One of the worst surprises during spring cleaning is finding mice in your RV.
After a cold winter, your rig needs a good cleanout. Like a traditional home, the winter months mean less air circulation and more clutter.
Unless you’ve noticed signs of rodents, spring cleaning is the most likely time you’ll discover the furry critters. Let’s look at how common the issue is for RVers and the best ways to deal with it.
Are Mice a Common Problem in RVs?
Mice are just like people. When it gets cold, they seek shelter in warm places. Lucky for us, RVs provide protection and warmth when we’re on the road. Just as unlucky for us, our furry opponents love the same creature comforts we do.
If you live in your motorhome full-time, campsites and parks, provide the perfect habitat. Wooded areas, shelter, and indoor options when it gets cold. You can’t blame the mice for enjoying your camper, too, can you?
Rodents are also a common issue for RVers who store their rigs for the winter. Whether you’ve got a garage or covered parking, you’ll likely find evidence of these critters around the area.
The perfect opportunists, these creatures have hitched rides with humans on boats, in packs, and in RVs. Let’s see how these little buggers get in and what we can do to prevent it.
How Do Mice Get Into an RV?
Mice have some built-in features that make them the perfect RV stowaways. They’ve got collapsible ribcages, so the rest of the body can follow anywhere their heads fit. Common wisdom says that they can enter through a dime-sized hole.
These critters can get through anywhere you’ve got a crack in your rig. Even if it’s a gap where tubes or wires enter, they’ll find a way. They’ll happily climb up your wheels or jacks to access the underside of your camper. Once there, it’s just a matter of time before they find a suitable gap to enter.
You aren’t out of luck, though. You’ve got plenty of ways to rodent-proof your motorhome for the winter and prevent furry little stowaways.
How to Check Your RV for Mice
Mice are excellent at hiding their presence on your rig. Without obvious signs, you’ll never find them at all. As the colder weather settles in, checking your RV for infestation is a good idea. That way, you’ll be able to sleep easily at night.
Know What to Look For
They look like little black footballs dropped on the floor. Mouse poop is the easiest way to know if you’ve got mice in your rig. Usually, outdoor cabinets or along the edge of cabinets on the floor, they’re unmistakable. You might also notice chewed boxes or holes in your food storage.
Another way to spot rodent activity is to walk around your campsite. In the winter especially, mice seek out shelter and food. You know they’re trying to get in if you see lots of droppings around your rig. If you see holes or other clear entry points, it’s time to take action.
Have Proper Gear for Cleaning Up Messes
If mice made their way inside already, you’ve probably got a mess to clean up. We recommend keeping rubber gloves and N95 masks on hand for cleanup. This is also the time for harsh cleaners because these squeaky pests are known to carry disease.
Generally, mice are attracted to messes. Keeping your RV clean goes a long way toward deterring pests. And make sure you throw out any food items they’ve sampled. If they’ve chewed through the box or bag, everything inside is contaminated. Toss it in the bin on your way out!
Check Your Cabinets
Just because you don’t see signs of mice on the floor, it doesn’t mean you’re RV is home-free. If the critters found a way behind cabinets, they may have infiltrated.
When checking cabinets, take everything out and inspect each item. With empty cabinets, look for cracks or holes where they could get in.
Search the Pantry
The pantry is another prime location for rodents to get in. Pantry items are things you don’t use all the time, and mice love the dark. Even if you’ve only got canned goods in your pantry, they may use the space for a nest.
Follow the same procedure you did with the cabinets. Look for rodent droppings and any holes that need to be filled.
Look in Drawers
Pull out drawers and inspect for droppings and holes. Remove all items and make sure you’ve got eyes on everything. Sometimes mice hide behind drawers too. You’ll want to remove the drawers entirely and check.
The worst thing you can possibly find when looking for a midnight snack? A mouse in your silverware drawer.
Empty Outside Storage Compartments
Even if you’ve sealed up your interior, pests will find a way. We don’t access outside storage as frequently as interior spaces, either. If you’ve stored sleeping bags or blankets, you’ve probably got some little buddies hanging out there.
Pull everything out and inspect it to ensure you don’t have a problem with mice in your RV.
Don’t Forget Your Vents
Vents offer easy access to mice, especially if you store your rig for the season. Pull off the vent covers and use a flashlight to inspect. These cute little critters let you know they’ve been there. If you find any signs of rodents, you’ve got some cleanup to do.
If they enter your ventilation, you’ll want a deep clean of the space. This is necessary because they leave disease behind in their droppings.
How Do You Get Mice Out of an RV?
Other than burning your RV down, there are a few less destructive methods to remove mice. Some are more permanent than others, but you’ve got options.
Mice hate peppermint oil. After you’ve cleaned out your rig, you can apply it as a deterrent. You can soak cotton balls with it for longer staying power.
Another non-lethal solution is box traps. These capture the rodent alive and allow you to relocate them as far outside your rig as humanly possible.
If you’re dead set on eradication, we suggest traditional spring traps over poisons or glue. Poisons carried back to the nest are problematic because the nest might be in your rig. It could take a while before it starts to smell, but you’ll figure that out the hard way.
Spring traps let you know when they’ve gone off, no surprises. If you see droppings, just place them along the path and wait.
How Can You Keep Mice Out of an RV?
Sealing up cracks and holes is the number one way to keep mice out of your RV. Use caulk, expanding foam, and steel wool to close the gaps.
For permanent repair, expanding foam is excellent because it fills all the gaps as it cures. If you’ve got a hole you know isn’t supposed to be there, fill it! Long cracks are best treated with caulk since you can make sure it’s sealed.
Steel wool is great for on-the-road issues because it allows you to fill the hole quickly. When you get to where you can fix it permanently, it’s easy to take out.
Most importantly, keep your rig clean. Don’t leave crumbs or other food items where mice can find them.
Enjoy a Mouse Free RV
You’ll likely have an issue with mice at some point in your RVing life. Our best advice is to keep calm, assess the situation, and then take these steps. Make sure you’ve got a clean rig and that you’re maintaining the exterior, and check down below too.
If you’re storing your rig for the season, give it a deep clean before and after. And if you smell something awful, call in the professionals.
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