Skip to Content

How to Keep Invasive Mice Out of Your RV, For Good!

How to Keep Invasive Mice Out of Your RV, For Good!

An RV is a nice cozy place to hang out and relax while camping. But the last thing you want is for your RV to be a nice cozy place for mice! Not only is having mice in your RV gross, but they also have the potential to do serious damage to your rig.

Mice are hard to keep out of your RV because they can fit through small holes.

Mice can fit through very small holes!

As temperatures drop, mice are particularly likely to try and get into your RV. Their natural food supplies are beginning to disappear… which gives them good reason to begin extending their search for food. And the cold gives them incentive to be looking for a warm, dry place to make a nest and wait out the winter weather. Just like you enjoy staying warm and dry in your RV, mice love it, too!

Even if you haven’t had mice (consider yourself lucky!) you should keep reading to learn how to keep mice out of an RV. That way you make sure you don’t end up with any unwanted roommates.

How Do Mice Get In An RV?

Mice are smart little creatures who are also great at climbing. This makes for a deadly combination. If there’s an opening from the outside to the inside of your RV, mice will find it. Since there’s plenty of tubing, wiring, hoses, and so on in an RV, there are many holes that will allow mice to enter… and find their way all over, looking for food.

The best way to avoid mice is to keep them out in the first place. You can do this by sealing internal and external points of entry, using deterrents, and keeping a clean camper. If you have a mouse (or mice) in your RV already, there are several options to get rid of them. So keep reading…

How to Keep Mice Out of RVs the Right Way

If you’ve tried to keep mice out of your RV before without success, here are several strategies to try.

Examine Exterior for All Points of Entry

There are plenty of nooks and crannies on your RV. The best way to make sure they’re all sealed up tight is to do a thorough inspection. This will mean crawling under your RV to find all points of entry. Bring a flashlight so no place goes unseen. Once you know where the holes are, it’s time to get to work filling them to keep those nasty critters out!

Seal All Holes with Spray Foam, Caulk, and/or Steel Wool

Sealing all holes and openings can keep mice out of your RV

Filling all holes helps keep mice out

There are several choices for sealing up holes, including spray foam, caulk, or steel wool. Spray foam and caulk are a more permanent solution. But steel wool can be a good option when you want to remove it easily later on. Plus, mice have a harder time chewing through steel wool (and as an extra bonus, buy ultra-fine “0000” steel wool so you can also use it to super clean your RV’s windshield – seriously, it works)!

You’ll even need to seal the point where the fresh water and wastewater hoses enter the water bay. This is a common (and easy) place for mice to get in and one that’s easy to forget to seal.

Examine and Seal All Interior Points of Entry

To add extra protection against mice, you’ll probably need to do some sealing on the interior of the RV as well. Sometimes there will be exterior entry points that you either can’t get to or can’t seal well. If you seal entry points on the interior, which may be more accessible, you have a better chance of keeping mice out of your RV living area. Even seemingly tiny holes might be just big enough for a mouse to get into.

Use Lights Under/Around RV at Night

Although opinions are mixed on the effectiveness of under-RV lighting, there isn’t really any harm in trying. Placing LED lights around your RV at night may help keep mice out. In the worst case, it provides some ambiance when you’re camping. Plus, the added light might also deter would-be thieves when your RV is in storage.

Consider Using Mouse Deterrents

Peppermint oil on cotton balls can keep mice out of your RV.

Cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil can help!

Another way to keep mice out of your RV is to use mouse deterrents. There are multiple options  available. Some people swear by peppermint oil-soaked cotton balls (we’ve used it with some success over the years). Place them in cups/jars all around your RV (make sure the lid is off or has holes). The idea is that mice dislike the smell of peppermint and so they avoid it. While this won’t get rid of mice that have already moved in, it could prevent them in the first place.

Other mouse deterrents include dryer sheets or a more traditional rodent repellent, such as Fresh Cab repellent (we’ve also used these, again with some success). Just be aware that any of these odor-based repellents will lose their effectiveness over time and need to be replenished/replaced.

Another great mouse deterrent is a cat! We haven’t heard of one RVer with a cat that has had a mouse problem. Hmmm… we wonder why that is! ?

Use Sheet Metal Rings Around Tires and Jacks

It would surprise you what a mouse can climb. Tubes? Check. Tires? No problem. Jack stands? Easy. But something they can’t crawl over is sheet metal.

This is where rings made of sheet come into play. You can grab some galvanized sheet metal from the hardware store and cut it into strips (or ask them at the store to do it… Lowes, Home Depot, or Rona can usually cut supplies like metal or wood to size for you). Then use these strips to make a ring around your tires and jack stands. The strips need to be around 10 inches tall to make sure mice can’t scurry to the top. And be sure that there aren’t any gaps in your sheet metal ring. Once in place, they form a barrier to keep mice from climbing up onto the parts of your RV that are in contact with the ground.

