How To Keep Mice Out Of Your Camper BEFORE They Get In
By Kelly Beasley
Last Updated: August 1, 2022
We hope you're not here for RV mouse-proofing tips because your rig already has critters. Instead, we hope you want to find out how to keep mice out of your RV BEFORE they get in.
Any RVer with half a brain immediately knows what 'that sound' is in the walls or what made that little black poo.
If you hear it, you know you've got a mouse problem (or multiple mice) in your camper. It's the #2 thing you don't want to find in your RV, second to water damage.
Fast fact for you: Mice produce around 75 mouse droppings a day. And that's the least of their destruction.
So, it might be wise to figure out how to keep mice out of your camper.
The Uninvited RV Mouse
When I bought my travel trailer, I did not bother learning how to mouse-proof a camper. And so, I eventually had a mouse, and it got in while I was boondocking outside Zion National Park.
Mice produce around 75 droppings PER DAY.
That mouse had no fear. It's like he was accustomed to hanging out with people, and I had invited him in.
I watched as it scurried out of a hole at the base of my booth seats. It came out, saw me, then carried on as if it saw me every day. Gaaaah!
It was time to learn how to get rid of mice in an RV.
Getting The Mouse Out
Long story short, I opened a window, and the mouse fell out, walking on the exit arm. Success!
He was gone.
The Mouse Came Right Back In
Here's the bad news. He came right back in the same way he got into my camper in the first place.
As much as I didn't want to kill anything, I couldn't catch him. After a day or so of failure, mousetraps were set. I HATED doing it.
But I couldn't let him continue to destroy my stuff and spread disease and general disgustingness inside my tiny home.
It took a few more days for the execution to take place.
In less than a week, he hoarded bits of dog food, put a hole in a ski jacket, chewed a hole in my ski pants, got into dog food and cereal, probably damaged some other stuff I cannot remember, and made a nest inside one of my UGG boots.
Poop and pee were everywhere under my booth area.
Having little critters in your home is unacceptable. But it can happen if you don't take preventative measures to keep them out BEFORE getting one in your RV.
First, let's cover preventative measures, then we'll cover how to get rid of existing mice in your camper.
How To Keep Mice Out Of Your Camper
Ok, so there are more than a few mice 'deterrents' out there. There are deterrent efforts and ideas some claim worked for them, but others say they were ineffective.
I'm listing most of the mouse deterrent for campers that you'll find, naming the sure-fire ones and the wishy-washy ones.
This way, you can choose your RV mouse prevention method. If you want to try the wishy-washy ones, have at it.
Here are the ways of keeping mice out of RVs (in order) from most effective (IMO) to least effective. (Hint- the first three are the only guarantees for keeping them out.)
- Block holes leading in from the inside
- Block holes leading in from the outside
- Build sheet metal tubes
- Keep a spotless RV/pack food items away
- Peppermint oil-soaked cotton balls
- Fresh cab pouches
- Lights under your RV
- Open your motorhome hood
- Irish spring soap
- Dryer sheets
Block Holes From The Inside
Sounds easy, right? Actually, it is. This is best done before packing up the RV. As in, it's best done immediately after purchase.
You've got to be able to see ALL possible potential entry points. This will stop them from getting into your living space, but it won't stop them from getting into your walls.
If their head can get through a hole, they can get their body through those entryways. Pay special attention to where pipes come into your rig. Plumbing lines are often an entry point.
So you need to seek out EVERY gap larger than half the size of a dime and FILL IT.
What should you use? Expanding foam works great.
There's a spray foam called Great Stuff.
Go lightly on the spray foam. It expands more than you may realize.
If you want extra protection, add steel wool first, then fill it with foam. Legend is that mice won't chew through steel wool, though I have seen them do just that.
Still, a mouse won't chew through spray foam+steel wool without knowing if there's anything on the other side.
Some claim that spray foam won't work as 'they will chew right through it.'
Sure, they may chew through it trying to get OUT or to get BACK IN (as I have witnessed in someone's house before), but if they have never been in, they aren't going to waste their time trying to get through.
Depending on the locations and sizes of the potential entry points, you could also use a caulking product for the gaps and cracks.
Block Holes From The Outside
Different types of recreational vehicles have different levels of difficulty when filling holes from the outside. My RV camping trailer was pretty simple. Mine is a travel trailer with a flat bottom, and entry points were easy to see.
Holes were filled with spray foam or caulking or were also covered with foil tape. It's been keeping mice out ever since. You can also use mesh screens to block, then cover it with foam.
If there's no entry point, you won't have rodents in your RV unless you let them in through the door.
A motorhome is difficult. Even if you do a thorough inspection, you can't get to most areas underneath that may serve as entry points.
Don't forget to check your seals and seams on your slide-out.
This is why I list blocking from the INSIDE as the most important to keep mice out. If you can find openings from under your motorhome, by all means, fill them.
If not, you had better check every nook and cranny on the inside to keep little critters out of your living area. This means opening every cabinet, every access panel, and looking under/behind every piece of furniture.
Last but not least, cover any vent holes with a wire mesh.
Make Sheet Metal Tubes
You can go to the hardware store and buy thin sheet metal.
