Travel trailer parked for extended time may need work to keep the mice out

How to Keep Mice Out of Your RV So You Can Sleep Well

Find out how to tell if you have mice in your RV and also how to keep mice out of your RV in the first place. 

When we saw her sitting on the lot, we couldn’t believe how good she looked. She was a 2012 Keystone Outback Sydney with lots of room and the world’s tiniest bunk room for the kids.

How to Keep Mice Out of RV

She had been barn-kept and barely used, with a floorplan that we had never seen and instantly loved. The stove had never been cooked on. The curtains had never been faded by the sun.

Oh, but what could we NOT see? What we couldn’t see was that she was well broken in. Someone else had been living in her for years. Our new (to us) fifth wheel was home to hidden inhabitants of the rodent variety.

Any RV that sits still for a period of time can be at risk for mice moving in. If you are a part-time or seasonal RVer, checking your rig for mice and using methods to prevent them is just as important as winterizing.

So how do you tell if your RV has uninvited guests and how do you evict them? How can you prevent mice in the first place?

How to Tell if Your RV Has Mice

Look for Evidence


The most obvious way to tell if you have mice is to look for evidence. We had not seen any mice, but upon close inspection, we found a few droppings in the basement storage compartment and scattered around the rig.

Take note of the size and frequency of the droppings, since this can be a clue as to how many mice are frequenting the area. Large droppings could mean you have a rat rather than a mouse.


Mice like to shred paper, fabric, and other materials to make their nests. Look around the rig for anything they may have tried to shred for their home.

how to know if rv has mice
Shredding and tears is evidence of mice.

Of course, food boxes or anything unsealed can also be an easy target for mice. Check your pantry, and even medicine cabinet, for anything that has been chewed on.


We purchased our used 5th wheel from an RV dealership and they checked all the systems prior to delivering it to our house. However, they failed to catch that not everything was up to par.

At first glance, the propane heater worked well, but when we ran it for ourselves, we noticed that heat wasn’t reaching all the vents. Upon closer inspection, we found that the HVAC ducting was full of holes. (See photo above.)

Mice had chewed their way through the thin ducting and turned it into their own personal highway. Running up and down the ducts, they could travel all over the RV!

As it turned out, the heating ducts weren’t the only things they had been chewing. The wiring on our fresh water tank had been chewed to the point that only the “empty” level would register.

We also found that the main power coming into the RV had been chewed.

How to know if you have mice in RV
Rodents chew, a lot. Inspect wiring and repair, as needed.


Have you ever walked into a used RV and something smelled….off? Not just musty or like there was a water leak somewhere but smelled like something you couldn’t put your finger on.

It might have been a rodent nest…or two…..or four. If an RV has been sitting for a while, there could be a whole village of mice who have set up homes out of sight.

When we started repairing the places in our rig that had been chewed on, we ended up discovering four, yes four (yuck!) mice nests.

There was one in the storage compartment under the master bedroom, just behind a little wall that was meant to hide some of the plumbing runs.

We found another in the little space occupied by the water pump and two more in the enclosed underbelly of the RV.

Useful tip: Take note of where you find nests because mice tend to set up shop near the “entrance” they are using.

keeping mice out of camper

Clean Up

Mice and their excrement can carry some nasty diseases, so it is essential to do a good job of cleaning up after them. Whether you are removing droppings or nests, make sure you do so carefully.

Wear gloves, and possibly a mask of some sort, and clean any infested areas with water and bleach.

Collect everything into a trash bag and when you are done, bag up everything (including the gloves and mask), tie it up and dispose of it outside in a trash bin or dumpster.

Review the CDC recommended guidelines for more in-depth cleanup instructions.

Give an Eviction Notice

To get rid of mice in your RV, take the same steps that you would in any other home.

Put out traps to catch your uninvited guests. You can opt for sticky traps or the old-fashioned kind. Personally, we like the old-style trap baited with a little peanut butter.

Lucky for us, the damage in our rig was caused by mice that had since moved on (or passed on). We were just left to deal with the aftermath of these uninvited guests, at least.

How to Keep Mice Out of Your RV

After we had removed any evidence of former residents, we now needed to make sure that no mice would be visiting in the future.

Identify Problem Areas

how to prevent mice from getting in rv
Even a hole as small as a dime can be an easy entry point for mice.

Mice can enter any hole that is big enough to get their head in. A hole the size of a nickel or dime is large enough for a mouse to sneak through. Depending on the type of RV you have, there are some areas that you should check first:

  • Around Landing Gear (anything touching the ground)
  • Plumbing Exits
  • Around Water Line Entrances
  • Around the Power Cord
  • Any Holes in the Underbelly Enclosure
  • Heater Exhaust Port

Block All Entrances

The best way to fix a mouse problem is to be proactive and keep the critters from getting inside in the first place. A simple search on Amazon yields all kinds of products that can help you plug potential rodent entrances in your RV.

Steel Wool – Our personal favorite. The steel fibers are near impossible for mice to chew through. Cheap and non-toxic, you can also shape it to fill almost any space.

steel wool to keep mice out of rv
Steel wool is an effective way to block mice from entering through small holes.

