The Secret to Keeping Mice out of Your RV or Home

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The Secret to Keeping Mice out of Your RV or Home

Sound asleep on our 3rd night in Wisconsin I’m quickly awakened by a nudge from Katie. Trying to get my senses fully together she asks, “Do you hear that?”. Rubbing my eyes while still half asleep my ears perk up. I hear it. From the wall past the foot of our bed the gnawing sound is clear. I get up making my way over to the wall and give it a tap, the noise stops. Thinking I have scared whatever it was away I lay back down. The problem is I didn’t scare it away, I just made it pause for a second. Again I tap, then again and again.

That’s the story of how we first experienced our mouse problem. And it was only the beginning. However, there is good news because we now know the secret to keeping mice out of our RV.

For those that are new here you can read more about us and our RV adventure here, or view our most recent RV tour. This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure here.

Looking for mouse trap alternatives? We've tried several "natural" remedies but have finally discovered The Secret to keeping mice out of our RV. MountainModernLife.comI’m not sure if you have ever dealt with a mouse problem in your home or RV, but below I’ll highlight how our story unfolded as well as what we used to keep the mice out in the first place.

The Secret to Keeping Mice Out of Our RV

When Katie and I first brought our RV home while still living in Atlanta, one of the first things Katie brought up was how we were going to keep mice out of the RV. She had been spending a lot of time in RV forums and this was apparently a hot topic. Personally I didn’t think it was that big of a deal especially where we were located. I mean I hadn’t seen a single mouse in the 2 and 1/2 years we lived there.

Regardless, we decided to try some of the more “natural’ remedies to keep mice out of the RV.  This included putting Irish Spring soap bars and bounce sheets throughout the motorhome. We also plugged any openings we could find with steel wool. I think it also helped that Katie’s mom had an indoor/outdoor cat that loved to hang out around the RV when Katie and I were over there working in it.

With that said we found no signs of mice the entire time we were renovating the RV, which we were thrilled about. Then it came time to hit the road.

Before we took off we ended up picking up all of the Irish Spring, bounce sheets, and steel wool so that it wasn’t sliding around as we were driving.

When we arrived at our first destination in Ohio, I didn’t even think about setting everything back up to keep out the mice because there were a lot of other things going on that day. We didn’t take any precautions while in Ohio, but things turned out ok as we didn’t have any mouse activity.

Fast forward 5 days and we are all set up in Wisconsin trying to become accustomed to living in the RV, when the night mentioned above happened.

Obviously, our cats are fired and it turns out their “play mice” training didn’t work out.

Apparently our cats would rather sleep than catch mice

We have a mouse…Now how to get rid of it?

Check out our video covering the beginning of our mouse problem: 

The next morning after hearing the gnawing sound we decided to try many of the different mouse deterrents we had tried while in Georgia. The first thing we did was put bounce sheets in all of the openings we could find, both in the basement storage as well as in the cabinets in the RV. We also placed Irish Spring in the cabinets of the RV.

Now it was time to wait and see what happened… it wasn’t good.

The very next morning I went to throw something in the trashcan and noticed mouse droppings in the cabinet underneath the kitchen sink. If that wasn’t enough, Katie ended up finding mouse droppings in the other lower kitchen cabinets, which held some of our dishes. GROSS!

As if that wasn’t enough, there were mouse droppings throughout the bathroom as well. We had extra toilet paper stashed in the lower bathroom drawer but the tp was shredded and there was crap all over it. At least they used the toilet paper, haha.

At that moment we decided we needed to have a back up plan in case none of these mice deterrent options worked, so I headed to the store and picked up a few traditional mouse traps.

Getting the traditional mouse traps wasn’t something we wanted to do. Our main objective was to keep them out in the first place so we wouldn’t have to catch them. But with the amount of droppings we found we knew we had to do something before the damage created ended up being expensive.

Bounce Sheets, Irish Spring, and Steel Wool – FAILED US

At this point, we have tried bounce sheets, steel wool, and Irish Spring spread throughout the RV along with multiple mouse traps. The problem was that our deterrent options weren’t working, we began catching a mouse everyday or every other day. It became so consistent that my first task every morning became checking the basement storage and lower cabinets in order to make sure we didn’t have a mouse trapped.

We were constantly looking for new solutions to keep them out and considered using moth balls or Fresh cab. Then Katie remembered that while we were in Georgia she had also scattered cotton balls with mint oil around the RV as a mouse deterrent. We obviously tried several tactics while in Georgia so we weren’t sure what (if anything) worked, so we figured we would give the peppermint oil a try.

Looking for mouse trap alternatives? We've tried several "natural" remedies but have finally discovered The Secret to keeping mice out of our RV. MountainModernLife.com

Luckily for Us My Family has Farmed Mint Since 1953

Why we hadn’t thought of this earlier I will never know. But, we were in the perfect place to get 100% Pure Peppermint Oil, my family’s farm. You see my family has been harvesting mint oil since 1953, so we knew we would be getting the good stuff.

