Nobody wants to find mouse droppings in their camper as I did recently. So disgusting!
After years of mouse-free RVing, I now had to take immediate action to keep my furry new friends from taking up permanent residence.
After trial and error, I found the best combination of methods on how to keep mice out of your camper, and I want to share it with others struggling with the same problem.
How to Mouse Proof a Camper: The Three-Pronged Approach
I found the best way to keep your camper free from mice is to follow three steps: deter, discourage, and repel. When you combine all three, it is the most effective way to keep pests out of your camper.
Let’s take a closer look at each method. At the end of this guide, I’ll let you know how following this approach fixed my mouse problem.
Common sense dictates that the first step is deterring mice from entering your camper by blocking entry points.
The problem with this is that most campers have more points of entry for a mouse than you can count!
Once I started poking around my camper I found plenty of places where mice could enter. These are the tools you may need to start the first line of attack:
- Spray foam
- Steel wool
- Mesh screen
Spray foam is an excellent way to quickly block a hole, especially on larger openings underneath the rig and in storage compartments where pipes or wires are fed through.
Spray foam is not the most attractive to look at, so only used it where it is hidden. The foam takes time to expand and harden fully, so don’t overfill.
Steel or Copper Wool
Mice hate to chew on steel or copper wool and this will deter them from coming through holes.
Use a butter knife or flat-head screwdriver to push and tightly pack the wool into gaps or holes, so it will not shake loose during travel. Copper wool or mesh will not rust up and stain like steel wool.
Wire mesh screening works in places you need air to flow, but won’t let critters enter your camper. Purchase metal screening with a tight enough mesh that even baby mice can’t squeeze through.
Check inside propane and other outside doors that have vent holes to make sure wire mesh is securely in place behind it. Eternabond or a similar type tape is a great way to hold any mesh you add in place without having to use screws.
Don’t forget to check your roof vents, like the one above your fridge compartment. Over time this mesh in this vent could deteriorate like I found mine had, making it easy for mice and other critters to sneak into your camper.
The next step to stop enticing mice from entering your camper is to seal up that food and eliminate piles of what could be termed “mouse nesting material.”
Contain the Food
Obviously, you should remove food from a camper you put in storage.
When camping, keep food in hard plastic storage containers or the fridge. Don’t forget to seal up your pet food as well.
The microwave is a great place to store bread where mice can’t get to it, but don’t forget it’s in there before you turn it on!
Do not store food in ovens! Ovens are not sealed, and mice love hiding in and under them.
Ziploc bags and cardboard packaging will not stop mice from chewing through. Be diligent about removing crumbs and spills from counters and floors.
Take out the trash nightly or put in a sealed plastic bin outside.
Control the Paper
Newspapers, batting, and other materials are a favorite choice when it is time for a mouse to nest. Remove excess papers daily and store all others in a lidded plastic bin.
Don’t forget products like toilet tissue, cotton balls, or paper towels. Keep all extras in a bin, as well.
Many things deter mice from entering your camper. Some are commercial products, and some are home remedies. What works fantastic for one camper, may not work so well for another.
Repelling is the third prong in eliminating mice and keeping them at bay. I will start with the top methods that use safe ingredients for indoor/outdoor use, then move into ones that are not as environmentally friendly.
Peppermint oil has been a tried and true method for repelling rodents. It must be a pure essential oil and not just a scented spray. It also effective for keeping other pests out.
Place several drops of peppermint oil onto fabric scraps and place them where you have seen mouse activity. Warning! Cotton balls can become nesting material after the scent fades away and you forget to retrieve them, so I recommend fabric scraps.
If you have areas that are hard to access, use a peppermint oil spray made of two teaspoons of oil, three drops of dish detergent, and one cup of water. Once the scent starts to fade after a week or so, reapply.
Sprays are a good way to get coverage around your tires and undercarriage and inside storage compartments and cabinets. Of course, if you dislike the smell of peppermint you may wish to try another method.
Commercial Botanical Mixes
There are commercial botanical mix products that work well to repel mice, yet are safe for humans and pets.
These are much more expensive than homemade treatments. You can find plenty of brands that are either granules or sprays like these next two that get high marks from customers.
