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How To Keep Raccoons Away: A Complete Guide

You wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to start your day, nothing can go wrong. You grab a quick cup of coffee and look out the window to see your yard, but something’s wrong. Upon closer inspection, you see that the trash you took out yesterday is littered all over the grass.

Unfortunately, this most likely means you have a few unwanted raccoon guests that now see your property as a sit-down restaurant. At this point, you’re probably racking your brain on how to get rid of raccoons in an easy and humane way. Are there natural solutions? What’s the safest way to do it? How long will it take?

If these are some of your concerns when considering how to get rid of raccoons, fear not. By the end of this article, you will have ten ways to remove and prevent raccoons from taking over your property.

1. Remove their food sources

So, the first and probably easiest option is to remove any potential food sources the raccoon may have access to. Raccoons are extremely resourceful animals and will find ways to get into anything they can. Simply closing the lid to the trash can may not be enough.

Double bag the garbage and tie it off really well before throwing it away, then put something heavy on the lid to make access harder. If this still doesn’t work, consider bringing your garbage bin into the garage to make it impossible for the raccoon to go through your trash.

Remove their food sources.
Remove their food sources.

This isn’t the most ideal option to choose. Bringing garbage close to your home isn’t great, the smell spreads, and trash cans naturally produce a lot of bugs. This is a last-ditch effort, you don’t want to cause more pests in your home by attempting to remove one, so only use this while attempting other solutions.

2. Make a spice based repellent

Raccoons hate the smell of pepper
Raccoons hate the smell of pepper

If the raccoons you’re dealing with are only around for the trash, it might be a good solution to make a spicy repellant spray that you can use on the garbage cans. This is a cheap and viable solution that almost anyone can make. Raccoons have a very good sense of smell, they will travel up to 18 miles in search of their next meal.

You can grab spices directly out of your cabinet to help deter them from your property. Raccoons hate the smell of pepper, so grab some cayenne pepper and a gallon of water and mix them together. The spicier the better, these smells are powerful and will help to mask the scent of other garbage.

Spray it on the trash and near any place the raccoon might be coming from to keep them off the premises.

3. Use ammonia tablets

Raccoons are surprisingly clean animals despite their desire to dig through your garbage. Remember that they have ridiculously good senses of smell, so they don’t like any strong odors around them. Raccoons will even travel a short distance away from their dens to use the bathroom so they don’t have strong odors near their homes.

While it is incredibly difficult and inconvenient to obtain raccoon waste to deter them, there are other solutions that can mimic the same effect. Ammonia is the chemical found in urine that produces the strong odor we’re familiar with. Raccoons hate the smell of ammonia and will actively avoid even getting close to it.

Grab a couple of ammonia tablets from the store and put them in a bowl of water, then take a few washcloths or rags and soak them in the bowl. After the smell of ammonia is very detectable on all the rags, take them outside and place them around the perimeter of the house and on the garbage cans.

Expert Tip: This is a very safe and humane way to get rid of the raccoons that might be causing you problems. Ammonia is not toxic for raccoons, but it can irritate their senses.

4. Use rodent repellent trash bags

Use rodent repellent trash bags.
Use rodent repellent trash bags.

Believe it or not, you are not the first person to be affected by these persistent little pests. Trash seems to be a universal delicacy in the world of raccoons, so companies have designed trash bags that contain raccoon repellent scents to give you a hand in your troubles.

If you’re looking for a simple solution to keep raccoons out of the garbage, this might be a great option for you. These special, customized bags are pre-infused with oils that contain a lot of the scents that raccoons hate.

Just in case these mask-wearing little guys are still willing to attempt a break-in, make sure the bag is tied very securely. If the bag is difficult to open, they may become deterred by the smell the longer they have to be around it.

The bags are typically infused with scents like mint, eucalyptus, and camphor oil, which give off an odor that raccoons hate. Hopefully, these bags are strong enough to stop raccoons in their tracks and prevent them from even thinking about coming back.

5. Trap and release the raccoon

Trap and release the raccoon.
Trap and release the raccoon.

