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How To Keep Mice Out Of Your Camper BEFORE They Get In

PublishedApril 20, 2020

There's one particular sound or sight that RV owners dread hearing/seeing.

Any RVer with half a brain can immediately figure out what is making the noise in the walls or what used to own that little black poo.

Rat in silverware

If you hear it, you know you've got a mouse (or multiple mice) in your camper. It's the #2 thing you don't want to find in your RV. It's second only to water damage.

Fast fact for you- mice produce around 75 mouse droppings a day. And that's the least of the destruction they spread.

So, yeah, it might be a smart idea to figure out how to keep mice out of your camper.

The Uninvited RV Mouse

I once had a mouse in my RV. Picked it up while I was boondocking outside of Zion National Park.

Mice produce around 75 droppings PER DAY

This mouse had no fear. It's like he was accustomed to hanging out inside other people's homes and had been invited in personally by yours truly.

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!

Getting The Mouse Out

I tried to herd it out the door, but when I got close, it ran back into the hole.

So I blocked the hole. It got into/under my stove area. I opened it.

Mouse in RV stove

The little monster mouse trying to hide under my stove!

It ran towards my bed (NOOOOO). I figured the dogs would go after it, but it pretty much ran right across Trixie's feet and she just watched.

(Thanks, Trix.)

I hustled it away from my bed. And tried to come up with a way to get it out. It took a while, but finally, the mouse did it for me. I had my exit window open. I don't use screens.

So I watched it walk out on the stick that holds the window propped open. I tried to knock it off. But it ran back in before I could get it.

Next time he did it, he fell off before I could knock him off.

WOOHOO! End of problem!

Not So Fast...

The bad news is that it came right back in wherever it got into my camper in the first place. 

As much as I don't want to kill anything, I couldn't catch it. After a day or so of failure, traps were set. I HATED doing this.

But I couldn't let it continue to destroy my stuff and worse,  spread disease and general disgustingness inside my little home.

It took a few more days for the execution to take place. I set a snap trap with some food as bait. I had Marshall dispose of it for me because as an avid animal lover, I couldn't handle seeing it.

In the short time the mouse squatted it my place, it 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.

Dog food bad chewed by mouse

Mice poop and pee was everywhere under my booth area.

Having mice in your camper is unacceptable. But it can happen if you don't take preventative measures in keeping mice out BEFORE you get one in your RV.

First we will cover preventative measures, then we'll cover how to get rid of 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 totally worked for them,  but others say they were totally ineffective.

Could this have to do with differences between mice in different parts of the country? I'm not at liberty to say, and I'm not a scientist/not gonna do the studies to figure it out.

Instead, I will list most of the mouse deterrents, naming the ones that are sure-fire, and the ones that are wishy-washy. This way you can choose. If you want to try the wishy-washy ones, have at it.

Some people swear by some of them!

Mouse in forest

So cute! But only when NOT living in your RV

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)

  1. Block holes leading in from the inside
  2. Block holes leading in from the outside
  3. Build sheet metal tubes
  4. Keep a very clean RV/pack food items away
  5. Peppermint oil-soaked cotton balls
  6. Fresh cab pouches
  7. Lights under your RV
  8. Open your motorhome hood
  9. Irish spring soap
  10. Mothballs
  11. Cats
  12. Dryer sheets
  13. An RV cover

Guys, this topic is so gross, but that's EXACTLY why you need to be on top of mouse deterrents. Personally, I think rodents are super cute. (SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!)

Even so, I will NOT tolerate a single rodent in my RV. This problem can QUICKLY turn into thousands of dollars worth of camper damage and major headaches.

They love to chew things. Including pipes, wires, ANYTHING having to do with electric in your RV. They make a mess, to say the very least.

You can't have them. You don't want them. Let's get some tips on how to mouse proof an RV.

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 entry points EVERYWHERE. This will only stop them from getting into your living space. It won't stop them from getting into your walls. 

If you see a hole the size of a dime, you aren't keeping mice out. If their head can get through, they can get their body through those entryways.

So, this means you need to seek out EVERY gap larger than half the size of a dime and FILL IT. Some experts claim a mouse can get in via only a 1/4 inch entry point. That's the size I'd target upon inspection.

Pay special attention to where pipes and wires come into your RV, especially around the floor.

What should you use? Expanding foam works great.

There's a spray foam called Great Stuff. This is what I used to plug the entry points, and also the holes that are under the booth allowing the water pipes/tubing to be routed around the RV.

Great Stuff foam sealant can

I plugged all of them. That way, if one somehow did get in again, I'm keeping mice (or even rats) out from under my booth area.

Go lightly on the spray foam. It expands more than you would expect. Try it on a test item and see how much it expands first. You can always cut away excess. This also helps keep dust and dirt out.

If you want extra protection, add steel wool first, then fill with foam. It's said that mice won't chew through steel wool, though I have seen them do it.

Still it's highly doubtful a mouse will try chewing through spray foam+steel wool without knowing if there's access to anything attractive on the other side.

Some people 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.

Why would they? They don't know that there's anything at all on the other side.