I spoke with my grandpa and he told me he had used mint oil to keep mice out of his snowmobiles, four wheelers, and an older vehicle that stays in storage. My uncle had also used it to protect some of the farm equipment throughout the off season. So, with my grandpa and uncle’s seal of approval I walked next door to my uncle’s house to grab some mint oil we could use in the RV :).

Looking for mouse trap alternatives? We've tried several "natural" remedies but have finally discovered The Secret to keeping mice out of our RV. MountainModernLife.com

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Mouse Trap Alternatives

Thanks to everyone who offered up suggestions on our Youtube channel. Forget about Mouse Traps, have you tried any of these Solutions? We’ve already tried several of these, but would love to hear about your experiences.

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First attempt at using Mint Oil to deter mice from entering our RV

Check out or video that highlights the results from the first attempt along with the plan moving forward:

Once we collected some mint oil in a jar, we had to figure out the best way to disburse it around the RV.  border-mml-05

The Secret to Keeping Mice Out of Our RV

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In order to accomplish this task we decided to use cotton balls that would soak up a good amount of the mint oil and then place them in all the openings we could find. I made sure each cotton ball was soaked halfway with the peppermint oil.

Looking for mouse trap alternatives? We've tried several "natural" remedies but have finally discovered The Secret to keeping mice out of our RV. MountainModernLife.com

Looking for mouse trap alternatives? We've tried several "natural" remedies but have finally discovered The Secret to keeping mice out of our RV. MountainModernLife.com

Under our RV (2008 Tiffin Allegro Open Road 32LA) there were 3 basement storage sections that seemed to have openings. But the main two that were getting mice were the water/electrical compartment and the dumping station compartment.

Looking for mouse trap alternatives? We've tried several "natural" remedies but have finally discovered The Secret to keeping mice out of our RV. MountainModernLife.com

Looking for mouse trap alternatives? We've tried several "natural" remedies but have finally discovered The Secret to keeping mice out of our RV. MountainModernLife.com

In each compartment that had an opening we placed 3 cotton balls, with the exception of the water/electrical compartment, where I only used one.

True confession, I messed this part up on our first attempt. I was getting low on the mint oil in my container, but had already put the cotton balls everywhere else, so in the last compartment (water/electrical) I just used what I had left versus my 3 cotton balls per compartment theory.

We also placed cotton balls near the front wheels, by the engine through the front opening, and in the lower bathroom and kitchen cabinets.

Then we waited.

Every morning I would continue the same routine of checking the basement areas and under the sinks for mice, and to my surprise there were none.

That is, until the 5th day 🙁

On the fifth day, we caught a mouse in the water/electrical basement compartment, you know, the one that I decided would be fine with just the one cotton ball. Go figure.

Let’s do this again…

Check out our update video for after the 2nd test.

 This second time around we used the same amount of mint oil (3oz) and soaked each cotton ball halfway (12 cotton balls total).

Where we placed the cotton balls soaked in mint oil:

In the pictures below you may see more cotton balls than mentioned, that is because I left the ones from the first application.

3 cotton balls in the dumping basement compartment…

Looking for mouse trap alternatives? We've tried several "natural" remedies but have finally discovered The Secret to keeping mice out of our RV. MountainModernLife.com

3 cotton balls in the water/electrical basement compartment…

Looking for mouse trap alternatives? We've tried several "natural" remedies but have finally discovered The Secret to keeping mice out of our RV. MountainModernLife.com

1 cotton ball by front driver’s side tire…

Looking for mouse trap alternatives? We've tried several "natural" remedies but have finally discovered The Secret to keeping mice out of our RV. MountainModernLife.com

1 cotton ball by front passenger’s side tire…

Looking for mouse trap alternatives? We've tried several "natural" remedies but have finally discovered The Secret to keeping mice out of our RV. MountainModernLife.com

1 cotton ball near the engine, through the front hood…

Looking for mouse trap alternatives? We've tried several "natural" remedies but have finally discovered The Secret to keeping mice out of our RV. MountainModernLife.com

2 cotton balls in lower kitchen cabinets…

Looking for mouse trap alternatives? We've tried several "natural" remedies but have finally discovered The Secret to keeping mice out of our RV. MountainModernLife.com

We also dropped 1 cotton ball  into the lower bathroom cabinet, but it went into a floor opening so we don’t have any pictures :(.

I also made sure that this time the water/electrical basement compartment got the same treatment as the rest of the RV. Now I can confidently say that we’ve found the secret to keeping mice out of our RV. Since the second application, and since writing this post, we have gone 12 days without any mouse activity. No droppings, no shredded paper, and none caught.

I’ll call that a victory.

Is it the Mint Oil?

After we had success with the first attempt we were pretty excited. But after the second application and going 12 days strong without any mice activity, I find myself asking is it truly the mint oil?

