What Can Mice Chew Through? You’ll Be Surprised

Mice can chew through a wide variety of materials found in homes using their strong front teeth that grow continuously.

This allows them to gnaw through various items to gain shelter, water, and food.

When searching for entry points or creating nests inside homes, mice will nibble on many common household materials.

So what can mice chew through? In this article, we’ll explore the types of materials mice are capable of chewing through, as well as some they cannot chew through.

We’ll also provide tips on how to mouse-proof your home by blocking access and preventing damage from their sharp teeth.

Knowing what mice can and cannot easily chew through is key to protecting your home and belongings.

What Can Mice Chew Through

Mice are capable of chewing through a wide variety of common household materials thanks to their strong front teeth and nibbling habit.

When searching for food or creating nests, mice will gnaw on many items in order to make entry points or shelters.

Here are some of the most common materials mice can easily chew through.

Materials Mice Can Chew Through

Plastic

Mice can chew through various types of plastic materials using their strong incisors. When trying to gain entry or create nests, mice will commonly gnaw on plastic items found around homes.

Can mice chew through plastic storage containers?

Yes, mice can definitely chew through plastic storage containers. Their sharp teeth can pierce through the thin plastic material that storage containers are made from.

Mice will gnaw away at plastic containers to create entry holes or to enlarge existing openings.

Can mice chew through plastic water pipes?

Mice are capable of chewing through plastic water pipes and tubing.

Their strong front teeth can nibble away at the plastic until it develops leaks.

Mice will chew pipes to access water for drinking and survival.

Can mice chew through plastic roofing?

Plastic roofing provides little defense against mice’s teeth. They can chew through common plastic roofing materials like PVC, leaving holes and damage.

You may see signs of water damage if mice have chewed through plastic roofing.

Can mice chew through plastic bottles?

It’s no trouble for mice to chew into plastic bottles. They can easily pierce through the thin plastic with their sharp incisors.

Mice will chew bottles to access any food or liquid inside.

Can mice chew through plastic totes?

Large plastic storage totes can be damaged by mice chewing through them.

They will focus on thinner areas of the tote or the lid to gnaw their way inside.

Valuables stored in plastic totes may not be mouse-proof.

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Materials Mice Can Chew Through

Electrical Wiring

  • Mice will happily chew through electrical wiring if given the chance.
  • Their sharp teeth can easily damage the protective plastic or rubber coating around wires.
  • Exposed wiring poses serious fire and electrocution risks for homes.
  • Mice may chew wires to use the insulation for nesting material.

Wood

  • All types of wood are vulnerable to mice’s strong chewing and gnawing habits.
  • They chew through wooden materials like baseboards, door frames, furniture, and wood structures.
  • Their front teeth are ideally suited for chewing through softer woods.
what can mice chew through
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Rubber

  • From rubber seals to insulation, mice relish chewing on rubbery materials.
  • Their teeth leave behind visible marks and damage.
  • Mice can destroy rubber seals around windows and doors, allowing access inside.
  • Rubber insulation on pipes or wires also gets chewed as nest material.
  • You should check rubber components for signs of mouse damage.

Cardboard and Paper

  • Their sharp incisors make swift work of these soft cellulose products.
  • You may find shredded paper, books, and packaging from mice establishing nesting areas.

Clothing and Upholstery

  • Mice will chew through various fabrics to gather materials for building nests or bedding inside homes.
  • Clothing left on floors or spilling out of closets offers easy access for mice to chew and shred.
  • Towels hung on racks or stored in linen closets also get chewed as nesting supplies.
  • Upholstered furniture like couches and chairs provide ample fabric for mice to tear into with their sharp teeth.
  • They can create small holes or shred large sections of fabric rapidly.
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Vinyl

  • Vinyl may seem durable, but mice can chew through it given time.
  • Their persistent gnawing and chewing will leave behind telltale teeth marks and damage.
  • Mice often target vinyl materials like binders, photo albums, piping, or protective vinyl coverings around wires.
  • These vinyl items have more flexible and malleable sections that mice can sink their teeth into.
  • They may chew vinyl to incorporate into nest building or simply to file down and sharpen their continuously growing teeth.
  • Monitoring vinyl possessions for chew marks near suspected mouse hideouts can help catch damage right away.

