Raccoons – they can invade your home, personal space, garden and most notably, your trash can! Ideally, having raccoons nearby or even on your property isn’t something you want to deal with.
As a general rule, the best raccoon repellents irritate the senses of a raccoon to keep them away. Peppermint essential oil, bright lights, coffee grounds, chili pepper, cayenne pepper, epsom salt, predator urine, ammonia, vinegar, loud noises and fragrant soaps all can repel raccoons.
So get out a piece of paper and pen, or your device if you’re more into tech, and jot down the following ideas for raccoon repellents that will help keep your home and garden raccoon-free!
Using Raccoon Raccoon Repellents
Without further ado, let’s dive into the BEST raccoon repellents, and how to use them to your advantage.
Before we start, it’s important to note that using a mixture of repellents and switching them up often will give you the best results. Ultimately however, you should focus on long term repellents such as the recommendations at the end of this list.
Just because one repellent doesn’t work, doesn’t mean the rest won’t work either. Try a few, mix and match, and keep these masked fur-balls off your property for good.
Now, onto the good stuff!
Peppermint Essential Oil Repels Raccoons
Do you like the smell of natural oils? Maybe you even have an essential oil diffuser in your house. After all, natural oils usually have a pleasant scent and some even have health benefits.
However, for raccoons, some natural smells originating from plants are scents they absolutely detest. One of these is peppermint, believe it or not! There are also some other scents which will be detailed below but peppermint is one of the best ones to use.
Peppermint oil has a smell that will repel a raccoon and deter them from coming back. Check out the Mighty Mint rodent repellent. It leaves behind a minty scent and contains locally sourced peppermint oil from the midwest… fancy!
Essentially, peppermint oil irritates the sinus cavities of a raccoon, which is why they prefer NOT to go near it. Similar to peppermint, kitchen spices work the same way!
If you’d like to go with this method, take a peek at our guide on using peppermint to repel raccoons where we review some DIY methods!
Shine Bright Lights to Keep Raccoons Away
Have you ever been caught in the glare of bright lights and felt incredibly startled? Well, raccoons feel similarly whenever they find themselves in the same situation.
It may sound almost too simple to flash your handheld light or heavy-duty flashlight at a raccoon to prevent it from coming closer. While this is effective short-term, it will not necessarily eliminate the raccoon problem in your yard.
If you do not mind spending a bit of money on some more serious gear, the Nite Guard Solar Predator Control Light is an excellent product. It flashes a constant light at animals who pick their way through your garden and yard.
Once a raccoon feels like it has been caught in the light, it will leave. The great thing about the Nite Guard is that it is solar-powered and sensitive to light. It will turn on after the sun goes down and turn off in the morning.
You won’t have to worry about standing outside at night flashing lights at rascally raccoons!
Coffee Grounds Smell Bad To Raccoons!
There is a good chance you or someone you love drinks a hot cup of coffee in the morning. Well, after making that cup of coffee, take a couple of handfuls of the coffee grounds and sprinkle it outside.
The strong scent of the coffee grounds is an effective repellent for raccoons. While you may enjoy the smell and taste of coffee, raccoons do not. Raccoons are deterred from coffee grounds the same way that deer are.
So don’t worry about seeing a raccoon drinking a cup of coffee from the coffee grounds in your garden anytime soon!
Deter Raccoons With Chili and Cayenne Pepper
Whether you like cooking or not, you will surely have some spices in your kitchen pantry at home. If not, spices are easy to locate in local grocery stores or online shopping. Luckily for you, a couple of common spices are absolutely detested by raccoons.
Chili flakes and cayenne pepper are fantastic deterrents for raccoons. These spices have a strong aroma that your little masked bandit finds incredibly unpleasant to smell.
You can distribute the chili flakes and cayenne pepper in different ways to get rid of the raccoon problem in your yard. Try spreading them around your yard where you’ve seen raccoons lurking around, or in your garden where they’ve been stealing your prized fruits and vegetables.
Both the smell and taste of the spices will send the raccoon scampering away. Spicy pepper and cayenne work as an irritant too, making a raccoon think twice before coming back.
If you have a spray bottle, you can take the cayenne pepper and mix it with water and even add a dash of hot sauce inside. Now you can spray your yard with this mixture and the smell of this homemade concoction should ward off any raccoon within the area.
Not only are these spices incredibly easy to use, but you won’t have to dip too deep into your wallet for this repellent! Just be sure to reapply the spray often, especially if it rains.
