Will instant potatoes kill mice? (This Is Exactly Why It Works!)

Mice are pretty intelligent- they can easily detect food and danger thanks to their high sense of smell and hearing. These notorious invaders have powerful jaws and incisors that gnaw and nibble on anything in their way of food or harborage. 

Sadly, mice have been able to terrorize humans for many decades by spreading deadly diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mice directly transmit over 35 diseases, which are thought to be responsible for more deaths than all wars combined.

While there are numerous rat traps and baits on the market, some effective DIY rat remedies are worth trying. Instant potatoes can work as non-toxic rat bait. Here is exactly why Instant potatoes kill mice.

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What Are Instant Potatoes?

Instant potatoes are real potatoes that have been industrially cooked, mashed, and dehydrated to produce a packaging convenience food. This is exactly the same way potato flour is made. But instead of milling the dehydrated potatoes into powder, the manufacturers crystallize them into flakes.  

Once the potatoes are cooked and mashed, they are crushed in between rollers on the surface of a drum. The crushed potatoes are then fast-dried until they reach the desired humidity level, after which they are scraped off the drum. A mill sifter breaks up the sheet, and the resulting smaller flakes are packaged for sale.

Commonly found in food stores, instant potatoes are available in many different flavors. They are pretty easy to rehydrate because the potato starch retains its absorbency as the flakes are dehydrated in a very quick phase. Instant potatoes are often used as a substitute for bread crumbs or a thickening agent in sauces and soups. Will instant potatoes kill mice? Find out below.

Will Instant Potatoes Kill Mice?

Instant mashed potatoes or potato flakes can kill mice. If you see signs of an infestation in your home, such as rodent droppings, chewing marks on food packaging, and nesting material like shredded papers, you can place instant potatoes for the mice. 

All you need to do is sprinkle two tablespoons of instant potato flakes on a paper plate and place it near the mice activity areas. To make it even more irresistible to the mice, sprinkle a small amount of artificial sweetener like Truvia or Equal over the potato flakes.

Alternatively, you can make a small opening in the instant potato sachet and place it in a dry place in the infested room. The mice will get a smell of the potato flakes and gorge themselves on them. They will feel very thirsty and look for water. Once the mice drink water, the potato flakes expand many times in size on their gut, killing them right away.

Instant mashed potatoes are non-toxic and safe to use around children and pets. However, make sure to rush your child or pet to the hospital should they take high amounts of instant potato flakes.

What's The Theory Behind Instant Potatoes Killing Mice?

There has been an ongoing debate about the possibility of using instant potato flakes to kill mice. Some believe instant potatoes are a more humane alternative to conventional rat poisons and rat traps.

It is said that when rats eat instant potato flakes, they become extremely thirsty and seek out water. Once they drink water, the instant potato flakes absorb the water and begin swelling up inside the mice's stomachs. Theoretically, the swollen potato flakes burst the gut of the mice, killing them instantly. There is another theory that mice are allergic to instant potato flakes' ingredients, causing their ultimate death. Whether these theories are accurate or just hocus-pocus is still debatable.

Instant potato flakes have the edge over rat poisons. A stray animal or pet can get sick or die from eating poisoned mice due to secondary poisoning. However, should your pet mistakenly eat a dead rat from instant potato flakes, they won't be harmed. 

What Ingredients Are Contained in Instant Potato Flakes?

Fun fact: Instant potatoes were invented in the early 1960s as a convenience food for camping and the military. Today, they have become a popular household staple. You can find different instant potato flakes in the grocery store across the street. But not all instant potatoes are made equal. Different brands have used unique ingredients to make this easy starchy stat.

For instance, Idahoan Original Mashed Potatoes contain ingredients such as potato flakes, monoglycerides (emulsifier to improve stability and texture), and preservatives such as sodium bisulfite tocopherols, citric acid, and sodium acid pyrophosphate.

Another highly rated brand, Hungry Jack Mashed Potatoes, contains potato flakes, monoglycerides, and preservatives such as citric acid, sodium acid pyrophosphate, and sodium bisulfite. 

