How to Keep Mice Out of your RV

Avoid a mouse problem in the first place! Here’s how to keep mice out of your RV for good.

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.

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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!

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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)
  • Mothballs
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • 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.

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Worth Pondering…

I have a very bad relationship with mice.

—Casey Affleck

13 Tips for Winter RV Living

Your RV need not be in storage during the cold months. Get out there! Here are 13 winter camping tips for RVers.

Most RVers in northern states and provinces leave their RV in storage from the first frost until spring. Some, like us, are snowbirds who head out for warmer temps in the southern Sun Belt states. But many others winterize their RVs and leave them sitting there all winter.

Other RVers love camping in the snow.

First, decide whether your RV needs to be winterized and learn what that means. Winterizing your RV means you’ve taken steps such as:

  • Emptying water tanks
  • Draining the water heater and water lines
  • Disabling plumbing to prevent the pipes (which run along the undercarriage of the RV) from bursting or being destroyed
Winter RV living © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But winterizing your RV is not always a must-do especially if you plan to spend considerable time in your rig or temperatures at your cold destination won’t get below freezing. If a vehicle has been winterized you won’t be able to use the sink or bathroom inside the RV as usual (unless you take extra steps like using antifreeze).

Bur, you can absolutely use your RV for camping in the winter provided you prepare adequately to keep yourself and your RV safe from harm.

It’s not easy to camp in winter but many people do it with joy and very little stress and that’s because they’ve learned how to prepare their RVs for winter RV living. They know how to keep the plumbing system from freezing and bursting, keep the temperature inside the RV at a safe and comfortable level, reduce or prevent moisture accumulation, seal out intruders with little paws and big whiskers, and many other important winter camping preparations.

Anyone who’s lived in an RV for any duration of time in cold and snowy climates is likely to have a list of things to do—and a list of things to NOT do—to stay safe and warm while keeping the RV from winter damage.

Here are 15 of my top tips for winter RV living.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip # 1: Fill your fresh water tank and/or use a heated water hose

Water is very important for a multitude of reasons but when the temperature falls below freezing, water turns to ice. And when it does this, it expands—potentially bursting/damaging hoses and plumbing. For this reason, if you plan to winter camp you need to put water on the top of your list of things to prioritize.

If you’re winter camping for a short duration (say a week or less) you can simply fill your fresh water tank and plan to use that water for washing, cooking, and drinking. If you’re parked near a city water source of any kind, you can connect your fresh water hose and refill your fresh water tank as needed. This technique avoids the issue of your fresh water hose freezing.

However, if you’re planning to be winter camping in an area where ambient temps are likely to hit freezing or below regularly, you may wish to invest in a heated water hose.

Check this out to learn more: Winter RV Camping Must-Have: Heated Water Hose

And while you’re at it, be sure to always use a water pressure regulator when connected to any city water source including in the winter in which case you may want to wrap it in some type of insulation.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip # 2: Fill Propane or connect to an external propane tank

Before heading out on a winter camping trip (or before settling into a long-term winter campsite), be sure to fill your propane tank/tanks or obtain the necessary materials to connect to an external propane tank.

If you’re going to need propane for heating your rig and water and for cooking you’ll need to prepare ahead of time so that you don’t run out (I recommend having a couple of different options for heating your rig if you’ll be camping in sub-freezing temperatures because you can’t risk losing a single heat source).

If you are boondocking, bring a snow shovel and clear off the area.

Tip # 3: Keep sewer hose off the ground and flowing downward

If you connect to a sewer outlet during your winter RV living, you’ll want to keep your sewer hose off the ground and running on a downward slope. An easy way to achieve both of these goals is to use a Slunky sewer hose support.

The Slunky elevates and supports your sewer hose (off the frozen ground) and provides the slope you need for proper drainage. The Slunky is a 20-foot support that’s 7 inches tall at the RV end sloping to 4.5 inches in height at the sewer end.

Keep valves closed when not dumping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip # 4: Keep gate valves closed during winter RV living

Along with using a sloping sewer hose support, you’ll want to keep your gray water and black water gate valves closed (you should ALWAYS leave your black valve closed) opening them only when you want to dump your holding tanks.

When left open, only small amounts of gray water will drain out through the hose at a time; that small flow could freeze as it flows through slowly building up (like the layers of a pearl) until the hose is blocked.

