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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!


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.

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

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…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 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.

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

Mouse Trap Alternatives

Some of the non-toxic, mouse trap alternatives we considered using were:

Bounce Sheets, Irish Spring, and Steel Wool … FAILED

At this point, we decided to try what we had on hand or could easily access it 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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.comLooking 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.

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

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.

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.comadditional tips

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.

Where to buy Peppermint Oil

2019 Update: We’re are super excited to have teamed up with my family to create, Grandpa’s Good Earth 100% Peppermint Oil! You can get it here or by clicking the image below.

Grandpa's Good Earth Peppermint Oil

The Secret to Keeping Mice out of Your RV or Home

45 Comments

  1. 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.

    1. It is such a good feeling to know the little buggers aren’t cruising around behind the scenes anymore. I can understand the oil burning the sinuses a little when you first put it down, I know I can smell the mint really strong when I first put it down. Though I think I am a little immune to the sinuses burning because I grew up with the mint being distilled right next door ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. 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!

    1. Thank you Kim, we are really glad we found it as well! I didn’t know it helped with the ants as well, all though I have to say I think the amount of insects in our RV has dropped since we began using the mint oil!

  3. 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 !

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

    1. Hey Kristen, I can’t say 100% as to how it works in a winterized RV as we have run out of the mint oil haha. But I know that 100% mint oil should not freeze because there is not water in it. My grandpa has been using mint oil to protect his snowmobiles over the last few winters and has had great success, I hope this helps.

  5. 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?

    1. 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

  6. 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

    1. 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

    2. Yup, they ate ours too, lol, so looking for better ideas and the main CONSENSUS online is Peppermint Oil.

    1. Would like to know the answer as well to Megan C’s. question on how long this treatment lasts and how ofter you need to apply fresh mint oil?

      1. Hey Sheri and Megan, we tried it with various amounts for different time frames. The best results happened during our last attempt which had one application lasting about three weeks. Though we started applying it every two weeks just for good measure. The best advice I can give for getting more out of your oil is to test it a few different times and find which spots the mice are actually able to get into your coach. That way you are using less oil and cotton balls for longer periods of time. Anyway I hope this helps, Best Wishes, Eric

    1. Hey Lisa Harris, we tried it with various amounts for different time frames. The best results happened during our last attempt which had one application lasting about three weeks. Though we started applying it every two weeks just for good measure. The best advice I can give for getting more out of your oil is to test it a few different times and find which spots the mice are actually able to get into your coach through. That way you are using less oil and cotton balls for longer periods of time. Anyway I hope this helps, Best Wishes, Eric

  7. Peppermint is rather expensive to use as I have only essential oils on hand, is there a generic mint oil that is as effective and not so spendy?

    1. Hey Denise sorry for the delayed response, but you’re right with it being rather expensive in the little bottles. If you look online at say amazon you should be able to find more bulk options, which will end up being a little bit less expensive. Anyway, I hope this helps and let us know what you find ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I’ve also read that planting mint might help as well. We are currently dealing with a mouse problem and are going to try the mint/cotton balls next weekend. This weekend we used rodent foam to fill in holes, set some traps and placed some fresh cab throughout the trailer.

    1. I think that’s a great approach Paula and I’ve heard the same about the plants themselves. I’ve heard that the mint is great at keeping the rodents out (worked for us) but might not be as effective at getting them out once their in. We kind of took the same approach by trying to clean them out then keep them out. Make sure to let us know how it all goes ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I spray the frame of my RV with black Hypertech OBR oil based rustproofing. Last for years. No ants, spyders, mice, squirrels, chipmunks. I did mine and about 20 others at the camping and problem solved for everyone. Don’t forget top of axles and top of waste pipes.

  10. Good day
    Is mint oil and peppermint oil the same thing or different and is one more effective .
    Thank You
    John

    1. Hey John, There are a couple different types of mint oil, spearmint and peppermint. We’ve only used peppermint for deterring the mice! I’m not sure that spearmint has the same effect but I haven’t tried it! I think if you’re looking to try this approach you should look to purchase 100% peppermint oil. We are actually in the process of bringing to market the peppermint oil from my family’s farm, I think we should have it available within the next month. That peppermint oil will be the exact same that we use. Anyway, I hope this was helpful but let me know if you have any other questions, best wishes, Eric

  11. Hey eric!

    Great job, great write up and great details on this man we sure appreciate all the time and headaches you’ve saved us!

    Please do let me know when you have the peppermint oil from your family’s farm so I can grab some.

    thanks again!

    jamie s

    1. Hey Jamie, thanks so much, I’m glad it was helpful! We are so close to having it up and ready but at the same time so far haha, isn’t that the way it goes. Anyway, it shouldn’t be longer than a month or two as we are going to be meeting with my family within the next 3 to 4 weeks. I’ll keep you posted ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Hello, Please put me on your mailing list, and let me know when you are ready to market your peppermint oil.
    I have been battling a little speedy Gonzales for weeks NOw.
    I am roughing it my 5th wheel for the winter in new York, and so is speedy!!!!
    I won’t be happy if MRs. Speedy shows up and starts to surprise Speedy with little speedies!!!!
    Every night… chomp, chomp, chomp… in the ceiling right above my head.
    Tried fresh cab… They pooped right ON it.
    Tried peppermint oil, but perhaps not enough, as I had no burning sensation in the olfactory.
    I’m tempted to get a mouse house like you would by at outsmart for a domestic pet… And make it so inviting that speedy and any and all siblings and friends would move into it… And then shut the door as quick as I can, and give them to the neighbor kids as pets!!!
    Well, it’s a thought.

