How to keep rodents out of your RV

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Anyone who has owned an RV for long knows that there are a couple of Public Enemies Number One — water intrusion and rodent intrusion (or should we say invasion). Let’s talk about the latter.

Rodents love RVs: They’re nice, warm, cozy places, perfect for their nests and where they can raise their little baby mouses. Mice and squirrels are the most common invaders, but rats can make an appearance, too.


Mice or other rodents can create more than just a mess. While some actually carry the fatal disease hantavirus, others can cause trouble by chewing on water lines or electrical wiring. Imagine the damage a rodent could cause if it chewed through a pressurized water line. Or worse, if it gnawed through a live wire that could cause a fire (it does happen!).

So how do we keep the critters away? Some RVers say to just put Bounce dryer sheets in cabinets and storage compartments. “Mice hate ’em,” some RVers will advise. And then you’ll read later from another RVer who says, “I found mice nesting in Bounce sheets.” Huh?

Others say, “Just put a few bars of Irish Spring soap around. Mice hate it.” And someone will reply, “The mice in my RV ate all the Irish Spring.”

Yet other RVers say the answer is to use an “ultrasonic pest repeller” to send the critters scurrying before they even get inside. Many college and university researchers respond: “Save your money: Ultrasonic repellers don’t work.”

How to keep rodents out of your RV

Some RVer believe if they line their campsite with a string of LED lights, the mice will stay away, at least at night.

We’ve sold a lot of Fresh Cab rodent repellent through our Amazon affiliate program. Does it work? We haven’t received any angry letters from buyers saying it didn’t work. We tried it once in a barn. No mice (but then maybe there were none there to begin with).

Of course, the tried-and-true method to keep rodents away is to block their entry. Look carefully for spaces where critters can enter. Tiny spaces where water, sewer or gas lines pass through walls and floors may provide a mouse easy access. Stuff any such crack (it doesn’t need to be big for a mouse to get through) with steel wool, then cover with sealant.

What do you think? Please leave a comment; tell us what works for you (or what hasn’t worked).

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Bonnie

We had mice one year and startedto ask others how they handled rodent issues while their rig was in storage. We heard several and decided to try peppermint oil on cotton balls. We place it throughout our TT and also our park model. Since doing so we have not had any more incidents and the smell isn’t too bad when you open up for the season.

Judy Castle

After having mice in our cars, I was concerned about our motor home parked on the next lot. We heard that tea bags would repel the critters, so I tried them in our cars and in the basement of our home successfully. So I put teabags liberally throughout the Coach—in drawers, cabinets, all closets, and even in the bins underneath with the wiring, pipes, etc. Two years have passed with no mice and we live on the edge of the forest! Try it!

Moobear in Oregon

We haven’t had mice in a few years now, even though we’re near some grass fields and a seasonal creek in our small rural town. That’s because our neighbor got into cats. Lots and lots of cats. Thirty-five+ at one time. She’s toned it down to maybe a half dozen, but still no resident rodents. Guess they swept the area clean…for now. Did discover a free pet though when we got our trailer back from the repair shop last week. Opened an overhead cabinet to see a beady eyed field mouse pop up from a shredded pile of paper napkins. Set out our go-to solution of many years, a few sticky traps with a dab of peanut butter in the middle. Had the high climbing critter in ten minutes.

Rick Petzak

Tried moth balls, peppermint oil, dryer sheets, Irish spring, rodent spray (can’t recall name), and always catch mice in my peanut butter baited traps. They keep coming and I keep catching. Nothing deters them!!

Tommy Molnar

Seems like all these ‘remedies’ are for discouraging the cute little fellas from coming in. To me, these are nasty little disease carrying, asset demolishing, day ruining swine. It’s all out war! I carry lots of old fashioned mouse traps, and not the kinder gentler kind either. They are the SNAP – DEAD kind. If we’re in a mousey area (and where we boondock mostly, mice aren’t a problem) I put the traps by every bit of our trailer that touches the ground, baited with tasty morsels.

Tumbleweed

I’ve used electronic pest repellents and Bounce sheets and have had good luck with both. But now I use cotton balls soaked with peppermint oil and these seem to work even better. Whenever I hear rodents in the quiet of the night, I throw the peppermint balls around the area and the noises disappear the next night.

