Mice. Apart from being unhygienic, terrifying to some and keeping you awake all night with their incessant gnawing, they can actually cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your RV. From completely new electrical rewires to replacing panels and hours of lost sleep and frustration, if you have a mouse problem you need to sort it now.
Like most things in life, prevention is better than cure, right? So even if you’ve never had a mouse problem in your camper, you should still check this out. I went a full two years before my first rodent problem, so let me tell you that you need to know to keep one step ahead of the mice.
Here’s how to mouse-proof your camper, it’s easy and inexpensive, and takes a whole lot less effort and expense than getting them out and repairing afterwards.
Make sure that you have all food correctly sealed, if they can’t smell it they’re not going to try to get it. If you’re thinking it sounds like a load of hassle, just do what I do. Measure your cupboard shelf dimensions and grab a few cheap plastic containers with snap on lids. Some people have separate containers for everything. I have one per shelf storing multiple items, grab it, open it, use what I need, place back, close and done. Simple.
It goes without saying you need to keep crumbs from accumulating, so pay attention and sweep out your dining area and wipe down your surfaces after eating. If your eating outside around your RV, try to keep that area as food-free as possible too. Any crumbs you sweep outside are going to attract mice to the area around your RV.
With your food all safe under lock and key, have you thought about what to do with your trash? I’m not suggesting you’re driving around a garbage truck, but sometimes it’s easy to put off emptying your trash. Do not, mice will find your left overs equally or even more alluring than the food in your cupboards.
I tend to dump any food leftovers into a small handy bag and that way I can drop in any local trash can. It also means I’m getting rid of my trash more often, meaning less smells and less hassle.
Block Entry Points
I strongly, emphatically recommend blocking off all possible entry points with steel wool. You’ve got rid of the attraction of food, now let’s make our warm and cozy RV inaccessible. Remember mice can squeeze through the tiniest of holes. This job is going to take some time, but it will save you in the long-term. It’s important to thoroughly go over your entire RV. Any tiny, and I mean tiny, hole is a potential entry point. Block each one up with steel wool and you’ll find that mice are not going to chew through that to get in, especially once you’ve got the biscuits under lockdown.
You’ll need a good pair of decent heavy-duty gloves to really push the steel wool into place, some people prefer to finish it off with foam or a sealant. Your call, if it’s really tightly compacted in you should be fine.
I was initially skeptical about this one, until I tried it myself. If like me, you tend to feel a bit nauseous with strong smelling scents in your small living area, there’s a way to keep it bearable. I’ve found soaking cotton balls in mint oil and strategically placing them is an excellent mouse deterrent.
To avoid getting a headache I tend to place the majority of the mint oil infused cotton balls in my basement. This is also a common point of entry for mice, so it works great. When I had a mouse problem a few years back I would also put a few soaked cotton balls in my living space where I felt they’d be a maximum deterrent, although I usually did this just before going to bed with the screen firmly closed or before going out in the morning as to avoid the strongest of smells.
If for some reason you don’t want to use mint oil, you can always get sachets of Cab Fresh. Cab Fresh is a mouse repellant that is basically made up of essential oils that mice strongly dislike the smell of. It’s a little easier on our noses than the strong mint oil, but then again, may be less so for the mice too.
Cab Fresh is super easy to use. Just open the packet and place the sachets where you think mice are likely to enter your living space or basement.
Let me just point out one thing here, Cab Fresh, like mint oil, and other strong-smelling oils are all deterrents. If you have food that can be accessed, the mice are going to put up with the smell to get to the food. Follow my tips, get your food safely sealed, get rid of any crumbs and trash and mice are not going to have a reason to take on these strong smells.
Get Mice Out of Your Camper
You’ve heard the scratching, found the droppings, seen the gnawing and now panic has set in. You need them out and pronto. But how? Campers have so many hidden nesting sites for mice that it seems almost impossible.