Depending on the locations and sizes of the holes, you could also use a caulk product for the gaps and cracks.

Block Holes From The Outside

This can prove a bit more challenging, depending on what of the different types of recreational vehicles you are dealing with. My RV camping trailer was pretty simple. I have a flat bottom, and entry points were readily apparent.

Sealed underside of RV

With some trailers like mine, you can easily see entry access points where utilities are going in.

Holes were filled with spray foam or caulking, and/or covered with foil tape. It's been keeping mice out ever since. If there's no entry point, you won't have rodents in your RV. The only other way they could possibly get in is through your door.

A motorhome is a whole different ball game. You can't get to most areas underneath that may serve as entry points.

This is why I list blocking from the INSIDE as 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 mice from getting into your living area. This means opening every cabinet, every access panel, and looking under/behind every piece of furniture.

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 high should do the trick.

Boom, you're free of mice! (Unless they dig under it, grrrr.)

Food Storage/Cleanliness

Mice come inside your camper to find warmth, nesting materials, food, and safety. You can, at the very least, remove one of those attractive features- the food.

Ya gotta keep it clean, y'all. You will attract them SO much faster if you leave crumbs, leave food out, have an open trash can, give them easy access, etc.

Cereal bag chewed by mouse

My mouse got into my cereal! EEWWWWW!

After your camping trip, don't keep food in your camper while in storage. Make sure you take ALL the food out, aside from canned goods.

Even if it's sealed in a Tupperware compartment, they can smell it, and will chew their way right on in.

Even if food is not in your camper during storage, they also find other materials attractive. If you can, store your camper empty.

Make sure to remove items such as toilet paper, paper towels, towels, any type of cloth, as they love this stuff to make nests and to eat.

Mice can make a meal out of just about anything.

Do a THOROUGH clean of all surfaces before storing. Clean your cabinet areas, drawers, floors, shower doors, bins, bathroom, ALL of it.

(I love and use AWESOME cleaner. That stuff cleans anything- even black streaks on the outside of your RV.)

Awesome Cleaner bottle

Awesome Cleaner

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 can fall.

Peppermint Oil Soaked Cotton Balls

This one will not get rid of existing mice, but peppermint oil might be effective to help keep mice out.

Mice supposedly don't like the smell of peppermint oil. Some swear by it. Others (pest control experts) say it's not going to work.

Part of the reason it won't work is that the oil smell rises. So while a room may smell of peppermint to you way up high at your nose level, to a mouse, it only smells close to the cotton ball.

Also, once mice have established themselves inside your RV, there aren't many mouse 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. They must be replaced with fresh ones.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint Oil

Fresh Cab Pouches

Fresh Cab rodent repellent package

Do these corn-cob filled pouches with botanical smells work?

Again, hard to know. It's a smell-based repellant, just like the peppermint oil. 

It's non-toxic. Use one packet for up to 125 sf.

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 could be good in case you missed blocking a spot.

Fresh Cab rodent repellent box

Fresh Cab

Lighting Under The Camper

Does this one keep mice away? The consensus is divided.

The rest of these remedies listed below, including this one, are questionable. Some claim they deter mice, others say otherwise.

Try at your own risk. If nothing else, they can't hurt and they look nice at night. Maybe a group of these solutions will do the trick.

Rope lights strewn under your camper during your camping trip, OR while in storage, may deter mice from coming in to check things out.

LED Rope Lights

LED Rope Lights

Open Your Motorhome Hood

When in rodent-rich areas like the desert, rodents like to getting into an engine compartment. Rodents like the warmth, the darkness, and they like to chew the wires and more.

A good preventative measure to make it less appealing to rodents is to open 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 are nesting in your engine, mice are more likely to get into your RV living quarters as well.

Irish Spring Soap

Irish Spring bar soap

Ok. It IS strong smelling stuff. And some people say that this will keep mice away.

I read another person who laughed and said the mice actually saw it as food ATE the soap. Talk about a backfire!

Maybe east coast mice prefer it and west coast mice hate it.

Well, 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 on it, it probably won't work in your RV.

Moth Balls

Can moth balls keep mice from making a home in your RV? I know that I sure wouldn't want to come into a camper that smelled like moth balls.

So, maybe certain mice despise it? I am not a mouse, and I despise it.

This is not a solution I would ever try. Call me crazy. I like to like how my living quarters smell.

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

Cat looking at mouse

Eh. Just as my dog Trixie did nothing when she saw the mouse, I have heard many stories of cat owners whose cat did nothing about the mice in their camper.

This is also not helpful if your RV is in storage.

But if you have a cat that is a mouser, hopefully if you get a mouse problem, that cat will do its thing and get it.

Though I see this as a cruel way to kill mice. A humane trap should do just fine.

Dryer Sheets

Almost every home has dryer sheets. Heck, if nothing else, they will sweeten the smell in your RV. Better than moth balls, if you ask me.

Go ahead. Place them around your RV. Can't hurt.

Or, maybe they can- the mice might use them as nest building material. Oops, and haha!

You will also have to replace them periodically as they lose potency.