Insulation

  • Mice find fluffy fiberglass insulation ideal for shredding and incorporating into nests.
  • They will chew through these materials rapidly to gather what they need.
  • Insulation inside attics, walls, and crawl spaces provides easy access.
  • Mice’s sharp teeth make short work of fiberglass to create cozy, insulating nests for bearing young.
  • As they chew through and deteriorate insulation, their effectiveness at retaining heat or cool air is also diminished.
  • This can lead to higher energy bills and expensive repairs or replacements.
  • You may hear mice chewing through insulation at night and seeing insulation scraps in doorways or corners can also indicate a mouse nest inside walls
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Materials Mice Cannot Chew Through

While mice can chew through many common household materials, their teeth are no match for certain sturdy items.

When attempting to gain entry to homes or chew their way into food packages, mice will be thwarted by these tougher materials.

Materials Mice Cannot Chew Through

Concrete and Cement

  • The hard, coarse surface of concrete and cement cannot be penetrated by mice.
  • They may be able to leave superficial teeth marks, but cannot actually chew through these very durable materials.
  • Any concrete or cement structures, foundations, and surfaces will be impervious to mouse damage.

Brick and Rocks

  • Bricks, whether as part of homes and structures or loose landscaping materials, are too hard for mice to chew through.
  • Rocks, pebbles, and stones also do not succumb to mice’s teeth.
  • These items are natural deterrents for blocking potential mouse entryways.

Steel Wool

  • Tightly packed steel wool makes an uncomfortable chewing surface for mice.
  • Its dense bristles irritate their gums and mouth when they attempt to gnaw on it.
  • Steel wool is a useful temporary barrier when plugging up holes and cracks accessible to mice.
Materials Mice Cannot Chew Through

Metal

  • Metal siding, flashing, pipes, and screens cannot be chewed through by mice.
  • Their teeth cannot penetrate or damage metal materials.
  • Metal offers the benefit of being chew-proof as well as relatively flexible for sealing potential mouse entry points.

Copper Mesh

  • Like steel wool, copper mesh makes for an uncomfortable chewing surface.
  • Mice dislike gnawing on the woven copper bristles.
  • Copper also carries a slight charge that can give mice an unpleasant zap.
  • These factors make copper mesh a useful deterrent for blocking small openings.

Glass

  • Glass in any form including windows, bottles, bakeware, and fiberglass is impervious to mouse teeth.
  • They cannot get traction or penetrate the ultra-smooth, hard surface.
  • Mice will avoid wasting energy trying to chew directly through glass.

Aluminum Foil

  • Crinkly aluminum foil discourages mice from chewing.
  • They dislike the texture, sound, and inability to pierce through the aluminum material.
  • Layering aluminum foil over insulation, pipes, wires, and other attractive chewing spots deters mice.
  • The metal flakes released during chewing may also upset their digestive systems.
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Can Mice Chew Through Ductwork?

Mice are fully capable of chewing through ductwork, including heating and cooling ducts, exhaust vents, and more.

The thin metal or plastic used for ducting provides limited protection against mice’s strong teeth.

Mouse in duct

They will gnaw away at ducts in order to enter new areas of a home, following the airflow scent trails.

This allows access to food, water, and potential nesting spots that were previously unreachable.

In addition to gaining access, mice may chew ductwork to create nesting materials from the insulation around ducts.

Damaged or disconnected ducts can lead to HVAC system inefficiencies, higher energy bills, and provide additional entry points for mice.

You may hear scratching or scampering noises coming from within ductwork, indicating mouse occupation.

Can Mice Chew Through Drywall?

Drywall provides only a moderate barrier against mouse chewing. While mice cannot easily chew directly through intact drywall, they can still gnaw away at and damage drywall surfaces.

