The thought of mice climbing into your dishwasher to nibble at leftovers as they pee and poop everywhere is enough to make anyone freak out. Once winter rolls in, unfortunately, so do the mice. In fact, mice invade approximately 21 million homes in America every year in the winter months seeking warmth and sustenance.
Dishwashers and ovens appear to be two of their most favored nesting spots as they batten down the hatches for winter. If your dishwasher suddenly starts leaking, or you find mouse droppings inside, the chances are you may well have a family of furry squatters.
Check Underneath for Droppings
Whether your dishwasher is leaking or you have discovered mouse droppings in the interior, you will need to check several areas in order to be sure that mice have taken up residence underneath or behind your dishwasher. First, switch off the power and remove the access panel, which is usually located under the door. Shine a torch underneath. If you see mouse droppings, it's very likely that the mice are getting in somewhere behind your dishwasher.
Examine Dishwasher Door for Damage
If your dishwasher is old, the door seal may be compromised. This can lead to leaks, and serve as an access point for mice.
Check for Gnawed Pipes and Hoses
You will now have to pull your dishwasher out to check behind it. If your furry invaders moved in recently, they may have gnawed through the connecting pipes. A leak, no matter how small, will eventually cause water damage to your floor.
Find and Seal any Holes (No matter how small)
Mice can squeeze through holes the size of a ballpoint pen. If you see any openings in the wall behind your dishwasher, then you have found their entry point. Seal any holes with steel wool to keep mice from gaining access to your home in the future.
Examine Dishwasher for Entry Point
The mice could be getting into your dishwasher through the air vents if they are not sufficiently covered. However, sometimes the problem stems from a hole caused by wear and tear, such as a hole caused by a heating element burning through the bottom. If this is the case, you'll need to call in a repairman to fix the issue.
In the future, one way of deterring any further would-be rodent squatters is to rinse food debris from your dishes before you place them in the dishwasher.
Once your dishwasher is mouse free, make sure you examine it thoroughly to ensure there are no leaks or damage caused by the mouse incursion. If you aren't sure what to look for, call a local dishwasher repair service and have them look your dishwasher over.