We Have Mice! How To Get Rid Of Them Without An Exterminator

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I swear I don’t live in a run down housing project. My building is actually fairly nice, just really, really old. Prewar old. And we live in an area with all sorts of critters like foxes, deer, chipmunks and our dreaded field mice.

Now after our whole mold situation, I’ve been on vigilant alert for any issues. We love our apartment and it’s well below market price so we’re not willing to move unless it’s something absolutely dire or a fantastic deal.

Anyway, it was 3am and my daughter just woke up for her middle of the night feeding. She was being fussy, so I took her to the living room to calm down and get sleepy. I put her down in her baby swing and decided to start working on my blog from the couch. So I’m sitting there, hunched over my computer, and in the corner of my eye, I saw it plain as day, a big ass mouse scurrying across the room right underneath my daughter where she was swinging. It scurried out through a hole underneath our radiator in the living room.

I couldn’t help myself, I let out a bloodcurdling scream. “Oh My God, Oh My God, Oh My God!” I repeat over and over in shock.

Of course my husband jumps out of bed, after hearing me scream like I was being murdered, and rushes to the living room, thinking that our daughter died or something.

Thankfully, just a mouse in the apartment.

I couldn’t be in the living room at night after that, at least until we resolved it and kind of figured something out.

So now it’s been two weeks since THE SIGHTING and I feel confident that what we’ve done will prevent mice from entering the apartment. Our issue wasn’t that we were leaving garbage out, although we could’ve been better about that, or that they were living in our walls, they weren’t because the walls are concrete. The issue was that they were entering from the basement. And the basement is controlled by property management.

Here’s What We Did:

1. Contacted Our Super

Our Super is pretty decent. He does tend to whatever issues come up in the apartment, although, he usually just does a quick fix. But this time I made sure to direct him and make sure he was taking care of all our requests. By contacting our super we’re also making a record of the issue so that if it continues we can take it to our property management and let them know that they were aware and they failed to correct. (You have to think like a ninja when you’re a tenant because usually ownership wants to spend as little money as possible to correct problems like this. Sometimes you have to lay down the big hammer and put some pressure on them).

2. Filled All The Holes

There was a hole in the wall right behind our oven, that was the mouse’s entry point. It crossed through the kitchen into the living room and exited from the left radiator. There was a large enough hole in the hardwood floor for the mouse to exit.

FYI-A mouse is able to enter any hole that is the size of a quarter or bigger.

It was a huge task to look through the whole house and find these holes, but we had to in order to keep the mice from coming in. So the Super came the next day, brought one of those metal Brillo pads and some spackle, then filled the hole. He used the metal Brillo to reinforce to spackle so the mice couldn’t just break through it. That took him a total of five minutes to do.

3. Set Some Traps

So this is not the first time I’ve had a mouse in my apartment, unfortunately. The first time was when I was living in Queens and we had these horrible upstairs neighbors that never took their garbage out and next door neighbors who fed birds and left bread out. So of course we had mice.

First we tried the sticky traps. They’re like these rectangular squares that you can put down and they have a really sticky film on them as well as crumbs, so that the mice will HOPEFULLY try to get the food then get stuck in the trap. Just know that sticky traps are not good if you have pets because obviously the pets could get stuck in them and they are incredibly painful to get out. Also they aren’t good if you have small children because they can accidentally touch the trap and it’s like touching sticky super glue.

We actually caught a mouse on the sticky traps in Queens and I really didn’t like it. I thought it was so inhumane, the mouse was stuck in the trap for hours squealing and trying to get out. Then we had it pick it up like that, kill it and then throw it out.

This sounds horrible, but I just don’t want to see the mouse. I want it to get caught in the trap, hidden from view, and killed right away. I’m not someone who enjoys seeing animals suffer.

This is, in my opinion, the best trap to get and it’s really efficient. You just put some cheese inside or peanut butter and leave the trap wherever you think the mice will go. When we got this we caught the other mouse right away, literally the next day, and it was easy to get rid of.

4. Mouse Repellent

This is the best repellent for mice. I was concerned about putting poison out or something like that since, you know, chemicals are bad for children and pets. This mouse repellent spray is all natural.

Apparently mice really hate the smell of peppermint or any other strong scent. The ingredients are peppermint oil, spearmint oil, cinnamon oil and vinegar so pretty much all natural. There’s also sodium lauryl sulfate (2%) which is an organic compound meant to thicken the spray.

All you need to do is just spray around the house and that alone will keep mice away. So I would recommend putting it near your doorway, behind appliances and anywhere that you saw the mice before and that will repel them.


I hate mice, there’s something about them that’s just so nasty and dirty. Having them in your house is just the worst.

