How to get rid of possums: keep them away from your house & yard

How to get rid of possums
Possums can be pests to homeowners. There are many deterrents that can be humanely used to keep possums away. Items with strong scents, such as garlic, peppers, and onions, can be used to repel possums. Keep your yard possum-free by maintaining your vegetation and keeping your yard tidy.

What will keep possums away?

In order to keep possums away, eliminate what attracts them to your yard. Food sources and hiding places are the most appealing factors to critters. Below are some ways to keep your yard unappealing to possums:

  • Secure trash cans with a tight lid.
  • Trim thick vegetation
  • Don’t leave pet food outside.
  • Purchase a pest-free bird feeder.
  • Cover any entry points.
  • Remove wood piles and brush piles.

Opossums are nocturnal animals, which means they love the darkness. You can eliminate this appealing factor by keeping outdoor lights on at night. You can also install floodlights and make them light up the darkest spots of your yard.

Motion-activated lights are another option. These lights turn on when they censor movement, which will startle a critter and make it leave.

What smell will keep possums away?

Homeowners can use the possums’ sensitive noses and strong sense of smell to their advantage when trying to keep possums away. Chemical repellent can be purchased and sprayed for wildlife control. It can be applied to greenery and home structures.

Predator urine can also be purchased and applied to the perimeters of your home. Fox urine is especially effective for possum control since foxes are common predators to possums. 

opossum looking behind itself

Will Clorox keep possums away?

There is no finite answer on whether or not bleach will keep possums away . This is the case with all control methods as not all remedies are guaranteed to work.

Some deterrents work for one homeowner, while the same deterrents may be ineffective for another. You should pick one to try, and if doesn’t work, try another.

Bleach can be mixed with water to create a possum deterrent. Possums dislike the strong smell. This mixture can be applied to areas where you suspect possum activity. A small amount of bleach will not kill plants, but excessive amounts will. 

To keep possums away and other critters such as skunks and raccoons, create a spray out of ammonia and water. Regularly apply the spray to the sides of garbage cans. 

What does bleach do to a possum?

Bleach exposure will not kill a possum. However, if the possum is trapped in a small area with the smell or that of ammonia, it could be harmed.

The smell of bleach burns possums’ senses and causes them to leave. As long as the possum is in an open space, the bleach will not harm it.

What home remedies will get rid of possums?

For these DIY home remedies to be effective, they must be regularly reapplied. They especially need to be reapplied after it rains. Here are the recommended home remedies:


Molasses is one item that can be used as a home remedy to deter possums. You can dissolve it in a liter of water, add some dish soap, and pour the mixture into a spray bottle.

Spray this mixture on and around gardens, fence, and yard. The smell and the taste will make possums leave your plants alone.


You can make spicy solutions at home to get rid of opossums. You can create a deterrent spray from hot sauce, water, and dish soap.

Also, you may use hot peppers or cayenne peppers as well. Spray this mixture on plants. You can also apply it to crawl spaces such as attics, sheds, and decks.

opossum in area of dried scrub


Garlic can be used as a home remedy for opossum control. One way to use garlic is to plant garlic cloves in your garden.

Another option is to spread garlic oil on outdoor spaces. A DIY spray can also be made by mixing minced garlic with water. 


Onions can be used as a possum repellent since possums hate the smell and taste of onions. Slice the onion and leave the slices around your yard and garden. Possums will attempt to eat it and will be repelled by its taste.

What attracts possums around your house?

Possums, like other critters, are most attracted by food and shelter. In urban areas, these scavengers seek food and shelter by roaming through yards at night.

Possums are omnivores that will eat almost anything . They will dig through trash cans, eat plants in a garden, and eat fallen fruits and nuts.

Any type of food that they can find will attract them to a particular location. A water source also attracts possums. A fountain or a pond will lure them onto your property. 

Plants that hang low or are overgrown attract possums because possums can hide in them. Large bushes, tall grass, and hanging tree branches are examples of foliage that attract possums.

Possums use items to hide under, too. Items possums may use as shelter includes under an abandoned car or unused garden tools. Possums will also crawl under porches and decks for shelter.

What kind of smell do possums hate?

Possums hate spicy smells. This is common with many critters, so using a spicy deterrent will be effective for keeping other wild animals away, too. Spicy smells tingle and burn their senses in an unpleasant way.

Possums also dislike the taste of spicy foods, which is an extra benefit from using this method to keep possums away. Additionally, strong smells cover other smells that may attract possums to your yard. 

will bleach keep possums away from your yard

Do mothballs deter possums?

Mothballs can be used to deter possums in enclosed spaces. Fragrant mothballs are more effective as opossum repellent since they emit a more pungent scent. Mothballs can be placed in crawl spaces such as attics, sheds, or underneath porches.

Mothballs will not be very effective in open areas such as in the middle of your yard. This is because the scent of the mothballs will get lost in the open air. Mothballs can be used as a temporary solution.

It is actually best to use mothballs when you suspect possum activity or have a current possum problem, but mothballs should not be used as a long-term solution. They will need to be replaced once their smell is not as strong. 

If you have a possum infestation, it is best to leave it to the professionals and contact a pest control company.


Whitney is a graduate of Georgetown College and a current graduate student at the University of the Cumberlands. She resides in the beautiful state of Kentucky, which she has always appreciated and endeavors to maintain the land's well-being. A lover of animals and the earth, Whitney strives to communicate accurate information that will help readers learn new information, ideas, and become informed stewards of the natural world.

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