Cut the sheets long and high enough to make 'circles' or vertical tubes around your jack, levelers, and tires. (Best if you are parking for a long time or storing.)
These are vertical walls that the mice can't climb. Make sure they are high enough. 8-10 inches tall should do the trick.
Mice come inside your camper to find warmth, nesting materials, food, and safety. You can remove one of those attractive features: food.
Ya gotta keep it clean, y'all. You will attract them much faster if you leave crumbs, leave food out, leave pet food out, have an open trash can, etc.
After your camping trip, don't keep food in your camper. Take ALL the food out to mouse-proof it as best as possible. Even if your foods or condiments are in plastic bins, they can and will easily chew right through them for the food.
It might be more convenient to leave staple foods in there, but you'll change your mind quickly once you have a rodent infestation.
Other materials are just as attractive even if food is not in your camper during storage. If you can, store your rig empty.
Make sure to remove items such as toilet paper, paper towels, towels, and any cloth, as they love this stuff to make nests, and they eat it.
Mice make meals out of just about anything. Even plastic bins, grrr.
Do a THOROUGH clean of all surfaces before storing. (I love and use AWESOME cleaner. That stuff cleans anything- even black streaks on the outside of your RV.)
This means, especially if you have kids, you need to clean under cushions, behind pull-out couches, inside cabinets and any nooks and crannies, and any places food bits fall.
Peppermint Oil Soaked Cotton Balls
This one will not eliminate existing mice, but peppermint oil reportedly is a good mouse deterrent for RVs.
Mice supposedly don't like the smell of peppermint oil. Some swear by it, and others (pest control experts) say it won't work.
Part of the reason it won't work is that the oil smell rises. So while a room may smell like peppermint to you, way up high at your nose level, to a mouse, it only smells next to the cotton ball.
Also, once these little critters have established themselves inside your recreational vehicle, there aren't many RV rodent repellents that will effectively run a mouse away from its deluxe new home, nest, and possibly babies.
The downside of using peppermint oil is the upkeep. The peppermint smell goes away after a few weeks on the cotton balls.
Fresh Cab Pouches
Do these corn-cob-filled pouches with botanical smells work as a mouse repellent for campers?
Again, hard to know. It's an odor-based repellant, just like the peppermint oil.
It's non-toxic. Use one packet for up to 125 square feet.
If it's me, I am banking on my sealing up the interior gaps to keep mice from crawling in to see what the environment is like inside my camper.
But this might help in case you missed blocking a crack.
Lighting Under The Camper
Is this how to keep mice out of a camper? The consensus is divided.
The remaining remedies listed below, including this one, are questionable. Some claim they deter, and others say nope.
Try at your own risk. If nothing else, the lights can't hurt, and they look nice at night.
LED Rope Lights
Open Your Motorhome Hood
In rodent-rich areas like the desert and wooded areas, critters like to get into engine compartments. They want the warmth, the darkness, and they like to chew the wires, rubber lines, and more.
A good preventative measure to make it less appealing to rodents is opening the hood. This allows light in and makes it less of a protective sanctuary for them.
Some people also put a light in the engine area. If they nest in your motorhome engine, they are more likely to get into your RV living quarters, too.
Irish Spring Bar Soap
Does Irish Spring Keep Mice Out Of Campers?
It IS strong smelling stuff. And some people say that this is a good RV mouse deterrent.
I read another person who laughed and said the mice saw it as food ATE the soap. Talk about a backfire!
Maybe east coast mice prefer it, and west coast mice hate it, haha.
Either way, it's potentially a cheap way to try to discourage them from making a home in your RV.
You could try putting a bar outside on the ground first. If it ends up with chew marks, it's definitely not what keeps mice out of campers.
Are mothballs the best way to keep mice out of a camper? I know I wouldn't want my tiny home to smell like moth balls.
So, maybe certain mice despise it? I'm no mouse, and I hate it.
This is not a solution I would ever try. Call me crazy.
But hey, maybe for storage, if you are going to store it for a long time, this could be another in your 'keep mice out' arsenal.
Hire Your Cat
Eh. I have heard many stories of cat owners whose cats did nothing about the little critters in their camper.
This is also not helpful if your RV is in storage.
But if you have a mouser cat, hopefully, if you have mice in RV, your cat will get it.
So, do Dryer Sheets Keep Mice Out Of Campers?
If nothing else, they will sweeten the smell in your RV. Better than mothballs, if you ask me.
Go ahead. Place them around your rig. It can't hurt.
Or, maybe they can- the mice might use them as nest-building material. Oops, and haha!
But if you want to keep mice out of RV infestation, you must replace them periodically as they lose potency. Boo.
How To Get Rid Of Mice In A Camper
Ok, so you didn't do any preventative measures, your RV mouse repellent didn't work, and now you have mice in your RV. How do you get rid of them?
There are a few traps I can speak of, and some are much more humane than others.
I now own a Victor no-kill mouse trap.
As much as I don't want the critters in my RV leaving droppings, urine, chewing wiring, and possibly causing me health issues, I believe in live and let live.
I don't want to kill unless it's 100% necessary. I encourage you to try using a no-kill trap first.
Once caught, you must release the mouse FAR AWAY.
Make sure it's over two miles. Or they are coming back to their home in your camper.
