How to Keep Mice Out of Camper? Avoid a mouse problem in the first place! Here’s how to keep mice out of your camper or RV for good…
- 1 How to Keep Mice Out of Camper? Avoid a mouse problem in the first place! Here’s how to keep mice out of your camper or RV for good…
- 2 5 Preventative Measures to Keep Mice Out of Camper
- 3 Tips & Proper Care for Storing Your RV
- 4 RV Lifestyle recommends the RV Tech Course
Mice may be small and cute, but they can cause big damage and an ugly mess.
Jennifer and I have heard horror stories through the years of how mice chewed through wires, insulation, and walls. Not to mention the nests they build that can clog vents and wreak havoc on your appliances and engine.
Even a dead mouse can cause a stink-up! Anyone whose returned to their RV after storing it for winter months only to be confronted with a terrible smell knows what I’m talking about.
So, whether you have a rodent problem or want to avoid one in the first place, here are some tried and true tips to keep them away from your RV.
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5 Preventative Measures to Keep Mice Out of Camper
The best way to prevent a mouse infestation is to keep them from getting into your RV at all. That means blocking off any potential entry points a mouse might use to infiltrate your rig.
There are several methods to do this. Chances are you’ll need to use more than one depending on the type of holes and entry points you’re dealing with.
1. Know How Mice Get In
You’ll see in the next section that the first step to preventing mice from getting into your RV is to search for entry points. But that means you need to know what to look for!
When searching, remember that mice have collapsible rib cages. Why is that important? Because that means if their head can fit into a hole, so can the rest of their body.
A good rule of thumb: if a pencil can fit, a mouse can fit.
So, when looking for potential entry points, you have to look for even the smallest holes and cracks that a flexible mouse can take advantage of.
2. Scour the Exterior of Your RV for Possible Entry Points
Now that you know what to look for, the first step is to scour the exterior of your RV for any small cracks or small openings.
I recommend taking a flashlight and brightly colored tape with you so you can find and mark every possible entry point. Then you can determine what materials you need to cover or fill the openings.
Since mice most often enter your RV from the ground, you’ll need to crawl under your RV to search there as well. Or employ someone else to do the job… even if that someone is a grandkid. (By the way, I say “most often” because I’ve heard of mice dropping down from tree branches to RVs).
If using jacks or jack stands to search under your RV, follow every safety measure and use backup safety measures so the RV can’t crush you! Unlike mice, you don’t have a collapsible rib cage!
3. Seal All Holes and Cracks
The easiest way to seal off openings is to use spray foam, RV sealant or caulk, or steel wool. Or a combination of the three. You simply fill or cover the small holes with these materials to make sure mice can’t get in.
It’s a good idea to carry a rag with you and wear gloves since these materials can get messy (or scratchy in the case of steel wool). The last thing you want to do is make a mess of yourself and your RV when you’re trying to improve it.
Note that steel wool is a good choice if you want to remove it easily later on. For instance, you might want to use it openings while your RV is in storage that you’ll then remove before your next camping trip. Just be sure to mark these areas with brightly colored tape so you remember to remove the steel wool.
As an added bonus, ultra-fine steel wool is also great for cleaning, polishing, and buffing. You can use it to clean your RV’s windshield and much more.
4. Use Mouse Deterrents
Another effective way to keep mice away from your RV is to make it unattractive to them. You might wonder what in the world can deter creatures that revel in garbage, but there are quite a few options.
Granted, there is debate on how effective some of these are, but there’s not always a perfect tried and true method. Individual mice have their own preferences (and detractions), I suppose. But the following are supposed to help deter the majority of these little critters
Here are some mouse repellents and deterrents some people swear by:
- Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil
- Peppermint oil spray (apparently, mice don’t like peppermint!)
- Dryer sheets (fabric softener sheets)
- Fresh Cab Rodent Repellent
There’s a long-standing old wives tale that bars of Irish Spring soap will deter mice, but it seems that myth has been busted. However, I know several RVers who still swear by it. I’d be curious to hear from more RVers about this. If you’ve tried using Irish Spring soap as a mouse deterrent, please share your results in the comments below!
Note that any deterrent that uses strong smells or essential oils will lose effectiveness over time. You’ll need to replace these fragranced repellents on a regular basis.
5. “Burn” All Bridges
Mice can jump quite high (13 inches!), but they prefer to climb. So, you need to make sure there aren’t any “bridges” that give easy access from the ground to your RV. This includes any tubes hanging down… and your tires.
While you can keep any tubes from hanging down, what in the world are you supposed to do about your tires?!
