You want your RV to stay in good condition as long as possible, right? That means regular maintenance, cleaning -- the whole nine yards. Well, it might seem obvious that normal wear and tear can damage your RV after years of use.
But what about damage when you?re not even using it? There are many things that can spell trouble for your RV during the off-season, and one of the biggies is mice.
Ask millions of RV owners who have already dealt with this: having mice in your RV is no picnic. They chew through wires, cushions and just about anything else they can sink their teeth into, leaving behind hundreds of dollars in cleaning and repairs.
They leave behind droppings, which is incredibly disgusting, not to mention an extreme health hazard. They drive down your RV?s value, because no one is going to want to buy an RV that has or has had an infestation. And the worst part about all of this is once they get in and make themselves at home, it?s incredibly hard to get them out again!
Winter is the perfect time for mice to infiltrate your RV. It?s tucked away, i9t?s much warmer than the outside and the chances are you aren?t going to go there anytime soon.
This gives them plenty of time to get established, build nests and hunker down for the winter. Before you know it, the mice are entrenched, and getting rid of them is an extremely difficult proposition.
So, what can you do to prevent a mouse infestation in your RV this winter? There are several things you can try:
Seal the Entries
If you?re looking to keep mice out of your RV, one of the simplest and most practical remedies is one that doesn?t let them in in the first place: seal it shut!
Well, this is a simple strategy to think of, but it?s not so simple a strategy to actually execute. This is because your typical RV has a lot of possible entry points.
You can probably think of the obvious ones, like windows and doors. Go over those first and make sure there are no small openings, keeping in mind the fact that it only takes a small opening -- nickel- or dime-sized at most -- for a mouse to squeeze its way in.
However, there are a lot of other places a mouse can use, as well. Wherever you have a hose, a line or a pipe on the outside that feeds into the interior, you have a possible entry point.
If the hose (or whatever) doesn't fit snugly into its feeder hole there?s most likely room for your unwanted visitor to get in. Even then, you aren?t completely in the clear, as mice can easily chew their way through rubbers and plastics and get in.
While you might not be able to do anything about the chewing, you can at least deal with the rest. Spreadable foam sprays are a quick and easy option, and for bigger holes (where the mouse might try and chew through the foam, if you can believe it) you can reinforce the foam with steel wool, which mice will definitely not try to eat.
Even more important (and effective) than finding ways to keep mice from entering is making them not want to enter at all. There are several reasons why mice might want to gain entry to your RV. For one thing, it?s the winter, so they?re going to be looking for a warm place to ride out the worst of the weather. For another, any type of foodstuffs left in the RV are a ready-made snack.
You can?t do much about the temperature, but you can do something about what?s lying around on the inside. If you?re packing it up for the winter, chances are you?ve already given it a thorough cleaning.
However, it?s important to give it one more inspection and focus on all of those hard-to-reach places. Corners and cupboards are a good place to start, but with all of the nooks and crannies your typical RV contains you can bet there are a lot of places to check.
What?s more likely, though, is that your RV contains stuff that you wouldn?t normally think of as food, but offers a veritable smorgasbord to a determined rodent intruder. Cardboard, for example, might not seem appetizing to us, but to a mouse? That?s good eating!
Another way you can try and prevent mice from entering the RV is by making it a place that a mouse would not even want to enter. Setting up a few different deterrents can be a simple process that can have definitive results. And many of these repellents are quick and easy to come by.
A quick search for ?mouse repellent? comes up with numerous results all available for just a few click from your favorite online retailer. These come in the form of sprays, powders, pouches or just about anything else you can think of, all promising to keep mice away through various chemical scents.
There are also more natural methods of rodent repellent that can easily be searched. Of course, these folk remedies all have supporters and detractors who are ready to let you know how much they either did, or did not work, so take each one with a grain of salt until you test them for yourself.
Among the more commonly tried natural repellents are peppermint oils, cayenne pepper and clove oil. In all cases, soak cotton balls with the oil of your choice and place them strategically around the RV. It?s said that mice hate these different smells and will likely stay away.
Another one is ammonia; fill up plastic bottle lids with ammonia and put them around. The odor of the ammonia tricks mice into thinking that predators are nearby (cat urine, in particular, contains ammonia and has a very similar smell).
A third method that some people swear by are dryer sheets. Yes, that?s right -- dryer sheets, just like you would use in the laundry. Again, it?s the smell of the sheets that is thought to keep the mice away. The problem with these, however, is that dryer sheets eventually lose their scent, and unless you plan on replacing them every week or so they will only be effective for so long.
Set out Traps
Even with shoring up the various entryway, cleaning out any and all organic matter from the interior and setting up repellents to deter mice from entering, you might find yourself dealing with unwanted guests. So, the next question is what do you once they?re in? One of the most obvious methods of controlling them at this point is with mouse traps.
There are several kinds of mouse traps, but the standard, old-fashioned spring-loaded kind is by far the most popular, and has been for a long time. Why? Because they work. If you suspect mice in your RV, a quick trip to the hardware store can set you up with all the traps you need to take care of the problem.
Of course, modern science has come a long way and there are dozens of different mouse trap designs on the market. If you don?t have luck with the spring-loaded kind, or just want to up your game, you can try any number of different traps until you find the one that works best for you.
If the idea of killing these mice makes you uneasy, there are even humane options that catch the mouse but leave it unharmed. These traps with the extra obligation of dealing with the mouse afterwards -- and you can?t just release it anywhere near, or it will come right back -- but if dealing with a dead mouse isn?t up your alley, this is probably the better choice.
Get Professional Help
If you?ve done all these things, then really you should have a rodent-free RV that will be ready for you come springtime. However, if all of these steps end up being ineffective, and mice still happen to find their way inside, then your final step has to be calling in the professionals.
Of course, you don?t have to wait to call in the exterminator. By skipping everything and going straight to picking up that phone you can save yourself a lot of time and energy, and in the process make those other four steps irrelevant.
It?s up to you, of course, how you want to play it. Just know that however you decide to handle it, you?ll be glad you did once the temperature starts to warm up again. You can only imagine how horrible it is to open up those RV doors, only to find that mice have been making themselves at home for the last several months.
By following these steps, you go a long way towards ensuring that you?ll never have to find out!