How to Keep Pests and Rodents out of Your RV

One thing every RV owner has to worry about? Pests.

Rodents and bugs love to cozy up in any human shelter they can find, especially if it’s unoccupied for a long period of time or happens to be the only source of shelter out in the wilderness. Since trailers and motorhomes are often left unoccupied for months at a time and they have the ability to then be taken out into the middle of nowhere, they are particularly susceptible to this problem. 

Having rodents or bugs in your RV is a serious problem. They can bring diseases with them, something nobody wants to deal with. Many rodents also like to chew on wires and can cause expensive damage to your RV’s electrical system. And of course, nobody likes having all of the groceries in their pantry ruined either. 

Fortunately, there are ways to ensure your rig doesn’t become overrun by pests, even while it’s in storage. Here are our top tips for keeping pests out of your RV.

Use Repellents


The first and most obvious way to ensure pests don’t invade your RV? Repellents, of course. (It’s right there in the name!) There are a huge number of different pest repellents on the market, and using a variety of different products should protect you against any and all possible pests. 

If you’re worried about pets or kids getting in the repellents, don’t be. There are actually tons of completely natural and safe pest repellent products on the market that will get the job done without posing a health hazard of any kind. 

Here are some of our favorites:

Repellents can make a huge difference when it comes to pest control in your RV.

Mighty Mint Rodent Repellent

Oddly, not everyone thinks peppermint is a pleasant scent. In fact, mice, rats, and other pests hate it so much that the scent is often enough to keep them away. 

With this in mind, some people use peppermint oil—usually soaked into cotton balls that are then dispersed around the RV—to repel the critters. However, we think Mighty Mint Rodent Repellent is a much more effective solution. It’s easy to use, the scent is strong, and it lasts longer than the smell of essential oil. That said, you will need to reapply the stuff once a week or so. 

Mouse Free Undercarriage Lubricant

Mouse Free Undercarriage Lubricant is an interesting sort of repellent. It is made to be sprayed on the underside of the RV using an air compressor. This creates a slippery surface that pests simply cannot climb. 

Not sure how much to buy? One bottle of this lubricant is enough for a 24-foot RV. If you have a longer RV, a second bottle is probably necessary. 

BugMD Vamoose Rodent Repellent

Lastly, we must mention BugMD Vamoose Rodent Repellent pouches. These pouches are filled with diatomaceous earth and infused with a selection of essential oils. They are quite effective at repelling mice, rats, and squirrels and last for up to 30 days. All you have to do is place them where you think rodents might like to hang out and remember to replace them each month.

Traps can be a great tool for catching insects and rodents.

Set Up Traps


What if the pests somehow find their way past the repellents and the closed-up gaps? In that case, you’ll want to have something out to catch them. 

We recommend always leaving snap traps set up to catch mice and other small rodents. Check these regularly, as you don’t want a dead mouse sitting under the couch or in a corner for long. 

Another option? Build a bucket mouse trap to leave out while your RV is in storage. Just make sure you add water to the bottom of the bucket so the mice aren’t living in the bucket until you return to the RV. 

If you have trouble with bugs, you might want to consider purchasing traps to catch them. There are several different kinds of bug traps out there, including fly paper, bed bug traps, and even spider traps.

Get Rid of Holes

Did you know that mice can fit through a hole the size of a dime? It’s true, and other pests can fit through tiny gaps and holes as well. Unfortunately, RVs often have the kinds of holes, cracks, gaps, and spaces that pests can squeeze their way through. However, if you can close all of those entryways, the pests won’t be able to invade your tiny home. 

We recommend thoroughly inspecting the outside and underside of your rig, looking for any possible pest entry points. Plug those holes up with fiberglass and place mesh screens over vents. Make sure there is no possible way for a little critter to get in. 

Never Leave Food Out

Obviously, pests like to hang out in RVs for warmth and shelter. However, the main reason they’re there is actually for the food. If you have any food at all in your trailer or motorhome, the rodents and bugs will find it. 

If you’re actively using your RV, keep all foods sealed in glass or thick plastic containers (bags and cardboard won’t do the trick). If your RV is in storage, remove the food entirely. 

Always, always wash the dishes after each meal and be sure to sweep up any crumbs left behind and wipe down the counters regularly. It’s also a good idea to take out the trash as often as possible, as pests can smell the food in the trash can as well.

Clean, Clean, Clean


Unfortunately, even if you sweep, wipe things down, and take out the trash multiple times a day, there will be some crumbs that escape. These build up over time, leaving a feast for the tiny animals that might make their way into your RV. For this reason, it’s important to make a point of deep cleaning your rig once in a while. 

We recommend a deep clean once a month during the warm months when the RV is being used regularly, and then again before the RV is put into storage for the winter. When doing this cleaning, be sure to sweep, vacuum, and scrub in cabinets, behind and under furniture, in the couch cushions, under mattresses, and even under the slides. 

Always be sure to keep your RV clean and inspect it regularly!

Turn On Some Lights

Mice and rats like the dark. Not only that, they actively dislike bright lights. Because of this, many RVers have been successful at keeping rodents away by placing bright lights under their RVs. The mice and rats are much less likely to go under your RV to find entry points if they have to pass through bright light to do so. 

Worried about the power consumed by the lights, or the heat they put off? Choose LED lights. These use very little electricity and can even be powered by small batteries rather than the RV’s battery. They also don’t put off any heat, so they are perfectly safe to put under an RV.

These simple steps are pretty easy to implement and should ensure you never have to deal with mice, rats, bugs, and other pests in your tiny home-on-wheels. We recommend taking these measures right away so you can be sure your RV is clean, pest-free, and travel-ready the next time you take a trip. 

About Chelsea Gonzales

Chelsea Gonzales has been living in an RV and traveling with her family for 7 years now. She road schools her two children, using various travel experiences as lessons in history, science, geography, and more. During their time on the road, the Gonzales family has had the pleasure of touring the 48 contiguous United States as well as parts of Canada. They have learned a lot along the way and Chelsea is happy to share some of that knowledge through her writing.