are abrasive to their nose. The problem is, oftentimes, they will grab the bundle with their feet and pull it out of a sealed opening.

How do you find out where mice are getting in your house? ›

Take time to look both low and high, looking at areas in the home such as kitchen cabinets, baseboards, air vents, and near appliances. Also, check outside the home, looking for gaps in the foundation, around the garage, and near pipes, gas lines, or electrical wiring.

How does vinegar get rid of mice? ›

Eliminating Mice

Use white vinegar as bait by mixing it with some peanut butter and placing it in a trap. Mice dislike the smell of white vinegar and will stay away from areas sprayed with it or have soaked cotton balls in it. When you use white vinegar as bait in a trap, the mouse will eat it and die.

When you find one mouse are there more? ›

The Lifespan of Mice

During that time they can give birth to a litter if mice up to 5 to 7 times a year with approximately 5 to 7 babies per birth. This is why it's most likely that when home owners find one mouse, they usually find more—and they tend to find a few dead mice too.

How deep do mice tunnel? ›

Active burrows have smooth walls and hard packed dirt. Beneath the surface, the rat tunnels and rooms are no further than 18” deep. They may include 3 feet of tunnels often leading to additional safety exits.

How many mice is considered an infestation? ›

It can be quite hard for an average homeowner to determine whether they are dealing with a full-scale infestation or just one or two wandering mice. With that being said, one male and one female mouse are all it takes for an infestation to happen.

Is it possible to mouse proof a house? ›

Use rodent exclusion materials like heavy-gauge wire screening to cover holes, metal mesh to stuff into holes around pipes, and expanding foam sealant to spray overtop of metal mesh and fill other gaps and cracks. Seal all potential entry holes or gaps in walls, foundations, sheds, crawl spaces and under porches.

Do mice hate aluminum foil? ›

Mice can chew through aluminum. Some pest control specialists suggest using wads of aluminum foil as a mouse deterrent. You can try to stuff mouse holes with wadded-up aluminum foil. While it is true that the foil may deter mice due to its sharp edges, there are better materials to use to block mouse holes.

Do most homes have mice? ›

House mice are said to be the most common mammal in the U.S., so it's no surprise that many homeowners report dealing with infestations at one time or another. Because mice are so common, you may think you already know all there is to know about this household pest, but think again!

How long does it take to get rid of mice infestation? ›

It will depend on the degree of infestation, but typically it takes 1-3 months for exterminators to get rid of mice.

Do mice return after release? ›

Animals will always return to somewhere they know they can find food and shelter, unless there is a better alternative. Therefore, when disposing of a mouse or rat, you need to take them at least a couple of miles away, or they will find their way back.

How long can mice live in walls? ›

Mice can survive for months without water within your walls. However, without food sources, mice can only survive as long as a week or two.

Does Irish Spring soap keep mice away? ›

Many people errantly assume that Irish Spring soap will keep repelling mice. However, there's practically no evidence to support this claim.

What poison do exterminators use for mice? ›

Bromadiolone is a rodenticide meant to kill rats and mice. Anticoagulants like bromadiolone work by preventing the blood from clotting. Unlike some other rat poisons, which require multiple days of feeding by an animal, bromadiolone can be lethal from one day's feeding.

What do mice hate the most? ›

Mice have a very keen sense of smell that is much stronger than what humans experience. You can use this trait to repel mice and use scents that mice hate like cinnamon, vinegar, dryer sheets, clove oil, peppermint, tea bags, mint toothpaste, ammonia, cloves, clove oil, and cayenne pepper.

What smell do mice hate the most? ›

13 scents that mice hate and can help you to keep them away
  • Cinnamon. This has a strong and spicy aroma that mice probably hate. ...
  • Vinegar. Mix some water and vinegar in a spray bottle to mist any areas where they have been seen more often.
  • Dryer sheets. ...
  • Cloves/clove oil. ...
  • Peppermint oil. ...
  • Teabags. ...
  • Mint toothpaste. ...
  • Ammonia.
May 25, 2022

What happens if mice eat bleach? ›

Bleach can kill mice, but only if consumed in large quantities. However, it is highly unlikely that a rodent would eat something contaminated with bleach, so this is an ineffective way to kill them. If you want to get rid of mice, there are better ways than spraying bleach at them.

Is Brillo 0000 steel wool? ›

Brillo Steel Wool Soap Pads are made of steel wool, soap, fragrance, and colorant.

Can I use sandpaper instead of steel wool? ›

Sandpaper substitute

Steel wool is a simple stand-in for fine-grit sandpaper. Use the finest gauge steel wool (0000) to sand between layers of oil-based paint (if using water-based paint, minute bits of leftover steel wool may rust) or to buff out the final coat of paint.

What does SOS pads stand for? ›

S.O.S® stands for "Save Our Saucepans." The name is a play on the international distress signal, “S.O.S.” Because the distress signal cannot be copyrighted, the final period was dropped on the brand name of the soap pad, which then allowed for a brand copyright.

How do you set steel wool on fire? ›


What happens if you put steel wool in water? ›

When steel wool is wet, the water seeps into the metal's tiny gaps. The water serves as an electrolyte to allow the electrons from the oxygen to gravitate toward the iron. The hydrogen bond in the water acts as an acid that gives rust its corrosive properties.

At what temperature does steel wool burn? ›

Touching the battery to steel wool sends a current through the thin wire, and it heats up a lot (to about 700 degrees C). These temperatures cause the iron to react with the oxygen (O2) in the air and creates iron oxide (FeO2).

How do I fill a mouse hole in my yard? ›

Solving rat, mouse and pest holes in your home and garden ... - YouTube

How do you fix mouse holes in walls? ›

The Best Ways To Block Mouse/Rat Holes. Keep Rats Out of ... - YouTube

Can mice eat through steel? ›

Mice and rats cannot chew through stainless steel mesh. Stainless steel mesh with a hole diameter of 1mm or less will keep mice and rats from chewing through it as it will be difficult for the rodents to get their teeth around the mesh as long as the mesh quality is good.

Will caulk stop mice? ›

Cracks in a home's foundation are a common entry point for mice, rats and other rodents to make their way indoors. You can fill any cracks in your home's foundation with silicone caulk to deter rodents from entering your home through this entry point.

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