Here are some articles to help:

Tip # 5: Seal off sewer hose entry

Another way to tend to the warmth of the basement or water compartment during winter RV living is to seal off the sewer hose entry. If you’ve got your sewer hose connected then you’re probably running it through a hole provided in the bottom of the bay. That hole allows cold (and potentially rodents) into the water compartment.

You can use steel wool to seal around your sewer hose opening when camping in the cold. This serves two purposes—to keep the cold from entering the bay and to keep mice from entering as well! If staying in a damp climate or for the longer term, consider brass/bronze wool instead since it won’t rust.

Tip # 6: Use steel or brass wool to seal small openings

To keep mice from seeking warmth inside your RV seal all small openings using steel wool. Brass wool also works. Also, use mouse traps and glue sticks in the basement and interior just in case they foil your attempts to seal them out. We’re not mean-spirited and we do love animals. We just don’t like stowaways that reproduce at warp speed and love to gnaw on everything in sight (and lots that ISN’T in sight) ending an otherwise wonderful winter RV living experience!

That’s why I wrote this article: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Mice Out of an RV

Dehumidifier for moisture control © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip # 7: Moisture control for winter RV living

Moisture control is essential in an RV to prevent mold and mildew from causing potentially serious issues. In winter, it’s especially important to keep moisture at bay. The three greatest producers of moisture in an RV are showering, cooking, and breathing. Since we generally need to do all three, I suggest keeping moisture at bay using a few simple methods, especially during periods of winter RV living.

Even though you’re probably inclined to want to seal everything up airtight to keep heat in and cold out, DON’T! You’d just be trapping in all of the moisture you’re creating in your RV. First, run your vent fans—yes, even in winter. You need to be able to run your roof vent fans in any kind of weather. This is why I recommend the installation of RV roof vent covers. They allow vents to be open without letting rain or snow enter the RV.

Vent covers aren’t expensive and are well worth the minimal effort to install.

Second, I recommend using a squeegee to pull the water off of your shower walls and toward the drain after each shower. If you don’t do this, your RV absorbs a significant amount of moisture while the shower is drying on its own because the water is evaporating.

A shower squeegee is also inexpensive but is an important tool in keeping moisture at bay. We use it all year long—not only when winter camping.

Finally, you can opt to use a small electric dehumidifier (if you’re connected to shore power) or a dehumidifying product like DampRid or something similar positioned throughout the interior of the RV.

Here’s a helpful guide to avoiding moisture damage in your RV: How to Reduce Moisture and Condensation in Your RV

Dehumidifier for moisture control © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip # 8: Use holding tank heating pads

If you’re winter camping in sub-freezing temperatures for an extended period, you may need to warm your holding tanks by using holding tank heating pads. Some RVs come from the factory with tank heating pads (we opted for them when we bought our Newmar Dutch Star and ultimately we’re glad we did).

Tip # 9: Insulate RV windows

You may also want to consider insulating your RV windows depending on how long you plan to winter camp in very cold temperatures.

You can insulate windows with heavy curtains or you can create DIY storm windows using ⅛-inch plexiglass or PETG panels which you’ll custom cut to fit your windows. You can adhere them to your windows using clear double-sided mounting tape.

Many RVers choose to use Reflectix, heavy-duty foam board, or even bubble wrap to insulate windows. The problem with these products is twofold. First, they seal out the light and need to be removed and installed daily to allow the sun in (unless you like living in a dungeon). Also, they tend to allow moisture to accumulate on the windows.

You can also use a combination of choices to cover your windows such as your choice of window covering combined with heavy-duty curtains. Although we often think of them as insulation from the sun, high-quality windshield covers can also be helpful in cold weather.

Winter RV living © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip # 10: Insulate your skylight

You may also want to insulate your skylights using a pre-made skylight cover. These are inexpensive and serve to insulate your RV from the cold that can come through the relatively thin plastic of the skylight. You’ll need to measure the inside of your skylight frame to obtain the proper dimensions for your insulator.

Some RVers use these in their roof vents as well but if you do this remember not to cover them all as it’s very important to run a roof vent fan to prevent moisture from accumulating in the RV.

These skylight/vent insulators are also good to keep the heat out in summer.