(Side note: a released mouse may not make it. It is immediately susceptible to predators since it's uncharted territory and has nowhere to hide or live when dropped off.)
No-Kill Mouse Trap
Victor Classic Mousetraps
These are effective mouse traps.
They can also be very humane, as the metal spring powerfully snaps the arm shut, killing the mouse (hopefully) instantly, breaking its neck.
Choose some enticing food items on them as bait.
It could be cheese, crackers, peanut butter, or others. Keep these mouse traps away from children and pets.
Classic Mouse Trap
Sticky Traps For Rodents
Please, please, please, do NOT use these in your camper or ANYWHERE.
First, they are unimaginably cruel. Second, do you want to face the creature, helplessly stuck to the trap and left to die an excruciating death from thirst and starvation (unless you smash it)?
I hope not.
Simply allowing a creature to die a miserable death for only trying to provide for itself is repulsive.
Please don't use these for rodents unless you intend to put them out of their misery ASAP after catching them.
This is NOT recommended, either. Why?
Because that mouse, or mice, will eat it, retreat into their hiding place in your camper, and they'll die. Now you have a dead animal in your wall you can't get rid of.
Not to mention if they go away outside your camper to die, predators may eat them and then get poisoned and die.
Do not use poison bait.
Cleaning Up Camper After A Mouse Invasion
You must do a thorough clean after you have had a mouse infestation. Why? Because they carry deadly diseases such as Hanta Virus.
Mice in camper areas leave mouse droppings that can spread other diseases as well, such as Bubonic Plague, Salmonellosis, and more. They can also trigger allergies.
Additionally, mice leave pheromones in their urine that acts as a guide for other mice to follow. Their tail drags through it, spreading it more. YUCK!
Let's let the CDC tell you how to do the cleanup.
The Cliffs Notes of it is to clean your living space with a bleach solution, and you should also wear gloves.
It's not a bad idea to also wear a mask.
If they made a nest in the wall, if you have access panels to get in there, do try.
But at least if they were in the walls of your tiny home, you have the wall itself as a barrier. Best to try to get behind your camper walls if you can.
This is why you want to keep them OUT before they can get into your camper.
Figuring out how to keep mice out of RVs is not easy. The best course of action is to keep rodents out of your RV in the first place. Take the preventative measures we mentioned here to prevent a break-in.
So how do you keep mice out of a camper? It's easiest to keep mice out of an RV than to battle with the rodents once they're inside.
Seal up any opening you can find on the interior and exterior of your RV, remove any food sources when you are storing your RV, and clean EVERYTHING before storing to remove scents.
Use humane traps if possible.
Now you know more about how to keep mice out of any type of RV!
If you have other solutions that have worked for you, sound off in the comments. We would love to hear your solution to how to keep mice out of an RV!
Author: Kelly Beasley
As a seasoned and passionate RVing expert, I have dedicated myself to living the full-time RV life for over 5.5 years, immersing myself in the unique quirks and joys of the boondocking lifestyle and gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way. In December 2020, my business partner and I made the transition to part-time RVing, but in January 2023, we hit the road once again, this time in our trusty vans. My mission is to help others embrace the RVing lifestyle with confidence and excitement, armed with the knowledge and resources needed to make the most of their adventures. I believe that the more you know, the more you can truly appreciate and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the open road. Join me on this journey and let's make some unforgettable memories.
I wish I had read this article a long time ago about keeping mice out of your camper. I have an old Shasta Compact Trailer I use in the deer woods. I had looked under the trailer at one point to ensure there wasn’t any way for critters to get into my trailer as it sits down in the woods most of the time. I thought I heard scratching one night but when I turned down my little radio I didn’t hear anything. Well, things were about to change. I tossed a small package of peanut butter crackers up on the counter behind my stove and forgot about them when I went home. Imagine my surprise the next time I was down there when I picked up the package the end was open a little and you could see little teeth marks. I thought to myself, NO!!! Where is a rat snake when you need one? My fellow hunter who has camped down there for years suggested poison. I didn’t know if what he was telling me was correct or not as this was my first camper. So, I put some poison inside the camper, which I found out was the wrong thing to do. My pest guy told me all you are doing is inviting them in to see what smells so good. Good Grief what a mess!! Shredded toilet paper and paper towels all over the place. I thought I had cleaned up all the food but seems this little critter found a ketchup packet and had eaten the inside contents inside my sleeping bag. I threw the sleeping bag out, all the extra bedding (blankets), all wash rags and dish towels. I checked the inside of the small cabinet that had some ammo, socks, underwear and 2 plastic containers with hunting gear in them. The lid was white but the bottom lid was black. The mouse had been in this space for who knows how long. I thought I was going to throw up! I ended up throwing all my plastic silverware out, all my knives and other cooking utensils. I hate mice & rats, I see them as only good for snake food. I was aggravated because my buddy had told me wrong. So, I spent the better part of 2 days throwing stuff out and super cleaning the inside of my trailer. I put steel wool in spots that I could (like my little cabinet). My buddy said that he was told you could put ammonia on rags and put them in and around your trailer to keep the critters out. My wife suggested using a red solo cup to put ammonia in and that is what I did to make sure they didn’t come back. I also put out a couple of bars of Irish Spring soap. It might not hinder them but at least my trailer doesn’t smell like old gym socks! Now the only food I put in there is in a glass jar. No plastic containers for them to chew through.
