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As summer comes to an end and temperatures begin to drop, for most RVers that means it’s time to store our campers and RVs for the winter. We go through our RV winterizing, unpack everything, and tuck our RVs away in a safe place until next spring. Did you know that your camper is a great place for mice to call home when it gets cold? Although small, mice can destroy your home away from home. These little creatures love to chew up and make homes out of your dinette upholstery, seat cushions, even electrical wiring. So, how do you keep mice out of a camper? In this post we are going to cover some preventative steps you can take to make sure you don’t open your camper next spring to a mess. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Damage To Your RV
As we stated above, rodents can have a devastating impact on your camper. Not only do they like to chew the electrical wires, but they also love upholstery. Mice will build nests inside your RV often using whatever material they can find, from carboard boxes to the stuffing in your throw pillows.
We had a scrub brush in the carport last year that had all the bristles chewed off by rodents making a nest. Now, we just have a block of wood.
These mice and rats even ate the wires out of a brand-new riding mower. I can only imagine the damage they would have done if they had gotten into our RV.
The damage these little rodents can cause can get very expensive. That’s why it is very important to keep mice out of your camper or RV.
How To Keep Mice Out Of Your Camper
Keeping mice out of your camper is going to take a little bit of effort on your part. The first step is identifying the gaps. On a sunny day, go inside your RV and look for daylight coming in from anywhere. Make sure you open the cabinet doors, drawers, and even look under the bed. Check the slide-outs if you have them, as well as the basement storage compartments. Don’t forget the bathroom and behind any access panels you might have throughout your camper. These all have the potential for gaps and holes.
Another way to find these holes and gaps is to wait until after dark. Once the sun sets, go inside and turn on all the lights in your camper. Then, go outside and start looking for light.
You will have to crawl under your camper to see the light shining through the floor.
Seal All Holes And Gaps
Once you have located all the gaps, you need to seal them. Depending on the location and size of the holes will determine what is the best way to seal them. For smaller holes, you can seal these with silicone caulk. For larger holes you may need to fill the hole with steel wool or cover it with a strip of wood before caulking.
Spray foam is another sealant you might try. I would go with the “minimum expansion” over the “maximum expansion” if you choose this method. I have seen just how far the “maximum” can expand.
If the underbelly of your RV is insulated, identify all openings during the daytime and be sure to seal them off.
Deep Clean Your RV Before Storing It
After the summer camping season, you will want to make sure your rig is thoroughly cleaned before storing it for the winter, as this is one of the best ways to keep mice out of your camper. This will include making sure all left over food crumbs, sticky spills, etc. are taken care of. Be sure to open all cabinets, drawers, and even check under the cushions of your pull-out sofa, chairs, and dinette.
Remove all perishable food items in the pantry, even if the box is unopened. Mice can, and will, chew right through the cardboard to get to the food inside. Make sure to take out those condiment packets from your local drive-thru restaurant as well.
Related: Common RV Storage Mistakes
How To Get Rid Of Mice In Your Camper
There are several ways to get rid of mice that have already made a home in your camper. Many fellow RVers swear by the Irish Spring soap and the Bounce dryer sheet methods. On the other hand, some RVers say that Irish Spring doesn’t work, and the mice only eat the soap.
Dryer sheets strategically placed throughout your camper may ward off these rodents in the short term. The odor from the dryer sheets will subside over time and you will have to go back in and replace them frequently.
Another tried and true method to keep mice out of your camper is the peppermint oil method. To use this method, you simply soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them around your RV. Make sure you put them in places like under the cabinets and inside drawers. You might want to put the oily cotton balls on a small tray to prevent the oil from damaging any surfaces.
If all else fails, you still have the old-fashioned snap-trap. We have always used peanut butter or pieces of potato to attract mice to these traps. If you go this route, you will have to check your traps daily to make sure you don’t leave any dead mice in your camper any longer than needed.
Store Your RV On A Solid Surface
When storing your rig for the winter, another way to help keep mice out of your camper is to park it on a solid surface. Try to store your camper away from grass and wooded areas where mice are likely to be roaming. Parking on cement or concrete is ideal, if you can.
While your camper is in storage, make it a point to check on your rig periodically. If you spot any signs of mice or other rodents in your camper, you can quickly address the situation before it gets worse. Keeping mice out of your camper through the winter months will ensure you will be a happy camper next spring.
Do you have any thoughts or suggestions on how to keep mice out of your camper? If so, please leave a comment below and let us know.
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