Tip # 11: Cover AC unit/units

Cover your roof air conditioning units. This is important from the perspective of keeping the cold from entering your RV in winter and also as a means of protection from the elements.

Of course, you don’t want to do this if your RV air conditioners are also heat pumps and you plan to use them as a source of heat while you’re camping. Just be aware that they’ll only work in outside temperatures above freezing so they won’t be of much use when the temps begin to drop.

Be careful where you park your car and RV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip # 12: Dress in layers

Dressing in multiple layers including base layers, mid-layers, hoodies, and shell jackets gives you greater control over regulating your body temperature. As you move through the activities of the day, you’ll work up body heat. As you do so, it’s important to avoid sweating because as it dries, sweat cools, wrapping you in a cold cocoon. Managing your body heat by constantly adding and subtracting layers helps you prevent sweating as much as possible—a key component of staying warm on winter adventures.

Tip # 13: Snow shovel and ice scraper

You might need to dig out your RV and scrape ice from your windows when it’s time to drive. Driving an RV in winter requires the same common sense you need to drive an RV any other day: Slow down and avoid being on the road when it’s dark.

Driving an RV in winter presents its own set of unique challenges: You’ll need to make sure your RV is set to handle winter conditions and you’ll have to track down additional winter gear and take extra precautions when driving and camping that a warmer destination wouldn’t necessarily require.

Read more: Don’t Get Stuck in the Cold: RV Winter Driving and Survival Tips

Worth Pondering…

The blizzard doesn’t last forever; it just seems so.

—Ray Bradbury

RV Winterizing Tips: 11 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Winterizing your RV? Keep your rig protected all winter long by avoiding these common mistakes.

Along with the beautiful colors of fall comes the closure of a wonderful camping season and the need to prep your RV for storage. While it may not be a fun task, winterizing your rig is imperative to keeping it maintained and preventing damage from freezing temps.

There are a few ways to approach winterizing your RV: You can do it yourself, use a mobile RV maintenance company, or take your rig to a service center. This can cost anywhere from $75 to $200 depending on location and what services are included.

Whether this will be your first year prepping your RV for winter or you’re a seasoned pro, it’s useful to go over the most common mistakes. This way, you won’t be the one making them.

Winterizing your RV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winterizing mistake #1: Not removing your house batteries

When preparing your RV for winter, don’t forget to pay attention to your house batteries. A dead battery consists mostly of water which can freeze and cause broken connections, bent plates, and shorten the battery’s lifespan. Remove the batteries from your RV and store them in a temperature-controlled area through the winter but be sure not to store them on a concrete floor.

It’s also recommended that you use a battery charger so they’re ready to go when you are.

If you store them in a heated garage or basement be sure to put them up on something appropriate. Flooded lead-acid and AGM batteries CAN freeze when they aren’t being charged, so plan accordingly.

Winterizing your RV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winterizing mistake #2: Not draining and flushing all water lines

It’s important to always double- and triple-check that you haven’t forgotten any of your water lines including your ice maker and washing machine lines.

One common mistake in blowing out the lines is not dialing down the air pressure before starting—you don’t want to put more than 100 psi into your water system. Remember, it’s the volume of air, not the pressure that will push the remaining water out. Read your owner’s manual to verify what the maximum pressure can be before you start. Most city water lines are in the 40 to 50 psi range. Always pull your water filters off and install the filter bypass kits before flushing your lines. 

Check your owner’s manuals for specific instructions on winterizing your dishwasher, ice maker, and washing machine. These are all important to protect but will require a different procedure for each.

Winterizing your outdoor shower © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winterizing mistake #3: Forgetting about your outdoor shower 

This can be one of those out-of-sight out-of-mind mistakes. Every time you’re hooked up to city water the outside shower is ready for use—even if you don’t use it.

A common mistake that many people make is to forget to winterize their outside shower. This is an important RV winterizing tip because the outside shower is easy to forget. However, if you fail to winterize your outside shower plastic fittings and valves will almost certainly crack and the pipes that route out to the outside shower could burst.

So, if you have your winterizing steps recorded somewhere, be sure to add a note saying, “Don’t forget the outside shower!” You’ll simply need to run the shower until the water turns pink (as with your sinks and your inside shower) or if you winterize by blowing out your plumbing lines with an air compressor, make sure to blow out your outside shower… both the cold and hot water lines!

