Dryer Sheets: Here’s How To Use Them To Repel Squirrels

Dryer sheets in plastic bin to repel squirrels

Squirrels may conjure up images of fluffy fur and cheeks full of acorns in your mind, as you think of the cute little critters portrayed in cartoons.

These animals are cute, but they cause quite a headache when it comes to you and your space. These little guys can be destructive, and have babies a couple of times a year, only multiplying the chaos!

Rodents like squirrels, have a strong sense of smell which helps guide them toward food sources and away from predators.

Squirrels are particularly turned off by the scent of dryer sheets, making them an effective deterrent, among physical solutions, to a squirrel problem on your property.

Instead of highlighting total elimination, we will focus on deterring squirrels. This is a more straightforward, more effective practice than having to deal with more extensive solutions, like total removal.

So, let’s dive into some best practices for keeping away these perky little pests. 

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What Kind of Damage Do Squirrels Cause?

Squirrels may not be the peskiest critters, but they are certainly enough of a nuisance to need to keep them away. 

Wait, hold on…squirrels aren’t actually destructive are they? I mean, there’s no way those cute critters could cause any real problems. Or could they?

Most rodents can cause more chaos than the unsuspecting homeowner would guess. Squirrels are no exception to this.

In fact, we have an article on the 10 ways squirrels get into your house (and how to get them out) if you need a little extra support in understanding the ‘why.’

Don’t just take our word for it, we’ve got examples for you. So, let’s dive into the damage that squirrels can cause.

Siding Damage 

These critters are known to chew on siding, which can create holes that allow water, moisture, and even other animals to enter the area. Eventually, this might lead to rot in your siding, which can be quite an expense to fix.

Siding isn’t the only part of your home that squirrels are a threat to, though.

“Wire” You So Concerned? 

a squirrel walking on the power lines

Get it…why are you so concerned? Sorry, I had to.

Anyway, squirrels eating through wires is a big issue that could really take a toll on the electricity, internet, and other things in your house that utilize the wires and power cords that keep them going.

Fixation With Insulation 

On top of the rest of the issues squirrels can cause around the exterior and borders of your home, they can mess quite a lot up from the inside. Say that squirrels chew through the siding and make it through to the insulation in your home. 

You might think you’d notice them before this happens, but you never know. 

So, a squirrel could easily tear through your insulation and start impacting your heating and cooling costs, as well as general electricity use. 

Picture this, a squirrel eats through your siding, creating an area susceptible to rot, before messing with your insulation which makes it cold indoors, and then finally chews up some wires and leaves you without internet for a few days inside your cold, exposed home. 

You can see how this could pose many issues right away, we hope.

Learn about more about the places squirrels may nest in the winter in our article.

Squirrels Can Chew Insulation And Wires, Even Outdoors

In addition to the havoc they might wreak inside your home with things like chewing through wiring or tearing up insulation, squirrels might also dig up and eat your grass seed or bother other animals outside.

Squirrels will also eat your garden plants and can destroy all of the hard work that you’ve put into maintaining your veggies, herbs, fruits, and even flowers.

If you want to learn more about this, we have an article on the 11 plants that squirrels eat if you’d like some specific info.

Can Dryer Sheets Be An Effective Squirrel Repellant?

dryer sheet going into dryer to then repel squirrels

Dryer sheets have been used as a relatively natural, harmless rodent and animal repellent for a long time.

Orchard owners used to be well-known for their practice of tying some dryer sheets into their trees in order to keep deer from eating their apples and other fruits.

The concept is the same when it comes to squirrels. This is not only humane, but an inexpensive and simple tactic to keep squirrels away from your plants, home, and garden.

Much like mice, chipmunks, and other small rodents, squirrels rely on their senses of sound and smell to communicate, keep them safe, and find food.

So, messing with this animal’s sense of smell is a good way to not only disorient them but to frustrate them enough that they will stay away from your space.

This sort of non-lethal repellent can help you to feel justified in your methods, and know that you aren’t causing harm while still protecting your home.

How To Use Dryer Sheets to Repel Squirrels

Luckily for us, there are many different ways to use this household staple, dryer sheets, to repel squirrels from our space.

Whether you are looking to keep squirrels out of your shed or garage space, your home itself, or even just the trees near your house or workplace, dryer sheets are a useful aid to keep in your back pocket.

The best part about using dryer sheets is that they are an item you are likely to already have around your home. You won’t be out any extra cost, trips to the store, or the hassle of searching for a new product.

Honestly, even if you find that this isn’t your preferred method of repellent, you won’t be any worse for your efforts. At the most, you’ll have to buy dryer sheets a couple of loads of laundry earlier than you might have otherwise.