FJ

A Sprinter mechanic in Phoenix told me he had set up a couple of Sprinters so that the owners could plug in an electrical fence and run that around the vehicle.

FJ

One night I heard rodents chewing on plastic under the hood. I fired up the engine and they took off and did not come back. However in the morning when I warmed up the engine I smelled fuel. I checked under the hood and they had chewed three fuel lines, chewing all the way through one of them. The engine bay was soaked with diesel fuel. Electrical tape and paper towels saved the day.

So I have my anti-rodent kit that has been effective so far. I put moth balls in small plastic ketchup/salad dressing plastic containers. I place three in the engine bay and one in each wheel. I also have a solar rechargeable “EverBrite” LED with a motion detector (Walmart) that I also place under the hood.

JBC

Any chance we can get a visual of where the ‘small’ holes are often found. Those that need to be covered with copper mesh, etc. There are obvious places but there may be many ‘common’ locations that we might be overlooking. This would be a good article with lots of pictures. Thanks everyone.

BillBoy

I believe it starts with closing off any openings that you can find but but then you won’t find them all . I too have used Mouse Free and have so far found it to work quite well. My daughter has an older camper that had some of the under belly removed and only covered with Tyvec house wrap and I sprayed the underneath with Mouse Free and for 2 years there has been no rodents inside.

Mike in Texas

We like to use steel wool to stop the critters, they don’t like to chew on it because it bothers the fillings in their teeth.

Jerry

We have been putting moth balls in a cotton sack then placing them in the wheel wells of the RV. So far no rats/mice or any other rodent.

Bob Haddock

We use STOP THE RODENT spray on the outside, all wiring, entry points. It is heavy peppers based. Last word was that the govt red tape got them and they are going through approval. It stopped wood rats from building nests and eating wires on my cars for several years. We also try to block all entry points with steel or brass wool and foam spray.

George

We travel with our dog. The only time we had a mouse problem is when we were without a dog for about 6 months.

Stefan trestyn

buy a cat

Don Kostyal

Certain manufactures use soybean oil based insulation on their wiring (Toyota, Honda, to name some). Vermin love he taste and vector towards the smell. You can buy a tape (Honda sells)–look on line) that is infused with capcium which is not only an unpleasant taste for the Fermin, they can also smell it nad it is irrating to them. Of course to use it you have to be able to get to the wires, but it works!

bo

When we turned on the A/C two summers ago while at a remote CG, it looked like it was snowing — hundreds of little Styrofoam pellets! Searching forums, we realized quickly that mice had gotten in the ductwork. We then noticed a few chewed kitchen linens. Of course, all cabinetry was emptied and cleaned. Found a small hole underneath to seal; found a great exterminating company who found a couple of small bodies in ducts. Ugh – fortunately they must have not been there long! Workers thoroughly vacuumed/cleaned the ducts, and sanitized them.

Since, we have been using CabFresh inside and in outside compartments, and a light underneath, and have had no indication of more visitors.

SDPeg

After $3,000 worth of damage to the wiring (openly accessible in the undercarriage)
, we are at wit’s end…Fresh Cab was used as bedding, IrishSpring as snacks…we’ve sprayed peppermint oil, coyote urine (yes, it is awful)…we have solar spotlights pointing at the tires, we have traps with peanut butter set at each tire, we have bait traps set up at front and back of RV port….just got another $500 bill for another chewed wire! If someone can think of anything else that might help I would try it!

Tom Sharp

In RVTravel’s Gizmos and Gadgets from May 11 2018 you published an article about the BoxKat Rodent Barrier. The readers seemed to need you to test it and get back to them with results. I’ve hoped the either Gary Bunzer or you Chuck would give it the test and the seal of approval.
All I can say is it has worked for over a year in my garage that previously was a mouse convention in my sports car. I have a few customers that have had great success even outdoors in their driveways and in up to 40mph winds with simple DIY anchoring ideas.
If you truly want to keep them out in an area they can access like most garages, shops and barns, this is it. They can’t get over, under or thru BoxKat.

chris p hemstead

I’ve not yet tried repellants, but a mouse trap loaded with peanut butter is darn hard to resist.