If you love traveling in your RV, you can imagine how fast finding a mouse in your RV can ruin a trip, especially when you’re away from home.
Mice can chew through wood, fabric, and wires to cause damage, build nests, get into your food, and leave droppings in your living space that can potentially cause illness. Most people won’t be too happy to find a mouse scurrying around their camper.
The good news is that you can take several measures to get mice out of a camper and keep them out for good. And best of all, you don’t have to use mothballs (because no one wants that awful smell to permeate their RV).
If you want to learn how to keep your trips mouse-free, read this guide for eight of the best ways on how to keep mice out of an RV.
1. Don’t Let Them In!
The best way to keep mice out of an RV is to stop them from getting inside in the first place. This will require eliminating all possible entrances and removing anything that would attract them into your space.
Mice are interested in your RV because they seek food, shelter, and nesting materials, especially in the colder winter. Understanding why you might find mice in an RV will help you figure out what to look for to keep them out.
2. Patch Up Any Holes
Start with a careful inspection of the outside of your RV. Look for any small gaps–smaller than you think! Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime and are skilled climbers, so be diligent. Even if it seems too high up or too small, consider it a hole that needs to be sealed.
Once you’ve done a complete check over the outside, move inside your RV and do the same. Be especially conscious of spaces in the kitchen area, as mice often search for food and like to nest around ovens and other appliances.
Any little holes you discover will need to be sealed up. You can use caulk, wood filler, spray foam, or steel wool to fill in holes and even wall patches depending on the spot. For spaces that need to remain open, such as vents, add small wire mesh or hardware cloth to the outside so that air or exhaust can still move freely, but mice won’t be able to use it as an entrance.
3. Don’t Attract Mice in an RV
Once potential holes are secured, go through your RV to find anything mice might be looking for, like blankets out in the open.
All food should be stored in sealed, mouse-proof containers. This will keep them from sniffing out a food source, to begin with, and discourage them if they can’t access your food if they manage to get in.
Keep a close eye on how you store potential nesting materials, such as paper towels, bath towels, or anything similar. It’s best to regularly monitor these items to catch any activity early on, especially if you spot a mouse in your RV.
Keeping your RV clean is also essential, especially after a trip and long-term storage. Be thorough, especially when the weather gets colder, as mice will be seeking warm spaces out of the elements.
Finally, be vigilant! Perform routine checks of any spaces you’ve sealed up in the past to ensure everything is still in place, and look for any evidence of activity regularly. If you can keep mice out of an RV right from the start, chances are pretty good; you’ll never find one inside.
4. Add LED Lights Under and Around Your RV
Now that you’ve taken care of the structural and storage elements of keeping mice out of a camper, you can employ a few other tactics to keep them from coming back in.
One quick way to deter them is by adding lights under and around your RV. Since mice prefer to stay out of sight, they prefer dark spaces; eliminating dark spaces gives them fewer places to hide and makes them feel more exposed, so they’ll be less likely to come around your RV.
Even something simple, like these solar-powered string lights, can be enough to make a mouse think twice before trying to butt in on your vacation. They also look great and add decorative value to your setup.
As a bonus, adding lights can also help deter any would-be thieves who might otherwise consider breaking into your RV.
5. Use Deterrents to Keep Mice Out of an RV
Rodent deterrents are another great measure you can take to keep mice out of an RV.
The most common deterrents rely on scents that mice want to avoid, such as peppermint and eucalyptus. You can use sprays or cotton balls soaked in these oils to discourage mouse activity. Spray or place the soaked cotton balls around your camper near spaces where mice might want to get cozy. Commercial deterrents are also available that work similarly to oils to deter rodents.
Another cheap and easy alternative is to place dryer sheets and bar soap in out-of-the-way areas that could attract mice.
You must replenish any deterrents as the scent fades and they lose effectiveness. These methods work best when the smell is strong enough that it’s bothersome to mice, so don’t forget to replace them as needed or when you do your regular inspections.
Ultrasonic repellents are an excellent option, which emits a high-frequency sound that mice don’t like (but won’t be audible to you).
The most important thing to remember with repellents of any kind is that they should be placed mindfully and intentionally to get the best results. They should discourage mice from coming in, not just keep them away from spots here and there. Try putting them near entrances, corners, and anywhere else a mouse might encounter on their way in.
6. Store Your RV Properly
Unless you live in your RV or camper full time, at some point, you’ll need to store it while it’s not in use. Where and how you store your RV can impact whether or not mice attempt to get inside, so it’s an important consideration. There will likely be an increase in rodent activity when you aren’t around to scare them off daily.
Avoid keeping your RV next to wooded areas or garages if possible, as these environments commonly invite and attract pests.
Your best option is either in a fully enclosed garage that can keep mice out on its own or parked on cement or another solid surface in an open area. This deters mice because it will force them to be out in the open if they want to get inside, and they can’t dig into dirt or sand or hide in grass or other plants living under your RV to hide.
It’s also best to use a quality RV cover, such as this one, to protect your camper and further discourage any rodent activity so you can rest assured that no critters will be able to find their way in when you aren’t around.
7. Get Mice Out of an RV
Finding mice in an RV is a real bummer. If you’re already dealing with a mouse problem, start with the above measures so that you can feel confident they won’t return once they’re gone.
For mice already in your RV, there are a few ways you can deal with them. Since space in your RV is already limited, even a more severe infestation is usually manageable without professional help.
Traps will most likely be necessary, and several different types are available. Snap traps will kill mice almost immediately so you can dispose of them, and live traps will capture them so they can be released. Just be sure to let them go far from your site, so they don’t just turn right back around again.
Avoid poisons and sticky traps. Not only are they inhumane, but they can have unintended victims. Toxins can cause secondary poisoning in predators that eat mice, and mice can consume them and then find a place to hide in your RV, where they die unbeknownst to you. Sticky traps are painful, and any other critter can get stuck in them, too; plus, you’ll still have to get rid of a live mouse that gets stuck to them.
Once you’re confident that you’ve gotten all the mice out, disinfect your space carefully and continue with the prevention tips suggested here.
8. Stay On Top of It
You’ll likely be dealing with mice while camping with your RV or while it’s in storage. The most important thing is to keep up with prevention by inspecting everything regularly and refreshing any prevention methods as needed.
Mice don’t have to become a constant problem as long as you’re careful about keeping your space secure and clean, and once you’ve completed the initial steps, the maintenance is much easier to stick with in the future.
I hope one of these tips on how to keep mice out of an RV has helped you and your camping enjoyment. Don’t miss these other great RV tips to improve your adventures!
- About the Author
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Hope Schwartz-Leeper is an adventure-ready writer with degrees in English and Philosophy.
Growing up in the Northeast, camping and spending time in nature was a major part of her childhood. Hope loves living in an area with four distinct seasons and what each has to offer throughout the year.
She’s always seeking new ways to get outside and learn as much as she can about local flora and fauna.