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.
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
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
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
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.
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!
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