Top Tips for Using Traps to Get Mice Out of Your House

Edited by
Inga Cryton
Reading Time: 10 minutes.
Updated: .

Mice can be a major nuisance in your home, and even one is too many for your house if you’re like most homeowners. The fact is that getting rid of them should be easy, but for a lot of people, it just doesn’t work out that way.

With the right techniques and a little expert advice, you can banish mice from your house for good. You’ll even be able to keep stray mice away before an infestation begins. Use this guide to learn more about how to set a mouse trap so it works effectively the first time.

How to Set a Mouse Trap

Setting a mouse trap is not supposed to be a complex task, but for many homeowners and business owners dealing with mice on their property, the instructions that come with traps aren’t always effective. In some cases, they don’t work at all, leaving you wondering why you have mouse traps not working on your property.

Learning to set a mouse trap is not an impossible task, but in almost every situation, figuring out how to do it right depends on the type of mouse trap you’re using. Keep reading to learn more about setting different types of mouse traps so they can help you get rid of pesky mice for good.


Wooden mouse traps are standard and sold at almost all hardware, garden and drug stores, making them easy to find for homeowners. Sometimes the directions leave a little to be desired though. Often sold under different names and brands, wooden mouse traps are cost-effective and one of the best mouse traps you have available.

Mouse traps can be dangerous if used improperly. Always work slowly when dealing with a mouse trap to avoid injuring your fingers. A mouse trap isn’t likely to seriously wound you, but it will put a damper on your day and leave you with a sore finger or two if you’re not careful!

Follow these steps for setting a standard wooden mouse trap:

  • Open the packaging and free the arm bar from the base of the mouse trap. You may need to use pliers or a screwdriver if a staple is used instead of a removable clip.
  • Position the arm bar so it is hanging off the back of the trap. Keep it securely in place with one hand.
  • Place the bait on the bait pedal, which is usually metal or a colored plastic. It is located on the top portion of the trap on most models.
  • Bait the trap with something like peanut butter to lure the mice. Peanut butter works well because mice can’t quickly grab it and run away from the trap without the kill bar coming down.
  • Position the kill bar securely against the wood frame. Secure the arm bar under the notch in the bait pedal area and quickly move your fingers away from the trap.
  • Position the trap along the wall or in an area that you have seen mice.

Mouse on trap


Catchmaster mouse traps are a popular brand that can be found in many stores and online. While Catchmaster makes a few models, the snap trap style is popular and easy to use for most homeowners.

Here’s how to set up a Catchmaster mouse trap:

  • Start by placing the bait on the yellow paddle. On most Catchmaster models it looks like a wedge of cheese.
  • Pull the arm bar back to the edge of the trap. Carefully pull the kill bar back, holding it securely in place to avoid hurting your fingers.
  • Pull the kill bar back over the top of the arm bar and hook it into the notch on the trap itself.
  • Release the kill the bar carefully so it is in its final place and put the trap inside or outside your home. Be careful when moving the trap that the bait stays in place and that you don’t snap your finger.

Wooden trap by Catchmaster

Victor Easy Set

Victor Easy Set mouse traps are easy to find and many hardware, garden and drug stores carry them. If you can’t find them in a retail store, they can be purchased online in various quantities so you have enough for every part of your house and a few extras on hand.

Mice travel along walls, not through the middle of rooms.

Here’s how to use a Victor Easy Set Mouse trap properly:

  • Victor Trap Setup InstructionsRemove the clip that secures the kill bar to the rest of the trip. The clip should be easy to locate when looking at the top part of the trap with the Victor logo.
  • Position the arm bar so it is hanging over the back of the trap. Leverage is essential for the arm bar to work properly when trapping a mouse.
  • Bait the trap properly using rodent pellets. You can also use protein-rich foods that attract mice like peanut butter. Make sure the bait is placed on the yellow portion of the trap where it will be most effective.
  • Pull the kill bar back with your thumb, being careful not to quickly close it. Keep pressure on the bar during this process so it doesn’t snap back quickly.
  • Position the arm bar over the kill bar. Latch this under the yellow portion of the trap holding the bait. Set the trap to the side marked ‘sensitive’ to kill mice more effectively.
  • Place the trap directly against the wall wherever you feel you have activity. Areas where you have seen mouse droppings or tracks are ideal.
  • Place traps around your home as necessary. Once mice have been trapped, dispose of each mouse and reset following the same directions.