Spray Foam – A little goes a long way since the foam expands. This stuff can be pretty nasty though. Make sure to wear gloves and use it in a well-ventilated area.

Mesh Screens – These are great for blocking areas like heating and fan exhausts. Premade screens are easy to find and made to fit these areas. They also keep out wasps and dirt dobbers.

use foam to keep mice out of rv
Spray foam can be another effective means of keeping the mice out.

Make Your Rig Unattractive to Mice

Eliminating sources that will draw the mice in and taking some preventative measures will give you a leg up in preventing mice from coming in. Your RV should be:

Trash Free – Anytime you are away from your rig or the RV is in storage, it’s a good idea to take out the trash. Any food or trash can be a big attractant to furry guests.

Clean – Be sure that surfaces are clean and free of food residues. This will ensure help ensure that mice don’t have a reason to stay, even if they do get in.

Dry – Mice are attracted to water so be sure to clean up spills or any water that may have escaped from the showerhead or faucet.

Sealed – Any food items should be in an air-tight sealed hard container (think plastic lidded tub rather than a ziplock bag, which as you can see from the photos above the critters can shred through easily).

how to get rid of mice in camper

Empty – If you are not using the RV, it’s a good idea to empty the RV of products the rodents could use for a nest. Paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, old papers, brochures, receipts, clothing. Remove anything and everything they could use to make a nest. No nest material, no nest, no mice.

Well Lit – Rodents and mice don’t seem to like light. Night lights inside, porch lights outside, or even rope lights have been known to deter rodents.

Make Your RV Smell Bad (at Least to Mice)

Before coming in and settling down, mice like to see if the place smells like home. There are several different things you can put in your RV to make it uninviting to mice, you know, like air freshener in reverse. You might try:

Moth Balls – My grandmother swore by this method of deterring mice (as well as spiders and snakes). She believed in it so much that every closet in her house smelled like mothballs.

Try tossing a few mothballs in your storage compartments and under the bed. My grandmother never had mice, so maybe it works.

Peppermint Oil – Many RVers say they have successfully used peppermint oil to keep mice away. Dab some peppermint oil on a few cotton balls and put one in each area of the RV.

Spices – Spices such as Cayenne, Mint, and Cloves can also deter mice. Make a sachet bag of cheesecloth and fill it with one or more of these spices and leave it in an area mice might show up.

A couple options we haven’t yet tried, but have received comments from fellow RVers that these work. It may be worth giving one of these a try:

  • Fresh Cab botanical rodent repellent uses Balsam Fir oil to repel the mice. Based on customer reviews, it either works great, or not at all.
  • Grandpa Gus’s Mouse Repellent pouches include cinnamon and peppermint oils
Tips for Keeping Mice Out of Your RV


Let’s give a shout out to Tom who submitted his recommendation to pouring Simple Green around any areas that come into contact with the ground. Spray some on your tires and jacks.

His comment reminds me of when I had to fight off the chipmunks. They were scurrying into the detached garage and making a fine home in the engine of our little Audi. I spent so much time trying many different tactics – from moth balls to under the hood ultrasonic deterrents. (Yes, ultrasonic. No, don’t bother.)

It would have been easier to leave the cash in the garage so they could make their nests with the Benjamins. Anyway, now I think back and realize when I started cleaning the garage floor more regularly with something similar to Simple Green (I don’t recall what exactly).

I realize now I don’t think those chipmunks were squirreling about for a while. My ah ha moment is about 5 years too late. Regardless, thanks Tom! We’re packing Simple Green on our next road trip.

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Rodent Repellent Conclusion

If helpful, here are a few quick links to the items mentioned in this article to help rid your rig of the critters. These product links are directed to the Amazon marketplace, which is where we shop most often because of the convenience of free shipping. Of course, you could also buy these things at Home Depot, Lowe’s or your local hardware store.

Best of Luck!

When it comes to keeping your RV free of uninvited guests like mice, an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure!

Do the smart thing and take some action against these pests now, before you are left dealing with their aftermath as we did.


keep mice out of your RV

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    1. Hey Jeff,

      Glad to hear it hit the spot for you. Here’s to some better sleep knowing you will be sleeping “alone”!

      Happy travels!

  1. Irish Spring soap works wonders, the mice do not like the smell so they stay away and the soap makes your camper always smell amazing! I also, keep a small spray bottle of peppermint oil mixed with water, spray around doors and windows,,,no insect nor mice like the smell.

    1. Hi Carolann,

      Thanks for that little tip! That Irish Spring smell always takes me back to childhood memories, so it would be nice to have it around anyway. And you can’t go wrong with peppermint oil!

      Really appreciate you sharing your experience and insight. Happy travels!

    2. Apparently, some rodents like the taste of Irish Spring. We opened our 5th wheel in the the spring to find that they had chewed multiple times into the bars I had left on the counter and bed. Then they had the nerve to poop on the bounce sheet right beside it. I will try the peppermint essential oil this winter and see if that helps deter them.

