How to Keep Mice Out of an RV

How to Keep Mice Out of an RV

Let’s face it. An RV mouse infestation is rarely related to how tidy or untidy your RV is. Even though dirty motorhomes are more susceptible, many RVers park out close to nature, making it easier for mice to let themselves into your home.

You will know you have rodent infestations when you see their chewy handiwork or hear them running around at night. Their droppings and pee also have a characteristic foul smell.

Why are There Mice in My RV?

The mice in your RV probably hopped in when you parked at a mice-infested RV park, campsite, or car park. Chances are they made their way in, seeking a warm spot to hide or looking for food.

You will be more susceptible if your RV isn’t very tidy and there are a lot of food scraps or unsecured food packages they can nibble on to stay alive.

While mice out in the wild at the campsite is borderline normal, they should never find a way into your RV or prefer the RV to the outdoors. 

If you find more than one mouse, chances are a colony is multiplying and has made your RV their home. You will have to explore ways to kick the mice out and keep them from coming back again.

Signs That I Have Mice in My RV

Even though mice are sneaky and stay out of your way as much as possible, they are terrible at covering their trail. Some of the things that hint at a mice infestation include:

  • Small black mouse droppings near garbage bins, in cabinets, and drawers
  • Chewed fabric, mattresses, walls, containers, and other bits
  • Partially eaten or gnawed food. Grains will have the kernels eaten, and fruits or tomatoes will have tiny bite marks
  • Hear the mice scurrying about at night or when you come back to the RV after leaving for a while

Should I Be Worried If I Have a Mice Infestation?

Yes. Mice carry lice that transmit diseases (the black plague). Their droppings are also unsanitary. Anything they chew on is ruined. Moreover, you can’t eat food they’ve accessed, which increases the risk of infection.

How to Get Rid of Mice in My Camper

If you already have a mouse infestation, your first step should be to trap or scare the mice away. Traps that will give you the live mouse are a great idea since you will have the body to dispose of. These could be glue or spring traps.

Avoid poisoning them as they will crawl to hard-to-reach spots and die there. The stench as they start decomposing will be unbearable.

Alternatively, you can get a rat or a dog. These natural predators will either capture the mice or force them to jump ship.

How to Stop Mice from Infesting Your RV

Preventing mice from accessing your motorhome in the first place is the perfect way to deal with them. You can do this by making your camper less attractive and blocking any accessway they can use to access the interior.

Here are some tricks you can use to your advantage:

Keep Your RV Meticulously Clean

The biggest reason why mice hang around your RV is that there’s food. They will actively seek access to your RV and pitch camp because it is warm and food is readily available.

Dirty pans, half-open cans of food, food scraps on the floor, and other dirty utensils are a treasure trove for mice.

Cleaning up after yourself is a great way to prevent a mouse infestation. Don’t wait until the following day before wiping surfaces and vacuuming the floor. The sooner you do it, the better.

You could make work easier by preparing most of your meals out in the open and eating outside. Only get utensils back into the house once everything is clean and ready for storage.

Other things you could do to deter mice include:

  • Declutter and get rid of anything you don’t need. Clutter gives mice more spots to build nests.
  • When designing the RV, use insulation to fill any open spots where mice can hide. The fewer hiding spots they have, the harder it is to set camp in your RV
  • Keep everything neat and well arranged. This will make it easier to catch any disturbances caused by an intruder like a mouse.
  • Clean the hood (engine bay), the generator bay, and other spots exposed to the outside where mice could find attractive nest spots, especially when storing your RV for long. 

Look for Holes and Block Anything Big Enough for a Mouse to fit Through

While the door and open windows are the easiest way for mice to get into your RV, they will sooner or later find concealed entrances around the camper. These will be small breathing holes built into the subframe to open damaged vents with a useful purpose.

Inspect all around the interior and exterior of your RV, looking for any holes bigger than an inch. This is big enough to let a small mouse in.

If they are crucial ventilation holes, find some ventilation grill covers to reduce the accessible hole size as much as possible. If they are an oversight created when building or modifying the RV, you can use spray foam or any other appropriate product to plug them.

Use Peppermint and Other Mouse Repellents

While the jury is still out on whether peppermint keeps mice away or not, it won’t hurt to have some bits of cotton ball soaked in peppermint around the RV. The only problem is that the smell evaporates after a week, and you will have to replenish it.

You can try your hand at other commercial mouse repellents to increase your chances of success.

ProTip: Repellents will only work if you don’t have an infestation in the first place and the RV is clean. The lack of incentive and annoying smell will make your camper less attractive to the rodents.

Install Lights Under the RV

Adding LED light strips under your RV is another unproven tactic that might or might not work.

However, since the RV will look airy and LED lights don’t consume much energy, it is something I wouldn’t mind trying.

The theory is that mice prefer slightly dark spots that make them feel secure. A bright underside will make them easier to spot, making them feel vulnerable and shun your RV.

Store Your Food in Closed Plastic Bins

Another great way to limit mice’s access to food is by keeping all uncooked or cooked food in tightly sealed plastic bins and containers.

Plastic is hard to gnaw through. If they can’t access the food, they will have little reason to hang around. You can leave canned foods out in the open, but anything else in plastic bags or paper packaging should go into the protective plastic bins.

Also, be careful when taking portions to cook, as any spillage will be a mouse magnet. Also, resist the urge to leave a bin open even for a couple of minutes. Close everything up as soon as you are done scooping what you need.

Park Your RV in a Clean, Preferably Hard Surface Garage for Long Storage

Finally, if you are parking at a campsite for long or leaving your RV in storage for weeks, ensure that you park at a clean spot with bushes cleared back at least 10 feet around the RV.

You can make compromises if you’ll be staying in the RV as you can actively monitor and scare away the mice and rats.

However, if you will be away all or most of the time, look for a clean space with a hard floor. Mice don’t like concrete floors and will rarely spot your RV if it is parked in a clean garage with nothing else to attract them in the first place.

Also, ensure that all windows and access holes are tightly closed to make it harder for them to access living quarters and the cabin.

Check this too: How to Heat an RV Without Propane

When you return, give your RV thorough cleanup paying attention to external spots you couldn’t protect like the undercarriage, the engine bay, and storage spots with big openings (for instance, the generator or house battery storage lockers).