Winterizing your RV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winterizing mistake #4: Not closing low point drains 

After draining your low-point drains ensure they are completely closed before filling the water system with RV antifreeze. 

Winterizing mistake #5: Skipping important steps with your water heater  

Bypass and completely drain your water heater before adding antifreeze to the water system. If you have an electric water heater always turn off the switch or breaker before starting this task to prevent damage to the heating element. It’s important not to forget the drain plugs or anode rods if these are features that are a part of your unit. 

Not all RVs are equipped with a water heater bypass kit. Make sure your RV has one installed and you understand how to use it. Aftermarket kits can be purchased and installed if your RV does not have one.

Winterizing mistake #6 – Forgetting to winterize the sinks

Many RV owners forget to pour antifreeze down their kitchen and bathroom sinks which means any water remaining in the p-traps (the curved section of piping underneath the sinks) can freeze and cause problems.

Winterizing mistake #7: Waiting too long to purchase antifreeze and ‘trusting the weather’ 

Don’t let early winter storms or freezing temperatures catch you off guard. Buy your antifreeze early and be prepared if the temperature takes a sudden drop. 

Several factors play into how fast a problem can occur in freezing temperatures. It’s best to take precautions anytime the temps will get below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temps are dipping down to freezing and you haven’t been able to winterize—don’t panic, just run the heater on low that night. Yes, it will cost you money in propane but you will save your pipes and tanks.

Winterize your RV before the start of winter © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winterizing mistake #8: Leaving items in your cabinets 

Open all of the cabinets and outside storage compartments to remove maintenance supplies, food items, soaps, toiletries, and anything else with liquid in it. It’s easy to forget about those items in the back of the cabinets and if you do you’ll come back to some sticky situations.

Winterizing mistake #9: Leaving fluids in your RV

Change your diesel fuel (summer blend) to winter diesel (winter blend) or get a winter additive before you store your RV. If forgotten, you could end up with gelled fuel. Also, change your windshield fluid to a winter blend to avoid a cracked reservoir or pump. 

Winterizing mistake #10: Mouse-proof your RV

This is part of the mouse patrol preparation but worth mentioning as a separate RV winterizing tip. Use steel, brass, or copper wool to fill any openings that could allow the little devils into your rig. This is important even if you use your RV in the winter.

Mice, squirrels, and other little critters are looking for warmth and food all winter long. If you’ve got either to offer you can bet they’ll find their way to your winter palace and then tell all their friends where the party is. Do everything possible to keep them out.

Winterizing your RV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winterizing mistake #11: Not embracing cold weather camping 

Some RVers re-winterize multiple times over the winter so they can enjoy winter camping. Make a quick checklist from your owner’s manual and keep it handy. It makes running through all the steps easier without worrying about skipping anything. If you don’t feel like winterizing your fresh lines multiple times you can go on camping trips using only your black tank and bringing water with you. 

You can camp in a winterized unit and just not use water. A Thetford Porta Potti is a great bathroom alternative in a winterized RV.

Whatever you do, don’t let winterization and freezing temps hinder your traveling experience.

Other articles you may want to read:

Worth Pondering…

My parents live in the part of the United States that is Canada. It is so far north that Minnesota lies in the same direction as Miami. They have four distinct seasons: Winter, More Winter, Still More Winter, and That One Day of Summer.

—W. Bruce Cameron

The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Mice Out of an RV

I don’t know about you, but I really do not like mice. I guess the mice in the cartoons are okay, but all other mice are not welcome anywhere near me.

Mice can wreak havoc on your RV and nobody likes to have little pests living in their walls or cabinets. They can also chew through your electrical wiring and leave droppings all over the vehicle.

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Imagine relaxing in your RV for a good night’s rest after a long day of outdoor adventures and hearing a bump somewhere in the RV, a scratching against a wall, or a tiny squeak. You don’t know where it came from or what it is, so you check it out. You get out of bed, turn on your flashlight and you see it: a pair of beady, little rodent eyes reflecting back at you. You scream, and it scurries away.

