How To Keep Your RV Cockroach Free

Many RVers have learned through experience that RV life may also include sharing your motorhome or camper with some undesirable life forms. It’s part and parcel of living on the road. It goes without saying that prevention is key, but we don’t live in an ideal world. Unlike a bad campsite, you can’t just drive away from roaches and mice. They travel with you.

How to prevent cockroach and pest infestation

We would be remiss not to point out that making preventive measures a habit will make life more difficult for those icky critters that want to go with you. Here are some basic tips for keeping pests at bay:

  • Store food in sealed containers, preferably plastic. If you carry boxed food, remember that cardboard is just an hor d’oeuvre for roaches. Your canned and frozen items are safe.
  • Block any access from the outside around hoses and connections especially. Steel wool is ideal for this and adding or renewing caulked parts helps.
  • Clean away any food residue in the kitchen—always and particularly overnight.
  • Vacuum in, under, behind, and over everything: cupboards, closets, storage areas, furniture. If you know you have some unwanted critters, empty the vacuum away from the rig. Yay, campsite dumpsters!
  • Check over anything new brought inside, especially when it’s been sitting outside for a while (even the barbecue and the generator!)
  • Keep the floor clear of clutter, especially objects made of cardboard or paper. Roaches love warm, dark places, whether they’re high or low.
  • Avoid bringing in cardboard from warehouses or even supermarkets. Two words here: roach eggs.
  • Anything citrus or pepperminty discourages roaches. Baking soda is lethal. (Mix some with sugar for a natural roach bait.) Recycle citrus rinds to hidden corners and don’t forget to replace them periodically.

When prevention is too late, it’s time to eliminate

Sorry, but even with thorough prevention, it’s possible to pick up some hitchhikers. If you visit a variety of climates, the warmer and more humid particularly, roaches will sneak in. Cold and dry is better, but not foolproof. RVers live in close contact with nature; ergo, bugs.

Follow these four steps to eliminate hitchhiking roaches and pests:

Step 1:  Vacuum everything. Put the corner wand to use on cracks and along wall bases. Just be sure to empty the bag away from the rig.

Step 2:  Remove and clean furniture and bedding. Steam clean if possible, especially any carpeting and curtains.

Step 3:  Place any roach traps or deterrents such as diatomaceous earth food grade, boric acid powder, baking soda mixtures under or behind closed-in spaces. (One RVer even puts it behind lightswitch plates!) Warning:  these should always be far out of reach of children and pets. Baking soda is safe, but boric acid is not.

Step 4:  Periodically repeat steps 1 – 3. It can take up to three months to eliminate roaches, mainly because except for physical removal, roach eggs are not vulnerable until after they hatch. Ewww!

If you still have a problem, consider a professional exterminator. (Yes, you saw that one coming, but still . . . .)

Choosing the right storage solution for your RV will help to keep the roaches away

When you put your rig into storage for a while, with no one living in it, you have more leeway with chemical deterrents. You aren’t going to avoid doing a thorough cleaning before storage, however. At least, you shouldn’t. Review the precautions mentioned above. Control the level of humidity to reduce mold (roaches love humidity).

Best of all is climate-controlled storage and Luxelocker RV & Boat Storage offers a variety of storage options, including climate-control. Secure, enclosed storage will go a long way to reducing the risk of any new residents in your motorhome. With multiple locations in the west, you can store to protect and preserve your rig. See us in Nevada, Washington, Idaho, New Mexico, and Arizona!