Imagine this: You’re positively brimming with excitement, eagerly looking forward to taking your camper or RV on its next adventure. You check all of your wiring and make sure the outside is spotless and clean. It’s only a matter of moments now before you’re ready to hit the road. In an act of pure inspiration, you fling the door open to the inside and pause. Sheer bewilderment.
The moment you spot the rodent infestation it’s almost too late. Mouse droppings are spotted across the floor. There’s holes in your upholstery and your couch cushions. A small scurrying critter runs across the counter and scuttles up underneath the stove vent. This isn’t a cruel joke. This is the reality of winding up with a mouse infestation in your camper or motorhome.
Fortunately, all of this is manageable, even entirely preventable if you take the right steps. That’s why we’ve written a comprehensive guide on how to keep mice out of your camper or RV, before you’re forced to take extensive measures. Don’t let one of nature’s greatest pests spoil your fun-filled vacation. By proactively following this in-depth guide, you’ll be miles ahead of the mice, most likely on the road to relaxation and comfort.
How to Keep Mice out of Camper
Whether you’re living and traveling full-time in your RV, taking your popup camper on weekend warrior excursions, or just stepping into a recently purchased camp trailer, dealing with mice is one of the worst ordeals you can encounter.
Let’s start with the assumption that you’re reading this because a mouse has already found its way into your camper. Maybe worse hasn’t come to worst yet, but if you don’t act quickly you’ll soon find that you’re dealing with a full-scale infestation on your hands. It’s time to show them who’s boss. Who invited them in anyways?
The obvious route here is to start with a couple of mouse traps. Although it’s not the most humane way to remove rodents, mouse traps have been effectively removing the pests for decades. There’s a reason they’ve stuck around as a trusted resource. If you’re in an RV, make sure to put a couple in the basement storage compartments, as well as in the cupboards. Essentially, anywhere that you’ve found a considerable amount of droppings is fair game for catching and removing the mouse.
The problem with mouse traps, though, is that once you catch a mouse, ten more may be running around in its place, and now you’ve got to reset the trap. But in addition to resetting the trap, well, now you’ve got a dead mouse to deal with, which is probably covered in blood, feces, urine, or all three. And not to mention the absurd number of parasites and pathogens that a mouse carries along with it. If you have to resort to this method, be sure to use disposable gloves when handling the body.
The Scent that Scares Mice out of Any Camper
Believe it or not, there’s actually a better trick to have up your sleeve than the tried and true mouse trap. This is one instance where the passive approach may actually work better than actively trying to start a full-on war with the mouse in your house. The answer lies in using peppermint oil.
Long hailed by grain farmers as an effective scent for keeping mice away from farming equipment, peppermint oil is a scent that mice absolutely despise. So much so, in fact, that upon smelling the intolerable minty fresh scent, your pest is likely to pack up and leave. Seriously, it’s quite possibly a miracle when it comes to dealing with rodent infestations.
You’ll want to get a considerable amount of concentrated peppermint oil, as well as a handful of cotton balls. Any big box store should sell them. Once you’re armed with your essential oil and the puffs of fluffy white cotton, it’s time to get to work. Start by soaking the cotton balls halfway, making sure to wash any excess oil from your hands. Then you’ll want to place multiple cotton balls around the camper.
If you’re in an RV, your best bet is to put a couple of cotton balls in the basement storage compartments, the water and electrical compartment, and the dumping station compartment. Two or three in each compartment should be fine. It also wouldn’t hurt to place a few cotton balls near the front wheels, around the engine compartment, and in the kitchen and bathroom cabinets. If you’re in a tow-behind camper, you can essentially follow the same process, though you probably won’t need as many cotton balls.
There are other scents or home remedies that are rumored to work well in removing mice. You might also want to try adding in a mix of dryer sheets, Irish Spring bar soap, and steel wool. However, peppermint oil seems to be the most highly recommended by other RV and camper owners.
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Keeping Mice out of Your Camper for Good
If you’re one of the lucky ones who hasn’t had to deal with a mouse in the camper, or you’ve effectively managed to succeed in removing your pests, it’s advisable to do some preventative maintenance to keep them out once and for all. Learning the steps and techniques to mouse proof your camper may just be one of the best decision you ever make for your home away from home.
Let’s start by plugging up all of those holes that mice are so adamantly trying to crawl into. You’ll have to get down and dirty for this one, but doing this ahead of time is well-worth avoiding the unnerving alternative. Keep in mind that mice can fit into holes the size of a dime, so you’ll need to search extensively both above and below your camper.
The two most convenient ways to pull of this search is to use light to your advantage. For the first method, start by closing all of the curtains inside your camper. Get it as dark as you possibly can inside. Now take the time to browse around for any points of daylight beaming into the camper. Be sure to check under cabinets, behind countertops, where the floor meets the wall, and around outlets or gaskets.
The second method still uses light to your advantage, but in reverse. Wait until nighttime for this method and then turn on all the lights inside of your camper. You may find a mechanic’s creeper cart useful for this method, as you’ll be searching the entire underbelly of your camper or RV. Make sure to check the outdoor compartments and window seams as well.
One of the best materials on the market for plugging the holes is expanding foam—especially the kind formulated for rodents. However, if you’ve never used this product before, give it a test before using it on your camper. A little bit goes a long way. It’s also a good idea to consider using steel wool to plug some of the holes. Mice simply can’t stand the stuff. As usual, being thorough will give you better results. The more effort you put in during this process should eventually render your camper as an impenetrable fortress of pest-free luxury.
Preventing Mice While Winterizing Your Camper
As any RV or camper owner knows, preparing for winterization comes with a fair-amount of work. For RV owners, the task is especially great. Having to add fuel stabilizers, topping off antifreeze, purging all the water lines, and making sure your mobile home is up on blocks. But camper owners and RV owners alike should know that there’s an added amount of work involved in keeping mice out for the winter.
First things first, any repairs that need to be made should be done before the snow and ice make them potentially bigger problems. Cracks in the outside wall or fractures in the pipes can split further as they come into contact with the cold weather, making possible openings for rodents to get in. It’s always a good idea to give your camper a good look-over before putting it into storage for a couple of months.
Second, you’ll want to deep clean the entire inside of the cabin. Your goal here is to make the inside as boring as possible for any rodents who may inadvertently manage to find their way in. Don’t miss those sticky spills that you forgot to clean up earlier in the season, and make sure to remove any remnants of food or drinks, of course. Even canned or bottled items are risky to leave, as they can sometimes freeze and burst in cold weather. Without food, mice won’t last long.
Third, after doing all of that work to seal up the holes around your camper, make sure that your hard labor doesn’t go to waste. Make sure to cover all of the vents and holes leading to the inside of your camper, such as the exhaust pipe or exhaust fan. It may not be a bad idea either to give a second look-over as you search for any holes you may have missed in your previous inspection.
And finally, don’t be afraid to place a plethora of peppermint-soaked cotton balls around your camper to wish the rodents a “happy holidays!”
The Last Mouse Ever in Your Camper
If all of this wasn’t enough, there is one ingenious design that we’ve been holding out for the end as an added tool to your arsenal. By cutting sheet metal wide enough to wrap around your tires, with a wall at least 8-inches high, you’ve effectively blocked off a mouse’s main port of entry to the underbelly of your camper. Not only do mice hate metallic objects, they’re just not tall enough to reach above the wall. If you place another circular piece of sheet metal around your hitch stand, the mice don’t stand a chance.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on how to mouse proof your camper or RV.
Do you have a story to share about dealing with scampers in your camper? Do you have a remedy to share that we didn’t think of?
Tell us about it in the comments below!