Growing up, my parents had this wooden cabinet in their home office. With time, it got full and they found some other place. A few weeks later, they needed some letters and had to look in there. I remember my mother screaming upon discovering what she thought to be a family of mice in the cabinet. 

Filing cabinets are important for homes and offices as they allow you to store them in a way that is easy for you to find. The good thing is, you can customize them with different organizational tools to have all your documents organized.

How Do Mice Get Into Closed Cabinets?

Generally, filing cabinets are mouse-proof. However, if they have holes or spaces, mice will be able to get in. If the hole is small and the material for the cabinet is something mice can chew through, they will get in. 

If the material for the cabinets is tough and therefore too difficult for mice to chew through, you do not have to worry. At the same time, you may have to put measures in place to ensure small mice do not get in.

The table below shows materials that mice may be able to chew through and some that they will be unable to chew through.

Material of CabinetCan Mice Chew Through the Material
Stainless SteelNo
Cast IronNo
PlasticYes
PlywoodYes
OakYes
AluminumYes

How To Prevent Mice From Getting in Your Filing Cabinets

You may have mice in your basement, or you have had an outbreak of mice in your home, and you want to make sure they do not get to your filing cabinets. You can do this by:

Check Your Lock Regularly

Most manufacturers tend to use the best material when it comes to building the filing cabinets, such as steel and aluminum. The problem is, they tend to build the lock with materials that are not as strong.

Many locks are made from plastic or aluminum which are easy for mice to chew through. If your filing cabinet has such a lock, you can always replace the lock with one that is made from steel or iron.

If you are not able to get your locks replaced, you can always cover them well with materials that you are sure they will not be able to chew through.

Keep the Drawers Shut

This is one of the easiest ways to make sure that mice do not get into your cabinet. Some cabinets have a mechanism that only allows one drawer to be open at a time. This is better than having a cabinet where all drawers can be opened at the same time.

In as much as it is better than having all your drawers open, there are chances that mice will be able to get in through the open drawer. To prevent this, you have to make sure that all drawers are closed at all times.

Whether it is in your home office or at your workplace, train yourself and the people around you to always keep the drawers shut.

Conduct Regular Inspections for Holes

Tiny spaces are not going to hinder mice from getting into your filing cabinet. Holes the size of dimes are enough for adult mice to squeeze through and get into your filing cabinets. This is because they do not have collarbones.

Think of it like this, when you are trying to get into something, and your shoulders cannot pass through the space, there is no way you will be able to get in. If your shoulders fit, the rest of your body will.

For mice, as long as their head has passed through the hole, the rest of the body can be squeezed through.

Check for Signs of Mice

Conducting regular check-ups for any signs of mice around your cabinet will help you know if there are any mice around.

Look out for the following:

  • Mice droppings around the cabinet
  • Bite marks
  • Scratches on the filing cabinet
  • Track prints
  • Mouse smell
  • Grease rubs

How to Get Rid of Mice

After practicing the techniques above, you may notice that you do have mice. This then leads to you having to find ways to get rid of them. You have to do it fast as mice tend to reproduce fast, in large numbers, and cause damage.

If you notice that the number of mice is high, it would be better to call a professional in the field of pest control to avoid putting yourself and your family at risk.

Exclusion

After your regular check-ups, you may notice holes that mice may use to get into your filing cabinet. Check and make sure that there are no mice in there, and then fill the hole with steel wool.

Steel wool is a good fit for the job as mice are not able to chew it. It will be a good deterrent in making sure that mice do not gain access to your filing cabinet. You can also use metal pads instead of steel wool. 

Set Traps

Traps are the easiest way to get rid of mice and ensure that all your paperwork is safe. It works better if the mice are in small numbers. They need to be put in strategic locations to be more effective.

In your case, place them where you notice signs of mice around the filing cabinet, close to the wall, on the ground. 

Essential Oils

Sometimes, using poison on mice may end up backfiring. This may happen when your child or pet, finds the poison and takes it. This can be a very dangerous situation to find yourself in. This is why you have to go for methods that are less likely to cause such damage.

Essential oils such as clove oil and peppermint oil have strong smells that repel mice. You can choose to mix the two oils, dip some cotton into the mixture, and put it where you notice signs of mice. Another solution you can use is that of peppermint oil, vinegar, and water.

For this method to be very effective, you can pair it with another way of getting rid of mice.

Get a Cat

People with cats rarely have problems with mice. A cat would be one of the best solutions to aid you in your mice problem. It is crucial that you find out if anyone in your family is allergic to cats before you get one.

If there is, you can still buy cat litter and put it in areas that mice seem to be in. The cat litter will be a deterrent. Ensure you keep it away from areas where children are likely to see it.

What to Do When You Find Dead Mice

If you use any of the methods above, you are likely to end up with dead mice. If the mouse is in a mousetrap, the best way to get rid of it would be by throwing away the trap with the mouse. Before you touch it, make sure you put on rubber gloves.

The process may be slightly different if the mice as a result poison. Be sure to:

  • Put on gloves. Ensure they have no holes.
  • Thoroughly disinfect the mice and where you found them.
  • Put the mice in a sealable plastic bag
  • Put the plastic bag in a second bag and then throw it in the trash together with the gloves.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap.

Make sure that the area is well ventilated before you begin the process of removing the dead mice.

Metal filing cabinets are probably the best filing cabinets to invest in. You do not want to be one of those people whose documents got destroyed by mice. If you keep the methods above in mind, you are likely to notice any mice problems, and you will be able to get rid of them in no time.

References

Remote Working Warriors – Website 

Wildlife Damage Management 

Department of Health

Victor Pest – Website

Wiggly Wisdom – Website

Survivalist Boards – Website