Keep Your RV Clean

The cleaner your RV is, the less likely you are to get mice. If you have crumbs, food, or pet food lying around, mice will sniff them out.

While living in your RV, you can keep mice out by being clean and storing your food in airtight containers. The same goes for pet food. And when you’re placing your RV into storage, you should remove all the food. Leaving snacks in your RV for the next road trip may seem convenient… until it leads to a rodent infestation.

You might also want to consider removing all things scented (except for any peppermint-soaked cotton balls!) during storage. This includes soaps, cough drops, and so on. Mice aren’t picky eaters, so things you might not think of as food still attract them to come explore.

 

Dealing With Mice Inside The RV

If you already have mice inside your RV, none of the steps above will really make a difference. But there are still some options for dealing with the critters.

No-Kill Mouse Traps

No-kill mouse traps are a humane option

   No-kill mouse trap

Although mice are gross to have inside your RV, can you really blame them? The fuzzy little critters were just looking for a warm place to sleep and maybe grab a little snack. No-kill mouse traps are a great way to remove mice from your RV without having to kill them. You’ll just put a little food (peanut butter works great) in the trap, which is usually a metal or plastic box. Then your little mouse friend will sniff it out and enter the trap. Once they’re in, they can’t get back out. Some no-kill traps are designed for one mouse, while others can trap several mice at a time.

In a pinch, you can even make a no-kill mouse trap of your own! We had to do that once when we were camping in a remote location. We were all by ourselves and didn’t have any traps onboard… so when a mouse found its way inside, we searched online for how to make a trap… and quickly escorted our little friend far away.

Regardless of the type of live trap you’re using, make sure you check them often so they don’t turn into starvation traps! Once you catch a mouse, you need to release it far away from your RV. Some people say it only needs to be 100 yards away, but honestly, we would go at least a mile to be safe. Otherwise, your newly-released “friend” can find its way back and get right back into your rig.

Kill Mouse Traps

If you prefer to go the kill mousetrap option, there are several choices but only one we’d recommend.

The first option is poison, which we do not recommend. Mice are food to larger animals of prey, and if you poison a mouse you could be poisoning many other animals as well. You should also avoid this method if you have pets because it would be horrible to accidentally poison your beloved fur baby.

Another option, which we also really discourage, is sticky or glue traps. When a mouse walks onto these traps, they become instantly stuck. They’re then left to die a slow, miserable death from starvation and/or thirst. We’re not fans of mice in our RV, but this is an unusually cruel approach. The mouse doesn’t have a vendetta against you or your camper; it was just trying to survive like the rest of us. So, if you must choose kill-traps, please go with the most humane option possible.

The Tomcat trap is our choice for catching mice that get into our RV

Tomcat Press ‘N Set trap!

If you decide to use a kill trap, we would recommend the classic snap mouse traps (Tomcat Press ‘N Set traps work very well). They’re very effective and are considered to be a more humane type of kill trap because they do the job quickly and the clean up isn’t that bad (with the Tomcat traps you can handle the far side of the trap and easily release the mouse you caught and re-set the trap without much fuss).

If you can’t handle looking at a dead mouse once you’ve caught one, you have two options: (1) put the trap inside a brown paper lunch bag, so you can just discard the bag (with trap inside) once it’s caught a mouse or (2) go back to considering the no-kill options listed above.

 

Banish Mice in Your RV For Good

No one wants mice in their camper. Even though these furry little creatures are kind of cute in their own way, they don’t make good house guests. Not only can they carry disease, but they’re also very destructive. They can chew on your wiring or plumbing and cause all sorts of trouble in places that can be very difficult to diagnose & repair.

So now that you know how to keep mice out of your RV, we hope you can sleep a little easier at night. With no scuttling to be heard!

Geek Out With Us Every Week

Join our newsletter to learn about all things RV related. Every week we offer free tips, tricks, product reviews, and more to our online community of RVers. Whether this is your first time on the road, or you’re a seasoned expert, we’d love for you to geek out with us!

We'd Love It If You Shared This!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

PETER

Monday 21st of February 2022

You mentioned mouse deterrents. I use a spray that is applied to the underside of the trailer to keep them from getting in. It has worked really good for our trailer in the woods. It is called Mouse Free.

TheRVgeeks

Monday 21st of February 2022

We've heard of that, Peter. Haven't tried it ourselves (a bit put off by the potential for it to leave a gooey residue underneath the RV... which would get all over us when working down ther), but good to know that it works for you!

Michelle

Thursday 20th of May 2021

Does anyone have any sound methods of keeping cats/vermin from sitting under the RV and making a mess when the RV is covered and stored? We have been housing cat shenanigan's for some time and besides getting my dog to do regular patrols I'm at a loss of what methods work best; there are scat mats, scented repellent, electronic emitters... Anyone have any success from keeping cat parties out from under the RV?

