You’ve planned a family vacation across the country. You’ve rented an RV and everything is going as planned – until one night, you hear scratching and scurrying sounds in the kitchen. Your first thought: “It’s a mouse!”
After trying and failing to find the pesky creature for 45 minutes, you head back to bed and plan to do battle with these rodent invaders in the morning.
This scenario is not uncommon. Mice love to invade campers, and if you’re not prepared, you may find yourself spending more time fighting with rodents than enjoying your vacation.
Here’s the good news: There are many simple and effective ways to keep mice out of an RV. but first, you need to understand how mice get into campers, and why it’s so important to get rid of them as soon as you find them.
- How Do Mice Get into Campers?
- The Danger of Having Mice in Your RV
- How to Keep Mice Out of a Camper: 10 Simple and Natural Ways
How Do Mice Get into Campers?
Mice are crafty. They can compress their bodies and fit into even the smallest of openings. You may not see any obvious holes or gaps, but it doesn’t take a large hole for mice or rodents to get into your mobile abode. Once mice get inside, they won’t leave.
Rodents can enter an RV through:
- Gaps in the floor
- Cracks around doorways
- Gaps around wiring or plumbing
- Poorly sealed pull-out sections
- Holes in corners or cracks where walls meet
- Access panels for electrical or plumbing
It’s common for mice to invade RVs when they’re in storage for the winter and not used. It’s the perfect time for mice to sneak in and make your camper their home. It’s warm, sheltered, and if you have any food in the cabinets, the RV becomes an all-you-can-eat buffet.
The Danger of Having Mice in Your RV
Just as you would never allow mice to live in your home, you shouldn’t allow rodents to live in your RV. They can cause some serious, costly damage to your camper. Mice can and will chew through anything, including wiring, upholstery, plastic, cushions and rubber lines.
They’ll use the chewed up components of your RV to build their nests. All of this adds up to one big mess and damage that is costly to clean up.
More importantly, mice spread disease. In fact, rodents are known to spread more than 35 diseases. They can also carry parasites that they can bring into your RV.
The bottom line: You don’t want mice in your camper. It’s a health hazard, and it’s a risk of expensive repairs. Taking steps to keep mice away from your RV will allow you to enjoy nature without these unexpected house guests.
How to Keep Mice Out of a Camper: 10 Simple and Natural Ways
1. Find and Seal Potential Entry Points
The best way to keep a mouse of out of a camper is to stop it from entering in the first place. Finding and sealing all potential entry points will help keep these rodents outside where they belong.
Earlier, we talked about how mice get into campers. Take a second look at the list of potential entry points. These are the areas you want to focus on. If you find any gaps, cracks or openings in these areas, take steps to seal them – even the tiniest of cracks.
There are several ways to block openings:
Steel wool is great for keeping aggressive mice that like to chew through anything. Chewing on those sharp steel fibers should be enough to keep them away.
Caulk or Spray Foam
Caulk and spray foam are two great options for plugging cracks or holes. Spray foam is great because it expands after spraying. Pay attention to the underside of the camper, areas near the plumbing feed and inside of your storage compartments.
Use fine mesh screens to cover larger openings, like piping, vents and access ports. Mice won’t want to chew through the metal, and the openings in fine mesh are too small for rodents to get through.
2. Keep Food Locked Up Tight
Food is the main reason why mice invade campers or houses. If there’s no food – or no easily accessible food – they won’t have a reason to come inside.
- Keep all food stored in mouse-proof containers – including foods like potatoes.
- Make sure that pet food is stored in a sealed container.
Mice will also eat other weird things, like coffee grounds. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that you empty the trash regularly and keep your bags stored in a sealed can until you’re ready to dispose of it.
Mice will chew and shred clothing, wood, paper and plastic. They may not eat these things, but they’ll use these materials to build nests. The last thing you want is to give the mice everything they need to build a home and stick around.
3. Irish Spring Soap
Mice, like insects and other pests, are deterred by certain scents. Many RVers swear by using Irish Spring soap to keep mice away. Mice hate the strong, minty-fresh scent of the soap.
Try cutting the soap into small chunks, and placing them near potential entry points, or near doorways and windows.
Keep in mind that mice are persistent, so while the smell may turn them off, they will still find a way to get in if you don’t seal up gaps and holes.
4. Dryer Sheets
Dryer sheets work in the same way that Irish Spring works: mice hate the smell. Choose a product with a strong scent. Spread dryer sheets throughout the camper to deter mice.
5. Moth Balls
Moth balls have a strong scent that most pests dislike. Placing them at entry points or around the camper may be enough to keep mice at bay. Keep in mind that they have a strong scent. If you don’t mind the smell, this is a great mouse repellent.
But if you have children or pets, you may want to skip this one. Moth balls are toxic.
6. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint is a natural pest repellent. Mice hate the smell. The great thing about peppermint oil is that it’s natural and safe to use around pets and children.
There are a few ways to use peppermint oil to keep mice away. You can make a spray by filling up a spray bottle with water and adding 10-15 drops of peppermint oil to it. Just apply the spray to the perimeter of the RV where the mice would come in.
You can also soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them in strategic places, such as:
- The dumping basement compartment
- The water/electrical basement compartment
- Near the front tires
- Near the engine and through the front hood
- In kitchen and bathroom cabinets
There’s another benefit to using peppermint oil: it smells great. Whether you’re using the spray or soaked cotton balls, your RV will be smelling fresh and clean.
You can also find deterrents that use both peppermint and cinnamon to keep mice away. The combination of the fresh and spicy scents will send mice running away.
7. Sound Deterrent
Many RVers have great success with sound deterrents. These are plug-in ultrasonic devices that use sound to keep mice away.
The ultrasonic sound will drive away pests without bothering you, the kids or your pets. Just plug it into the wall, turn it on, and let it work its magic.
Most of these devices have a wide range, so you may only need to use one to cover your entire camper.
Ammonia has a strong scent that may send mice running the other way. It’s found in the urine of many natural mouse predators, so the scent may trick mice into thinking that a cat or another predator is living in your camper.
The only problem with this repellent is that it isn’t safe to use around pets or children.
9. Keep the Hood Up
Here’s one simple trick that many RVers use to keep mice away: keep the hood up. Mice prefer to make nests in dark areas. Keeping the hood open allows light to enter the engine compartment, making it less attractive to nesting mice.
It’s a simple step to keep mice out of your camper.
10. Park in the Right Place
There’s an advantage to living or traveling in an RV: Your home is mobile. You have more control over where you park and stay.
Avoiding areas that attract mice, like grassy areas or forests, may help keep mice away. You’ll also want to make sure that the areas around your camper are free and clear of food, debris and other things that may attract mice.
Mice can easily ruin a family vacation or make your life miserable if you’re living in an RV. Keeping rodents out of your camper will require diligence and persistence, but it’s worth the effort. Getting rid of mice is much more difficult, expensive and dangerous than keeping them away. Use these 10 tips to keep your camper rodent-free and to enjoy nature without bringing along a fifth wheel.