The Secret to Keeping Mice out of Your RV or Home
Sound asleep on our 3rd night in Wisconsin, and less than 2 weeks into our full-time RV adventure, 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.
Update: We are super excited to have teamed up with my family to create Grandpa’s Good Earth 100% Peppermint Oil, which is now available! This is the same peppermint oil we use almost daily since it has so many incredible benefits. Click here to order!
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.
I’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.
We have a mouse…how to get rid of it?
Check out our video covering the beginning of our mouse problem:
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 backup 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 number of droppings we found we knew we had to do something before the damage created ended up being expensive.
Mouse Trap Alternatives
Some of the non-toxic, mouse trap alternatives we considered using were:
- Bounce Sheets
- Irish Spring (Bar of Soap)
- Steel Wool (covering holes that mice can get through, they don’t like the metal)
- Covering existing holes with metal material or Aluminum Foil (basically blocking passage)
- Moth Balls
- Wall Plug-ins (Rodent Repellent)
- Fresh Cab (Rodent Repellent)
- Peppermint Oil (Is known for repelling rodents naturally)
Bounce Sheets, Irish Spring, and Steel Wool … FAILED
At this point, we decided to try what we had on hand or could easily access from the local store. If you had walked into our RV you would have laughed at the bounce sheets and Irish Spring Soap we had randomly scattered about. We also placed steel wool in open crevices and even added a few mouse traps just in case.
The problem was that our deterrent options weren’t working and instead we were catching a mouse or two just about every 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 considered using mothballs but really didn’t want our RV to have that unpleasant smell and were about to order Fresh Cab or the plug-ins when Katie mentioned trying Peppermint Essential Oil first.
Back when we were in Georgia she had scattered cotton balls with mint oil around the RV as a mouse deterrent, after reading about it in an RV forum. 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.
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 offseason. 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.
First attempt at using Mint Oil to deter mice from entering our RV
Check out our 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.
- Cotton Balls
- 100% Pure Peppermint Oil
- Measuring Cup (optional) – I used this to figure out how much we were using (3oz)
Essential Oils are highly concentrated and should always be used with caution and handled with care. Keep away from children and pets and be sure to reference dilution ratios for proper safety measures.
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.
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.
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…
3 cotton balls in the water/electrical basement compartment…
1 cotton ball by front driver’s side tire…
1 cotton ball by front passenger’s side tire…
1 cotton ball near the engine, through the front hood…
2 cotton balls in lower kitchen cabinets…
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 Peppermint 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 because 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 as we do.
It doesn’t matter that we have food in our RV though, because we have our shield up, and that shield is 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.
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 or place it around enough areas. Since our second round of adding mint oil throughout our RV, we’ve been mice free!
You can read my other post, how to naturally deter mice with Peppermint Essential Oil over on the GGE website, that dives deeper into why this works, along with cotton ball alternative solutions.
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.