I find that question coming into my head because I’ve heard of a ton of remedies, but with every solution there are people that say it worked and others that say the same thing didn’t work. The natural thing to do is question success and find the root cause.

Well, I can honestly say that we are keeping mice out of our RV because of the Mint Oil we put out. The reason I say that is becaue we are parked on a grain farm, and grain farms attract mice, it’s just what they do.

Another reason is that since we’ve placed the mint oil in our RV the mouse activity around our RV has remained consistent. For instance, the shop we are parked 3 feet from has mice, I’ve seen them. In fact Katie saw 2 in the shop just yesterday. The other barns holding equipment around our RV also have mice, and they don’t have food in them like we do.

It doesn’t matter that we have food in our RV though, because we have our shield up, and that shield is made of the wonderful smelling 100% pure peppermint oil. It doesn’t hurt that it smells good too 🙂

I hope you found this information helpful, and if you are dealing with a mouse problem I truly hope this will help get them out of your home and back wherever they came from.

We’ll continue to update this post with how long the mint oil is preventing mice from entering our RV, and how often we need to replace the cotton balls, so be sure to check back.

Looking for mouse trap alternatives? We've tried several "natural" remedies but have finally discovered The Secret to keeping mice out of our RV. MountainModernLife.com

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Our main tip when it comes to using mint oil to deter mice is to make sure you use enough. From what we read (and experienced the first time around), those that didn’t find success using it didn’t use enough. Since our second round of adding mint oil throughout our RV, we’ve been mice free 🙂thin-border-mountainmodernlife-com

Have you had a mouse problem in your home or RV? If so, how did you handle it? We would love to hear about your experiences, including any with mint oil in the comments below.

You can find all of our RV-related posts here.

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11 Comments
  • Kathe
    Reply

    I use mint oil on cotton balls in our house and it has helped tremendously. I put the cotton ball on a small square of aluminum foil to protect the floors, carpet, cabinet shelves and then use a dropper to drop 5 or 6 drops of oil on the cotton ball. I also put mint oil in water into a spray bottle and spray that around the outside of the house. We had a big problem with mice when we bought the house and we did use poison at first, but have since switched to the oil and, like you, we see no droppings anymore. Yay! I will say that the oil will make my sinuses burn a little when I first refresh the cotton balls with the oil, but it’s worth it to keep those little buggers out.

    September 17, 2016 at 10:57 am
  • Kim Rowell
    Reply

    A side benefit – ants don’t like the mint, either. We had an ant problem in our second home, and we used a barrier of mint oil around the cabinet that holds our trash can. You can even buy mint scented trash bags to keep mice away and we used those for our ant issue, too. I’m so glad you found this solution!

    September 17, 2016 at 11:32 am
  • Thanks for the tip! We have found success with the steel wool but didn’t stay in one area long enough to truly test the product. I’ll have to share this with a friend also who just so happens to love peppermint oil anyway for other remedies ! Thanks again ! We are new full timers and feel like sponges soaking up all the knowledge !

    September 24, 2016 at 8:10 pm
  • Kristen
    Reply

    Curious how this works in a winterized RV? Does the oil soaked cotton ball freeze and become ineffective?

    December 2, 2016 at 10:17 am
  • Sharon Bowerman
    Reply

    We got a single mouse while camped out in New Mexico, which is how I found your videos. It seems he didn’t stick around for very long so no troubles there.

    We are now parked for repairs and upgrades in a yard where squirrels are active. One vehicle engine has already been chewed up, and we cannot afford for that to happen to us! Do you think the mint oil would be effective in keeping out other rodent-like critters?

    April 11, 2017 at 1:33 pm
    • I can’t say from experience, but I did a quick google search and it looks like mint oil should deter squirrels as well. It definitely did wonders for us and we’ve also had success with Fresh Cab, Those are the only two products that worked for us, so we highly recommend trying them out. Whatever you use, we’d love to hear the results!

      Katie

      April 23, 2017 at 2:49 pm
  • Brad Downs
    Reply

    Irish spring is a big joke all the mice did was eat it and poop white poop all over it area it was. We used the ultrasonic pest repellant this year inside and no mice inside. Only mice in the engine compartment where we put the Irish spring soap..
    I’m thinking where something worked for some but not others might be a regional thing. All depending on what the mice like or dislike. Our area we have both mice and Vols seems to be different things that have worked or not worked around our home even good mouser cats. So far the best for both have been the ultrasonic pest repellant

    April 20, 2017 at 8:25 am
    • Hahaha, that sucks but is kind of funny. The Irish Spring didn’t work for us either. We haven’t tried the ultrasonic repellant before but it’s good to know it worked for you, so we’ll definitely have to try that out sometime. So far, we’re happy with the mint oil or using fresh cab when we run out of mint, but I think you’re right about mice reacting differently to different solutions depending on the location they’re in.

      Katie

      April 23, 2017 at 3:25 pm

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