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are other ways to tell if mice are in your RV and some ways are more obvious than others. However, as we all know, mice are elusive and very shy rodents. Many of them manage to go unseen and so we are often left to depend on other ways to detect their presence. The best way to detect them without physically seeing them is to look for proof of mouse activity and there are several ways to do that.

Cold-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Mouse droppings go wherever mice go. So, if you have mice in your RV, you will also have mouse droppings. While mice do a pretty good job of hiding themselves from us, they aren’t as careful with their poop. Their droppings are typically about a quarter-inch in length. You can tell if they are fresh by the color: newer droppings are darker and shinier while older droppings look dusty and dry. Mice also tend to leave their droppings in larger concentrations in areas closer to their nest.

Related: Tips for Cleaning and Disinfecting Your RV

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you have mice, you probably have a mouse nest, too. Mice build their nests with whatever small, lightweight materials that they can get their little hands on. They typically shred and gnaw on paper, fabrics, insulation, electric wires, small plastics, other household materials, and really just about anything that a mouse can use to make their nest. Look around the inside of your RV for evidence of shredded or gnawed on materials. Also, be sure to check your pantry, cabinets, closets, and drawers for any proof.

Cold-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In case you’re wondering, mice like to multiply once they find a nice place to stay and they do it pretty fast. One day, you’ll have just one mouse, and the next week, you’ll have a dozen.

Don’t let this be your reality. Here is some important information to know about keeping the mice out of your adventures.

Mice can be kept out of an RV by using preventative measures such as sealing any holes under your RV, in your door/window frame, and keeping a clean space. Other methods help with mice removals, such as spring-trap mousetraps, mouse bait block, box traps, mint essential oil, and glue traps.

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What attracts mice to your RV

Most often, mice are drawn to warm places because the outdoors is cold and damp. That warm air drifting out of the RV is a big invitation to the mice to come and join the party. That is the last thing that I want!

These mice are not the cute, friendly ones you see in the cartoons; they will invade, multiply, and destroy your space.

Mice also are attracted by food whether that means crumbs, leftover scents, or even things that smell like food but are inedible. Think of the mouse in 2007 computer-animated comedy film, Ratatouille; he lifted his nose up into the air to sniff out the scent, smelled some food that was a block away, and then chased it down.

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

They might not have the same culinary skills as the mouse in the movie, but mice do have the same senses. They will smell that food you left out the night before, the crumbs left on the table, or the food that hasn’t been stored away properly. And they will come for it if they’re desperate enough and chances are they are always desperate enough.

Cold-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Any small hole in an RV can be a possible entrance for mice. Common entry point areas are the underbelly, the shore power cord compartment, sewer hose, and openings above the wheels. Keep in mind that mice don’t require much room to wiggle through. A quarter-inch diameter hole is large enough for them to squeeze through.

Related: Raise Your RV IQ with These Tips

Once the mice have snuck their way through an opening to the inside of your RV or a heated basement storage area, the one thing that offers them a nice stay is any form of loose materials laying around. As soon as they have their nest and have found good sources of food and warmth in your RV, they’re all set and ready to stay.

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Inspect your RV for any entryways for mice

One of the greatest skills of an average mouse is being able to fit through tight spaces. They might not be able to fit through every tiny crack you might have in your RV but they will chew through most anything they can’t fit their bodies into.

The reason why this is so important to know is that those holes and cracks in your RV let out streams of warmth or scents of food. This is all a mouse needs to be interested enough in the space to check it out.

Don’t think you have any cracks or holes in your RV? Have you checked underneath your RV? The easiest ways for mice to get into your RV are typically through any sort of gaps around the sewage, electrical, and water lines at the entry points of your RV. Take a very close look at the underside of the RV, and make sure you don’t have any of these gaps.

Cold-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you do have a few gaps, have no fear, spray foam is here! You can use the foam that will harden itself to fill the gaps and keep the pesky mice out. You can also use steel wool to stuff inside other holes because it tends to be too difficult for the mice to chew through.

Now that you have inspected the RV from the outside for any cracks and holes that could be serving as secret entryways for mice, you need to inspect the inside as well.

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Inspect the RV interior for signs of mice or possible attractions

Are there crumbs lying around on the counter or floor? Is there food sitting out that should have been put away? Are there loose papers randomly scattered throughout? Is there a bunch of dirty socks or dirty laundry lying on the floor instead of being stored somewhere?

