How to Set a Mousetrap – User-friendly Guide [2019]

So a bunch of mice have infiltrated your home and are driving you crazy. There are gnaw marks on the food packaging, droppings on the floor, and scampering noises that you just cannot stand.

The solution seems apparent, a mouse trap. But there's a lot more to it. 

Setting up a mouse trap can be a little trickier than you think. That's why, in this article, we'll cover how to set one up with an easy-to-follow guide. Let’s catch some mice, shall we?

Step 1: Remove the Mouse Trap Packaging

First, you need to determine which type of mouse trap you have. The most commonly used ones these days are the old-school snap traps and electric mouse traps. Unpacking the snap trap is very simple. It usually has a staple which attaches the snap wire to the block of wood. 

You need to remove that staple carefully. Removing it will allow you to pull the snap wire backward and prepare the trap. A good reason to be careful while unpacking is that you do not want to damage the trap in any way. You also do not want to hurt yourself in the process of removing the staple, so it is best to proceed with caution.


If you have chosen to invest in an electric mouse trap, you will find the unpacking process even simpler. Such traps can be easily used right out of the box. Usually, no further tweaks are required to activate it. 

Of course, you will have to bait it and turn it on, but we will talk about that in the later steps.  

Step 2: Bait the Trap

What should the bait be? This is a very important question. Your answer will determine if the mice choose to fall for your trap. The bait must be exciting enough to draw the mice out from wherever they are within the house. More importantly, it must be attractive enough to lure them inside the trap. 

A good bait option could be peanut butter. Mice just love it for some reason! In fact, it works somewhat like magic. You could use peanut butter as bait and all the mice will come running. Another good thing about peanut butter is that the chances of it falling off the trap are very slim. 

Chocolate is another great bait. Since mice have a sweet tooth and would be attracted to bait like chocolate. And of course, there is the most classic bait of all, cheese. However, you should make sure the cheese you use for baiting has a nice, strong smell, so it can lure the mice in. 

Other favorites are sunflower seeds and bits of bacon. Mice have sensitive noses, so it is basically the smell that works the magic. Removing other food sources could help make the mice concentrate more on the bait. You can pack other food in airtight containers or cupboards that are sealed. 

Step 3: Setting the Mouse Trap

The next step is setting up the mouse trap. When setting up a snap trap, you have to be cautious, otherwise, the only thing you may end up doing is trapping is your finger (Yikes!). So we have already removed the staple that holds the snap wire. The next thing you want to do is cover the trigger with the bait. Make sure there is just enough but not too much. The farther it is from the spring, the better.

Next, you will have to pull the snap wire backward. Make sure you have a strong grip on it. After that, you have to put the lock bar under the hook of the trigger. Remember, slow and steady motions will keep you safe. Now that the lock bar has been set, slowly let go of the snap bar. Do not let go all at once, but do so gradually. It will move into its correct place as the lock bar sets in. 

If the lock bar is not set correctly, the trap will snap shut, so be careful of that. Now that the trap is primed, you will want to hold it with your fingers from one end while steering clear of the trigger area. Put it against a wall with the bait end facing towards the wall. 

With electric traps, there are a couple of things you need to check. These are the batteries and whether the trap is turned on properly. 

Step 4: Mouse Trap Placement

Placement is something you just cannot ignore. Always remember, great battles are not won by equipment but by strategy. If you place the traps in the wrong places, they will have little or no effect at all. To make sure a trap is effective, you need to identify where the mice are located or places that they frequently visit. For example, the kitchen is very popular amongst mice. 

There are some signs that can help you locate the mice, as well. These include bite marks and claw marks. There will be signs of gnawing on food packages and you will find droppings here and there, as well. 

Now, don’t just put your traps out in the open. Place them closer to the walls because that's where the mice tend to stay. Other than that, you should locate the entry points, for example, garage gates and place traps there, as well. This can reduce your mouse problem significantly.

Lastly, you should never wait for the last moment to set up traps. Have them in place in the late afternoon or in the evening. Also, make sure the placement of your trap is not a threat to your pets, children, or yourself. 

Step 5: Remove the Trapped Mouse and Dispose of it Properly

The last and final step is to dispose of the mice. With snap traps, you can throw the trap out altogether. That way, if you are squeamish or afraid of mice, it will be easier for you. If you want to reuse the trap, you will have to lift the snap wire and release the mouse right over the garbage can. You should make sure that it is dead before doing that. Snap traps do not always kill as the snap wire could land on anything like a leg or the tail. 

With electric traps, the disposal process is a bit easier. Most electronic traps offer a no-see, no-touch experience. You can just open the lid of the trap and empty it over the garbage can. These are best for people who are afraid of mice and are squeamish, as well. 

Whichever trap you have, be sure to make haste with the disposal process; you do not want a dead mouse lying around in your house, as it will only add to your problems!

Video Overview | How to Set a Mousetrap

To create a better understanding, there is an easy-to-follow-along video included in the article. It basically shows how to set up a snap strap in a few easy steps. It gives a video representation of the steps detailed in step number two. So, all you have to do is pull the snap wire back, hold it down with your thumb, and set the lock bar into place.

Then you slowly let go of the snap bar and Voila! You have a mouse trap, all ready to catch some mice. 


Setting mouse traps may sound very easy, but there are many things you need to be careful of, especially when you are setting up a snap trap. Apart from that, the choice of bait and placement also play vital roles in trapping mice. So, follow this easy guide on how to set a mouse trap and catch mice, while keeping your fingers safe! 

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