Epsom Salt In Your Yard Repels Raccoons
Epsom salt is awesome. If you’ve ever used it for a night of relaxation, then you know just why. But it’s also even more awesome because it repels raccoons!
The scent and feel of the Epsom salt are unappealing to raccoons and you can be sure this will deter them from entering your personal space.
Make sure you reapply the Epsom salt after it rains as the scent wears off rather quickly and easily.
Predator Urine Scares Raccoons Away
Generally, raccoons’ predators are animals like coyotes, foxes, and even large owls. It’s not really possible to grab one of these predators and make them wait for the raccoon to scare it away.
What you can do instead is to purchase some predator urine like American Heritage Industries Red Fox Urine. This urine is 100% authentic and is a highly effective way to repel raccoons.
You can pour it around the areas most frequently visited by raccoons. Once the raccoons get a slight whiff of the fox urine, their senses will be alerted and they will flee. Sensing the presence of danger will instinctively send the raccoons away.
If you’re interested in using something like coyote urine instead, you can read our guide on the best coyote urines here.
Ammonia Deters Raccoons
A common household product you are most likely to have already in your house is ammonia. This is fantastic because it is another effective, inexpensive method to prevent a raccoon party in your backyard.
Ammonia has an incredibly pungent smell and taste, both of which are offensive to a raccoon’s sense of smell.
The steps for using ammonia are simple. Take an empty spray bottle and fill it with either liquid then go to work on your yard, spraying it in places where you have seen raccoons.
Another option is to soak rags with ammonia and then proceed to lay these out in certain spots.
Just be aware that these scents, like some of the other scents, eventually fade over time so frequent reapplication will be needed.
Raccoons Dislike The Scent of Vinegar
Another common household product, raccoons absolutely can’t stand the scent of vinegar in pungent doses. Vinegar irritates the sinuses of a raccoon and as a result, they stay away from the scent of it.
You can apply vinegar similar to how you apply ammonia – soaking a rag with vinegar and hanging it on a pole or tree in the area you want to repel raccoons will be a strong enough area repellent to keep raccoons from the area.
Loud Noises Startle Raccoons
Most people get irritated by obnoxiously loud noises. Turns out humans aren’t the only ones annoyed by such auditory stimulation.
Raccoons also get startled by incredibly loud sounds and noises. Ideally, if you have a motion sensor alarm paired with a motion sensor, it’ll be a powerful repellent that will deter not just raccoons, but a multitude of other critters and wildlife.
You can read our full guide on using motion sensor lights to repel wildlife here! The article goes in depth on pairing sound AND light together as an animal deterrent.
Raccoons Hate The Scent of Irish Spring Soap
People obviously use fragrant soaps and shampoos when cleaning themselves in the shower. But did you know that some of these wonderful smelling soaps are also fantastic repellents for raccoons?
It’s true! While you may like the smells of wonderful soaps and body washes, the same smell is absolutely repulsive for those night-time raiders.
Soap, specifically Irish Spring Soap, is a great product to use in your garden. Raccoons do not like the ingredients in Irish Spring Soap. Its scent is incredibly unpleasant for them.
You can shave the soap and place it in mesh bags around your garden or property. Be cognizant of the fact that you will have to reapply the soap at times because the scent eventually wears off.
Oh and yes, we wrote a full article on actually using Irish Spring Soap to repel raccoons, which you can read here!
Shake Raccoon Repellent Granules On the Ground
Spraying various liquids in high traffic areas is great but you can also use granules, which are small particles, in those same areas.
Safe Critter Ridder Animal Repellent contains granules that are made from the oil of black pepper, piperine, and capsaicin, all of which are spices that repel raccoons because of their strong scent.
These incredibly hot and spicy spices make people’s mouths and noses feel like they’re on fire and it also has the same effect on raccoons. However, unlike people who love spicy foods, raccoons do not favor such a unique taste or smell
With the Critter Ridder, shake the container and the granules will be released. You can spread the product in areas you want to protect from raccoons and watch it work its magic.
Use Motion Sensor Water Sprinklers
While raccoons are not incredibly disturbed by rain, a strong and intense burst of water will definitely make them run in the opposite direction.
If you already have sprinklers installed in your yard, you may want to set them up with a timer that turns them on at night when these nocturnal bandits come out.