What a mess! Yeah, the best thing one can do is keep them out in the first place. Are they out? Did you find the hole they entered into? That must be blocked. I’d advise using narrow hardware cloth (wire mesh) and holding it in place using an expanding foam product.
Otherwise, once they know there’s food and safety inside, they will do anything to get back in. So the entrance MUST be impossible for them to chew back through.
I hope you found it and got it blocked! None of the silly things like Irish Spring are going to keep them at bay. Good luck!
Irish Spring soap DOES NOT WORK. The mice literally ate the soap. Large chucks were gone. Not to be found
Same. I have seen Irish Spring soap sitting untouched and also chewed on. We think it works 0%, from our experiences. Others still swear by it.
Love the tips and tricks! Thank you! Please add that peppermint oil is toxic for pets to inhale. 🙂
Thank you, we are happy you loved it! Funny enough, I have been wrestling trying to keep mice and rats out from under the crawlspace of my house!!! Packrats are very smart. VERY hard to catch!!! Hoping I’ve finally locked them out and killed the one that was under there.
Here’s to you never having a mouse problem in your RV!!!
Put tomcat pellets and months later found large nest in stove and they stored pellets for food in nest!
Ok, now that’s pretty funny! Also, it’s not funny as I currently have what I believe to be a rat under my house and it’s been like 3-4 weeks and the bait is not working. Neither are traps. Not sure what it’s living on down there, because there’s no way in or out now! We’ve blocked where they could get in. Boo!
I live on the farm I grew up on. The very best defense against mice and rats are oak snakes and rat snakes. We used to catch these particular non-venomous snakes and place them in our barns. The problem is that the snakes leave after they catch all the mice and rats. Now I know you can’t put snakes in your RV but if it is in an enclosed area, then putting a rat snake or an oak snake in the enclosure with it may deter the rat or mice population from damaging your RV.
Kelly, some RVers in my area use Ajax cleanser to keep mice out of Rvs stored for the winter. You must sprinkle a liberal amount of the cleanser in a ring around all wheels and jack stands that contact the ground. A 4-6 inch wide ring of the powder 1/4 inch deep around your wheels and stands will keep the mice from climbing up these access points. I have been told the mice do not like the stuff on their feet and will not walk through the powder ring. But, the ring must be wide enough they cant jump over it. 4-6 inches is usually wide enough. This, of course, only works on RVs stored inside a building as rain and snow will wash away the powder.
Interesting! Who knows if it works- maybe some mice would mind it and others wouldn’t. Curious- have these people had mice in those particular RVs before? And if so, did they plug up the place they found where they were getting in? And then try the Ajax thing? Or are they assuming the Ajax works?
There’s not much out there that has been proven to keep them from entering a warm, dry area with lots of potential food and nesting materials!
DO NOT USE MOUTH BALLS it took me a year to get rid of the smell
And who loves that smell?? ICK!!
Glad it’s finally gone for you.
Please do not ever recommend (and you were not) using moth balls indoors in a confined space like a camper. They put off a gas that is dangerous to humans and animals. A closet is one thing (although we do not use them indoors at all) but a whole camper where you are living and breathing that air… not good.
We have used them outdoors to some effect to keep critters away but careful about your pets getting into them. We have a small very curious dog so no poisons, no moth balls, no harsh chemicals at all inside or outside.
The metal canisters that show up at thrift stores after Christmas are great for storing foods like cereal and other dry goods while keeping mice out.
On a similar subject, you have to keep squirrels out of your engine and your generator. I have had to drop my onan 5500 watt genset twice to remove massive amounts of twigs and junk and repair cut wires. Once I paid our mechanic to do it as I did not know what happened. The next time, I used an atv jack and did it my self. After that, I installed chicken wire (1/2inch square openings and galvanized steel wire) all around the part of the generator that included the air cooling inlet and the exhaust. I was able to block access to the bigger critters and have not had a problem since. I have, however, found numerous holes through our Winnebago’s floor where piping and wiring travel in from other areas. Much of the bottom is protected by a steel sheet which covers insulation and almost all of the pipes and wires in that area but not those that travel in from other areas. Under the fridge, inside the chase built between the sink and the shower and the toilet in the bathroom that carries the water pipes, behind the washer/dryer unit, in the pass through underneath the floor, etc. I have used 4 cans of expanding foam sealer so far and probably have more to go. Metal tubes around our jacks are un-needed since they are vertical hydraulic cylinders and we have 235 x 22.5 (semi type) tires in dually configuration in the rear so placing a metal barrier around them would take 12 feet or so of metal as well as a lot of time to set up. Not gonna happen for this 70 year old! We do keep a couple of closed type traps (so dog cannot get at them – like your metal one but smaller) around in areas where we once found mice. No problems in last couple of years. We bought Winnie used after it sat 10 years in a field so mice had lived in it for several mouse generations. It is a bit rusty underneath but the frame and stuff are so heavy duty that there is no danger of failure there due to rust. We did have the brake lines replaced this past summer. Ever try to slow down from the interstate to get off the exit with only trailer brakes? We have !