Mouse Trap Instructions: How to Properly Set

Setting a mouse trap can seem tricky, but it doesn’t have to be a trying task. The most important part is taking your time and understanding the way the design of the specific trap you’re using works. Once you have that mastered, you can move on to figuring out how to best use your mouse trap within your home and outdoor areas.

How to Use a Trap

Where you put your mouse trap and how they are used is just as important as the type of trap you use. In fact, placement and the bait you use are integral to success when it comes to trapping mice around your home, both inside and out.

  • Always use quality bait that mice like. Peanut butter is an ideal option since it’s sticky and mice have to climb the trap to get to it.
  • Check your traps regularly. Mouse traps that have already trapped mice need to be cleared and put back in place, especially if you’ve got a major mouse problem around your home.
  • Move your traps to different areas if they are not working within a few days of putting them in place. Sometimes you have to experiment with placement to figure out what will work inside and outside your home.
  • Stick with the same type of bait once you find something that works. This is essential to trap as many mice as possible and rid your home of an infestation quickly. Refresh bait every week if it does not lure mice. For long-term traps in garages, basements and attics, bait only needs to be refreshed monthly.

Trap with bait

How Many Traps Do I Need?

The number of mouse traps that you need depends on the number of mice in your home. In general, homes that have a large mouse problem need more traps to completely remedy the issue in a timely manner. Remember that the longer you wait and the worse the problem gets, the harder it will be to resolve.

  • Use traps in all areas where you have seen mouse droppings or activity. This could be in just one room near your entry, back door or in the attic or basement. It could also be in multiple rooms throughout your home, especially during times of year when mice are most prevalent in your area.
  • Add more traps to busy parts of your home where you see a lot of droppings or activity. Where there is activity you’ll usually find more than one mouse, so setting multiple traps is a wise decision to take care of the problem quickly.
  • Consider placing traps in areas that aren’t closely monitored on a regular basis. Areas like the garage, basement and attic can have permanent traps. Traps will not lure mice in, but if they do get into these areas, having traps ready and waiting can help you avoid an infestation.

Where to Put Traps in My House

Where you put the traps in your house is just as important as what type and how many traps you are using. In the wrong areas, mouse traps won’t do a thing to stop the spread of mice in your home, which can lead to a severe problem in the long run.

  • Always put traps in areas where there is a lot of activity. Droppings and messy areas are a major sign that traps should be placed in a room.
  • Place traps along the walls and edges of your room. Mice aren’t likely to go through the center of the room unless they are being chased. Instead, they tend to scurry along the edges of your room.
  • Put traps along the walls near entry points like doors and windows. Even if you don’t leave these open the same entry points that you use can also be targets for mice.
  • Place traps in areas where your pets don’t spend time. Pets tend to deter mice from coming into your home, but more importantly, you don’t want them getting caught in the traps. Mouse traps can hurt cats and dogs, though they aren’t likely to create life-threatening injuries because of the size of these animals.
  • Keep mouse traps out of rooms occupied by young children. If you find mice in an area occupied by a young child, work to surround the perimeter with traps instead.
  • Use outdoor mouse traps around the edges of your home and entry points to keep mice out. Some mouse traps can also be used in areas by your garage, basement or attic year-round so you don’t end up with an infestation that needs fixing.

Mousetrap by Victor

What is the Best Way to Set a Mouse Trap?

The best way to set a mouse trap is to do it carefully and thoughtfully with the right type of bait like peanut butter. Take your time to learn how to use the mouse trap, then find a location that will work for your home. In most cases, the type of trap you use is secondary since they all work in a similar fashion.

If you can’t trap mice with mouse traps in your home and experimenting with different products and baits doesn’t work it may be time to call in the professionals. Letting an infestation stay in your home for a long time could lead to poor conditions for you and your family and a very large extermination bill down the road. Find more about mouse exterminator here.

Always act quickly when you spot mice in your home. Traps typically work if you’re vigilant, so move fast if you spot a mouse or rat. Then you can sleep easy knowing you and your family are in a clean, rodent-free environment.

You can find further details of Mice Control here.

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  1. One thing I have found to ALWAYS get your mouse is to put the peanut butter on the bottom side of the bait pedal instead of the top. The mouse has to put his head under it to get the bait, which always triggers the kill bar. Works EVERY time!

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