You can also take a peak at the Havahart Critter Ridder Sprinkler which is a motion-activated sprinkler that picks up animals walking within a range of 100 feet. It is incredibly easy to use. Just stick the spike anywhere you desire and, when activated, the spray will work continuously until you turn it off.
Not only does this repel raccoons, but you can also use it to water your lawn. Now that’s a fantastic bonus!
Mint Scented Trash Bags
Raccoons have gained the nickname trash panda…and for good reason! These opportunistic animals will sift through garbage to find edible food that’s been thrown out.
The good news is, there are specific trash bags you can use to repel raccoons.
Bet you didn’t know that!
The Mint-X Mint Scented Rodent Repellent is a special type of trash bag that is made with food grade mint essential oils that raccoons absolutely detest. The bags are easy to use and very durable so you won’t need to worry about your trash falling out if the bag were to rip.
Its powerful mint scent will deter the raccoons from digging into your trash can to munch on some tasty food.
Use Long-Term Deterrents to Repel Raccoons
While there are numerous products and methods to use as raccoon repellents, one of the best courses to take is to protect your area well so raccoons will never even be a problem.
If you can do this from the get-go, then the chances of nightly excursions from these pests will be far less likely to happen.
Sounds easy, right? Well, that’s because it is! Here are a few ways you can easily repel raccoons before they even wander into your personal areas:
- Keep trash lids closed and tightly sealed: Every time you take out the trash, make sure the lid is tightly and securely closed. Raccoons find their way into the trash to sneak some late-night treats.
Their paws are almost like our hands in that they can even open doors and locks. If you need to take drastic measures, you can even invest in products like the Strong Strap – Lid Lock which will keep your garbage bins raccoon-free.
- Remove outside pet food and water: You may have highly adored pets in your home. Perhaps you even leave food and water for them outside whenever they venture out to play. The problem here is that raccoons will pick up the scent of the yummy pet food and want to have their share too.
A simple solution is to take in the food and water bowls every night before sleeping so you can eliminate the nightly intruders.
- Close gates and fences every night: This technique sounds too easy but you would be surprised at how many people forget to latch their fences and gates at night.
Yes, a raccoon can indeed climb great lengths but sometimes the sight of an impenetrable fence or gate discourages them from venturing forth. So be sure to lock up every night to keep your yard safe!
- Fruit trees and vegetable patches – keep produce off the ground: If you have fruits and vegetables in your garden, then there’s a good chance that the raccoons are after these delicious foods.
The repellents mentioned above in the article will help deter our masked bandit from coming near your produce but another preventative measure to take is to make sure any discarded or fallen fruit and vegetable are picked up from the ground regularly.
- Close attics and other open spaces: Raccoons, as well as other small animals, love climbing up houses and sneakily finding their way in through an open door or window.
Oftentimes, they end up in attics and nest there without the homeowner even being aware of the situation. Be sure to check your house for any open spaces near your attic and seal or close these entrances. Blocking off this path will deter raccoons from coming back to your home.
- Block paths and crawl hole spaces: Places like crawl holes beneath your house are easy hiding places for raccoons. Find ways to seal these holes but still allow a way for ventilation.
If you block off these paths, it makes your yard and house less attractive to a raccoon. They’re likely to trundle off to find some other house or yard with more accessible shelter.
That’s a Wrap!
Shall we do a quick recap of all the useful ways you can get rid of raccoons? Alright, let’s do it!
Now you have learned that there are many ways to repel raccoons. Some may not work well for you while others may do the job efficiently and effectively.
All of the below are great measures to take to protect your valuable home and garden:
- Peppermint Essential Oil
- Basic spices like cayenne pepper, chili peppers, and hot sauce
- Bright lights
- Epsom salt
- Predator urine
- Ammonia and vinegar are effective.
- Loud noises
- Soaps with ingredients raccoons do not like such as Irish Spring Soap
- Sprinkle any type of coffee ground on your lawn.
- Spread granules
- Activate water sprinklers
- Use a variety of protective measures consistently in your home and garden
So be sure to stay persistent and committed because, in no time, those raccoons will give up and leave you and your personal space alone.
Here’s to being raccoon-free!
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more useful information about pest control for your home!
Corey M. Huxoll, Terry A. Messmer and Mike Conover. 2010. Raccoons. Utah State University Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet.
Saunders, D. A. 1988. Raccoon. Adirondack Mammals. State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry. 216pp.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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