I will finish installing last of Lithium coach batteries this spring and some solar either in 22 or 23 then we will kiss most campgrounds goodbye. We have had many good and ok experiences but some nasty ones too.
Anyhow, I enjoy your blog a lot and am signed up I believe but I’ll put the info in again anyway. Happy travels and maybe we will see you out there somewhere!
Sounds like you have your hands full with that RV!! And yes, we are all about getting out of the campgrounds, haven’t touched one in years! Enjoy the freedom of public lands. : )
Thanks for the tips… every little bit helps other unsuspecting or victimized RV owners!
We live in the wilderness of SW CO. Lots of mice & rats here. We just had a rat’s nest in the engine of our brand new Transit camper van. & also the wood pile outside our door (we keep a small pile close by to avoid trips to the big woodpile when/if it snows. GRRRRRR. We’re trying a blinking LED in both places & are leaving the hood of the van open for now. So far only a few poops. But we’re looking for a long term solution.
Can you explain or post pics of the sheet metal idea to keep them from climbing the tires? I know that’s how they’re getting in because we set up our trail cam out there.
Thanks for your help. & I LOVE your concern for animals! Thank you for helping protect the hawks & owls from poison.
Also, in the United States alone, outdoor cats kill approximately 2.4 billion birds every year so keep cats indoors.
Sorry about the troubles you’re having! Lord, I do love all animals, but mice and rats can pack a punch that is too costly and damaging to allow, unfortunately.
Too bad we cannot just talk to them, let them know the deal, and hope that they would then choose to leave your stuff alone! But we don’t have that ability, so we’re left with physically blocking them and/or, sadly, ending their lives.
So, the sheet metal idea… it’s not easy, and it might not even be practical. More on that in a minute- I DO have an idea that worked for us here at the house as far as keeping ground squirrels from chewing on the new leaves of new trees I planted.
I got some Hardware Cloth (it’s wire) and, as you can imagine, I made a ‘tube’ out of it and put it around the tree trunk. I tried to make it so they couldn’t get in by putting a roof on it and burying the bottom, but they still somehow got in through small openings I couldn’t seem to find or fix.
So Marshall had the idea to wrap the base of the tube with plastic sheeting. We did so, made it about a foot and a half high, and secured it with bungee cords at the top. Folded the plastic over the bungee cords so they couldn’t jump up and reach the cord to get up.
So, the plastic just has to be high enough that they can’t jump up and grab the hardware cloth above it. Problem is, mice can jump a foot to a foot and a half vertically. So this may not work for Transit tires. (?)
This worked even while we were away for the summer! (Though the plastic was flaking and falling apart in the Arizona sun and heat. Still, it worked for 5 months!)
This might work for you as well. Or some variant of it. It also means you can’t move your Transit while the wire is in place. And you have to bury it deep enough that they don’t just dig under it.
So either that or the metal tubing. However, with the tubing, not sure how you would ‘stitch’ it together.
I’ve seen people use them for small aircraft tires to keep mice from climbing on in. Just Google search “sheet metal tubing keep mice out aircraft” and go to images and you’ll see what we have been talking about.
Keep in mind if it snows, and your Transit is outside in it, this also won’t work.
I hope you find a solution! Maybe the mesh/plastic will work for you? I’m afraid you won’t be able to get it high enough to keep them out.
And thank you for your animal appreciation. I don’t understand how people get conditioned to just treat them like they are nothing. It’s sad, very sad to me.
Good luck!!! Hope this helps or spurs another better idea that works for you!
Thanks Kelly. We may end up paying a lot of $$ to build a storage building big enough for our camper van. It seems that nothing else will really work. Not something we figured in to the cost of the van :((
Yeah, that may be what you have to do! And yes, that will not be cheap whatsoever! Good luck…
But then you have to make it virtually air tight to keep the pesky things out of it!
I am a believer that cat owners should leash their pets when walking them like we do with our little dog. Just sayin’. We both love birds and it is a big event to see a hawk (more common) or an Eagle (rare).
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You left one very important and critical bit of anatomy out – mice have TEETH that NEVER STOP GROWING. If you wonder why they gnaw on everything – this is why. Wires are great – they are stiff but eventually can be chewed through. Perfect to keep those forever growing teeth length in check. And wood furniture – what a terrific and comforting item to gnaw on!
As for food, had a “family” of them in my cabin cruiser. Didn’t know it and came down to the boat one day and my entire galley floor was covered by 2 feet of food, poop and piss. They had been in every cabinet, every single food locker – you name it.
Poison was all that worked. Traps were a waste of time. But the author is correct – the damage stopped but I had to spend 2 days searching for the dead vermin. Mom and 6 little ones and a Dad. 8 in total. 6 weeks of disinfectant, washing everything from bedlinens and covers to having the carpets and all the upholstery professionally cleaned. Not to mention the engine room and the brow off the fly bridge.
Do every single thing you can to keep them out. In our case, I sealed everything I could and my dock had 4 full time traps with poison. And yes, they caught multiple vermin after that. It’s the nature of the beast.
I am sorry if I appear inhumane with poison. But I had little children on my boat and no vermin is pissing and pooping where they play on the carpet. What is inhumane is even thinking about this being cruel. Do anything you can regardless of method.