Here’s how to get rid of mice in your camper. Don’t forget, in future, make sure you mouse-proof your camper, before you get a second lot moving in.
Whether you opt for a traditional mousetrap or one that captures them alive, mouse traps are invaluable for ongoing mouse problems. Bear in mind if you don’t want them killed, you’re going to have to find somewhere pretty far to release them. No problem if you’re on the road, but when you’re parked up for a while, this can be an issue.
Traps are only as good as their bait. You need to make sure that all other potential sources of food have gone. If you’ve only got a few mice in your RV, traps should work fine, but if you’ve got a lot sometimes they catch on, so you may have to be inventive and patient. Nonetheless, each mouse you remove will lower the future numbers that will over run your camper if you leave them unchecked.
If you’re the sensitive type, you may want to ask someone else to help empty your traps. It’s not a pleasant thing to do, but at the end of the day, it has to be done. If mice take over, which they will if left unchecked, you’ll end up with thousands of dollars of damage. A quick death or capture for release is better than what could happen to them in your camper with electric wiring, battery acid, chemicals and so on.
Cats are renowned for their hunting ability. I’m not suggesting you go out and adopt one just to get rid of mice, but if you have a friend with one you could maybe have it stay over for a week or so. You could also try a small dog, especially terrier type breeds.
However, not all cats are cut out to be great mousers and mice have a knack of getting around an RV without having to cross the floorspace. Dogs might bark a lot but not really act and, in both cases, they can wreak a load of destruction trying to get at a fleeing mouse.
Cats can be great at catching and deterring mice from moving in, but there are plenty of cat owners who have mouse problems. If you like cats and you know someone with a great mouser, go for it. If not, maybe try another option.
MouseX is a natural product that is completely safe for humans, dogs, cats and wildlife, but toxic to rodents. If you have pets or kids, you won’t have to worry about using it, and it’s also safe for wildlife. MouseX is effective and hassle-free to use, simply place around your camper while making sure that any other sources of food are completely inaccessible.
MouseX prevents mice from feeling thirst. It takes between three to five days to work, and as the mice are severely dehydrated when they die, the smell of decomposition is reduced.
As campers have pretty small living spaces, you need to bear in mind that the mouse will probably die in its nest and this will probably be inaccessible. Although MouseX reduces the smell, there is still going to be an odor and without removing all the panels and a huge load of guesswork, you’ll have to put up with it for some time.
Ultrasonic rodent devices work by causing auditory distress to rodents. The ultrasonic waves cannot pass through walls, so I’m a little skeptical to be honest as to how well its going to work on mice that are nesting within compartments in your RV basement or within the interior panels. If you’re putting your camper into storage over winter this is a no-go as they will need a source of power.
Ultrasonic devices work best as mouse repellents. Like many of the other solutions I’ve brought to your attention, they will not work too well when the mice already have access to an established food source. Even the manufacturers of these devices recommend that you use ultrasonic rodent devices alongside traps for established mouse infestations. If you want to purchase one to use alongside traps, it can’t do any harm but I don’t know if it will be much more effective than the traps alone.
Traditional Household Deterrents
I’ve listed these items because they’re likely to come up as suggestions when you’re looking for a way to get rid of mice from your camper. As to whether they really work or not, the jury’s kinda out on that one. Good news, as they’re everyday household items you can pick them up with your shopping and try them out. If you get lucky and they work, great. If not, they will have only cost you a few dollars and you can still use them for their original uses.
The idea behind using dryer sheets is that they will deter the rodent from entering your RV with their smell. Not convinced, me neither. However, if the mice have no reason to enter your RV in the first place because you’ve already mouse-proofed your food storage and kept it clean, then dryer sheets may help.
In any case they’re pretty inexpensive and even if you don’t have a dryer plenty of RV parks do, so they’re bound to come in use somewhere down the line. Worth a try, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
While mothballs might repel moths from ruining your clothes, they aren’t really going to put off a hungry mouse. While they can be useful to prevent them making their nest where you put them, for example in your closet, most mice won’t mind simply making home inside RV panels (next to all those tasty wires to chew, causing expensive damage) and giving the closet a miss.