If you have experience dealing with animal capture yourself, another option is to safely catch and release the raccoon. Be very careful when considering this option. Make sure it is legal in your state or county, and use the proper equipment needed to guarantee both your safety and the raccoons.

Raccoons play such an important role in nature and they should be valued, just not in your backyard. If you have checked all the laws and regulations in your area and everything is legal, go ahead and get the items you need to conduct a successful capture.

You’re going to need a catch and release cage, thick gloves, and bait to lure them in. Don’t let their fuzzy faces fool you, raccoons can be very aggressive and carry a lot of diseases. You shouldn’t have to directly touch the animal, but make sure you use thick gloves to prevent any potential injuries.

Set up the catch and release cage in an area that is frequented by the raccoons and lay down the bait. If everything goes according to plan, release the animal at least 3 miles away in a wooded area to try and ensure they will not be returning to your house for dinner anytime soon.

6. Use a motion-activated sprinkler

Getting a spray of water to get rid of raccoons
Getting a spray of water to get rid of raccoons

Whether the raccoon is after your trash or your garden, a motion-activated sprinkler system is a great deterrent. Getting a spray of water to the face is the perfect way to say you’re not welcome here. This solution will require some extra work on your part, so be ready to invest a little time and money into this.

You want to place the sprinklers in the area where the raccoons are coming from, so this will require some minor tracking skills. Find tracks and droppings in your backyard to figure out where the animal is coming from, this is where you’ll want to place the sprinkler.

The positioning of the sprinkler is imperative as well. If it is aimed too high, it might scare the raccoon off for a little while, but it will be back as soon as it doesn’t feel threatened anymore. Make sure to angle the sprinkler in a way that can actually reach the raccoon.

Wet fur on a cold night should be enough to keep the raccoon from returning to the scene of the crime.

7. Use motion-activated lights and sound

Use motion-activated lights and sound
Use motion-activated lights and sound

If the sprinkler is not enough to keep them away, don’t worry, there are still plenty of great options to consider. Don’t lose hope, another solution would be to use motion-activated lights and sounds. Raccoons are nocturnal creatures, which also means that their eyes are accustomed to seeing in the dark.

By using motion-activated lights, you could overload their senses while scaring them into thinking that they have been spotted. Including an animal sound simultaneously with the light is a great addition. One natural predator of the raccoon is the owl. another nocturnal animal that hunts at night.

Find a recording of owl noises and pair it on an outdoor speaker so that it plays when the light comes on.

Expert Tip: A raccoon will avoid an area they feel unsafe, though we don’t want to cause harm to these animals, we do want to create an illusion of danger to keep them away.

8. Consider raccoon proofing your bird feeders

Consider raccoon proofing your bird feeders.
Consider raccoon-proofing your bird feeders.

If you think that raccoons are solely after your food, you will be surprised to learn just how many things they are willing to eat. Raccoons are opportunists and scavengers, meaning they will eat almost any type of food they can get their paws on, including birdseed.

So, if you secured your garbage but still see evidence that these furry fellas are hanging around the property, your birdseed might be the reason. Fear not this doesn’t mean you have to give up your passion for bird watching in the early morning, you just have to adapt a little bit.

There are plenty of places that offer pest-proof bird feeders. Raccoons are very intelligent and can learn how to easily open and use a lot of different items. Look for a bird feeder where the top doesn’t open easily and there are small holes that only birds can access.

If you cut off all food points for the raccoon, the chances of them returning are slim, they can’t survive in a place where they can’t eat.

9. Seal off any holes or openings around the house you can find

If the raccoons have decided to cozy up in your house with you, you will want to get them out before sealing off any potential openings. A raccoon within your walls or in the chimney can be devastating. They can eat and scratch through important structures within your house which is dangerous for you and your family, as well as the raccoon.

Once you make sure there are no raccoons tucked away in the walls, you need to get started on sealing off all the potential entrances. It is recommended to hire a professional to either seal off any entrances they find or instruct you on how to do it.

