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Old 10-13-2002, 11:15 AM   #1
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Mice in older airstreams?

I am considering the possibility of buying a 1969 caravel airstream that appears to be in excellent condition. How prevalent are mice in the older models? Is hantavirus a significant concern for the trailer occupants? Or, is my wife reading too much on the internet? Thanks, David
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Old 10-13-2002, 11:47 AM   #2
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Mice and other hidden dangers

David,

Welcome to the Forums!

a 69 Caravel is an excellent choice (depending on family size and needs) I know that a similar one just sold on e-bay for 9K+.

As for mice and reading too much .. I defer to this site:

http://www.healthy-homes.com/airstrea.htm

All that being read, When is the last time you heard of anyone
being stricken with HantaVirus ... or for that matter Histoplasmosis
that can be contracted from bird poop!

Suseptability + iccoulation = disease ...

I've cleaned up feces from all kinds of species in my days. I'm
still alive.

Oh .... Check your village zoning laws!! HA HA HA HA!

DMC
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Old 10-13-2002, 11:53 AM   #3
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Mice in Older Airstreams

While no RV or most any structure is immune from attack from rodents, Airstreams are no more susceptible than other RVs. In fact, there may be fewer avenues for their entrance if the belly skin is maintained in good condition - - most box style trailers do not enclose the underbelly of their rigs.

I have never had problems with mice in my '64 Overlander, and I have found no evidence of problems in my recently acquired '78 Argosy Minuet. There are a couple of secrets to keeping rodents at bay. The most important is vigillence in keeping any obvious paths to the interior or belly plugged. Depending on the type of opening there are numerous methods of blocking entrance - - floor penetrations can be blocked with aluminum or stainless steel wool, tight fitting grommets around electrical lines (umbilical cords especially), etc. The main thing to remember is that the plug material must remain flexible to be effective with road vibrations. Another good hint is to be sure that attractive food products are removed whenever the rig isn't to be used for an extended period of time. For a period of time, I tried the trick of placing moth ball "saschets" in strategic places throughout the trailer each fall - - did this for three seasons - - discontinued this practice three years ago with no difference.

I tried applying my Airstream mouse-proofing to my previous home (an old farm house that had become part of a subdivision at the edge of town), but it had mice every fall while the Airstream remained mouse free.

The main thing to remember when looking at a trailer is to check for obvious evidence such as droppings or nests in out-of-the-way corners of the coach - - or just observing for the evidence of that nagging mousy odor in or around the coach - - check inside of any exterior storage hatches as well as refrigerator hatches looking for evidence if you are suspicious.

Good luck with your search!
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Old 10-13-2002, 02:35 PM   #4
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The only thing worse than a mice in your trailer is DEAD mice in your trailer. Remember to use traps rather than poison so they don't die in the insulation or belly pan.
Randy
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Old 10-15-2002, 11:47 AM   #5
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I'm going to be looking at a unit that has been in storage for 15 years. If there is an odor or evidence, then what? Is there any way to rid one of the odor if you clean all the evidence up? Other than scrubbing it down with disinfectant and airing it out, are there any other measures to take? Sorry if this seems silly, I'm a greenhorn looking for our first trailer and I don't want to buy a stinkbomb on wheels, not good for the marriage
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Old 10-15-2002, 02:27 PM   #6
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Mice odors

Some of the products sold for cleaning up pet urine at home would probably help get rid of lingering urine odors in a trailer.

Also, just a thought. When my house partially burned, the builders combatted the charred odor by spraying latex paint in the attic and on some charred studs. You might be able to spray or brush inside of cabinets and the like with latex to accomplish the same thing with urine odors.
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Old 10-15-2002, 02:36 PM   #7
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Talking odor

Seems I read somewhere abt odor in an older A/S and, the new owner took up the rug, soaked the floor with MURPHY'S OIL..Claimed it killed the odor from pets, etc~ Hope this helps.He must've shampoo'd the carpeting too....
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Old 10-15-2002, 04:57 PM   #8
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Mice in Older Airstreams?

While I haven't battled mice in my Airstream, I have had to deal with their problems in rental property that I manage. For the most part, it is possible to remove the odor through thorough cleaning.

For curtains, draperies, or an launderable fabrics, I have found that washing in a strong detergent (I use Cheer with an addition of 20 Mule Team Borax) followed by a final rinse with 1 cup of white vinegar removed the mouse odor - - and it helped even more to line dry the fabrics in direct sun. For upholstered components, I utilized steam cleaning if at all possible and followed that with drying in direct sunlight on a warm day. If upholstered components have been in contact with the mouse infestation for extended periods of time, it may be nearly impossible to get the odor out of the foam - - in a worse case scenario, I sprinkled baking soda on the cushions and worked it in with a brush - - placed them in direct sun on a warm day for about three hours and vacuumed the baking soda up - - and the situation was improved but still not 100% erradicated.

