8 Tips How To Keep Raccoons Away & Out Of Your House & Yard

how to keep raccoons away
Raccoons are known for causing damage to yards and creating dens in homes. To keep raccoons away remove food sources, use scent repellents, install an ultrasonic animal repeller, block off any small access areas to your home, secure trash bags, install an electric fence, trim landscaping, or install motion activated lights.

Having raccoons around can lead to various issues, including aggression, disease, wreckage, and much more. Follow the tips below to keep your garden and home raccoon-free! 

Tips to Keep Raccoons Away: 8 Methods

  1. Remove food sources
  2. Use scent repellents 
  3. Install an ultrasonic animal repeller 
  4. Block off any small access areas to your home
  5. Secure trash bags
  6. Install an electric fence
  7. Trim landscaping
  8. Install motion activated lights
raccoon on barrel

Remove Food Sources

Any food source left outside will entice raccoons to visit your yard. If you have fruit trees on your property, make sure to clean up fallen fruit. Don’t keep pet food out overnight, as that will attract raccoons, too. If you have a chicken coop, ensure it is secured with sturdy walls, or at least chicken wire buried one foot in the ground with hardware cloth. 

Use Scent Repellents 

Raccoons have a strong sense of smell, so using scents that raccoons dislike will help keep them away. Cayenne pepper and garlic are examples of scents that raccoons hate. You can buy liquid repellent to spray around your yard to deter critters.  

Install Ultrasonic Animal Repeller 

Ultrasonic animal repellers create high-pitched sounds that humans cannot hear, but animals can. This device will provide pest control of other pests in addition to raccoons. These sounds scare and irritate critters. 

Block Off Any Small Access Areas To Your Home

Blocking off any possible nesting or entry area will help keep raccoons away. Raccoons can squeeze into small spaces, so even if you think a raccoon can’t get through the small hole in your fence, it probably can. Sealing off chimneys with a chimney cap is another way to ensure raccoons won’t get in.

raccoons near dumpster

Secure Trash

Leaving trash out or leaving trash easily accessible is the main attraction for bringing in raccoons. Keeping garbage cans in the garage is one way to keep raccoons away.

Another option is to secure the trash with a bungee cord across either side of the lid. Getting a cover that requires multiple steps, a key, or a code to get in helps keep raccoons away since the hands of raccoons can easily open regular lids.

Install An Electric Fence

An electric fence is more effective than an ordinary fence as raccoons can climb or dig under fences to get where they want to be. Electric fences provide a safe but stern shock that will deter the critter and condition them not to return.

raccoon growling

Trim Landscape

Trimming and mowing will help deter raccoons. Having tall grass and shrubs will attract raccoons by offering hiding spaces. Keeping trees trimmed also helps because it prevents raccoons from climbing the trees to get to your roof. 

Install Motion Detector Lights

Motion detector lights around your house will scare off raccoons. However, this method should not be the only trick you use, because raccoons that visit regularly will become used to the lights and will quickly not even notice them.

What Attracts Raccoons To Your House Or Yard?

When raccoons invade your house or yard, they are primarily seeking two things: food and shelter. 

Pet food, a vegetable garden, nuts and fruits from trees, food in the trash, and bird feeders are food sources that attract raccoons. Raccoons will also attack small animals to feed on, so if they smell or notice a rabbit, squirrel, snake, or another small creature, raccoons may approach to get a tasty meal. 

Raccoons seek shelter to be protected from predators, survive cold temperatures, and raise their babies. Attics, dog houses, and sheds are only a few examples of where raccoons can create shelters for themselves. Raccoons are very resourceful creatures and are excellent climbers; they can make a home out of almost anything.   

raccoon 14 1

What Scent Keeps Raccoons Away?

Raccoons dislike many smells. Example strong smells that will deter them include:

  • Peppers
  • Garlic
  • Peppermint
  • Onion
  • Apple cider vinegar

Since raccoons have a strong sense of smell, homeowners can use this to their advantage by using scents that raccoons dislike to keep them away instead of attracting them. The scents that are strong to humans are experienced even stronger by raccoons, so almost any bitter or spicy smell can be used as a deterrent.

What Home Remedy Keeps Raccoons Away?

Creating scent repellents with items that may be in your pantry is an effective way to prevent raccoons. These remedies do not harm humans or pets and can help you avoid a raccoon problem.

Creating sprays out of cayenne pepper, vinegar, ammonia, and garlic make an effective raccoon deterrent. All of these can be individually mixed with water and dish soap to create a repellent spray. Peppermint essential oil can be combined with rubbing alcohol and water. Peppermint oil is best to apply to possible den locations as its overpowering smell is unattractive to raccoons. 

Apply the sprays to areas around food, such as pantries, trash cans, and gardens. Also, apply the spray to access points such as pathways, gutters, and holes that may lead raccoons to a shelter in a barn or in the house. Spraying the repellent all along the outside of your home is wise because if the spray is only in one spot, the raccoon will simply find another area in your yard. When it rains, apply the repellent again.

raccoon 12 1

What Smell Do Raccoons Hate?

While raccoons dislike many smells, raccoons hate any peppery smell, including hot peppers, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. This is the scent they hate the most because it irritates their sense of smell, which is a sense they rely on for many activities. 

What Are Raccoons Afraid Of?

Raccoons are afraid of loud noise and large predators. If you see a raccoon in your yard, make loud noises by yelling, clapping your hands, and using items such as pots and pans.

Loudly banging these items together should scare off the raccoon. Sprinklers effectively scare raccoons off with their sound and by spraying the raccoon with water.

Since raccoons can defend themselves with their sharp claws and sharp teeth, it will take a large and aggressive predator to scare a raccoon. Animals such as bears, coyotes, and big aggressive dogs can make raccoons run away. Raccoons will not fear smaller animals like mice, chickens, or birds.

raccoon at feed

Why Do Raccoons Keep Coming Back To Your House?

Raccoons often return to an area when they got something they wanted last time they were there, especially food, water, or shelter. Raccoons will feast on just about anything they can find, so even finding the slightest bit of food will make them return to that location for another meal.

Raccoons also seek water to drink, and they will drink from hoses, ponds, and puddles. Raccoons can have more than one den at a time and are more likely to return to the den when the other one is destroyed. Raccoons will find any entry point they can to seek out shelter.


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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