Thankfully, one of our podcast listeners, named Bob, shared a valuable tip with us. You can click that link to listen to him explain it in detail. In short, you wrap sheet metal around your tires. Mice can’t climb up the slipper surface.
Tips & Proper Care for Storing Your RV
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Sometimes you have to say goodbye and store your RV away for a season. This involves more than just storing it away. We chat with a storage expert from the National Indoor RV Storage Center and talk proper indoor/outdoor RV storage tips and techniques.
RV Lifestyle recommends the RV Tech Course
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November 06, 2022at9:11 am, Steve Zappa said:
Moving into RV full time any tips or reading material that would be helpful
November 07, 2022at3:11 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Hi Steve – Mike and Jen have a wealth of material on their blog page and on their YouTube page with all matters of things RVing from the 10-years plus they have had this business. Here is a link to the YouTube https://rvlifestyle.com/how-to-winterize-an-rv/ – would recommend checking out blog and YouTube for content pertaining to your rig and plans. Happy Trails! Team RV Lifestyle
October 14, 2022at12:53 am, Iris Smith said:
I appreciate you mentioning that you should check to see if there are any bridges that provide quick access to your RV from the ground. Along with my pal, I wish to go camping. We are looking for RV storage services in order to rent a vehicle. I’ll follow your advice to keep mice out of my RV. [Link deleted]
October 14, 2022at12:51 am, Mia Evans said:
It really helped when you said that it is easier to remove steel wool after putting our vehicle in an RV storage service once we plane to use it again. I will consider that to protect the vehicle from rats entering the system or the interior parts. This is the first time we will be storing it away once we find a facility that offers that kind of service, since it will be safer for it when the snow falls during the winter season. [Link deleted]
October 14, 2022at11:12 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Great! Thanks for the feedback and I hope the mice stay far away! Team RV Lifestyle
October 10, 2022at3:20 pm, Randy McCool said:
Get a cat!!! 🐀🐈⬛
October 12, 2022at7:22 pm, Barbara Barbara said:
Use one box of jiffy corn bread mix and equal amounts of baking soda…it is toxic to mice but not other animals..they leave the area looking for water… your cat can even eat the mouse with no ill effects..we use it in our storage barn where we park our RV..no mice now for 2 years running where it used to be a big problem…
October 08, 2022at6:16 pm, Dave Keller said:
Yes on the Irish Spring answers….they apparently loved eating the bars. Not a deterrent at all.
October 08, 2022at8:26 pm, Mark Jeynes said:
Yes! We had the mice ear the Irish Spring bar.
October 08, 2022at9:02 pm, Robert Garrison said:
Highly agree against Irish Spring. It might work for a few days, but after it dries out there is no oder at all. We have tried several things finding moth balls are the only thing that works. We place two small bowls inside and four underneath. No problems since we started doing this
October 07, 2022at12:01 am, theda kasner said:
FRESH CAB is the one and only mouse retardent that I use!!! I have tried all the other so called preventative measures and NONE of them worked. Even putting my linens in tubs did not deter the mice. Now I leave everything in its allotted place, ie: towels and washcloths in drawers, t paper on the tp stand, napkins and other paper goods right in the cupboard where they are used. ABSOLUTELY NO mice in my motorhome and it is stored sitting alongside our “shop” in the yard all winter.
October 07, 2022at9:59 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Thanks for sharing this tip so others can benefit, too. Happy Trails! Team RV Lifestyle
October 08, 2022at9:47 pm, Randy Smith said:
What is fresh cab could stand for many things???
October 09, 2022at11:52 am, R L said:
How much do you use and where do you put it?
October 19, 2022at7:58 am, Kristi Prince said:
Does the Cab Fresh work for Nov – April? Once we winterize ours, we don’t have access to it. We are in Michigan. I’m curious if you replace it during storage. Thank you.
October 04, 2022at12:48 pm, Frank Oboikovitz said:
I find you have to control the amount of mice in the area of your home or RV storage all year long. They reproduce so quickly that you won’t be able to keep up with the quantity trying to get in. I only use the small wooden snap traps with the small metal bait latch. I use peanut butter and do find sometimes they lick it off, but eventually with re-baiting, you will get them. I do not find the similar traps that do not use the metal bait latch successful for me. I also put the traps in a small cardboard box with small holes cut at each end allowing the mouse in and out, but not large enough for them to walk the trap out of the box. The box has to have enough height for the trap to snap closed It helps keep the whole situation cleaner and you can toss the whole kit away without handling the trap or cleaning up the debris around the trap. In the fall, I can trap 20 mice, in Jan/Feb/Mar, it stops, then a few in the Spring, then hardly none in Summer, but I keeps a couple traps with fresh peanut butter at all times I’m not using the RV for camping. I also check the traps every couple of days. I usually don’t have a problem when camping.
