Mice may be small and cute but they can cause big damage and an ugly mess.
I have heard horror stories through the years of how mice chewed through wires, insulation, and walls. Not to mention the nests they build that can clog vents and wreak havoc on your appliances and engine. And NOW I have my own direct experience with this—more on that in a moment.
Even a dead mouse can cause a stink-up! Anyone who has returned to their RV after storing it for winter months only to be confronted with a terrible smell knows what I’m talking about.
So, whether you have a rodent problem or want to avoid one in the first place, here are some tried and true tips to keep them away from your RV.
Preventative measures to keep mice out of your RV
The best way to prevent a mouse infestation is to keep them from getting into your RV at all. That means blocking off any potential entry points a mouse might use to infiltrate your rig.
There are several methods to do this. Chances are you’ll need to use more than one depending on the type of holes and entry points you’re dealing with.
1. Know how mice get in
You’ll see in the next section that the first step to preventing mice from getting into your RV is to search for entry points. But that means you need to know what to look for!
When searching, remember that mice have collapsible rib cages. Why is that important? Because that means if their head can fit into a hole, so can the rest of their body. A good rule of thumb: if a pencil can fit, a mouse can fit.
When looking for potential entry points, you have to look for even the smallest holes and cracks that a flexible mouse can take advantage of.
2. Scour the exterior of your RV for possible entry points
Now that you know what to look for, the first step is to scour the exterior of your RV for any small cracks or small openings.
Use a flashlight and brightly colored tape to help you find and mark every possible entry point. Then you can determine what materials you need to cover or fill the openings.
Since mice most often enter your RV from the ground, you’ll need to crawl under your RV to search there as well. Or employ someone else to do the job—even if that someone is a grandkid. (By the way, I say most often because I’ve heard of mice dropping down from tree branches to RVs).
If using jacks or jack stands to search under your RV follow every safety measure and use backup safety measures so the RV can’t crush you! Unlike mice, you don’t have a collapsible rib cage!
3. Seal all holes and cracks
The easiest way to seal off openings is to use spray foam, RV sealant caulk, or steel wool—or a combination of the three. You simply fill or cover the small holes with these materials to make sure mice can’t get in.
It’s a good idea to carry a rag with you and wear gloves since these materials can get messy (or scratchy in the case of steel wool). The last thing you want to do is make a mess of yourself and your RV when you’re trying to improve it.
Note that steel wool is a good choice if you want to remove it easily later on. For instance, you might want to use it while your RV is in storage and then remove it before your next camping trip. Just be sure to mark these areas with brightly colored tape so you remember to remove the steel wool.
As a bonus, ultra-fine steel wool is also great for cleaning, polishing, and buffing. You can use it to clean your RV’s windshield and much more.
4. Use mouse deterrents
Another effective way to keep mice away from your RV is to make it unattractive to them. You might wonder what in the world can deter creatures that revel in garbage but there are quite a few options.
Granted, there is debate on how effective some of these are but there’s not always a perfect tried and true method. Individual mice have their preferences (and detractions), I suppose. But the following are supposed to help deter the majority of these little critters.
Here are some mouse repellents and deterrents some people swear by:
- Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil
- Peppermint oil spray (apparently, mice don’t like peppermint!)
- Dryer sheets (fabric softener sheets)
- Cayenne pepper
- Fresh Cab Rodent Repellent
There’s a long-standing old wives tale that bars of Irish Spring soap will deter mice but it seems that myth has been busted. From my experience, they actually relish gnawing away at the green stuff.
Note that any deterrent that uses strong smells or essential oils will lose effectiveness over time. You’ll need to replace these fragranced repellents regularly.
5. Burn all bridges
Mice can jump quite high (13 inches) but they prefer to climb. So, you need to make sure there aren’t any bridges that give easy access from the ground to your RV. This includes any tubes hanging down and your tires.
While you can keep any tubes from hanging down, what in the world are you supposed to do about your tires?!
In short, you wrap sheet metal around your tires. Mice can’t climb up the slippery surface.
Our recent experience with mice…
Last winter we bagged three mice with glue traps only after a little critter disabled our toad by gnawing the fuel line. It was a costly repair that necessitated the need for a tow and rental car.
Also, be sure to check out The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Mice Out of an RV.
I have a very bad relationship with mice.