Mice will focus on chewing areas where drywall has become damp or weakened over time first.

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They can gradually create small holes and entry points with persistence.

Drywall corners, drywall tape edges, and openings for electrical boxes also get targeted for easier chewing access.

In addition to chewing through surfaces, mice will chew away drywall from the backside within walls as they establish nests and runways.

This can cause unseen structural damage that only becomes evident once in-wall drywall collapses under its own weight.

Signs of drywall damage from mice may include chew marks low on walls, flaking or weakened corners, and hollow-sounding drywall.

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How to Prevent Mice from Chewing in Your Home

While mice are capable chewers, there are steps you can take to deter them and prevent damage.

Use Chew-Proof Materials

  • Use metal, glass, concrete, or other chew-proof materials when possible.
  • Choose these non-vulnerable materials for structures, containers, landscaping, and more.
  • Mice will avoid trying to chew surfaces like smooth metal or rock.
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Seal Openings

  • Mice can’t chew through these materials so sealing holes with them deters entry.
  • Don’t rely solely on wood, plastic, or rubber seals outdoors.

Protect Vulnerable Items

  • Wrap insulation in wire mesh to prevent chewing.
  • Enclose wires in protective metal conduit. Keep pantry items in glass, metal, or thick plastic containers.
  • Add extra insulation around pipes and ductwork.
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Keep Areas Clean

Mice are attracted to messy areas with accessible food debris or clutter. Keeping your home and outdoor spaces clean and tidy deter mice from wanting to enter and chew.

  • Sweep floors regularly
  • Pick up food spills right away
  • Take out the trash frequently
  • Clean up fallen pet food
  • Clear out clutter
  • Maintain yard by mowing and clearing brush
  • Prune vegetation touching the home exterior

Good sanitation practices remove food sources and shelter for mice. This provides fewer reasons for them to chew their way inside.

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Final Thoughts

Mice are relentless chewers that can gnaw their way through many common household materials using their constantly growing teeth.

As we’ve discussed, plastic, wood, insulation, fabrics, and even ductwork are vulnerable to mouse chewing.

But concrete, glass, metal, and rocks can withstand mice’s incisors.

Being aware of what materials mice can and can’t easily destroy helps you safeguard your home and valuables.

Sealing exterior holes with metal or concrete, putting away fabrics and paper goods, and using tougher storage containers are wise precautions. Implementing deterrents like steel wool also discourages nibbling in at-risk areas.

While mice are determined gnawers, staying vigilant for signs of damage and proactively blocking their access can save you from expensive destruction and repairs.

Protect your home from vulnerable chew points and don’t give mice the opportunity to turn their teeth on your possessions.

With preventative measures in place, you can relax knowing mice won’t be chewing their way through your life.

FAQs

Can mice chew through plastic?

Yes, mice can chew through thin flexible plastic with their sharp teeth. Storage containers, pipes, bottles, and packaging are vulnerable.

How long can mice chew through plastic?

Mice can chew clean through thin plastic in just a few hours or less. Thicker plastic may take 24-48 hours or more to completely chew through.

Can mice chew through plastic bins?

Plastic storage bins offer little protection against determined mouse chewing. Mice can chew into plastic bins within hours or days.

Will plastic containers keep mice out?

No, plastic containers alone will not keep mice out of food or belongings. Mice can fairly easily chew into plastic containers.

Do mice chew through garbage bags?

Yes, mice will chew into plastic garbage bags to reach any food waste inside. Use metal or durable plastic trash cans with tight lids.

Can mice chew through steel wool?

No, mice cannot effectively chew through tightly packed steel wool. The fine bristles cause discomfort and deter them.

Resources – (for further reading)

Science Daily – Rats have best bite of rodent world

University of Florida – ENY-224/DH044: Rat and Mouse Control

I'm Ernest M Noah, the founder of BugsTips.com. I have years of experience as an exterminator in Texas and Idaho, and I'm passionate about educating people on how to deal with pest problems effectively and safely.