When I have found unifinshed wood in contact with the mouse infestation, my solution was thorough cleaning and drying followed by a heavy coat of spar varnish. The varnish seemed to seal the odor in permanently as it never reappeared (this was in a dormer storage closet in an old farmhouse).

My fear would be finding an apparently clean unit with a lingering mouse odor. The only two other possible areas of infestation would be the wall cavities or the underbelly. While not pleasant, dealing with an infestation in the underbelly wouldn't be an absolute disaster as removing the underbelly aluminum wouldn't require disturbing anything else. If the infestation were in a wall cavity, reaching it and erradicating the problem could require rather severe measures.

Good luck with your inspection!

Kevin
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Old 10-15-2002, 07:01 PM   #9
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They make sprays for deer hunters which neutralize the smell. Let's say you come in from a morning hunt and your feet are sweating like crazy and are a little smelly. You take the boots and socks off then spray your feet with the product. You wipe them off and you can't smell a thing. Sure you can wash them with a regular bar of soap which leaves a deoderant smell that deer detect just like your smelly feet. Scent Shield is one of many companies that make this type of product which can be purchased in up to a gallon container. I'm sure it is close to the same product used to spray on dog or cat urine on rugs. I sprayed the Scent Shield product on a rug our cat decided to urinated on for some reason (almost killed him as he stood there watching me do his thing) and it took care of the smell. You could probably buy a gallon of Scent Shield, put it in a garden type sprayer (new of course) and spray to your heart's content. It may take a few sprayings to lessen the smell but I would think it would work. Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops sell this type of stuff.
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Old 10-16-2002, 09:43 AM   #10
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My '63 Airstream that I use at hunting camp sometimes smells musty. I solved this problem by buying an ozone generator. I put it in the trailer for a few hours and it kills most all (organic) odors.

I have also use the generator for other non-trailer problems. In my parents house, a drain backed up and fowl smelling water bubbled up and onto the floor from the air conditioner drain. The smell remained no matter how much my mother cleaned the area.

I put the ozone generator in there and within 2 days, the odors were gone.

Several weeks ago, a skunk let loose in the crawl space under my house. The smell came up into the house. When the house was empty, I ran the generator and in about 4 days, it took care of the problem.

It isn't safe to breathe a concentration over a very small amount, but in a trailer, you could just turn it on, shut up the doors, windows, vents etc. and forget it for a few days. All mouse odors and musty smells should dissapear.
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Old 10-16-2002, 10:54 AM   #11
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Okay, thanks for the ideas and solutions, I'm not as worried about it now. Where does one find an Ozone generator and what is the cost? I've never heard of one, but it sounds interesting.
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Old 10-16-2002, 11:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jabba
Okay, thanks for the ideas and solutions, I'm not as worried about it now. Where does one find an Ozone generator and what is the cost? I've never heard of one, but it sounds interesting.

You can find them various places on the internet. Several years ago they were sold as "air purifiers" for healthy air in your home. The FDA came out and canned that idea because of problems with the lungs.

Here is a site that compares several of them: http://www.mold-kill.com/comparisons.html (no endorsement of this product, the one I bought is no longer sold. I bought mine for under $200 when a lot of companies were dumping them getting out of the business)

They also got a bad reputation because some of them were sold by multi level marketing companies who were sued by users for adverse health claims.

They are used in the cleaning industry to de-odorize hotel rooms, used cars, cleanup after fires, etc.

You might see if you could rent one. or call up a cleaning company like Servicemaster.

My sister-in-law had a dog get sprayed by a skunk. The dog immediately ran into the house. It stunk up everything including cloths hanging in the closets. She had Servicemaster come out and they used a big industrial size ozone generator to de-odorize the whole house. She said it worked really well.
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Old 10-16-2002, 10:01 PM   #13
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Unhappy Rodent ramblings

Man this mice/rat problem is just another potential headache I really don't need. But I'll bet that I will find, if I ever get a look at the mail-order-Excella I'm 'engaged' to 'marry'.

As for traps vs poisons; Years ago my DoD (dear old Dad) would get rat poison from the state forestry dept at A&M. It was as I recall round pellets from BB to Buckshot size, tannish brown in color. He would broadcast it in the attics of rent property we had. It was dangerous to pets and he took care to keep it off the ground and floors. We never had a rodent die and smell up the attic. Dad said that the poison made them crave water and they would exit in search of that drink, never to return (I think the water was the catalyst to their Waterloo).Stuff prob'ly been outlawed, (it worked after all).

