How to Keep Your Food Storage Protected From Pests

Are mice or other pests invading your hard-earned food storage? Protect your pantry from unwanted pests with these Mouse Proof Food Storage Ideas.

Are mice or other pests invading your hard-earned food storage? Protect your pantry from unwanted pests with these Mouse Proof Food Storage Ideas. #foodstorage #pestfree #miceprooffoodstorage #protectyourpantry #storingbulkfoods

Pest and Mouse Proof Food Storage

When you work hard to build up a store of food for your family, it can feel like the world is falling down when pests take over. Losing food to mice, rats, bugs, and other unwanted creatures is devastating to a family budget not to mention a huge frustration after you’ve put so much time and effort into building your pantry. Thankfully, there are some ways that we can prevent these pesky pests from stealing our precious goods. Don’t already have a stockpile? Here’s How to Build a Stockpile Quickly.

–Build a stockpile with just $5…find out how here: Building a Stockpile With $5 Per Week.

How to Keep Your Food Storage Protected From Pests

Protecting your home from pests is the first line of defense for your food storage. Sealing off your home as much as possible is vital. Any area open from the outside has the potential to let rodents and bugs into your home. Seal off cracks, window edges, around piping, and other entrances into your home.

Be sure to check in places that you might not consider at first. In our previous home, I thought everything was pretty snug and safe but then I opened the bathroom linen closet one day and came face to face with a RAT. I had forgotten about the area around the drain of the bathtub!

Clear out your yard to prevent pests from coming around. Keeping garbage cans clean, removing yard waste, and not leaving things in the yard that can be used as a shelter for critters you do not want coming into your home over the cold winter months.

Keeping the inside of your home unappealing to a pest is a great way to keep them away from your food source. Keeping floors clean of food crumbs, dishes washed, and trash taken out is a great way to not attract pests. Plugging drains and repairing any leaks will keep them from coming in and sticking around because they can’t find water. Something that goes along with this is to not store your outside garbage near the entrances to your home. It may take a little extra effort to walk the trash out further but it will be worth it.

Jars in the Pantry

When pests do find their way in, getting rid of them fast is vital for protecting your food storage. Keeping traps set and checking regularly will alert you when pests have found a way in and keep them under control. If you catch one you can assume there are plenty more. (Depending on the species of pest of course, we tend to have problems with shrews but they travel/live alone so it’s just removing one at a time.) Start the task of getting rid of the pests as soon as you discover them.

After you have armed your home to keep pests out, you will want to take a good look at your food storage itself. Storing foods in airtight containers should be your focus here. Animals or insects will hunt for food by scent, so using airtight containers will keep them from smelling your food.

Anything not airtight or contained within packaging that mice and rats chew up for bedding need to be stored differently. Large Rubbermaid bins are airtight and a great way to keep the foil packets and pouches from falling prey to building a nest and revealing a tasty reward that draws all of the other critters in.

–Use these printable canning jar labels to label your containers so you know what’s inside.

Jars

Canning jars are great pest-proof containers and reusing old glass jars for storing bulk foods that do not need canning is a great way to reuse those jars and protect your food storage from pests. Things that you can not find another suitable option for can often go just fine being split into old jars.

One of my all-time favorite bulk food storage containers is a 5-gallon food-grade bucket with a Gamma Lid. They’re great mouse proof storage, they seal tight and keep everything down to the smallest pests out!

–Check out more of my favorite products!

Use the refrigerator and freezer as much as you can. These appliances are pest-proof if all seals are properly working. We often look only at refrigerated foods for storing here but things like bread, cakes, and other treats are safest stored in your refrigerator where you can rest assured that the thin and not airtight packaging will not leave pests easy access to your families food.

 

These are just a few ways that you can keep pests out of your home and hopefully will help you keep your hard-earned food storage protected. No one wants to grab a package off the pantry shelf only to have the contents fall out onto the floor through a mouse-chewed hole!

Just getting started with Buying in Bulk? Here’s a whole page dedicated to the topic! And if you don’t already have a stockpile, you may want to read more about Building a Whole Foods Stockpile.

Looking for more storage ideas? Here are some other posts you might enjoy:

Practical Food Storage and Preparing For Price Increases

DIY Cold Storage and Frugal Root Cellar Ideas

Pantyhose Onion Storage

Small Space Storage

Organizing The Farmhouse Pantry

Getting Organized on a Budget


What are some things that you do to prevent pests from entering your home? How to do you remove them once you find them? How do you store your pantry goods?

This post on Mouse Proof Food Storage was originally published on Little House Living in September 2017. It has been updated as of September 2019.

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24 Comments

  1. These are good tips! The last time we had a mouse, I found out that mice love chocolate. Who knew? Now I keep my chocolate in air tight glass storage!

    1. Chocolate although mice love it according to what I read is deadly poison to mice so there is at least satisfaction in that.

    1. Me too at my dads house , had his cat food on Rubbermaid thick container and they chewed corner of top . Hugh scratches .. no one was living in house , and I would go down to feed cat . It was unbelievable..

  2. I love your recipes and I love the pumpkin muffins. I had a recipe of yours for hot cocoa mix. I have lost it.it used just turbinado sugar and cocoa. The sugar was pulverized in a food processor. I would love to have it for fall and winter. Thank you

  3. We just had some bugs get into our flour that I thought was in a secure container, but turns out the lid had a small crack in it. Ugh. Thanks for the list, I have a few of these that I need to get to work on.

  4. I’ve been very lucky to only have a few mice make their way into our off-the-grid cabin. Like you mentioned keeping the cabin walls, ceiling and floor sealed is my first line of safety. In seventeen years, mice have made their way in three times. We think leaving sliding doors open with only screens closed left them enough room to make entry. When we go to bed now, the sliders get closed even on hot nights. I save large coffee cans with plastic lids to use for storage of items in pouches and bags. I also use large pots with lids that I rarely use to hold other pouched items. We don’t buy much in bulk because there are only two of us. But I do can and preserve our garden produce. – Margy

  5. Thanks for this article. The battle of keeping mice out of our cottage is one I wage every year. For the most part I am winning. Keeping all for away, floors clean from food and sachets of cloves, peppermint and lavender everywhere seem to help.

    Just wondering – do you know if mice can chew threw the lids of mason jars? I would love to leave that dry storage out on my open shelf but worry a bit about attracting mice. I would also hate to loose all of that food.
    Thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Heather
    Lake of Bays, Ontario

  6. I made some rye bread, and it had a strangely bitter taste. I looked at the flour—that I stored in glass canning jars—and saw little TINY bugs in both the strong bread flour, and the rye flour. I googled, and these were called weavels. (sp). The info said these ting bugs can even borough into the plastic packaging many grains are sold in (?). I now keep my floors, grains, beans, and pasta in the freezer.

  7. ALL my grains and beans for storage spend at least 3 days in the freezer before being stored in glass jars or buckets. Fact is, many of our grains have insect eggs in them, and even dry beans as well. Freezing kills the eggs (we eat them and never know it on the daily, folks) and then you won’t find pantry moth larvae or bugs or weevils in your stored items. All those old recipes that call for sifting flour? Not just to make it fluffy. Your deep freezer is your friend, even if just for 3 days.

  8. Glass and metal are the way to go. Diatomaceous earth and pantry moth traps for bugs, and MouseX or RatX (same product just different size pellets) for relatively humane, very nontoxic and effective rodent control.