How to Keep Mice Out of Your RV & Winterizing Tips
By : Rita Stadler
Camping trips are a great family activity, but there are many of us who’d rather enjoy nature from the comfort of a recreational vehicle (RV) or camper van. Unfortunately, mice find them just as comfortable, especially when the temperatures start to drop.
If you happen to come across this problem in your RV, it’s important to fix it. Deer mice, which are commonly found in these vehicles, and other rodents carry diseases and parasites that are easily transmitted to humans, like Hantavirus.
You’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you’re saying something like, “I’m not a messy person so I’d never have a pest infestation!” or “I smeared some peanut butter on a mouse trap so I don’t have to worry.” Don’t fret, check out why campers and RV’s are prone to pest problems, and how to prevent them, naturally.
Signs of an Infestation
In most parts of the country, RVing doesn’t happen all year long. This means that many of them are in storage for months at a time, especially during the winter months. Stored campers provide comfortable, undisturbed shelter for mice to hide, nest, and breed.
However, they can also find their way inside when RVs are in use during the spring, summer, and fall months. All it takes is an opening 1/4” wide to create an entryway for them. They can climb up all the surfaces in an RV, and the furniture and countertops give them plenty of living space to scurry around. Watch out for signs of mice such as poop, gnaw marks, or chewed-up material around cushions, bedding, and cardboard boxes.
When purchasing a new RV, look for signs of an infestation including mouse droppings, dryer sheets placed everywhere (DIY deterrent method, but mice can actually end up using these for nesting material), and freshly scrubbed / still wet surfaces. Also, take into consideration where the RV has been stored when you are going to look at it. If it’s in a storage or barn-type area, ask about previous infestations.
Getting Rid of Mice in Your RV
An easy and effective way to rid your RV of mice is to use Fresh Cab® rodent repellent. This fast-acting repellent is made using a mix of balsam fir essential oil and other plant-based ingredients. The ingredients work together to create an aroma that’s offensive to rodents but not to humans.
Fresh Cab not only works to get rid of mice in your camper but also works to prevent them from coming back in the future. These pouches help to preserve nature’s delicate ecosystem by providing an alternative to kill methods like poisons and traps.
The following three steps are all RVers need to do to get rid of these little critters.
Step 1: Use Fresh Cab
Place Fresh Cab pouches throughout the camper to drive them out! Click here for complete instructions.
Step 2: Clean Up
Follow the CDC guidelines for cleaning up after rodents: wear rubber gloves, a mask, spray with bleach water, etc. You cannot be too careful during this step, because Hantavirus is a deadly disease that mice can spread.
Step 3: Repeat
Fresh Cab pouches provide 30 days of continuous protection, even in places you can’t see. Replace the pouches after the scent wears away and enjoy your rodent-free vacation home on wheels!
How to Keep Mice Out of Your Camper
Once you’ve gotten rid of these pests, the job isn’t over. Now you must work to prevent these pests from returning in the future by pest-proofing your RV. Here are some tips to consider:
- Seal entry points in your camper. Inspect your equipment and the surrounding area for signs of pests and potential entry points. Identify cracks and gaps in the walls, windows, doors, and around plumbing and electrical wires. Seal them with caulk or weather-strip so pests (especially mice) can’t get in.
- Choose your storage solutions wisely. Both the place you store your RV when it’s not in use, and the way you store camping equipment and items inside your RV will make you more or less likely to experience mouse problems. When you’re not using your camper or motorhome, make sure it is parked on level ground and clear of any overhanging tree branches and foliage.
- Cardboard can attract pests. Rodents enjoy chewing on cardboard and will use it as nesting material. Instead of cardboard boxes, use airtight hard-sided storage containers.
- Keep your camper and equipment clean. Food particles left behind on a cooktop or grill will attract rodents. Likewise, graham cracker crumbs and sticky fingerprints can attract other pests, such as ants. Clean all the nooks and crannies thoroughly and remove any remaining food items hidden in access panels or around the RV after cleaning up.
- Use a repellent as a method of prevention. EarthKind’s Fresh Cab® Rodent Repellent pouches are used to get rid of mice and to prevent them from returning. Continue placing pouches in your camper once the mice are gone to keep them from coming back.
There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding mouse deterrents and DIY ways to get rid of them in a recreational vehicle. Dryer sheets, mothballs, peppermint oil, and even Irish Spring soap are not valid, long-term pest control options, at least not for mice. Do your research.
More Tips for Winterizing Your RV
Once you’ve completed the necessary steps for pest-proofing and begin to pack up your camping gear for winter, follow this checklist to further winterize your camper:
- Closely inspect everything, inside and out. If any repairs are needed, make them now so the problem doesn’t get worse sitting in storage.
- Fill up the gas tank and add a fuel stabilizer. Check all other fluid levels in the engine and top off everything to prevent fluids from freezing or drying out.
- Move everything out. Don’t leave any food or beverages packed away, even if they are unopened. Canned or bottled items can freeze and expand in cold weather and might burst, leaving a huge mess waiting for you, or worse yet a serious rodent infestation.
- Give everything a deep clean — dirt and stains will only be harder to remove if you let them set all winter long. You’ll be sure to get rid of any crumbs and sticky spills that would attract bugs!
- Drain all water from holding tanks and dry all water lines — any remaining water could stagnate or freeze, damaging your plumbing system.
- Add a non-toxic RV-approved antifreeze. Make sure to pour some down all of the drains and into the toilet too.
- Make sure all appliances are turned off and unplugged. Leave the fridge and freezer doors propped open to prevent mold and musty smells.
- Cover all vents, patch any cracks or holes, and make sure the exhaust pipe has a mesh cover — rodents, insects, and even birds can squeeze through very small openings and sneak inside if you give them an opening.
- Put your RV up on blocks to take the weight off from the tires.
Winterizing your RV might sound like a lot of work, but following this checklist will make the job a whole lot easier. Be sure to throw in a couple of pouches of EarthKind®’s botanical rodent repellent, Fresh Cab® to help prevent any unwanted guests. Spend more time planning your next road trip and less time keeping mice away!
Check out the video below to see how Fresh Cab® helped remove an RV rodent problem.