Raccoon Repellent 101: Natural Ways to Make Your Yard Raccoon-Free

Raccoon Repellent
Raccoon Repellent

Are you tired of dealing with pesky raccoons invading your space? Look no further – Raccoon Repellent is the ultimate solution to keep these furry intruders at bay. In this article, we’ll explore the effectiveness of different raccoon repellent methods and provide you with valuable insights on protecting your home from unwanted guests. Say goodbye to raccoon troubles with the power of Raccoon Repellent!


It’s happened to nearly all of us: we leave our trash outside on trash day, resolve to bring the bins in closer to pickup the next morning, and promptly forget about it. Then the following morning, when we walk outside expecting to see tidy curb appeal, we are met instead by a yard strewn with trash torn apart by nocturnal creatures.

This is likely the work of a raccoon. Raccoons are extremely opportunistic animals that have adapted remarkably well to human habitats. They seem purpose-built to drive homeowners crazy by getting into trash, gardens, attics and more. Let’s discuss some measures you can take to deter these troublesome yet clever creatures.

Preventing Raccoon Access

The best way to prevent raccoons from being attracted to your property is by eliminating their access to food, water, and shelter. This involves taking a few key steps:

Remove Food Sources

  • Store all pet food, bird seed, and other outdoor food sources in sealed metal containers that raccoons cannot get into.
  • Use bungee cords to tightly seal trash can lids. Consider using trash cans with locking lids.
  • Pick up any fallen fruit from fruit trees and do not leave pet food outdoors overnight.
  • Clean outdoor grills thoroughly after each use to remove food residue.

Remove Access to Water

  • Change the water in bird baths frequently or remove bird baths entirely.
  • Make sure gutters are clear of debris so they do not hold standing water.
  • Drain pools when not in use and keep pool covers secured.
  • Turn over any containers that may collect rainwater, like buckets or wheelbarrows.

Block Access to Shelter

  • Seal any openings larger than 4 inches across, like gaps beneath porches or decks, with concrete or wire mesh.
  • Install chimney caps and repair holes in soffits or siding.
  • Trim back tree branches that may allow raccoons access to the roof.
  • Cover exterior vents with mesh screening or purchase vent covers.


By eliminating food sources, water access, and shelter, you can prevent raccoons from seeing your property as a prime location to inhabit and forage. Raccoons are resourceful though, so persistence and vigilance is key.

Two raccoon eating food from the trash illustration
Two raccoon eating food from the trash illustration

Types of Raccoon Repellents

There are a few main categories of raccoon repellents to consider:


These repellents rely on strong, unpleasant odors that raccoons dislike, such as vinegar, ammonia, coyote urine, peppermint oil, and essential oils like eucalyptus. The scent overwhelms the raccoon’s sensitive nose, encouraging them to avoid the area. Scent-based repellents often need frequent reapplication as the smell fades over time. They can be sprayed, soaked into rags, or placed in open containers around the perimeter of your home.


Physical raccoon deterrents create uncomfortable sensations that the raccoon wants to avoid. Examples include sprinklers, electronic mats that give a mild shock, or sticky gels that raccoons find unpleasant to walk on. These can be effective around gardens, sheds, or other areas a raccoon may frequent. However, raccoons are intelligent and may learn to avoid or disable these devices over time.


Auditory raccoon repellents produce sounds that scare or annoy raccoons. Ultrasonic devices emit high-frequency sounds humans can’t hear. Other deterrents play loud music, talk radio, or other disruptive noise. These can be set up near suspected raccoon entry points or dens. As raccoons become accustomed to the sounds, they lose effectiveness unless the sounds are varied.


Visual repellents include strobe lights, fake predators like plastic owls or snakes, reflective strips, or wind chimes that deter raccoons with movement and flashes of light. These work best by scaring raccoons away from a specific location like a garden or attic entry point. Raccoons quickly learn these are not real threats, so effectiveness is limited.

The best approach is often a combination of techniques, frequently changed to prevent raccoons from becoming too comfortable. No single solution will work permanently or in all situations. Persistence and adapting approaches over time provide the best results.

Natural Repellents

There are several natural options for repelling raccoons that can be effective. These typically rely on strong scents that raccoons find unpleasant or alarming. Some common natural raccoon repellents include:


Raccoons dislike the smell of vinegar, especially apple cider vinegar. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar diluted with some water and spray it around potential raccoon entry points or trails. You can also soak cotton balls in vinegar and place them strategically around the exterior of your home. The vinegar smell deters raccoons from approaching.

Coyote Urine

The scent of a predator like coyote urine triggers a fear response in raccoons that will keep them away. Coyote urine can be purchased in liquid, powder or capsule form. The liquid can be sprayed on plants, the powder spread around the perimeter of your property, and capsules planted in the ground for longer-lasting raccoon repellent effects.


Ammonia is a chemical naturally found in urine that raccoons strongly dislike. Purchase ammonia online or from a hardware store. Soak rags in ammonia and place them around your property or set out small bowls of uncovered ammonia. The strong scent repels raccoons.

Cayenne Pepper

Raccoons have a keen sense of smell and will avoid areas sprinkled with cayenne pepper. The irritation and spiciness of cayenne pepper powder makes raccoons steer clear.

Essential Oils

Natural essential oils like peppermint can effectively repel raccoons when used strategically around your home. The strong scent overwhelms their senses and deters them from the area.

