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Steel Wool for Rodent Control

Where should I place steel wool to keep rodents out?

An important element of rodent pest control is exclusion, which includes sealing holes and fixing weather stripping. This can help alleviate the need for catching, trapping, or baiting for rodent control. Sealing holes, gaps, and other points of entry can help effectively deter rodents. Make sure to check small and large holes – mice can fit through a hole the width of a pencil (1/4 inch in diameter)

How to Use Steel Wool to Keep Rodents Out

Steel wool should be placed anywhere rodents are entering your home. These locations can be recognized by the rub marks from the rodent’s body oils left behind around cracks and gaps where they enter a structure, as well as tooth marks created when they gnaw a hole to better gain entrance into a building.

To seal a hole created by rodents, put a small amount of expanding foam into the hole, then add steel wool fabric so it’s enmeshed into the foam. Finish the job with quality sealant matched to the substrate. Rodents can't chew through steel wool, and its sharp edges will discourage them by poking them in the nose and hurting their teeth if they try to gnaw through it. When managing a rat infestation, your Orkin Pro can help create a customized rodent control treatment program.

The best places to use steel wool within your home include:

  • Inside, under, and behind kitchen cabinets

  • Floor areas in closets, especially corners

  • Around the fireplace, windows, and doors

  • Behind appliances

  • Around the pipes under sinks and washing machines

  • Around the pipes leading to water heaters and furnaces

  • Around dryer vents

  • Around all electrical, water, gas, and sewer lines

  • Inside the attic

  • In the basement or crawl space

  • Around floor drains, such as in your basement or laundry room

  • Between the floor and wall juncture

On the outside of your home, locations to place steel wool include:

  • In the roof among the rafters, gables, eaves, and soffits

  • Between the foundation of the home and ground

  • Around attic and crawl space vents

  • Around holes for electrical, plumbing, cable, and gas lines

How long does steel wool last?

This depends on its exposure to moisture and the quality of steel wool used. It is important to frequently inspect the locations where steel wood is used to ensure it’s still functioning properly. The mixture of water, oxygen, and iron from the steel wool can create conditions that foster rust, so, it's important to replace steel wool at the first sign of deterioration.

Copper Mesh Vs. Steel Wool for Rodents

Copper mesh is a highly effective rodent deterrent. It is made from tightly woven, fine strands of copper wire and can be purchased in sheets, rolls, or pre-made tubes. Copper mesh is very durable, corrosion-resistant, and virtually indestructible. It’s also non-toxic to people and pets, making it a safe alternative for pest control. Copper mesh is easy to install in a variety of different areas that may serve as entry points for a mouse infestation. The mesh acts like a barrier, preventing rodents from entering through any small gaps. Once installed correctly, it will last indefinitely.

Steel wool is a type of iron low-carbon mesh made from alloy steel. It has traditionally been used as a scouring pad, due to its abrasion and corrosion-resistant properties; but it also possesses some unique characteristics when used against mice. Its small holes can catch and hold rodent hairs, providing a sticky barrier that stops them from passing through or nesting around it. Unlike copper mesh or poultry netting which can bend easily under pressure from rodents, steel wool maintains its strong structure throughout. To make sure that moisture does not cause rust damage over time, all cracks and crevices should be filled with properly secured sections of steel wool every one to two months.

Advantages of Copper Mesh

  • Longevity: The higher tensile strength of copper mesh makes it a very durable and long-lasting material, perfect for high-use areas.

  • Rust-resistant: Copper mesh has rust-resistant properties and will not corrode and break down over time.

  • Ability to block small openings effectively: It’s an effective way of blocking mouse entry since its small weave pattern prevents rodents from entering through even the smallest gaps. The flexibility and malleability of copper also make it easy to install in awkward spaces, such as inside cavities or cramped corners.

  • Easy installation: The relatively lightweight nature of the copper mesh makes it very easy to install without much hassle. As one large sheet, there are no joint lines that require extra effort or adhesion, speeding up the process significantly.

Advantages of Steel Wool

  • Abrasive material hinders access: Steel wool is a very abrasive material, so it can physically block rodents from gaining access to an area.

  • Durability: Due to its stronger, more durable structure, steel wool does not easily decompose over time and therefore provides longer-term effectiveness.

  • Can last up to 12 months when applied correctly: When properly placed and protected against weather conditions (e.g., rain), steel wool can serve as an effective mouse repellent for up to a year or more.

  • Flexibility: Steel wool can easily be placed into stubborn areas of any shape around the home such as electrical outlets, plumbing fixtures, and even gaps in walls to create a physical deterrent.

  • Availability and affordability: Steel wool tends to be much less expensive than most other mouse deterrents and can easily be found at most home supply stores.

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