You Really Can Use Oil to Get a Mouse Off of a Glue Trap

No, you (probably) don’t have to touch it.
You Really Can Use Oil to Get a Mouse Off of a Glue Trap
Photo by George Shuklin, WikiMedia Commons

I’d warned my roommates about glue traps. I had already spent an evening in a previous apartment crying on my couch, repeating “I’m so sorry,” to the baby mouse squeaking from a trap under the microwave stand. My roommate had been the hero. He’d come home, dropped a towel over the little guy, and bopped it with the butt of the fire extinguisher.

None of the three of us had the guts to do that Monday night, and leaving it to starve to death or freeze outside was way too cruel. (This is why you don’t use glue traps.) We had to set it free or kill it trying.

WikiHow says to use cooking oil, and it worked. Here’s how:

  1. The creepiest part. You have to move the whole trap into a container. My roommate sacrificed a big Tupperware that she’d once used to store homemade cookies. You can scoop up the trap with a dustpan, or just break down and grab it by a corner, and drop it in.
  2. Drizzle the base of the trap with oil. We used Trader Joe’s extra virgin. (It’s so versatile!) Cover the whole base so it doesn’t get re-stuck, but DON’T DROWN THE MOUSE. We were terrified we were about to watch it suffocate in the slimy liquid. Just a tablespoon or two should do it. It spreads.
  3. Cover the container. Monitor progress. Add oil as needed.
  4. Once it’s off the trap, release the greased-up mouse outside. It may or may not survive. It may or may not immediately turn around and come back inside. But you don’t have to kill it yourself or watch it suffer, and that’s the kind of denial that’ll get you through the ordeal.
  5. Seal mouse holes with steel wool. Buy different traps.

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Editorial Fellow

Andrea is a fall 2016 editorial fellow at Washingtonian. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in May and has written for Eater, Outside, and Vice. She lives in Bloomingdale.