Below are other ingredients in well-recognized instant mashed potato brands:

Betty Crocker Mashed Potatoes

  • Potato flakes
  • Salt and spice
  • Maltodextrin and corn syrup
  • Buttermilk and nonfat milk
  • Parsley flakes, onions, and garlic
  • Modified corn starch and added colors
  • Emulsifiers, including mono- and diglycerides
  • Preservatives such as sodium bisulfite, mixed tocopherols, citric acid, and sodium acid pyrophosphate.

Bob's Red Mill Potato Flakes

These dehydrated potato flakes do not contain artificial additives or preservatives. They contain only one ingredient:

  • Potatoes

Idaho Spuds Classic Mashed Potatoes

These mashed potatoes with a solid texture contain the following ingredients:

  • Sulfite additives
  • Milk ingredients
  • Preservatives such as sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bisulfite, and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA). 

Which Ingredients/Foods Are Mice Allergic to?

Mice are allergic to some foods and ingredients. High up on the list are blue cheese and alcohol. Alcohol kills mice by depressing the system that stabilizes and maintains their essential organs. 

Licorice: Licorice kills mice by causing traumatic neurological effects 

Green potatoes: Mice, like most other animals and humans, are vulnerable to green potatoes. The eyes and skin of green potatoes are toxic and particularly deadly to mice. 

Spoiled foods: The Rat and Mouse Club of America notes that mice are sensitive to the fungi that grow on spoiled or rotten foods. These toxins can cause enough digestive distress to kill mice. Too many toxins can also cause tumors. 

Raw or dried corn: Dried corn may contain high levels of fungi that can cause liver cancer in mice. 

Blue cheese: Blue cheese can be lethal as it is mainly made of mold, which is highly toxic to mice. 

Citrus fruits: Citrus can trigger kidney problems and lead to kidney cancer, especially in male mice.

So, Exactly How Do Instant Potatoes Kill Mice?

As seen above, most instant potatoes do not contain lethal ingredients for mice. Perhaps the only ingredient that threatens mice's life is the small levels of modified corn starch in Betty Crocker Mashed Potatoes. Unless eaten in extremely high quantities, which is very unlikely, the chances of mice developing cancer due to the modified corn in these potato flakes are very low. Hypothetically, mice will die if the ingested instant potatoes come into contact with water or other liquids, but not because of the ingredients themselves. 

As mentioned earlier, instant potatoes are very easy to rehydrate. In fact, a 2012 research found that the water absorbency of instant potatoes ranges between 8.5% and 10.4%. This means that should ingested instant potato flakes come into contact with any fluids, the mice's stomach can expand to 8 or more times in size.

Rodents, including rats, mice, and squirrels, regurgitate occasionally but cannot vomit. As such, they will not be able to eliminate the already swollen flakes in their gut. Mice can have problems digesting huge chunks of instant potatoes, leaving no room to ingest more nutritious foods. The mice will eventually starve to death.

How to Use Instant Potatoes to Kill Mice?

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use instant potatoes to kill mice:

Step 1: Thoroughly inspect your home to identify the infested areas and determine the level of the infestation.

Step 2: Purchase enough instant potato flakes that will adequately cover the infested areas, including mice nests, pathways, and activity areas.

Step 3: Put a reasonable amount of instant potatoes on a paper plate or a low bowl for the mice to reach. Set it out in places where you suspect mice activity. This trap is best set at nighttime when mice are most active.

Step 4: Fill a low bowl with water and place it close to the instant potato flakes. The mice will become very thirsty upon feeding on instant potatoes and look for a water source. While the juices in mice's stomachs will rehydrate the potato tricks, water guarantees more effective results.

Final Thoughts

Instant potato flakes, though not as deadly as traditional rat poisons, will eradicate mice at home. They are considered a better alternative to rat poisons because they are non-toxic and don't threaten kids' and pets' safety. They are also considerably cheaper and a more humane way to eradicate rats than poisons and death traps.

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