I have had rodents (perhaps squirrels but probably rats/mice chew the insulation off the drip pipes from my central a/c evaporator coil. Apparaently trying to get to the condensation. An exterminator once told me that they will actually knaw thru the PVC piping to get water. I have hesitated to seal my house completely fearing I would trap the damn things in the attic and really stink things up if they died there.

Another thing the exterminator said; That mice/rats mark their enviroment with urine.(great news eh?) He said that if exposed to blacklight, that those paths/trails stand out like neon at night. I have always intended to take a blacklight up in the attic and see if he was accurate, but 1st I never have a blacklight handy (since the 70's) and 2nd I'm afraid if all the Christmas decorations and other relics lying up there lit up like Vegas, that I might lose the old Spirit in upcoming Decembers.

Can any of you fine scholars verify any of this? I almost hope not!
If the blacklight thing is accurate that might be a tool for use in fighting the pests.

If rodents entered any of the stacks or vents, would they have access to the trailer interior or its wall/floor cavities?

Lastly I wonder if it is the urine that produces the mousey odor?
Or feces or just mouse body odor? Probably all.
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Old 10-16-2002, 10:11 PM   #14
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Talking Gov. McSleaze's RV Exterminating Service

Oh and here's an idea.

You can always drive the trailer up to New Jersey. Park in Trenton a while. When the rats get out to run for office...drive away...far away! ......Cause they'll undoubtebly be elected!..Sheeesh!
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Old 10-17-2002, 09:25 AM   #15
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A farmer once told me that there is a type of solid bar type mouse/rat poison farmers put in their equipment like tractors so the rodents won't eat the insulation off the wires.

Has anyone heard of this? I guess it would be a "mouse snack bar" He told me you could get it at the farmer's co-op. This sounds like it would be good for an Airstream.

I stored my 1953 Overlander for the last 2 years in a barn on some of my wife's family's land. I recently towed it back up to the house and was just about to plug it in when I decided to open the rear hatch and have a look. The rats/mice had chewed about 1 foot of insulation off of the romex leaving only the bare wires.

Storing it down there was a BIG mistake. It was an incredible mess inside. Luckily, since it is in the process of being restored, there was no carpet or upholstery to get ruined. Some Mr. Clean with some bleach took care of the mess.

I digress. Does anyone know anything about the "mouse snack bar" for farm equipment?
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Old 10-17-2002, 10:11 AM   #16
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What I use....

I put moth balls in the back bumper compartment, and sticky traps in key locations inside the trailer. The cabinet next to the toilet, under the sinks, and in the food storage area. Make sure you check them ever few days or so. Mice have chewed insulation on the wires going to the power jack on the OUTSIDE of the trailer. Maybe they are crawling in through the square tube the tounqe is made of?

I just ordered the XTS-800 Ozone Generator from Mold-Kill.com. I'll let everyone know how it works, after I get it. The way their website reads it should drive the mice out, or at least give them a good headache!!
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Old 10-17-2002, 11:09 AM   #17
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Re: What I use....

Quote:
Originally posted by Pick
I just ordered the XTS-800 Ozone Generator from Mold-Kill.com. I'll let everyone know how it works, after I get it. The way their website reads it should drive the mice out, or at least give them a good headache!!

I usually open up all cabinets and so that the ozone gets everywhere. I also turn on a small fan to keep the air moving around so that the ozone will saturate everything. Close up the trailer and leave it for a few days for maximum deodorizing, over night for just a "touchup".

I don't know about driving the mice out, though.
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Old 10-17-2002, 03:14 PM   #18
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EPA Report

This EPA report on the use of ozone generators is interesting. It mainly relates to direct contact with ozone but also mentions how they work, or don't work depending on what chemical you are trying to kill.
Randy

http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/ozonegen.html
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Old 10-17-2002, 03:34 PM   #19
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Re: EPA Report

I never hang around when this thing is running. Like I have said before, these things should NOT be used in occupied spaces.

They seem to do a good job on organic smells (sewage, skunk, mold, etc.) but don't work well on paint smells, gasoline, diesel and other "man-made chemical" smells.

You should air out the ozone in a trailer before entering it for more than a few minutes. Even though they put out a "clean" smell in your house, they shouldn't be used when people or pets are around.

I told everyone these things have a bad reputation but only because the sellers were making false health claims for something that is potentially dangerous.

In my case, it does a good job at getting the musty smell out of my Airstream.
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Old 10-21-2002, 06:23 AM   #20
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Well, I just got back from a weekend 1200 mile roundtrip to see the biggest mouse hotel I've ever seen! I've never seen so much evidence from mice in my life! The owners had painstakingly covered every opening to keep them out, even did the bucket with the ramp to peanut butter trick, but to no avail. Very Depressing, as the skin was beautiful on this unit. I'm just not up to the repairs and delousing that would be required. The search for my Overlander continues.....sigh.
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