These usually come in little pouches or packs that make it easy to put around your camper and change when needed.
Fresh Cab is small pouches of botanical material and essential oil that smell nice to humans, but mice dislike. The convenient pouches can be put about your camper inside and out and are very effective to repel mice.
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Sprays come in bottles or cans. Some will have a dispenser nozzle/sprayer attached, while other may need additional equipment to disperse the product.
Mouse Free is a botanical spray you apply to the undercarriage of your RV that keeps mice away for up to two years. It also works as a lubricant that makes it difficult for mice and other critters to walk across.
Mice don’t care for light. Strings of rope lights that are electric or solar are readily available online or in stores.
I am hearing from many fellow campers that placing a string of lights underneath their camper has been very effective in keeping mice from creeping in.
This method is easy and also creates a cool-looking effect at night.
Traps may be necessary to catch those mice already inside your camper.
Cheap and effective, old-fashioned sticky or snap traps can also be messy when you catch a mouse and can be hard to place in the tight quarters of a camper.
There are humane traps that do not kill the mouse, but many people have found these ineffective at luring them for capture.
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Mouse poisons do work if the mice find it and it’s a relatively cheap treatment.
Poisons like d-Con or Tomcat work by dehydrating the mouse. In theory, the mouse should head out in search of water after ingestion. In reality, the mouse eats the poison then sneaks off into its nest inside your camper and dies, leaving you with the stench.
Some poison bait set inside a trap that will keep pets safe from ingestion, but overall it is not recommended for areas where small children or pets spend time.
If you feel you must use poison bait, try placing it in rain-proof areas underneath your camper in the chassis and your motorhome engine compartment while parked.
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Plug-in mice deterrents are sold widely online and in camping stores. A typical mouse repeller is plugged into an electrical socket and generates ultrasonic waves that flow out into the area. Mice find these waves annoying and stay away.
These are not very expensive but they get very mixed reviews. It also will take up a valuable outlet in your camper.
The hodgepodge is the last group of repellents everyone has heard of:
- Dryer sheets
- Irish Spring soap
All of these do work to a degree. Cinnamon can be messy overall and is best to sprinkle it around the outside perimeter of your camper.
Dryer sheets and soap are easy to tuck into small areas but lose their scent after a couple weeks. These are effective if you are going on shorter trips, but not recommended for long trips or storage.
How My Mouse Story Ends
I cleaned the inside of my camper very well, searching for any more evidence of mouse activity. Thankfully it all seemed contained in and near my refrigerator cabinetry.
I bought more storage containers for my food and papers. I then set about filling any holes and cracks in the camper that would allow mice to enter. Whew, that took some time!
On a whim, I unscrewed the refrigerator vent cover on the roof and found that the original mesh screening that sits over the roof hole had rusted out. I used wire snips to cut out a piece of mesh screening and used Eternabond tape along the edges to hold it to the roof. I then reinstalled the vent cover.
I have a hunch this hole in the roof was where my mice came in. My camper sat under low branches for a couple of weeks by the time I discovered the droppings.
Next, I sat out two snap traps inside the cabinet. I caught a mouse the first night, but none after that so I am hoping he was the culprit.
I chose to try the peppermint repellent route since I already had two bottles of oil I was saving to make a body scrub.
I mixed up a spray and put it just about anywhere I could. I had to step out of the camper for a bit until the scent eased up, but now it smells fresh and invigorating.
Which leads to my next tip:
Grow Your Own!
I decided to grow small pots of peppermint. They are easy and fast growers.
I now place one outside at each corner of my camper when parked. I grab at the plant every day to release the scent and take cuttings to put inside my cabinetry and replace them when dry.
Does it work?
I want to believe it is working as a repellent. If nothing else, I have some cute plants for my camper with leaves I can pop into my tea.
The Good News!
I have had no further mouse activity after using these methods. I have been mouse-free for over a month now and plan to maintain my three-prong approach as a part of my regular camper maintenance routine.
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As frustrating as mice are, you now know more about how to keep mice out of your camper and remove any that are already inside.
Do you have a different solution to keep mice out of your camper? Share your secret below to help us fellow campers!
Product data was last updated on 2019-10-23 at 16:16.