    I will try the peppermint again, stronger this time.
    And I hope to buy yours when you are ready to sell.

    Thanks for the info,
    Christina

    1. Hey Christina I’m sorry to hear you have a Mrs. Speedy in your 5th Wheel, they can be so frustrating. The mint oil should be ready to be purchased within the next month or two, we are so close just have to make sure everything is in line first :). If you want you can go here – http://grandpasgoodearth.com/ – and enter your email address. I’m going to be sending out an update to subscribers within the next couple of weeks. Back to your mouse problem, what we’ve found is that a lot of time once they’re already in the rig it can be difficult for things like freshcab and mint oil to get them to leave. I’m no mouse psychologist haha but I think it’s because they’re already in and feel the warmth so they choose to deal with the smell, though if they haven’t come in they’ll stay away because they don’t know the advantages of being inside :). With that said, you may want to take an approach to remove Mrs. Speedy then try and keep the Freshcab or mint oil up so they don’t come back in. Anyway I hope this helps but let me know if you have any other questions, and also let me know how it all goes, I know they can be such a pain.

  13. I remember my dad said to always plant mint by the fence. he would pluck a leaf and put it in his mouth. Just a nice memory, thanks! Mary

  14. I’ve read where peppermint plants or maybe it’s oil, deters snakes. Had plants around the house outside – never saw a snake. I did however see spiders. Perhaps I would have to spray or use cottonballs. I am now attempting to keep mice out of my travel trailer. Thanks for sharing with us.

    1. Yikes, glad to hear it keeps snakes away too! I have a new appreciation for peppermint, where before I only used it during the holidays. Now I keep a small bottle in my purse for when I feel a headache coming on. Mother Nature is pretty amazing!

  15. I must say I have tried so many different , supposed to work , ideas and last winter I tried the mint oil. Last year was the first year in many I had no mice dropping in my rv drawers or anywhere in the rv. I will update next year but feel confident it will be a mouse free winter again !

    1. That’s awesome to hear! We were really happy – and honestly surprised – when the mint oil worked for us. Now it’s our go-to method.

  16. We found the peppermint with Cotton ball remedy last year after HAVing these pest in our 5th wheel. It has been a success since. We found out how well after we came back From Florida in this year and fail to put the peppermint out for a week. Yes We had mice AGain. As soon as we put the cotton ball with peppermint out We’ve had no Visitors. Thank you for HELPING to spread this successful remedy for keeping mice out of RVs

  17. I have mice in my walls in my 5th wheel but I also have a cat and I have heard that peppermint smell can kill a cat with prolonged use. Somnething on the line of breathing issues turned pneumonia. Not sure what to do but I need to do somthing fast. I hear them running around up above me in between my roof and ceiling. I have put sleel mesh over all my duct and vent covers but want them out. But I dont want to kill my cat.

    1. Hey Amy, I’m sorry you’re dealing with this problem it can be such a pain ๐Ÿ™ with that said I think it’s important to not use an approach that makes you uncomfortable or worries you, especially when dealing with fur babies. You could maybe try some of the peppermint oil in the basement storage areas where your cat wouldn’t be able to smell it, or since the mice are already in you may want to try traps. There are ones that will kill the mice but there are also traps that will catch them so you can take them back out into nature. But I think the first step would be to use something in order to remove the mice, generally, peppermint oil will help keep mice from entering but can sometimes not intice them to leave if they’ve already set up a home. Anyway, I hope this helps and let us know what you come up with and how it works.

    1. Hey Laura, it depends but toward the end of our trials we were getting about 3 weeks without any signs of mice before having to reapply. I’d say if you’re just starting out with it you should probably check them every week to start. We did find we were able to get more out of the mint oil once we figured out where the openings were for the mice to get in. Anyway I hope this helps but please feel free to let me know if I can clarify anything further ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Hi Eric
    We are having a big problem with rats in our RV. We have an electronic trap under the sink and that is killing them but we want to keep them from getting in. We have plugged up what holes we think they were getting in but they keep coming. Do you thing the oil will work for rats?

    1. Hey Ann, I’m so sorry for the delayed response things have been crazy over here, which I’m sure you know based on the problem you’re dealing with. To be honest I haven’t personally dealt with rats but I did a bit of research when I noticed your comment and it seems from what I read that the peppermint oil has the same effect on rats as it does on mice. I think it may be a good approach to give it a try. Once you get the peppermint oil in place, I’d keep all of the other traps you have in place and working. Then after a few days, you should see a decrease in how many rats you’re removing. Anyway, I really hope this helps and please let us know how it works out if you guys end up giving the peppermint oil a try.

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