Why You Can’t Afford to Keep Mice Out of Your Camper
Spring is finally here and it’s camping season!
It seems like winter has lasted forever and I am so ready to return to our camper at our seasonal site for the summer.
I love spending the entire camping season in our travel trailer at our favorite campground with our friends.
It’s always great to see everyone for the first time at the opening of the season. We all meet “up on the hill” and begin taking off the tarps, flushing the water lines and airing out the camper cleaning.
And of course accessing the dreaded mice takeover of our camper over the winter while we were away.
I dislike them. I really do.
I feel like they are so disrespectful. I know they are rodents and they have no concern for respect. But why?
Why do they have to poop EVERYWHERE!
It is so disgusting.
And this is only what I can see. My fingers are always crossed that they haven’t gnawed any electrical wires, burrowed into our cushions or built nests where I can’t find them, but can SMELL them.
This year we found a ginormous nest in our oven! They took the insulation from our walls and built themselves a warm, cozy home!
Besides from just being a complete nuisance I have listed some of the potential dangers to you and your family that mice can cause that you should be aware of.
- Contamination of food and surfaces from urine and droppings.
- Spread bacteria and harmful diseases such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome .
- Chewing holes and damaging walls, furniture and other items in your camper.
- Electrical fire risk if wires or electrical equipment have been gnawed on.
So what do we do to protect our families and ourselves from disease, destruction and risk possible fire?
Don’t want to give up camping?
Here’s what you need to do when you have mice in your camper.
Clean up Mice Droppings and Urine
People can contract Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome by breathing in Hantaviruses so it is extremely important to air out the space that you found the mouse droppings for at least 30 minutes before you begin cleaning.
I have added a video so that you can can have more info on the Hantavirus: How it’s contracted, symptoms and how you can prevent infection.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following procedure for cleaning mouse dropping and urine.
- Wear protective gloves either rubber, vinyl or late.
- Use a disinfectant or a mixture of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water and spray the droppings and urine and let soak for 5 minutes (do not vacuum or sweep the droppings as you will stir up the dust and risk breathing it in).
- Use a paper towel to wipe up the droppings and urine that have been pre-soaked with disinfectant and dispose in the garbage.
- Spray the surfaces again with disinfect, mop floors and shampoo furniture and carpets.
Not all mice carry Hantavirus but it is better to take extra precautions when cleaning up droppings and urine.
But how do we keep them out in the first place?
I have found that there is no one tried and true solution but I have found a few ways that help deter them. I also included some suggestions from fellow campers that have tried some other methods that have worked for them.
Keeping the Mice Out
When we first open our camper I always come armed with a few basic necessities. One being Fresh Cab. Not only does this stuff help keep the mice away but it smells nice.
The fresh cedar smell helps get rid of that musty camper smell. You know the one I am talking about.
Once the power is turned back on and we have done our safety check the Ultrasonic Plug plugged in.
This device is supposed to use ultrasonic technology to keeps mice, spiders and mosquitos away. They work by emitting a high pitched sound that irritates them so they stay out of your space. Good thing is it is totally safe for humans and pets and is a chemical free alternative.
Bounce Dryer Sheets are another one of my favorites.
They are inexpensive, smell wonderful and seem to work well in cabinets.
The only disadvantage is that I have to replace them about once a month. But like I said they are an inexpensive solution.
Peppermint Oil and Cotton Balls also work great. I tend to use this when we are closing up the camper for the winter.
You just put a few drops of peppermint oil on each cotton ball and put them everywhere. I probably do about 100 of these when closing up.
Our neighbor uses this method all coming season and has had great results. He doesn’t do 100 cotton balls (way to pepperminty and it will keep even you out of your camper) but puts a few in the areas where mice would tend to be like under the sink, storage compartments, etc.
I have talked with several campers that recommend Irish Spring Soap. And I have talked to several campers that dislike it.
I haven’t tried it myself but is you would like to check out some thoughts on it click the link to myusefulideas.com.
Moth balls can be thrown underneath your camper and will keep mice and other rodents.
I am not a fan of the smell of moth balls. Yes, they are very affordable and some people have had luck with using them. But they contain the chemical Naphthalene and can cause adverse health effects with high exposure.
The National Pesticide Center states that mothballs slowly turn from solid to a vapor, the smell is the insectiscide that you are breathing in.
According to WebMD naphthalene can cause symptoms of headache, nausea, dizziness and difficulty breathing. And exposure to high amounts of naphthalene can potentially damage or destroy red blood cells causing hemolytic anemia.
Good old fashioned steel wool is my favorite for blocking up holes that they have chewed or small spaces that mice can potentially come into my camper.
Mice hate this stuff and won’t touch it. It’s very affordable and easy to use. Just stuff it in the hole. Done.
We had a hole in our bedroom wall. At some point, who knows when but one of those little buggers burrowed through our wall. My husband stuffed a piece of steel wool in there and they have stayed away from thet hole.
Now, what they did do was move about 2 inches over and made another hole!
So we stuffed that with steel wool and so far so good.
The final product I am going to mention is Diatomaceous Earth mixed with essential oils.
I have not tried this and neither has any of our camping friends but I have read on several blogs and forums that this stuff has had great results.
The Diatomaceous Earth is super absorbant is supposed to hold onto the smell of the essential oils longer that a cotton ball.
I grabbed the “recipe” of making it from DiatomaceousEarth.com and I think I am going to try it.
Here’s the “recipe”.
- 1 cup food grade diatomaceous earth
- 1/8 cup water
- 2-3 drops essential oil
- A container to store your essential oil infused Diatomaceous Earth
Mix together the essential oil and water. Slowly add the food grade Diatomaceous Earth to the water/oil mixture. Stir until completely moistened. Once fully moist place in a container.
Place the container where you suspect mice are in your camper.
This mixture won’t harm the mice but they dislike the smell and will leave the area.
Nobody like mice in there camper. Not just because they can cause expensive damage when they chew holes in walls and furniture but also can potentially put you and your family in danger if a fire is caused from mice chewing electrical equipment and wires.
Also, they contaminate surfaces with their droppings and urine possibly putting you at risk for Hantavirus.
Since I don’t want to get sick or have my camper damaged I usually go over the top and use several of the recommendation for keeping them out of my RV.
What do you use to keep mice out of your camper?