October 04, 2022at12:03 pm, Karl Richter said:
We have been using “Downey” fabric softener sheets for in excess of 30 years to keep the mice out. BUT, it has to be Downey I was told many many years ago. It has worked for us. I was just checking the trailer yesterday and all is fine, but, it has been stored for 2 years now due to covid and after writing this, I am going to put fresh Downey sheets in it.
October 04, 2022at6:13 pm, Barbara Wiborg said:
Is there a certain fragrance you use of the Downey Unstoppables? I see they come in several scents.
October 05, 2022at4:41 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Interesting addition to this dryer sheet conversation! Thank you for adding this detail, Karl, and so glad it is working for you – Team RV Lifestyle
October 04, 2022at10:14 am, Cheryl Sheets said:
I tried Irish Spring in garage. It got chewed on.
October 08, 2022at6:32 pm, Tobie Shaw Molinari said:
They chewed right throught the box to the bar of soap.
October 04, 2022at9:39 am, Pearl Brown said:
I tried Irish spring soap and they ate it and left behind a Hugh mess of droppings and smells! NEVER AGAIN! STEEL WOOL IN HOLES AND OPENINGS, DRYER SHEETS, PLASTIC TOTES FOR CLOTHES AND BEDDING AND GRANPA GUS’S POTENT MOUSE REPELLENT IN EVERY ROOM! NOT A MOUSE IN SIGHT LAST YEAR! A lot of work packing up and unpacking but totes stay in camper!
October 05, 2022at4:40 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Wow on the Irish Spring soap! So glad you found a method that works – Thanks for sharing so others can benefit, too – Team RV Lifestyle
October 04, 2022at9:08 am, Chris Jones said:
I would suggest using Copper wool or Stainless-Steel Wool in place of regular Steel wool. Regular Steel Wool will rust rather quickly and make a mess. I have plugged holes with copper and stainless wool and it has held up for several years even those which are exposed to the elements.
October 04, 2022at4:23 pm, Tom LeClerc said:
I totally agree on Stainless or copper wool. Rust stains are hard to remove and the copper and stainless far more permanent.
October 05, 2022at4:39 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Thanks for this tip, Chris – Team RV Lifestyle
October 04, 2022at8:46 am, Tim Cooper said:
Several years ago we tried the dryer sheets. Not only did they not keep the mice away, they used them to make nests and have babies.
This was before we were full-time, but the RV was only stored about 3 months.
I trapped the parents but couldn’t catch the babies. They just licked the peanut butter off the traps. I finally got them with the can wired across the bucket method.
October 05, 2022at4:39 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Oh no!!! They made nests out of them??? So glad you eventually got them all – thanks for adding this to the feedback! Team RV Lifestyle
October 04, 2022at8:30 am, Bob Thompson said:
The mice ate much of the Irish Spring soap I left in multiple places. I have tried cedar oil on cotton balls but expensive and results arent encouraging. For the last two years I used 3 battery powered Predator sonic repellers and many cheese cloth bags of cloves spread inside all cupboards and around inside perimeter. Scented dryer sheets cover the beds, couches, pillows, cushions and we haven’t had evidence of any mice moving in.
October 05, 2022at4:38 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
This is really helpful feedback, Bob. And we’re glad you found a method that works – Team RV Lifestyle
October 04, 2022at8:29 am, John Udovich said:
I would rather have see dryer sheets that lose their scent and provide premium bedding material afterwards in with the Irish Spring myths. I’m putting dryer Sheets with the other repellent methods show support for something that is in the same category as Irish Spring soap.
Emphasis on repellents rather than. baiting should be covered since many wheel trap inside believing all other methods have failed an not realizing that they are just bringing more mice inside.
October 04, 2022at7:50 am, David Beuke said:
October 05, 2022at4:36 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Thanks, David ! Team RV Lifestyle
October 04, 2022at7:44 am, Rita Guimond said:
I have tried the Irish Spring soap with no success. Last year I used Downy UNStopables, in-wash scent booster. I put approx 1 cup of beads per plastic bag, took a toothpick and made quite a few pin holes in the bag to let scent escape. I placed them under my cabinets and inside a few drawers and I did not see any trace of mice this year. I will be doing this again this year for sure.
October 04, 2022at6:25 pm, Barbara Wiborg said:
What scent works best?
October 05, 2022at4:36 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Good to know! Thanks for sharing this, Rita – Team RV Lifestyle
October 10, 2022at11:32 am, Beverly Ovalle said:
Because I don’t own the indoor storage facility.