When we purchased our first RV several years ago, my biggest concern was how we would keep mice and other critters out of our trailer.
I also had a few concerns about ants and other common pests getting in when our camper was not in use.
The last thing I wanted was mice or ants or any other type of creepy crawly critters deciding they would make our camper their home!
So I researched A LOT on ways to keep our rv pest free. We have not had any problems with pests in our RV…though we have had wasps and mice decide to invade other parts of our property.
The Best Way to Keep Mice Out
#1. Eradicate the Mice Before Trying to Prevent Them
You cannot prevent mice from coming in if you are infested with them. Mice and other rodents tend to have very large litter sizes – two mice can quickly turn into hundreds of them if left unchecked with no natural predators around.
There are many ways to get rid of mice, but sadly it typically requires killing them. If you are very keen on being environmentally & animal friendly, the best way to kill them is to introduce a predator to the environment. This could be a cat, a pet snake, or other similar type of creature.
However, snakes can be just as much of a pest in an RV and if you have hundreds of mice in a place, even the most dedicated team of cats is going to have a lot of bodies you have to deal with and dispose of.
If you do not want to deal with the cleaning up of dead mice, you can explore hiring a local exterminator. Be sure you make sure the person is licensed, bonded and insured – you do not want them risking damage to your camper.
If you don’t mind doing some of the clean-up and removal work yourself, you can consider purchasing traps. There are many traps available which are effective, but be prepared you will likely need to check them on a daily basis.
Once eradication is complete, you can then move onto the ways to keep the mice out for good.
#2. Do Not Keep Food or Soap/Cosmetics in the RV
Mice will be attracted to any sort of foods. While there are some soaps or scents the mice don’t particularly like, such as peppermint oil, if a mouse is desperate or immune to that sort of thing it’s not going to be 100% effective.
Some cosmetics have ingredients in them that will attract mice, such as oils, tallow, or even grains. An oatmeal based bath soap is not much different to a mouse than an actual container of oatmeal you would eat for breakfast.
While I previously recommended Irish Spring Original Soap as a method to repel mice away, sadly I have learned this is NOT a solution for everyone.
It also recently came to my attention that different stores and retailers actually sell different formulations of soaps.
I had no idea this happened, but after buying one bar of soap at one store and another “identical” brand at another store, I compared the ingredients labels and noticed they were different ingredients. Obviously, if you cannot control the sourcing or ingredients, your results may vary.
So…my current recommendation is to remove anything from the RV that would attract these pests, typically items that have a scent or are foods.
You may also want to consider removing items such as scented candles, bug spray, first aid items when your RV is not in use. They will chew through anything, and even cardboard and plastic can sometimes be used by them for building their nests.
#3. Get a Cat
We have found that our outdoor cats are very effective in keeping away the mice.
If you already have a mice problem, you will likely need to get rid of the mice before a cat will become effective in keeping them away. Mice reproduce so quickly that cats simply can’t keep up. Using traps or working with an exterminator may be necessary.
You also need to have a cat who likes to hunt. A lot of well-fed indoor cats are not motivated to this. It really comes down to the individual temperament, age and personality of the type of cat you have.
Most of our cats are rescued from feral litters, so they have a lot of the “wildness” in them, even though they are all vaccinated, spayed/neutered, and friendly to snuggle with. These cats LOVE a good hunt.
The good news is once you are mice free, the presence of a cat itself is typically enough for most mice to find a better place to call home.
Do you have any tips for keeping your RV pest free? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.