RV Covers

You may have seen this 'remedy' listed somewhere. (I have)

Bloggers, please. Don't make me laugh. I've seen this one listed on RVing websites. Mostly the ones where you can tell the writer knows NOTHING about RVs and is paid to do blog posts for these large sites.

How on earth is a camper cover going to keep out pests? Gimmie a break.

Let's look at the facts.

Most often, mice find a way in on the UNDERSIDE the rig.

They climb the wheels and walk along axles and such. The underside is exactly what an RV cover DOESN'T cover.

Even if it did, mice can simply chew a hole through the cover and get to whatever they smell in your RV.

RV cover as a defense? COME ON! What a ridiculous claim. 

How To Fix Your Mouse Problem

Mouse trap selection at store

There are many, many options for traps.

Ok, so you didn't do any preventative measures, and you already have mice in your RV. How do you get rid of them?

There are a few traps I can speak of, some are much more humane than others.

No-Kill Mousetraps

I have a Victors no-kill mouse trap JUST IN CASE I ever get a mouse again.

I have loaned it out to friends who've had a mouse as well.

Victors live mouse trap

I LOVE my no-kill trap! This thing works flawlessly.

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. (And a released mouse may not make it. It is immediately susceptible to predators since it's in uncharted territory and doesn't know where to hide.)

No Kill Mouse Trap

No-Kill Mouse Trap

Victor Classic Mousetraps

Victor mouse trap in package

These are very effective mouse traps. They have been around for decades for this reason.

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 for them as bait.

It could be cheese, crackers, peanut butter or other. Keep these mouse traps away from your children and pets.

Victor Classic Mouse Trap

Classic Mouse Trap

Sticky Traps For Rodents

Please, please, please, do NOT use these in your camper or ANYWHERE.

Mice on glue trap

First, they are unimaginably cruel. Second, do you really want to face the creature, helplessly stuck to the trap left to die an excruciating death from thirst and starvation?

I hope not.

You could always kill it with a shovel, but then you have to kill it with a shovel.

Simply allowing a creature to die a miserable death for only trying to provide for itself is disgusting if you ask me.

Please don't use these for rodents unless you intend to put them out of their misery ASAP after catching them.

Mouse Poison/Bait

This is NOT recommended, either. Why?

Because that mouse, or mice, will eat it, then go retreat into their hiding place in your camper, and they'll die. Now you have a dead animal in your house.

Then they decompose and you likely can't get to them.

So now you have a stinky dead mouse hidden in your camper wall or other. Best not to use a poison bait.

Not to mention if they go away outside of your camper to die, birds of prey may eat them and then get poisoned as well and die.

Cleaning Up Camper After A Mouse Invasion

It's very important that you do a thorough clean after you have had mouse. They can carry deadly diseases such as Hanta Virus.

Mouse droppings can spread other diseases as well such as Bubonic Plague, Salmonellosis, and more. They can also trigger allergies.

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 make sure you wear gloves.

It's not a bad idea to also wear a mask.

Clorox bleach bottles
Disposable gloves

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 little home, you have the wall itself as a barrier. Best to try to get behind your camper walls if you can.

Good luck with that. This is why you want to keep them OUT before they can get into your camper.


It's best to keep rodents out of your RV in the first place. Take the preventative measures we mentioned here to prevent an infestation.

That's because it's so much easier than to battle with the rodents after they have wreaked havoc on your recreational vehicle.

Seal up any opening you can find on the interior and exterior of your RV, put away any food sources like pet food when you are storing your RV, and clean the surface of EVERYTHING before storing.

This way scents and smells leftover from your RV adventures won't unnecessarily attract the buggers.

Use humane traps if possible. Clean your RV THOROUGHLY and per the CDC's instructions listed above.

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!

Kelly Headshot

Hello! I'm the co-founder of Camp Addict, which my biz partner and I launched in 2017. I frigging love the RVing lifestyle but in December of 2020, we both converted to part-time RV life. Heck, I lived in my travel trailer for over 5.5 years, STRICTLY boondocking. I learned a lot about the RV life and lifestyle during those years. Now we share what we know with you here at Camp Addict.

After that many years of wonderful full-time travel, it was time for something new. These days, I'm often found working from my new Az home, and sometimes plotting and scheming whether or not to start collecting farm animals (or plotting my next RV trip!).

Other Articles You Should Read

  • 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!

  • 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!

    • Hi Philip,

      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.

    • Hi Shelby,

      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 :((

    • 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).

  • 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.

    • Hi Mark,

      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

        • Hi Jack,

          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.

    • Hi Beverley,

      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!

  • Kelly
    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!

  • 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.

    • Hi Michael,

      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.

        • Hi Michael,

          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

    • Hey Manuel,

      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!

    • Hi Rick,

      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.

    • Hi Tom,

      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.

      • Hi Jack,

        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.

    • Hi Susan,

      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.

      And, gross.

      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!!!

      Good luck!

  • 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.

    • Hi Magicwaterdog,

      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!

    • Hi Susan,

      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… ????

  • 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.

    • Hi Balinda,

      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.

      • Hi Joel,

        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.

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