  2. After repeatedly seeing advice that Irish Spring soap will keep mice away, I put the soap in all my storage compartments in my new RV. Last wi
    Eek while preparing for a trip I found an active mouse nest in one compartment. The chunk of Irish Sring in the area had been partially eaten by the mouse. Perhaps after 6 months the soap had lost some potency, but now I am trying moth balls along with additional effort to seal things up better.

    1. Well that sounds like a real blast, Dan! My goodness, sorry you are dealing with that mess.

      I am curious whether that soap does have a “shelf life” as you suggested. I can’t really say from personal experience, but I hope your new solution works well!

      Happy travels, Dan.

  3. Hi there from Australia, DownUnder! I haven’t heard of Irish Spring soap here, so what does it smell like and what might be a good substitute. I have just despatched a mouse via a spring track – very gruesome all that writhing about!! Now I am wondering if there are more members of his family…. Tell me more about this soap…..please!

  4. I have had good luck when storing the rv for the winter with laying dryer sheets all around the camper. I guess they don’t like the smell of them either. Easy, nontoxic, cheap.

    1. @Julie, and you can use the dryer sheets to scrub off any soap residue. I use it on my
      Bathtub. Easy

      1. Interesting tip, Debbie, thanks!
        In addition to mice, we hear fresh Bounce sheets repel mosquitos. Our friends put dryer sheets in their pockets when they go hiking and it seems to work.

  5. Thank you for the article! We had a similar situation buying a camper only to discover it had been home to mouse visitors. They had got into the walls of the oven to use as their bathroom, so when we took apart the oven we found a mouse poop brownie. They also made several nests between this plastic shroud covering the underbelly of the camper. We are still working on eliminating that horrid musty smell, hopefully once we get all the nests out of the underbelly we will be on our way! I’m dousing the camper in peppermint oil and will be using lights in all the dark places when we store it this winter!

    1. Hi Heidi! So glad to hear the post was helpful for you.

      We wish you the best as you deal with that seriously pesky (and stinky) problem. Be sure and come back to share any more tips you learn along the way!


    2. @Heidi Adamko, When we stored our one year old RV and found mouse droppings, I put sticky traps in areas of mice droppings. The next day I checked the traps and found the mouse along with a black snake. Yikes. So clean up good after finding mice for snakes will smell the trail. Steal wool works well inside the RV but will rust outside underneath the RV. I’ll fill those holes with foam. Nasty critters.

  6. Well written post. Very informative.
    I’ve heard Irish Springs bar soap deters mice. Haven’t tried but planning on it.
    We did have hornets enter our furnace exhaust and build an enormous nest in the air conditioning unit. We learned that steel wool works well to keep them out.
    Thank you for the post. I’m definitely saving this one.

  7. Thanks for the tips my trailer has been sitting for 2 years in the states due to covid got it home and was full now to clean up after the critter.

    1. Wow Cathy, that does not sound like any fun at all!

      We wish you the best as you tackle that monumental task. Let us know how it goes!

  8. Thanks for such an interesting article. I just purchased a destination RV to put on my daughter’s ten acres. I will take your article to heart and keep unwanted guests out. Thanks again.

  9. Keeping mice out of your RVs what is one of the most important things I read in this article/blog. We have had trouble with mice in our home which is disgusting to deal with not to mention the smell they leave behind to clean.

  10. FRESH CAP is the best, a balsam smell. , I’ve tried everything.
    Irish spring works good for deer.
    I am not profiting, but Fresh Cap is the only think that works for me.
    My friend shares by Red Neck buckets in the belly.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Natalie! Was not aware of that option.

      We all need all the help we can get to win the fight against the critters.

    2. FRESH CAB works really well. Also try pouring a circle of Simple Green cleaner around any part of your RV that has ground contact (jack and tires mostly). Mice seen to hate it and won’t cross the barrier to get in.

      1. Thanks Tom! Such a great idea we updated our post with your suggestion. I hope it helps many more RVers keep the mice out!

  11. I used steel wool to block areas where water lines came in RV the mice chewed the steel wool up, shredded it . 🤷🏻‍♀️

    1. Oh my gosh! Those are some tenacious…and terrifying…mice! Sorry to hear that.

      Hope you don’t cross paths with them again! I know that steel wool trick has worked for many.

    2. @Millie McCabe, I am wondering, did you use the No soap steel wool? Not the dish scrubbers with the blue soap .

    3. @Millie McCabe, We had to upgrade to copper scouring pads, they can’t chew that. We stuff it in all the holes and gaps. If it is a bigger spot, we stuff it with the copper pad and then foam it too.
      We had the awful mouse stink this spring when we opened our travel trailer, found 2 active nests and a ton of activity. We are still cleaning up the mess. They nested under our shower unit, and under the floor where the shower piping runs. Yuck!

  12. Thank you for this article! I’m in the planning stages of buying an rv to live in permanently, so this really helps. I’ve had to deal with mice in my apartment and I know what a hassle it can be. Looking forward to more tips.

    1. We’re happy to hear these tips were helpful. Best of luck as you continue down the path of finding the right RV!

  13. We you something called Grandpa Gus and that seems to work well. We use it in our camper, sheds, garage. I have purchased it from Amazon and Ace Hardware.

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