UGH! That’s horrible. Man, when it comes down to it, you HAVE to take whatever measures will work and work the fastest. You risk a lot of money in repairs if you don’t. We totally get it. Sucks that they are such good invaders. It never works out for them in the end (rarely, anyway).
The damage can be catastrophic. The mess disgusting. Seems like they keep on giving… you’ll find stuff a month later that you didn’t realize they had access to. Dang mice!
Glad you got them though. And all the dead ones. Before they stunk your boat up. Yuck.
Next time, advise them that they can go chew on trees. Nice and plentiful, and will do a good job on the teeth. 😆
Enjoy boating, hopefully mouse-free from now on!
We stored our RV trailer on a concrete parking area at a storage company for almost a year. We had no food or supplies in the RV. When I went to use it I noticed that the outside trailer lights and the brake lights were not working. I tried to figure out what the problem was but finally took it to the dealer to handle. The problem was the mice got into the “sealed” belly and ate the wire insulation from most of the wires, and at the same time lived in the insulation and the plastic ductwork throughout the trailer. After 3 weeks of work to remove and replace all the damage wires, ductwork and insulation we were able to pick up the RV trailer. The cost was over $6,000.00 of damage. Unfortunately, I never knew that the insurance company I use had rodent damage coverage. I do have it now. The dealer used expanding insulation outside and inside the RV. They suggested using light rope at night under the RV. These critters will do some extensive damage and ruin what could have been a great time. Do your due diligence and get all those areas that they can enter your RV sealed. I wish I could have included the pictures of the damage so you could see the damage.
Boy, do I feel for you with this story!!! Ugh, ugh, and UGH.
So sorry you experienced this. Yep, as you know, keeping them out, PHYSICALLY, in the first place is the best way to never have any issues.
Unfortunately, on some RVs, you can’t get to or see some of the places that they can access underneath the vehicle. Be nice if manufacturers would keep mice in mind when doing their builds.
That said, it’s a good idea to have eyeballs (and ears and noses) on your RV periodically even when stored to look for signs of the little demons. (I only call them demons once they are inside an RV, LOL!)
If you’re interested, or wouldn’t mind, you may send a couple of your good photos of the damage and we may use them in this article with your permission.
The more people see the damage they can do, the more likely they are to do something about it beforehand!
Thanks for your comment! It is sure to help others.
Hi Kelly, I have 2017 Jayco I pasted 4 ins Tape, to the matt And the frame stuffed rough steel wool in other places will report next spring to let you know how that worked
Good deal, let us know if you get any intruders! Have you had them previously? Once they get a whiff of the good life, it’s VERY difficult to keep them out. Unless you move the RV to another area. Then, those mice don’t know what’s on the other side of the RV walls.
Anyway, thanks, let us know, looking forward to your report in the spring.
It is now November 21 , Check ones a week so far no mice, touch wood. Let you know in the new year.
Yay, no mice are very good! Here’s hoping they don’t ever get in again!
I live in Utah and they started eating the Irish Spring…. so in the West it doesn’t work
Yeah, we mention that some report mice eating it, so we totally agree! I don’t think it works in the east or the west! Probably some person used multiple methods of ‘removal’, and then figured the soap was one of the ones that worked. Bah. I don’t believe it. Thanks for reporting your experience!
We had one minor intrusion in our motor home this past winter, most likely through plumbing lines into the bathroom. Used Tomcat expanding foam (supposedly they don’t chew through this), Fresh Cab, peppermint oil, and Exterminators Choice Vehicle Defense Rodent Repellent (search for it on Amazon) on all wiring inside and outside the RV. I also used this under the hood and wheel wells of all our vehicles, as we had a chipmunk chew through a fuel line on a car in the drive a little while back. Ran out of gas but luckily didn’t catch on fire.
Not sure what worked, but we haven’t had any problems since. However, I also read recently that if you can leave your RV plugged into shore power if you’re able, the humming of the converter is a deterrent as well. We also leave a vent fan on all the time.
Awe, so sorry you had an invasion!!! They are sooo hard to get out once they are in! Glad to hear you haven’t had issues ever since. You shouldn’t have a problem if they can’t get in anymore. I think one got in my RV through the little hole for my power cord opening back when I had a mouse. Now, I stuff it with a washcloth when I use it. (Which isn’t often)
Still, if they don’t know what is behind the washcloth, there’s no reason to try to chew through it to get into the RV. Has worked perfectly so far!
The mouse entry place with my truck camper was the refrigerator roof vent allowing access below where they chewed through the wall space for free run of stove and counter top.
Incidents happen at many parks. Twice had some run across my head while sleeping; Victor traps were revenge.
Enjoyed your article.
Holy cow! That’s not an entry I would have thought about. I’m guessing you have since blocked it with some sort of mesh wire?
That’s a good one. Very helpful, thank you! Nobody should have mice running across their head at night, or ever. Yikes!
we have tried them all ,nothing works but keep on trying to finding a good one
Shoot. That sucks. Do you know how are they getting in?
Covered every opening I could find, but missed a big one, the furnace intake and exhaust. It’s an open door to critters. I see Amazon sells covers that are spring mounted so they are easy to remove or replace and don’t impede the furnace operation. Next time I won’t have to replace all the ducting! UGH.
