The best raccoon repellents for your house & garden

Raccoon on a rock
Raccoon repellents that are the most effective are made from spicy, caustic, or very fragrant ingredients. These include peppers, vinegar, ammonia, garlic, epsom salts, and peppermint oil. Spray or sprinkle them around your yard and home to keep raccoons away.

Raccoon repellent can be purchased from stores, but making your own can be uncomplicated since you may already have typical ingredients in your home. Making repellent at home is also cheaper and more convenient. Also, many of the homemade repellents will be helpful for any type of pest control.

Raccoons may be cute, but their presence can bring many issues. They can carry contagious diseases, ruin your garden, create dens in your home, and countless other problems.

Whether you think you may have a raccoon hanging around or you want to ensure they don’t invade your home, making your own raccoon deterrent is simple and effective!

6 DIY raccoon repellents that are effective:

Raccoons have a particularly strong sense of smell and hate any spicy or bitter aroma, so spreading this type of smell around your house is an effective repellent. The DIY sprays can be sprayed around the perimeter of your home and yard.

Some DIY repellents will need to be sprinkled instead of sprayed. When it rains, the repellent needs to be applied again. These repellents can also keep other critters away, such as mice, skunks, and chipmunks.

A spray bottle will be required to apply the repellent spray.

two raccoons in the brush


Using a peppery spray is the most effective type of spray you can use because peppers are raccoons’ least favorite smell. Any kind of pepper or hot pepper will do: a small bottle of hot sauce, cut-up jalapeños, peppercorn, or cayenne pepper.

Mix the pepper of choice with a gallon of water and a teaspoon of dish soap. The dish soap serves to help the mixture stick to plants. 


Vinegar is harmful to plants, so it should not be used as a spray, but it can be applied directly onto trash to make it unappealing to raccoons. Another idea is to soak cloth, maybe used clothes or rags, in vinegar and spread the soaked items around your yard to prevent raccoons.


Ammonia is a chemical often used as fertilizer, meaning when you use it as a raccoon repellent, it is also good for your greenery. However, ammonia has a strong smell that raccoons hate.

Ammonia is effective, but people tend not to use it because its powerful smell is bothersome to humans, too. You can soak items in ammonia to spread throughout your yard, or put some in bowls to spread around your house.

Another option is to mix the chemical with water to apply directly to your lawn.


Garlic is another smell that raccoons hate. Crushed garlic or garlic powder can be directly applied to an area, or you can create a spray by mixing garlic powder with water and dish soap. Be careful using garlic, though, as it can be toxic to pets. 

Epsom Salts

Epsom salt, known as bath salt, can serve as raccoon repellent and plant fertilizer. It can be sprinkled directly into your garden and around your home. Raccoons dislike the taste and smell of it.

Peppermint Oil

Raccoons hate the burning smell of peppermint essential oils, making it an effective repellent. Combine about five drops of the peppermint oil with water and rubbing alcohol to create a spray.

Peppermint oil is also effective in getting rid of other pests in your garden, such as insects. 

Raccoon on a log in the bushes

What attracts raccoons to your house in the first place?

Raccoons are attracted to homes to find food, water, and shelter. 

It is a well-known fact that raccoons like to dig through the trash. This is true as they dig through garbage to find an easy meal. They are attracted to any food, whether bird seed, insects, mice, or other food sources. 

Just like any living thing, raccoons need water to survive. This means they may enter your area to get a drink from a puddle, fountain, pet bowl, pond, or other water source.

Raccoons seek a safe and warm shelter. They are excellent climbers and diggers, meaning they can make a home out of just about anything.

Raccoons often make homes in barns, attics, and chimneys. The availability of these types of spaces to be used as shelter cause raccoons to invade your area. 

How to make sure to keep raccoons away permanently

There are several actions you can take to keep raccoons away.

Secure trash cans tightly, with a complicated lock or a bungee cord. This will make it more difficult for raccoons to get into your trash to eat, and raccoons are lazy hunters, so they will give up easily and move on.

Eliminating food sources other than garbage cans will also help keep raccoons away. Put away pet food and bird feed at night since raccoons are nocturnal animals.

Pick up fallen fruits and nuts from trees. If you have a chicken coop, make sure it is secure with sturdy walls or chicken wire correctly installed. 

Installing an electric fence or ultrasonic animal repeller will help keep raccoons and other critters away. The electric fence will provide an unpleasant shock to the animal that will make them afraid to return.

An ultrasonic animal repeller creates high-frequency noises that will irritate animals. 

Ensure that entry points are blocked off. Raccoons can fit into small spaces, so cover holes and possible access points into or around your home.

Installing a sprinkler system connected with a motion sensor is another good way to scare off raccoons. The spray of water onto the critter will deter it from your area.

Raccoon face up close

Final expert tips

Mothballs are a common item used in an attempt to repel raccoons, but they are not very effective, and they are dangerous. Raccoons will simply kick away the mothballs instead of being deterred by them.

The chemicals inside moth balls are actually toxic to humans, pets, and any other type of animal. In humans, mothballs can cause nausea, eye irritation, and headaches. 

Reapplying homemade repellent is an important key to keeping the raccoons away. It should be reapplied frequently, even if it hasn’t rained. None of the natural deterrent ideas will work without reapplication.

If you notice a raccoon has been around your home, whether you’ve seen raccoon footprints, droppings, or damage to your yard and home, don’t assume the raccoon is gone.

Raccoons often return to places they’ve visited, so using one of these DIY methods is an excellent idea to ensure they don’t return to your area.


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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