How To Set Up A Mouse Trap [Pictures] Complete Guide

Rodent Guide
Written By Rodent Guide

I believe in treating all creatures with respect. My mission is to ensure everyone understands how to protect their home from rodents without using cruel methods.

Are you ready for a mouse battle?

Do you need to rid your house of a mouse infestation?

Are you fed up with hearing noises in your attic while trying to sleep?

Do you need to set a trap to catch a mouse?

Before the battle begins, you will need to know how to set up a mouse trap!

In this post, I will run you through setting up a mouse trap so that you can begin the battle with the upper hand.

First, what equipment do you need to set up a mouse trap properly?

How To Set Up A Mouse Trap

Setting Up Your Mouse Trap – Equipment

Before you begin your mouse trap setup, you must gather all the necessary equipment. 

  • Gloves – You do not get your scent on the trap. You will notice that I am not using gloves for the images in this post. I will not use this trap to catch mice, so I didn’t bother putting gloves on!
  • Bait – I use peanut butter to bait the trap in this demonstration. Recommended reading: The bait I use to catch mice.
  • Trap – Sure, you will need a mouse trap too! If you are stuck with which one to buy, check out my recommended mouse traps.

How To Set A Mouse Trap

Let’s look at the best way to set up a mouse trap.

How to set a mouse trap infographic

Pick A Trap

Let’s take a look at the mouse trap I am using in this demonstration (it is quick and effective – these traps work):

mouse trap details
The classic ‘snap trap’ mouse trap!

I use a classic ‘snap trap’ mouse trap in this demonstration.

The picture above shows the most vital parts of a mouse trap. It is important to know each part before you can know how to set a mouse trap.

Add Bait To Your Mouse Trap

The next step you need to take to set a mouse trap is the bait application.

In this demonstration, I am using peanut butter. You can use many things as mouse bait, but peanut butter is always my ‘go-to’ food. It has never let me down.

In the trap above, I have added peanut butter as bait into the bait bucket.

Never overfill the bait bucket with bait.

Many people think that more bait means more success, this is simply not true.

If you add too much bait to your mouse trap, you risk the trap not firing correctly. Overfilling the bait bucket is one of the most common mouse trap mistakes!

You can see from the picture above that I have filled the bait bucket with peanut butter. Some peanut butter has spilled slightly over the edges but will not interfere with the mouse trap functionality.

Place The Mouse Trap Down

Let’s take a look at how to place mouse traps.

To be as successful as you can be, you must lay down your mouse trap in the best possible places.

When considering where to put your mouse trap, you need to understand the places that mice like to hide in your home. It is best to start at these places to increase the chances of a successful capture.

Check out the pictures below to give you some direction:


You MUST lay down the traps before arming them!

Arm The Mouse Trap

Once your mouse trap is in place, it is time to arm it!

This is where you need to be extremely careful. These mouse traps are designed to break the neck of a mouse. The springs are tight, and the force is enough to injure any appendage you are unlucky enough to catch in it!

Checking The Trap

Assuming you have set it up and baited it correctly, and assuming that you have mice to catch, there is a high chance that you will catch a mouse within 1 day.

You must check the traps every 1 day to see if you have caught a mouse. Not only that, but if you are using certain foods to bait the mouse trap, you may need to replace them.

There are some issues that you need to be aware of when checking your traps.

  1. Sometimes, traps can go missing. It is frustrating, but it might happen. I have detailed common reasons why mouse traps disappear right here.
  2. The mouse may still be alive. What do you do when you catch a live mouse in a trap? How do you dispose of a live mouse?

Frequently Asked Questions

Do mice learn to avoid traps?

Mice do not learn to avoid traps, but they have an incredible sense of smell and will easily smell your scent. This is why it is essential to wear gloves when handling mouse traps.

What bait do I use?

Peanut butter has never let me down in the past! I use a few mouse trap baits, including (but not limited to) nut spread, meat, nuts, and seeds.

Where do I put the mouse traps?

Before laying down your mouse traps, take a journey around your home to identify the areas that show mouse activity. To increase the chances of successfully capturing a mouse, lay the traps in areas you know they have been! The best way to set a mouse trap is in a place where you have seen a mouse or seen evidence of mouse activity. You should also consider putting the mouse traps in common hiding places for mice in your home.

How to Set Up a Mouse Trap – Recap

I appreciate there is a lot of info above, so here it is again with fewer details:

  1. Pick your trap – I go for snap traps or multiple mouse traps to target multiple mice.
  2. Bait the trap – Apply enough peanut butter to tempt the mice. There are other bait options for mice.
  3. Place the trap down – Pick areas where you have seen some mouse activity. Go for places that restrict movements to ensure the mice have to walk over the trap to continue the journey. Put the traps tight against a wall if possible too.
  4. Arm it – Do not do this before you have laid the trap down or run the injury risk.
  5. Check the trap – You should check the mouse trap every day at first to see if you have successfully caught a mouse. If you have caught a mouse, clean the trap before going through the process again. Always wear gloves when handling mouse traps.

If you are using mouse traps that only catch one mouse at a time, I recommend that you use 6 at least. You can leave these a little longer if you use multi-catch mouse traps. The Tin Cat Trap by Victor catches up to 30 mice!


I am confident that now you have read this post, you know how to set up a mouse trap!

Catching mice in your home is not easy, but it is something that you can do. Knowing where mice like to hide in your home gives you a head start. When you know this and know how to set a mouse trap, you have the upper hand!

It is vital to know these things if you want to gid rid of mice in your home!

Good luck!


About the Rodent Guide

I’m an expert in do-it-yourself rodent control. For more than 20 years, I’ve dedicated my life to helping people live harmoniously alongside these critters by sharing rodent control solutions that are effective and kind.

I believe in treating all creatures with respect. My mission is to ensure everyone understands how to protect their home from rodents without using cruel methods.

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