Whoa! I never considered rodents entering via the furnace openings. Without actually looking at how a propane furnace is constructed, it seems to me that there are two separate parts. The propane part that consists of an air intake, a burner, and an exhaust port. This is a closed system that allows for the burning of propane to heat up the interior air, but the propane (and exhaust) is completely separate from the inside portion of the furnace (that actually handles the air that circulates inside the rig).
Then you have the (breathable) air portion of the system that consists of the ducting (assuming you have any – Kelly’s rig doesn’t, mine does) that brings interior air to the furnace to be heated, a circulating fan (which is generally REALLY loud), and similar ducting to deliver the air throughout the rig.
The propane heating/flame portion of the furnace never directly intermingles with the interior air handling part, otherwise, you’d have carbon monoxide poisoning happening. And you wouldn’t be alive very long. The interior air is heated by the propane flame via a radiator (not sure that’s the right term/description) setup so that the interior air benefits from the propane flame heat, but never comes in direct contact with it (so you don’t die).
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t have a clue how a rodent 1) could gain access to the exterior furnace/propane flame openings as these are generally on the side of a vehicle which a rodent really can’t climb and 2) how a rodent, should it gain access to the propane heating portion of the furnace, could gain access to the interior air handling side of things since the interior and propane sides of the furnace don’t have any crossover.
Not to say you didn’t have rodent damage in your ducting, because it sounds like you did. I’m just wondering if the rodents didn’t gain access some other way, rather than via the furnace?
I have some screens that cover the exterior openings of my furnace, but this is to keep flying insects out of there so they don’t build nests. Not to keep rodents out, as there is no way they can climb the slick sidewalls of my rig.
Have you confirmed that there isn’t some other way for critters to access your furnace ducting? So you don’t have a repeat performance?
based on the “evidence” I found in the interior of the furnace and the ducts themselves, they were in there and most likely gained entry from them. Not sure how they managed it, but they got in the air intake, which goes into the interior of the furnace, but there are openings in the furnace box to the service area around the furnace and to the ducts themselves, and they made a mess. My rig did not come with those insect screens, but that’s what I plan to add to keep the little buggers out. Had to do a lot of cleaning and duct replacing, so it became a lesson learned. The “sealed” system is not all that sealed from what I say when I opened the furnace cabinet.
Thanks for the clarification! Put this in the column titled ‘things I didn’t know’, which is actually a really long column.
It stinks that you had to go through all that trouble because of a design that is lacking. Sounds like many systems in RVs – not designed to the standards that one thinks they should be designed to.
The propane burns up through a heat exchanger which is a little like a radiator made of sheet metal. Flame on one side heats the other side which then has air blown through it to heat your rig. However, all that has to be air tight is the flame area, the heat exchanger and the chimney. The duct work attaches to the hot air side of the heat exchanger (not the flame side) and there are often plenty of holes and gaps in how that assembling is done. Plenty of room for mice to enter.
There are also wire mesh covers for those vents on our Winnebago. Each vent is about 2 inch in diameter and these covers (stainless) fit right over them and lock in place.
Had a rat problem when hosting at camp ground finally got it out after chewed all water lines and freshwater holding tank after I fixed everything I put lights mounted under my fifth wheel with a timer it goes on at dark and off at light haven’t had a problem since but you have to use ultra daylight lights
Man, that couldn’t have been fun. Yuck!
So, when you say “after I fixed everything”, does that mean you also took measures to fill in areas where they were getting in? B/C the debate is still out there as to whether or not the lights will keep them away.
Would love to hear if you found where they got in and if you filled it in or not. Thanks!
Beware of using steel wool. They will use it as nesting material.
LOL! You’ve had this happen? Sounds right up there with the fact that they will sometimes eat Irish Spring soap, too. Definitely a failed deterrent tactic at that point.
I’ve seen steel wool fail in a house where they were already coming in through the hole and had already found luxury inside the house. If they want back in, they will do their best to do so. I’d only use steel wool as a filler to save space if I was going to put concrete or similar into the hole to keep them out.
Steel wool may work if they have NEVER been inside the RV and there’s nothing (food) making them want to get in. They likely won’t just start chewing steel wool for no reason if they don’t know that luxury is awaiting them on the other side. I’d also probably use Great Stuff (expanding foam) around the steel wool to seal it up well.
Thanks for the comment!
Thanks for the comment!
Only one I’ve heard worried about getting rid of a mouse problem, not being humane. Especially by the use of Cats. What ever works!
I am now applying gorilla tape to the bottom cover of my jayco 2017 BH25 travel trailer, All around the outer edge on the frame..
They can easily chew through Gorilla Tape. Hopefully, if they don’t know what’s behind the tape, there is no reason for them to try. (If they have never been in there before, you’re probably good).
Make sure you don’t have any food of any kind in there while storing.
At times my wife and I enjoy our class A motor home more than our house. Our house has no AC, our motor home does.
Well, that made me laugh out loud! And yes, I can see how one can like their RV better than their house. I freaking love mine. : D Enjoy, and I hope you stay mouse-less!
