J. Dawg Journeys

How I Keep Critters Out of My RV

November is a transition month for me.  It’s a time when I usually stay home and take a break from travel so I can take care of business before I head south for the winter.  During this time, my RV sits in my driveway winterized and waiting.

In my last post, I wrote about some of the RV maintenance tasks that I do during this time to keep my RV running well.  I thought I’d add one more “how-to” type post before I hit the road. This one is about what I do to keep mice and critters out or my RV while it sits parked during November.

I live in New England and have to winterize my RV for a few weeks while it sits parked.  I also live in a rural area and have to deal with mice and rodents.  As the temperatures start dropping, these critters start looking for shelter from the cold.  My unoccupied RV sitting out in the driveway, can look like an attractive abode for a mouse or pack rat looking to hunker down for the winter.  They can also do a bunch of damage looking for food and nesting material.

So, critter control is also on my Fall RV To-Do list.  Here’s some stuff I do to thwart these the critters and keep them out of my RV

Remove Items That Attract Critters

As mentioned in my last post about Annual  RV Maintenance Tasks, I remove all the food items.  This includes everything like spices, canned goods, boxed items, and even the salt and pepper.  I also remove all the odorous items like soaps, tooth paste, shampoo, toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, and the trash containers.  I take out all the clothes, towels, bedding, and anything that could be used for nesting material.

Add Some Unpleasant Odors

I place dryer sheets inside the RV.  I put them in all the cabinets, draws, and spread them around the RV beds, counters, and seats.  I’m not sure if these work to keep the critters out as I’ve read that others have no success with them.  I’ve read that some use peppermint oil on cotton balls to create an unpleasant odor.  I’ve read that some use moth balls but those can be a health hazard to humans.  For me, it’s been two years with no mice inside the RV using the dryer sheets.

I also add some of these dryer sheets inside the engine compartment.  The engine compartment seems like a popular place for mice and pack rats to hang out since it’s easy to get to.  I have had evidence of mice and pack rats here.  I keep checking this area often because they can do a lot of damage eating wire casings.

Rodent Evidence

Some evidence of rodent acorn eating in my engine compartment

Add Some Lights

I keep my RV plugged into power while it sits parked.  I have a couple small LED night lights like these – LED Night Light with Sensor inside the coach.  I’ve read that mice tend to be nocturnal so the night lights keep the inside of my RV illuminated.  Again, I’m not sure if this works but it’s an inexpensive thing to do.

LED night light

LED night light the comes on automatically at night.

I also put lights under the engine compartment.  Last year I got some inexpensive Christmas lights and secured them to a wooden cross made out of strapping.  I place the “cross” under the forward part of the coach and have them on a dusk to dawn timer.  This keeps the inside of the engine compartment and undercarriage illuminated at night.  The wooden cross keeps the lights in place and makes it easy to remove the lights when I want to move the RV.

Christmas lights

Small Christmas lights strung on wood strapping under my RV

Light on at night

Keep Checking for Critters

I check my RV often for critters.  I open the engine hood and check for acorns.  If I see any evidence, then I will set traps.  It’s important to catch them early before that do any serious damage.  I also check inside the air filter.  One year (before I started with the Christmas lights), I had a pack rat build a nest inside my air filter compartment.

I also check inside the RV for droppings.  If I see any, then I will set traps.

And that’s the critter defense strategy for my RV.  I focus on keeping them out of my RV.  If I see any evidence of mice or rodents, then I set out traps.  Each Fall, I tend to have mice get into my garage.  I use the small Victor spring trap with peanut butter to eliminate them.  So far I haven’t had to use any traps in my RV, but I’m prepared, if needed.

Mouse trap

I’m not sure if there’s a guaranteed way to keep critters out an RV.  The key is to try something and keep an eye out for new ideas.

I got a couple of my strategies from other RVer’s.  If you have some ideas for critter control, please share them in a comment.

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8 thoughts on “How I Keep Critters Out of My RV

  1. Mike

    J Dawg

    Was trying to see if you could write about what it costs per year to run around in the RV, lets say you do 7 months a year on the road, can you do a break down of what gas, campgrounds and maintenance costs are for the year. Not trying to dig into your finances, just trying to see what it cost a month to be on the road about 20 days out of the month.
    Thanks Mike

  2. Jeff

    While camping at Usery near Mesa AZ a critter set up housekeeping in our engine compartment. Other campers swear the LEDs on the ground keep them at bay. We now set out solar powered LED strings and have not had another issue.

    Thanks for the great advice!


    I see Jeff’s email above about his use of the lights. Have you had any similar issues while camping or boondocking and if so what was your method of deterance.?

    1. J. Dawg Post author

      I haven’t had issues with mice or critters when I’m camping. Other than my winter stay in FL, I don’t do a lot of stay put camping. I do carry a string of solar powered LED lights, but use them as accent lights on my campsite.
      J. Dawg

      1. J. Dawg Post author

        I don’t have an average. When on a road trip, my stays might be 1-2 days. When at a destination, I might stay 4-5 days. When I go to FL, I stay 3-4 months.

  4. Eugene Nardin

    Thank You so much for your wisdom about taking care of your RV. I am just starting over at 78 after a 40 year not camping. I feel like a kid just starting out. I am going to Ariz. and Florida for two months. I am going to try to put all your tips to work. Thanks Again.Eugene Nardin