How Do I Keep Mice Out of My Camper?

I’m going to say something none of you want to hear, know or admit.  It’s about your camper. Here it goes – mice WILL get in.

The trick is to keep your camper in a state that encourages mice to just pass through.  The same goes for squirrels, rats and chipmunks, etc..  If you have any of these rodents in your area, they will come in.  Your camper has a ton of entry points and mice can fit through spaces that are so thin or small it boggles the mind if you witness it. The reason they will come in? Your camper provides shelter.  

But there is good news. And the good news is that they need more than shelter. They need food, water and nesting material.  If you remove those things they will just keep moving along and you won’t have horrifying damage to your beloved camper from them.

There are two things that keep rodents interested in staying inside your camper, thus increasing the possibility of real, big, long-term damage.  Food and bedding/nesting material.  

Food is the most important! Now I know what you’re going to say – “Geez Laura, I’m not stupid enough to leave food in my camper!”  HAHA Trust me, I know that, but what we often don’t think of is how many times did your 3 year old slide his fingers across the fronts of cabinets, grab the drawer handles or really anything else they can reach during or immediately after eating a sucker, ice cream, s’mores, hot dogs, or any other sticky, sugary, oily, slimy, yummy mouse goodness?  Phew, that was a long sentence.  My point is your countertops, tables, chairs and floors are just the beginning. If you want them to leave, you MUST wipe all surfaces down.  Also, check any floor vents you have.  Your floor vents collect food and crumbs that hit the floor and become a veritable smorgasbord.

There are things other than food you should avoid if you want to make sure the rodents party at your neighbors camper instead of yours.

  1. Lemon scented cleaning wipes.  While I’m only deducing and not using actual proof, I always clean with a sponge and good old fashioned soapy hot water.  The one year the water was shut off before I got all my cleaning done, I used lemon scented Lysol cleaning wipes and wiped down all the surfaces.  In the Spring there was a ton of mouse droppings and dried urine all over the counters – only the counters I used those wipes on.  Luckily, again, they didn’t stay because while they may have been drawn in by the shelter and possibly the scent of the wipes, they had nothing else left behind to sustain them through a below zero winter.  
  2. Anti-freeze.  Anti-freeze smells and tastes sweet and absolutely attracts animals of all shapes and sizes.  I’m not saying don’t use it at all.  I know many of you use it to winterize your campers.  We prefer blowing out our lines and use as little anti-freeze as possible, but we typically wind up carefully pouring some into sink drains to get to the p-traps.
  3. So-called deterrents. Be careful when listening to “advice” from well-intentioned family members and, even strangers. Some of the things that people say will deter pests not only don’t work but can have the opposite effect. Irish Spring bar soap comes to mind first because mice eat it. Don’t believe me? Google it and you will find image after image of mouse-eaten Irish Spring soap. I dropped some of my own below just for you. 🙂

I think we can all agree it doesn’t make sense to try something that the mice will actually use for food or to try something just because someone says “I’ve never had an issue”. Same goes for bounce dryer sheets and peppermint oil on cotton swabs. These things do not deter mice or any other rodents for that matter. I’ve seen neighbors use dryer sheets and wind up taking pictures of them covered in mouse droppings and urine and some shredded to use as bedding.

What I’m preaching here is do what you can to keep them out in the first place because the deterrents that are commonly spoken about don’t work. Don’t throw your money away.

I know not everyone is going to like what I’ve had to say here and some are going to say “I’ve used Irish Spring (or dryer sheets, etc.) and never had a problem.” But that’s my point – you NEVER had a problem. I can tell you what no one is going to say…no one is going to say “I had this mouse problem and I laid out Irish Spring bar soap all over they went away.” LOL If you “never had a problem” it’s cause you never had a problem, not cause you put out dryer sheets and peppermint oil. In fact, if you never had a problem it’s probably because you’ve done a darn good job at cleaning your camper. 🙂

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