Pest Control Isn’t Always Top of Mind when Winterizing an RV
The cold season is almost here; if you haven’t already, it is time to get the RV ready for winter. We all know this includes preparing the plumbing for those cold months in storage, but one aspect of RV winterizing that many people don’t think about is pest control.
That’s right—mice, rats, and other rodents love to make RVs their home for the winter. This is especially true if the RV in question is in storage, as that means they don’t have people to contend with regularly. Obviously, you don’t want this. These little critters can tear up your furniture, all kinds of wiring, and other parts of your home on wheels in no time at all, making for some expensive repairs.
The good news? There are steps you can take during the RV winterizing process that will help you avoid these issues—and no, these prevention methods do not have to involve toxic chemicals that could be harmful to your health or the health of your dogs, cats, and little ones.
The Best RV Pest Repellents
First, let’s discuss some of our favorite RV pest-repellent options. We love these products because not only do they work, but they are also 100% safe to use. All three of these options are made with natural ingredients. This means they are not harmful to humans or pets—something that is always important but becomes even more important in the small space of an RV.
Mighty Mint Rodent Repellent
Peppermint is a known rodent repellent. Not only that, but peppermint also repels spiders, ants, and many other creepy crawlers you likely don’t want in your RV. Some people place cotton balls covered in peppermint oil around the rig to keep those pests away. However, the Mighty Mint Rodent Repellent is actually more effective and a lot easier to use.
This repellent can be sprayed under the hood of your motorhome to keep rodents from nesting there. It can also be used on both the exterior and interior of a motorhome or trailer. The only problem? You will have to visit your RV once a week to respray everything. This is because the repellent does fade and become ineffective over time.
Note: According to Chewy.com “While peppermint is technically not toxic to dogs, it can lead to an upset stomach and unwanted consequences like vomiting and diarrhea.” So it’s always a good idea to use peppermint-containing products in away from curious pups.
Mouse Free Undercarriage Lubricant
Another fantastic product, this Mouse Free Undercarriage Lubricant, keeps pests away by making it impossible for them to climb into the rig. The slippery stuff is sprayed all over the bottom of the RV, leaving a coating that pests simply cannot grip.
One bottle of this lubricant is enough for a 24-foot RV. You will likely need to buy a second bottle if your rig is longer. You will also need an air compressor to apply the lubricant, but we recommend carrying an air compressor in your rig anyway, so this might be an excellent excuse to buy one.
Mouse Free Undercarriage Lubricant can be used in conjunction with the Mighty Mint spray listed above, and we highly recommend using them together.
BugMD Vamoose Rodent Repellent
Finally, there are these BugMS Vamoose Rodent Repellent pouches. There are little pouches of diatomaceous earth infused with a selection of essential oils that repel mice, rats, and squirrels. The pouches are super easy to use. Simply place them where the pests like to hang out to deter them.
The pouches last up to 30 days, so you must replace them throughout the winter. They can be used along with the other repellents listed above—and really, why wouldn’t you use them all at once?
More Tips for Preventing Pests When RV Winterizing
Any one of the repellents listed above is an excellent start to keeping pests away once you’re done with RV winterizing, and combining a couple (or all three) of the products will be even more effective. That said, you should take a few other steps to ensure no critters take over your rig.
Cover and Plug Holes
If pests can’t get into your rig, they aren’t going to be able to invade. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to ensure all possible entry points are plugged up or covered. Keep in mind that mice can enter surprisingly small holes (around the size of a dime). Plug all holes and gaps with fiberglass and cover vents with mesh to prevent entry.
Check your plugs and covers after pulling the rig out of storage and again when winterizing the following year.
Put Food Away
Pests like to hang out in RVs mainly because they offer a source of food. Remove the food, and you remove a lot of the incentive for mice and rats to enter.
We recommend taking all food out of the rig when winterizing. Remember that canned goods can freeze, causing the cans to bust, so even those foods should be removed.
Before you put your RV into storage, do a deep clean. Remove all bedding and furniture covers and wash them. Vacuum the carpets and clean the floors under and behind furniture and under slides. Food crumbs and pieces hide in cracks and crevices, where they might invite unwanted guests.
Put Bright Lights Under the Rig
Finally, we’d like to point out that many RVers have successfully kept some rodents away by placing bright LED lights under their rigs. Mice and rats don’t like bright light. Therefore, they will be less likely to go under your rig to find entry points if it is well-lit.
LED lights don’t use much electricity, can be battery operated, and won’t heat things under the RV. Setting something up with these lights shouldn’t be too difficult.
Pest prevention is an essential part of the RV winterizing process. Luckily, the steps to prevent rodents from hanging out in your RV are relatively easy, so you should have no problem keeping them out. This is great news! It means less time spent fixing things and cleaning up and more time spent camping once spring rolls around!
Chelsea Gonzales is a full-time RVer, freelance writer, and roadschooling mama who loves sharing her expertise about RVing with kids, roadschooling, and full-time RVing. The entrepreneurial and free-spirited author is also artistic director of the Aistear Mobile Irish Dance Academy, and currently travels with her family in a 27-foot travel trailer. Chelsea’s informational articles about full-time RVing, raising children on the road, camping, and destination features appear on her blog, Wonder Wherever We Wander. throughout the RV LIFE network, and in RV industry media outlets such as Outdoorsy, Coach-Net, and RV Share.