Some openings might have a purpose that you aren’t aware of, like filtering out air or smoke in the house. Make sure you don’t completely seal anything that needs to be open. Using mesh is a good alternative to closing off an opening. Air and smoke can still filter out while preventing a raccoon or any type of animal from getting in.

10. Call a professional

Call a professional
Call a professional

If all else fails and you have the world’s most resilient raccoons, you should consider calling a professional for help. Despite raccoons being some of the cutest pests that can invade your space, they can be quite dangerous to deal with. Raccoons carry a lot of different diseases and viruses on their body and in their waste.

These resourceful creatures can bite and scratch as well, which may also lead to the transmission of parasites. If the raccoon is hidden somewhere in the walls of the house or in a place that’s hard to reach, calling in backup is a smart option to choose. It is perfectly fine to admit when you might be in over your head.

Finding a solution that works best for the situation is the ultimate goal. The only downside to this method is that you will have to pay for the experience and time of the person you are hiring.

Expert Tip: Costs will vary depending on location, the number of raccoons, and the tools used, but expect between $300-$600 dollars to get some peace and quiet back.

Smells that will keep raccoons away

Raccoons have been living alongside humans for a long time but, sometimes the raccoon tends to come into your house to build nests, look for food or catch its prey. Today we are going to list some of the smells that will keep raccoons away.

  • Cayenne pepper – It contains Capsaicin that gives its hot flavor. Add cayenne pepper with 1 teaspoon of dish soap and spray it.
  • Onion and Pepper – Boil some onion and pepper together, cool, and spray them.
  • Vinegar – Spray vinegar in any cans, dustbin or spray it on an old cloth and keep it outside. Raccoons hate apple cider vinegar the most.
  • Ammonia – Very strong smell will disorient the raccoons and chase them away.
  • Garlic – Use powder garlic and sprinkle them or use a combination of garlic powder, dish soap, and water and spray them.
  • Urine – Raccoons hates the ammonia smell from urine especially coyote urine, if you can get them.
  • Peppermint oil – Use a few drops of peppermint oil and mix it with rubbing alcohol and water then spray it.
  • Epsom salt – Scatter around the garden or rubbish bin to scare the raccoon away.
  • Eviction fluid – If it is a female raccoon then you can use this to chase them away.

Home remedy to get rid of raccoons

Home remedy to get rid of raccoons
Home remedy to get rid of raccoons

Raccoons hunt for food in trash cans, dumpsters, and yards. They have no trouble adjusting to living in close proximity to humans, hence they are commonly spotted on houses.

Raccoons are usually hunting for food when they take up home in your yard. For example, raccoons looking for grubs would rip away plants, shrubs, and landscaping to showcase their preferred food sources. This can soon lead to expensive flower, plant, and grass damage. Although, what is a home remedy to get rid of raccoons?

There are several ways to get rid of them. Ammonia, blood meal, powdered cayenne pepper, ground-up garlic, vinegar, or soiled cat litter can all be used to eliminate them. To make the place less enticing to raccoons, sprinkle the natural raccoon repellant in high-traffic areas.

Utilize movement detector lights or sound deterrents after that. Raccoons will avoid your lawn and garden if these deterrents detect movement and generate loud sounds or flashing strong light.


Nobody wants to deal with pesky raccoons rummaging through their trash, garden, or house. These animals can leave behind a trail of destruction in their wake and may end up costing a lot of money for anyone who has to deal with them. With that being said, they play an important role in nature and need to be protected.

The goal of this article is to provide safe and humane ways to remove raccoons from your premises. Keep in mind that one method may work better than another, find the solution that works best for you and your situation.

Don’t get frustrated, take your time to plan accordingly, and look back over this article for great ideas on how to get rid of raccoons that may be pestering you.

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About Grace Hocker

Hi, my name is Grace and I am a pet lover. Ever since 5 years old, I've owned some sort of pet from Bearded Dragons to Rabbits. I have dedicated my life to helping pets, and am here to help you get the best for your pet!