Deborah Allen

Sunday 3rd of January 2021

Hi John & Peter I love you guys and have learned so much about caring for my RV from you! Excellent article on Mice control. Scott Hall’s suggestions are straight on regarding the Victor traps vs other brands. Also, instead of steel wool that will eventually rust into powder, use copper mess. You can get industrial grade or just buy the copper scrub balls and put them in the cracks and crevices to prevent mice from climbing through. They don’t rust and will cut the mice if they try to eat through them. I learned that from a professional pest control company and it works!

TheRVgeeks

Sunday 3rd of January 2021

Hi Deborah. Thanks! Appreciate all the input and good tips! We've heard of the copper/brass wool option as an alternative to steel wool, which is smart for longer-term usage to avoid the rust! Thanks!

Scott Hall Hall

Saturday 2nd of January 2021

Mousetrap Monday is a great sight, Shawn tests a new trap every monday and he even releases native non invasive mice he catches. I am a volunteer with BLM and back country cabin clean ups. So you have to be an expert with mice!!! Peppermint cottonballs makes them desire another candy cane. Does not work!!! Same with dryer sheets. They shread to make a good smelling nest!! Powder laundry soap or Ivory flakes works some of the time. And regarding the poison at Home Depot that was purchased before 2018, it will kill your dog or cat so discard it!! After 2018 these poisons are salt based and dehydrate the mouse, it will not kill a larger animal. And it does not work well so agree to skip the poison. There are trillions of mice so it is OK to snap trap them and bury outside. The nitrogen will make a flower bloom someday!!! Hanta Virus will kill a human and for sure your animals so Adios!! When you see droppings, spray 10 percent bleach and water mix and let sit on the poop for 10 minutes. Wear a mask when cleaning droppings. How does the barn owl see the rodent in total darkness? They follow the Phosphorus glow in the dark trail that they dribble. Without a urinary tract bladder they drip. And they drip Hanta Virus in your coach.Victor snap traps with the brass bait plate is the best. The yellow plastic bait plate only acts as a serving dish. Get the old fashioned traps on amazon. Tomcat traps from Lowes will work one in ten snaps. Old Victor, nine of ten will get a kill. So why was nearly every Thompsons RV coach invaded at the last Pomona show?? On an asphalt parking lot at the fairgrounds?? 500 yards from cover?? Because certain electrical components are no longer treated with Petrol based oil. It is cheaper to use vegtable oil to prevent rust. And the mice love to chew wiring with Crisco lube!!! Ducati Motorcycles have Olive oil dipped wiring!!!! Rats will chew into the box on the ship and destroy the wiring harness!!! EPA rules prevent washing Petrol oil into the Atmosphere. Cheers and happy new year!

TheRVgeeks

Saturday 2nd of January 2021

Thanks for all that info, Scott! Might have to crown you the King of Rodents! ??

Jim and Ronni

Saturday 2nd of January 2021

Thanks for the great info....Happy Trails and New Year!! Please stay safe.

Mel and Willa Kraft

Saturday 2nd of January 2021

Good article on mice in an RV. When we bought our new to us m/h in the late summer of 2019 the previous owner had a rat infestation. Lucky there was no damage but lots of turds to clean up and washing down to remove the smell which was not bad. The previous owner had left snacks and crumbs in all the right places. All is good now. A number of years ago when we had horses I kept the oats bag in a garbage can with out a lid in the garage. Sure enough we got mice in it the first few I took away. This next time I noticed two smaller mice in it and noticed one of them had a damaged ear. I collected them up and took them out to the burn pile about 300 feet away from the house. Would you believe the same two mice were back, remember the damaged ear. This time they did not make it as far as the burn pile. So my advise unless your are taking them a mile or more I would dispatch them when you catch them. Don't like doing it but the option is replacing wiring harness or other damage. By the way make sure you are covered for rodent damage. It can easily run into thousands of dollars. I have heard of bill up to $20,000. I use metal chore boys around my sewer access and water hose access and it seems to work well. Keep up the good work guys, enjoy your information. Stay safe and healthy

All the best,

TheRVgeeks

Saturday 2nd of January 2021

Hi Mel & Willa. Thanks for sharing your story. Sorry to hear your RV came with the "Rat Infestation" option. But glad you dealt with it quickly and didn't have any repercussions. You're right... mice/rats can do a lot of damage gnawing on wires, etc... and since they can get into tight places in the walls, repairing the damage can be a real pain. Hope you stay mice/rat free in 2021! ?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

PLEASE NOTE: We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

We participate in the Amazon affiliate program, which provides a means for us to earn a small commission by linking to products there. But our opinions are our own and we only link to products we can recommend to friends with complete confidence. And using our links won't cost you an extra penny!