Don’t be embarrassed if this is what the inside of your RV looks like. This isn’t a clean-check or cleanliness contest. I’m just asking because these are all things that could be attracting the mice or serve as great nesting materials for the mice.

Believe it or not, a clean RV is boring and unattractive to mice and they’re more likely to leave it alone because there’s nothing left for them to snack on or nest in. Sounds like something a mom would tell a messy little kid to convince them to clean up their room, right? Except, in this case, it’s true!

Cool-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Preventative measures

If you have any open food on counters or tables you should place the food in storage containers to keep the scents out of your RV and away from those little mousy noses.

You can also ensure that mice won’t be making a nest out of your favorite shirts and socks by using scented detergent and freshening spray. Mice can’t handle strong perfume scents and tend to stay away from them. This also comes in handy because you can use the scented dryer sheets to put into some of the questionable holes inside your RV.

Related: How to Reduce Moisture and Condensation in Your RV

I’m also not a big fan of using mouse poison or any of those other chemicals.

Cold-weather camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Like I already said, mice aren’t big fans of fresh scents. Mice have good senses of smell and there are some scents that they tend to avoid. You can try spraying or placing these scents around your RV (especially around entrances). Some deterrents to try include:

  • Mint
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Mothballs
  • Peppermint
  • Cinnamon
  • Vinegar
  • Dryer sheets
  • Tea bags (peppermint is best)
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Soak cotton balls with peppermint oil and leave them in the mice-infested area. Be sure to refresh often. And you could try using a mint-scented cleaner for your RV or just drop a bit of mint essential oil into your cleaner and not only will it keep your RV smelling fresh, but it will help to keep the mice away.

These may have varying degrees of success, especially if they sit for a long time and begin to lose potency.

And then, of course, there are cats, but I don’t think we need to get into that at this time.

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Any of these natural solutions may work as mouse repellent and should help to keep the mice away or scare them away if they are already inside your RV.

So you read through my list of natural solutions for evicting or repelling mice, and you’re not a firm believer in the all-natural? It’s okay. I’m not offended. I understand, and I’ll even give you some other ways how to kill off those pesky mice.

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There are a wide variety of natural scents and products that are at the very least rumored to get rid of mice (see above). However, once you have a bona fide mouse problem underway, these might not be strong enough to deal with the problem quickly and effectively.

That said, it’s never a bad idea to add some peppermint oil or mothballs to your cabinet to help prevent future visits from more mousey friends. But in the meantime, you may need to amp up your game and turn to actual mousetraps to get the job done. There are a variety of different types of mousetraps available on the market.

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Box traps work by luring the mouse in with bait and then trapping the mouse inside the box with no way to exit. Once the mouse goes into the box, it closes and traps the mouse inside. This is probably one of the easier ways to kill off your mice because you don’t have to go searching for them once they die because they cannot escape. In theory, you could collect box traps with still-living mice inside them and release them outdoors (but, why would you?) though most people usually simply dispose of the boxes once they’re full.

Related: Top 10 RV Travel Tips of All Time

Glue traps are simple but effective: you place these sticky sheets in areas where mice are likely to travel and when the mouse steps on the trap, its feet get stuck and it can’t move. Glue traps are affordable, easy to use, and small enough to fit in areas that may not be usable with larger traps, such as below your windows along the kitchen counter.

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Old-fashioned spring traps are the type you remember from Saturday morning cartoons and they work just as advertised. These are probably self-explanatory but basically, you put some sort of bait like cheese or peanut butter on the tip, the mouse creeps up, and…SNAP! Pretty basic, and you need to watch your fingers when setting it, but they get the job done. They can be a really effective way to kill off the mice you have which, combined with targeted cleaning efforts, can lead to a pest-free area.

Finally, you can try using an ultrasonic sound device as part of your efforts into how to mouse-proof an RV. These are small electronic devices that emit an ultrasonic pitch that humans can’t hear. Mice have sensitive ears and will want to avoid anything that is loud or distressing.

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The downside of this tactic is that dogs and other pets may be affected by it as well and may become distressed and irritated by the noise. If you don’t have pets though, this can be a good method to try.

So far this winter I’ve bagged three mice with glue traps.

Worth Pondering…

I have a very bad relationship with mice.

—Casey Affleck