Tie Dryer Sheets In Trees to Create Condensed Scents 

If you tie up your dryer sheets into trees, bushes, and even on branches of garden veggies like zucchini plants or bean stalks, you’ll find that squirrels will begin to steer clear.

Not only does tying a few dryer sheets together create a more powerful scent that keeps squirrels at bay, but it also ensures that you can target specific areas. 

Instead of a sound penetrating a general space in your yard, or pest control sprays misting an entire plant (and being potentially damaging) this is a good way to mark the exact spot you’d like to keep squirrels away from.

Tuck Dryer Sheets Near Your Porch 

You can simply tuck a few dryer sheets near your porch, doors, or any basement windows that you fear squirrels might try to enter!

Not only is this even easier than tying up dryer sheets in plants and trees, but it’s just as cost-effective, and efficient, of a way to target specific spaces where there are no branches to tie the sheets onto. 

Again, dryer sheets are small enough and light enough to be discreet while doing what they should to keep squirrels at least a few feet away.

You can also tuck them inside your shed and garage space, to make sure that the areas you monitor less often remain rid of squirrels and other pests.

Will Dryer Sheets Keep Squirrels Away Long-Term?

Hold on, is this a solution that we can count on to last?

You might be concerned about the need to keep up with this practice.

The truth is, dryer sheets won’t act as a permanent solution because, like spices, repellent sprays, and any scent-based product, the smell is going to fade. Eventually, your dryer sheet is not going to smell strong enough to viscerally repel your local squirrels. 

Also, like any other scent-based squirrel solution, you don’t have to do much to upkeep this repellent. Whereas you might have to reapply a soluble deterrent, you’ll simply pull out a few new dryer sheets and retie or replace them wherever you had them placed previously. 

There is one way to make longer use of your dryer sheets, though. 

If you use Bounce Dryer Sheets, they will be more effective thanks to their unique scent. This could mean that squirrels stop coming around sooner. Additionally, these dryer sheets tend to hold their scent a little longer than others do.

Other Animals And Insects That Dryer Sheets May Repel

Squirrels are just one of many rodents and animals that prefer to avoid the strong scent of dryer sheets.

We’ve compiled a list of some other animals that are particularly bothered by dryer sheets, and will stay away from them: 

  • Deer
  • Mosquitos
  • Gnats
  • Mites
  • Beetles
  • Cockroaches
  • Weevils
  • Mice

Tying dryer sheets to your plants, near your home, and around any space where you want squirrels to stay away, is an easy method.

Not only is it cheap and simple, but it is also relatively discreet. Guests won’t immediately notice and remark on a few dryer sheets in a corner somewhere, and the scent won’t be a bother to you, while you might be able to successfully keep multiple different animals away from your immediate space.

Other Scents That Repel Squirrels

red squirrel with walnut in mouth in tree

So, then what other scents should you be utilizing to help repel squirrels from your space before they become an issue?

If you don’t use dryer sheets, you might be wondering what other scents you can scrounge up from around the house. 

We are big fans of working with what you’ve got, and have some more natural, inexpensive, options for you to try:

If you are able to combine any of these scents or products, you’ll likely have even more success in deterring squirrels. You can click on the any of the links above to view our specific guides on repelling squirrels with those scents!

For example, if you happen to use peppermint-scented dryer sheets, squirrels are sure to stay nice and far away from your space.

If you’d like a full list of options, take a look at our guide on the scents that squirrels hate!

So, Do Dryer Sheets Really Deter Squirrels? Our Answer!

Squirrels are cute, but they are also a nuisance more often than not. Although they might not appear to be causing any issues, it doesn’t hurt to have an idea of how to best keep them away from your immediate space.

We can confirm that using dryer sheets is an effective way to deter not only squirrels but mice, deer, gnats, and other pests. If not a long-term, permanent solution, you can trust this simple, effective method in your time of need.

As always, thank you for trusting us to help give you some of our pest pointers. We know that it can be a pain to keep rodents like squirrels at bay, and are glad to know that we can help in some way.

Remember, if things escalate or you are unsure of how to proceed in your own situation, you can always reach out to a local wildlife and pest control expert for support.


Ferkin, M. H. (2015). The response of rodents to scent marks: four broad hypotheses. Hormones and behavior, 68, 43-52.

Meyer, R. T., & Cox, J. A. (2019). Capsaicin as a tool for repelling Southern Flying Squirrels from Red-cockaded Woodpecker cavities. Human–Wildlife Interactions, 13(1), 12.

Miller, E. A. (2019). Natural History and Medical Management of Squirrels and Other Rodents. Medical Management of Wildlife Species: A Guide for Practitioners, 167-184.

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