We had a Saturn Car in the garage a few years ago for the winter, the mice Ate trough the wire harness, It caught on fire on the way to Walmart I put out the fire, could not fix the car they wrote it off, the car only had 90,000 mls on it, If I see another mouse, watch out.
Dang, that is rough. We know a guy who only parked his truck for a fairly short time. Same thing happened. Mouse or rat came in and tore through some VERY expensive wiring. Almost totaled his truck!!!
We have had 3 mice – once in AZ, once in TX and now in Indiana. As much as I hate killing anything, I make exceptions for unwanted “guests” in my home.
With the nights starting to get cold, we put out Fresh Cab everywhere (maybe too many, but…) and last night my hubby watched a little guy make an appearance from under the stove top into our sink. ???? So now we have Fresh Cab and glue traps (sorry, but they work, and we take care of them RIGHT away). I’m also plugging in one of those ultra sonic repellents.
I know it’s part of the life, but geez….
Great article. I’m taking notes and making sure we put into place other remedies to keep them out.
You sound just like me. So sorry you’re having a time with them! I totally agree, they HAVE to go. And when they balk at leaving, extreme measures must be taken, bad as I feel for them. You simply CANNOT afford to let them be. They destroy RVs.
Have you tried physically plugging any areas to stop them from coming into the living area? It may not be 100% possible to keep them from getting into the walls, but hopefully you can figure out where they are coming into the living space and do what’s needed to seal off the area. Even if that means welding something, lol!!!
about mice .. I’m living in a 19ft Class B.. there must’ve been a nest, because I’ve caught NINE mice in 4 days. adults now. I use glue traps, sorry, but it’s the only way. Mouse can be released: pour cooking oil across the glue and gently release the mouse using a pencil or twig. I’ve released a few, and even though a bit messed up, the mouse ran up a tree.
(I also put poison blocks inside. I don’t put them in th engine area bec chipmunks are attracted)
I think they’re in the engine compartment bec they enter in the well of the front passenger seat. but I can’t locate. There’s a shroud covering the heater, a/c .. I turn that on. The shroud looks difficult to remove – rusted bolts.
I don’t want to kill creatures. A scientist friend said, they’re not endangered and there’s plenty of em. one climbed into bed with me … Bottom line, it’s me or them.
Totally get it. They MUST go. And they don’t always go willingly. Often quite the opposite. It’s definitely us or them!
Thank you Kelly. We are about to pick up our fifth wheel from the manufacturer who was repairing a defect in the wall. He told us what we already knew, that we have rats living underneath. They actually chewed through our wires so it read that all our tanks were empty. They weren’t of course, it just stopped registering thanks to our friends. The manufacturer told us to use poison and said they get thirsty and then leave to look for water. My version is they die in place. I’m sick about this and thought maybe we can call an exterminator or tent it like they do for termites?! Will try your suggestions but we are beyond prevention unfortunately. We’ll keep trying but my gross out factor here is over the top.
Oh nooooooo. Man, that is not fun at all. And we don’t recommend poison for just the reason you stated. They will die in the walls, stink up the place, and stay there forever. If you aren’t using the RV for a while, I suppose you can do this and the smell will eventually go away. The urine and poo is going to stay there regardless. What’s an added few carcasses? LOL!
Haven’t heard about tenting and exterminating- but again, that’s going to leave them inside your walls to die.
Still, poison may be your only option, unfortunately. If they aren’t coming to traps you have set out.
I have a friend who just learned that mice or packrats just ate through major wiring in his truck. It won’t start. He has to get it all fixed before he can use it again. Man, mice and rats are such destroyers! Sorry to hear you are dealing with them.
Haha!! You crack me up!????❤ if you ever have to herd a mouse again, heres a tip. Create a “hole” for the mouse to escape into by laying a rubber boot on its side. We loved on an acreage…lotsa mice!…and this worked every time!
Glad to entertain!! And wow, strange but understandable way to get them to do as you wish! I like it. Now if I can just find a boot if I ever have one again… ????
Irish Soap doesn’t work. In fact, they eat it just like anything else they would eat otherwise 🙂
Agreed! I think I even said this in the article. Mice will eat almost anything. Ugh!
Hello – you suggested avoiding an open trash can. I’m just purchasing my first RV (Class B+), and was looking for a kitchen trash can. Are you recommending that even an under sink type of trash can have a lid? Thank you, your web site is fantastic.
Well, thank you for the nice compliment! That feedback is always nice to hear. : )
All we can tell you is the more precautions you take, the better. Mice easily get into cabinets if there are openings. Just seal up ANYWHERE that looks like one could get through, and you might be alright, lid or no lid.
All the luck and fingers crossed you never have a critter! (Or a litter ????????)
We use a tote with a seal and locking lid from Walmart for our trash. Also had a few mice get in (still don’t know from where), had to switch to the old Victor traps, peanut butter is irresistible to mice. After killing about 10, and spray foaming every nook and cranny, they seem to have stopped. All this with 2 cats, irish spring, peppermint oil….etc.
Yep, the best way to keep them out is to keep them from PHYSICALLY coming in at all. Congratulations on hopefully winning the battle!
For trash we use a 5 gallon bucket and have a screw on cover that you can buy from most big box hardware stores, so it is tight and thick walled enough to deter them so far. Off season we stored paper products in it and they survived well.