Be warned, mothballs are toxic so be careful any pets or children cannot access them. The smell is also pretty repulsive, so I you’re going to use them in your closet you may want to empty it first.
Irish Spring Bar Soap
I haven’t actually tried Irish Spring soap myself, but a friend of mine told me he did. After locking down the food supply and an intensive clean, turned out the mice decided to eat his Irish Spring soap! Maybe he was just unlucky, but even if does have repellant qualities, remember it’s not going to stand between a hungry mouse and its supper.
Try a few bars, it won’t do any harm, but if you have a mouse problem, likelihood is you’re going to need to get tough to get them out.
Here’s a selection of questions people ask me all the time. I’ve provided honest answers on what has, and hasn’t, actually worked for me and close acquaintances to keep our campers mouse-free.
Q:Do Dryer Sheets Keep Mice Away?
A: In my experience, no. Some people swear by using dryer sheets, but in my case the mice simply ignored them. However, a well-positioned dryer sheet may succeed in putting off an inquisitive mouse, they can be strong scented depending upon which brand you use. If you already have mice, I’m afraid dryer sheets aren’t going to help. If you’re worried about getting mice, placing a few sheets around can’t do any harm and will keep your camper smelling fresh.
Q: What Scent Will Keep Mice Away?
A: Peppermint oil is, in my experience, the one to go for. It genuinely has a repellent effect upon mice. Use it on cotton pads and place around suspected entry points to help keep mice away.
Q: Does Bleach Keep Mice Away?
A: Bleach in itself is not going to keep mice away, however, if you’re keeping your camper sparkling clean, less likely mice are to come in looking for food. If they can’t smell it, they’re not going to know it’s there. The smell of bleach itself is also going to be unpleasant to mice but like most things they’ll put up with it to get to food.
Q: Do Mothballs Keep Mice Away?
A: Mothballs may have repellent qualities, but mice generally aren’t too fazed by them. They stink too, I prefer the smell of peppermint oil any day to that of mothballs. When I was struggling with mice I tried mothballs at first and they didn’t seem to have any effect.
Q: Do Ultrasound Devices Keep Mice Away?
A: Ultrasound devices may keep curious mice away, provided there is no food around to attract them in the first place. However, if you already have mice, you’re going to need to use other methods, such as traps to get rid of them. Well worth a try, but remember ultrasound devices need a power source so they’re not suitable if you’re putting your camper into storage.
Q: What’s the Cheapest Way to Keep Mice at Bay?
A: In my experience, the cheapest way to keep mice at bay is to religiously keep all foodstuffs stored away in seal tight plastic boxes. Get the big ones and put in a whole shelf worth of products to save messing about with individual boxes. This will only cost a few dollars.
Secondly, block all possible entry points with steel wool. Spend your time wisely and do this slowly. Some people advocate taking a flashlight and shining it through at night to see where the light gets through. I just took my time and went over my camper from top to bottom, checking everywhere. This took me a few days, but I really made sure I was thorough.
Thirdly, I put peppermint oil soaked pads out around once a week. I’m kinda used to the smell but I don’t use it in my sleeping area. I mostly focus on my RV basement as I figure that’s going to be their first port of call if they want to try their luck.
Steel wool, plastic containers and peppermint oil, it all comes to a few dollars and several hours work. Once you’ve organized your food and blocked up any entry points, you only need to put down a bit of peppermint oil every now and then, making this an extremely easy and highly effective method of keeping mice out of your camper.
What works for one person in one place doesn’t necessarily work for another 100% of the time. Don’t be afraid to try other suggestions, however, wherever possible get on top of the situation before mice become a problem. Once mice set up home in your camper it’s going to take a lot of effort to get them to leave. So be smart and even if you don’t have any mice, get prepared and keep your camper mouse-free.