Mice tend to be very sneaky and hard to get rid of on your own so be patient. Hiring an exterminator if you don’t have an infestation and only one or two mice will be super costly. You really don’t need to do that if you only have a small mouse problem. These tricks will help you keep mice out and get rid of the ones you have, fast and cheaply!

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The Horror of Finding Mold In My Apartment

This is the worst thing that has happened to us in a while. I don’t know which is worse having bedbugs or having mold? Both are pretty intense to have in your apartment and are nightmares to deal with.

This is the second time we’ve had mold in our apartment. I’m not talking mildew from leaving your shower on too long. I’m talking about full on mold attaching itself to half our furniture in our master bedroom and some of our furniture in our second bedroom. I’m crazy for not moving the first time but who wants to move in the middle of summer when you’re broke and made no plans on moving? Looking for apartment is the biggest pain.

As far as I know it’s not toxic. It’s just a lot of mold. The kind of mold you would find on a piece bread.

The first time our apartment went through this, it was a disaster. We had been living in the apartment building for less than a year and I had noticed that the apartment was kind of getting damp and a sort of musty smell. None of our towels were dry, not even when we hung them out, and our home was feeling really hot and humid. I had noticed that there was a piece of wood on the floor in our bedroom that was damaged and getting darker. Still, it was summer, we figured it was hot and that’s why the apartment felt this way. We weren’t that sick, I was getting congestion and occasionally losing my voice but I wasn’t connecting the dots as to why. Then one day, my husband decided to look behind the furniture while he was cleaning and found a whole giant colony of mold.

It was disgusting. Upon taking a deeper look, it was under our bed, behind our vanity dresser and in our second bedroom where my then 4 year-old daughter slept. It was coming up between the floorboards, getting in our clothes and in the air. We realized we’d been living with it for months.

I immediately contacted our landlord and expressed our concern over the health hazards of living with mold. They were accommodating, we didn’t have to pay one months rent and they paid for our dry cleaning and laundry service. They seemed responsible and brought a professional company to remediate the mold issue. It took one month for us to be out of the apartment to correct the mold. They ripped up the floors, brought giant industrial dehumidifiers to clean the air for better air quality, re-patched the floors and scraped out all the mold.

In the meantime, we were three people living in a one bedroom. It was such a nightmare! We had to clean the apartment top to bottom to live in it, sleep on an air mattress and within a month move again. When we returned, our bathroom had been re-done and our floors re-patched with new planks. We were grateful. We felt that the company had done enough to ensure that the apartment would never get mold again. So we stayed.

And from 2017 to 2019, there weren’t any issues. At that point I had gotten renters insurance, just in case. I made sure we took short showers during the summer so not to add to the humidity and I ran our dehumidifier on high while we were at work. This worked for a bit. But this year we were more careless; with the new baby I didn’t want to use the dehumidifier and dry her out. Somehow, I feel like I could have prevented this.

But the mold issue goes beyond using our dehumidifier. Mold thrives in wetness and warmth. Without a source of water, there would be no issue. Considering that there’s significant mold in two rooms in the house, there’s a serious underlying moisture problem that was never addressed the first time.

One thing you need to know about our apartment is that it’s beautiful. It’s huge with over 1300 sqft, working fireplace, galley kitchen and foyer dining room. The ceilings were high so we were able to get a large entertainment center. For the rent it’s a really, really, really good deal. And when we moved here, what we were paying was already at the top of what we could spend so moving to a different apartment at this point is just not financially feasible.

Now with the second incident of mold, we have a six year old child and newborn infant. It seems unsafe for us to stay when we know that this mold is a reoccurring issue.

We could move to another apartment, but there just aren’t that many options. Everything reasonable or nearly comparable is $300-600 more rent than what we’re paying now. Plus a potential brokers fee. There’s a housing shortage where we are.

We’re considering possibly staying after they remediate and just hustle and buckle down so we can get a down payment on a house. The maintenance on the house would at least be in our control, but it’ll be at least six months before we have a good enough down payment.

Just goes to show how hard it is to be a homeowner, even with interest rates low, the costs are enormous: with 20% down payment, 2-5% closing costs and buffer money you’ll need to maintain your day to day expenses. It seems so out of reach.

Now I know how people who are living in Flint, Michigan feel, they can’t sell their homes because of their tainted water situation and most are not in a financial position to buy a new home so where do you go?

Maybe it would be better for us to stay in our moldy apartment. But then I wonder, what would happen if five years from now either of our children get sick with cancer? We would always hold it against ourselves that we didn’t put our health first.

So what to do? We’re caught in this sick sort of moldy limbo of needing a new place and not being able to afford a move. ?

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Tags: mold in apartment, mold around children, mold remediation apartment, recurring mold, health effects of mold, life with mold