7 Materials Mice Can’t Chew Through (and 9 They Can)

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Rodents are highly destructive pests, but it’s often unintentional. Their front teeth constantly grow, requiring them to gnaw on materials that grind the teeth down.

The bad news is this means a rodent infestation will leave holes in all sorts of materials throughout your home and property.

The good news is that there are some materials mice and rats (as well as many other rodentia) can’t chew through. Let’s look at these wonderful materials, as well as some that aren’t as chew-proof as you might think. Finally, we’ll use what we’ve learned to protect the most vulnerable materials in your home.

Materials Mice Can’t Chew Through

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There are a small but important number of materials that can’t be eaten. Some of these you might guess, but others may surprise you.

#1 – Ceramics

Ceramic tiles are surprisingly durable while simultaneously being fragile. What you might not know, however, is that the smooth, glazed surface of ceramic tile can cause curious teeth to simply bounce off.

The only way a mouse will be able to get a bite out of this popular wall and floor covering is by attacking it along the edge. Needless to say, any sharp, rough chunks the mouse ingests will be regretted soon after.

#2 – Masonry

Masonry such as cut stone, brick, and concrete are generally considered chew-proof. However, improperly cured concrete is an ineffective barrier to a determined rodent. In addition, older masonry that has been weakened by erosion becomes more vulnerable to the sharp teeth of many pests.

#3 – Silicone

One would think it easy to chew through a rubbery silicone barrier. However, this common weatherproofing material has a texture and rubbery firmness that deter most pests from even attempting to chew through it.

#4 – Copper Mesh

Speaking of copper, you can purchase copper mesh in rolls, such as USA-made Coldbreak copper mesh, or in pad form in the cleaning section of pretty much any grocery or hardware store.

These loose pads are made with strips of curled metal and are most often used to scour pots and pans. Not only are they extremely difficult to chew through despite the seemingly fragile strips, but it’s really unpleasant for a rodent to even attempt to chew on it.

#5 – Steel Wool

If you thought copper mesh was bad, steel wool is a nightmare! Also used for scouring pots and pans, you can purchase plain steel wool (like this) or detergent-coated wool such as S.O.S pads.

If you’ve ever used steel wool bare-handed, you’ll know that they can break down into tiny metal splinters with use. Now imagine chewing on a steel wool pad and getting those splinters in your gums!

Fun Fact
There are only two periods in the S.O.S brand name. This omission was intentional, as it helps differentiate from the universal distress signal.

#6 – Other Metal

Metal tends to be smooth and sturdy, making it effectively impossible for a mouse to sink its teeth in. Two of the best metals are iron and stainless steel, although even soft metals such as copper can prove an excellent barrier.

Aluminum is a bit of a mixed bag, as thinner gauges can be gnawed through while thicker gauges cannot.

#7 – Glass

Despite being a liquid (like cats), glass has a hard and smooth texture that causes a mouse’s teeth to bounce off of it. Even if they were able to take a bite, the resulting glass splinters would tear up their mouths and insides, almost certainly killing them.

Another fun quality of clear glass is that it can confuse mice in two ways. First, glass can create an invisible barrier their whiskers sense but they can’t see. Second, light reflecting off of the glass can disorient or even scare mice.

Read Also: How to SAFELY Set a Mouse Trap

Surprising Materials Mice Can Chew Through

mice in wall

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We’ve already discussed how compromised or ultra-thin materials such as low-gauge aluminum or old concrete can be gnawed on. Unfortunately, there are a lot of other materials out there that seem like an effective barrier until a mouse casually proves they aren’t. Some of these materials include:

  • Aluminum ductwork
  • Chicken wire and food cans
  • Duct tape
  • Fiberglass
  • Wood
  • Drywall
  • Insulation (spray foam, fiberglass, asbestos, etc.)
  • Non-silicone based caulk
  • Plastic
  • Cloth
  • PVC
  • Vinyl

How to Protect Materials Mice Can Easily Chew Through

Protecting your home from mice can be an uphill battle once they get inside. Common materials such as drywall, wood, and cloth don’t stand a chance against one of these rodents, let alone a full-blown mouse infestation.

Thankfully, there are ways to make your home a little less palatable. Here are some tips to reduce chew damage while you focus on removing the little critters.

Entry Points

Stopping a mouse entry before it happens is one of the most effective solutions. Periodically have your foundations checked for damage. Caulk around all windows and doors using a silicone-based product. You can also use this caulk around the openings where pipes and electrical cables enter the home.

You can also use additional mouse-proof materials such as steel wool to pack larger openings before sealing them. Just remember, steel wool rusts, so there should always be something waterproof (such as caulk) protecting it.

Read Also: Keeping Mice Out of Your Dresser



This is a tough one, as storage containers tend to be either cardboard boxes or plastic bins. Of the two, bins are by far the better option. Periodically spray the exteriors with peppermint oil or other effective mouse repellent.

When storing edibles, try to use glass food containers. Mason jars or reused pickle jars can protect all sorts of dry or wet goods from rodents, weevils, and flies. Best of all, you’ll always know when it’s time to hit the store with a simple glance. Just remember to label your containers!

Treat Your Wood


Wood is an interesting material. While mice can chew through it, they’re not keen to do so if there’s an easier option. Make sure all of your wood is treated with a quality varnish or other protective coating.

Whether indoors or outside, the coating protects wood surfaces from damage. As a bonus, it tastes terrible and will make a mouse even more reluctant to take a bite unless truly desperate.


Be sure to use silicone-based sealants to caulk the edges of doors and windows. You may also choose to add thin steel sheeting first when installing a wood or drywall surface. Just be sure the metal is properly insulated from any electrical wires.

For exterior walls, siding can be a huge help. Brick face or stone face can turn a wood wall into something classy. Meanwhile, consider placing a facing material or metal sheeting behind vinyl or aluminum siding.

This will create an impenetrable barrier that is hidden away by the more attractive siding. Even better, these extra barriers aid in covering tiny holes that might be letting your heat or cool air escape.

See Also: Can Mice Climb Walls?

Want to Let the Pros Handle It?
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Final Note

There aren’t many materials a mouse (or other rodent) can’t chew through. Thankfully, you can use these materials to shore up or protect more vulnerable parts of your home such as walls and even furniture.

That said, a determined mouse will find that one spot you didn’t protect. Don’t be afraid to set live mouse traps along the baseboards (and out of reach of pets and kids). When in doubt, a reputable pest control company will cost far less than repairing a dozen mouse holes.


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