Sonic Deterrents

Sonic deterrent devices are designed to emit high-frequency sounds that are unpleasant and frightening to raccoons, encouraging them to avoid the area. These devices plug into an electrical outlet and produce ultrasonic noise that is beyond the range of human hearing.

The main types of sonic raccoon deterrents include:

  • Ultrasonic pest repellers – These emit very high frequency sound waves that raccoons find uncomfortable. The sounds are inaudible to humans but can still be irritating to pets.
  • Motion-activated ultrasonic devices – These deterrents sense movement and emit targeted ultrasound bursts towards the raccoon. This startles the raccoon without constant noise.
  • Predator ultrasonic deterrents – These devices mimic the calls of predators like coyotes. When raccoons hear these threatening sounds, they instinctively want to avoid the area.

Sonic deterrents provide wider coverage than other deterrents and don’t require replenishing. However, their effectiveness can vary based on factors like the raccoon’s motivation and device placement. Raccoons can potentially adapt and ignore the sounds over time. These devices also require an accessible power source to operate.

Overall, ultrasonic devices offer a hands-off way to scare raccoons away from specific areas like gardens, attics, or porches. But sonic deterrents may not provide complete protection on their own without also addressing food sources and access points. Strategic use alongside other deterrents and prevention steps will provide the best results.

Mild Harassment Techniques

Like any of us, raccoons have the capacity to be annoyed—something that can be used to your advantage. Mild harassment techniques are harmless, easy ways to dispel unwanted wildlife.


Since they are primarily nocturnal animals, raccoons don’t like excessive light. Simply aiming a flashlight at their den and leaving it there will likely convince the raccoon that the area isn’t safe, prompting them to relocate.


Grab a radio and place it near the den’s entrance. Interestingly, raccoons have a greater tolerance for the sound of music than they do for human voices, so tune it to an all-talk show, and consider warning your neighbors if you think it might be an annoyance.

Whichever technique you choose, be sure to turn off the device periodically, The MSPCA recommends that you turn these devices off periodically, so the mother will feel safe to re-enter to retrieve her young.

Canine distemper, which may be dangerous for dogs that haven't received vaccinations, and rabies, which can be spread to humans and other animals, are both carried by raccoons.
Canine distemper, which may be dangerous for dogs that haven’t received vaccinations, and rabies, which can be spread to humans and other animals, are both carried by raccoons.

Protecting Gardens from Raccoons

One of the biggest nuisances raccoons can cause is ravaging vegetable gardens and fruit trees. Raccoons are extremely opportunistic and will take advantage of any easy food source. Make sure to harvest produce frequently and remove any fallen fruit or vegetables from the ground.

Bird feeders provide another simple buffet for raccoons and should be removed if you are having problems with them. Compost piles that contain food scraps are also a major attractant. Ensure compost bins are securely closed.

Installing a fence is the most effective means of protecting gardens. The fence should be at least 4 feet high and buried 6 inches underground to prevent raccoons from digging underneath. Electric fences provide the best results, delivering a harmless but memorable shock to deter raccoons.

Motion-activated sprinklers can also help deter raccoons initially. The sudden spray of water when they approach surprises them. However, raccoons are clever and will eventually recognize the sound of the activator and learn to avoid the water. So sprinklers should be used in conjunction with other techniques.

By removing food sources and making gardens inconvenient to access, you can minimize the damage caused by raiding raccoons. Persistent raccoons may require calling a professional wildlife control expert to humanely remove them from your property.

When To Call A Professional

While deterrents and harassment techniques can be effective for some homeowners, others may find themselves in need of professional wildlife control services. There are a few scenarios when calling in an expert is advisable:

  • There is structural damage to the home. Raccoons that have made their way into attics or walls can cause considerable destruction by tearing up insulation or chewing on beams and wiring. Professionals have the proper equipment and expertise to remove raccoons from enclosed spaces and repair any damages.
  • A raccoon is trapped inside the house. Well-meaning homeowners attempting to capture a raccoon that’s made its way indoors often end up with an angry, scared animal darting frantically about the home. Wildlife control experts use humane trapping methods to safely extract and relocate raccoons.
  • There is a large infestation. Some properties can become overrun by a rambunctious family of raccoons. Population control is best left to professionals equipped with the right tools and know-how to humanely reduce numbers.
  • Raccoon problems persist despite homeowner efforts. Sometimes raccoons are simply too stubborn or too attracted to a property to be driven off by homemade remedies. A wildlife control company can conduct a site evaluation and create a customized plan to make a home less inviting.
  • There are babies involved. Well-intentioned homeowners should resist the urge to interact with raccoon litters they find on their property. Licensed experts know how to remove and reunite them with the mother safely.

Raccoon problems don’t always require calling in the pros. But for severe infestations or situations threatening health and home, a wildlife control professional is the safest and most effective solution. They know how to resolve conflicts in a lasting, humane manner.

Raccoon Facts

Raccoons are highly intelligent and curious animals, leading to many interesting behaviors and abilities. Here are some fascinating raccoon facts:

  • Raccoons are omnivores and eat a wide variety of foods including plants, insects, rodents, eggs, and human trash. Their front paws are extremely dexterous and allow them to open doors, jars, and other containers.
  • Raccoons have excellent night vision and a keen sense of touch. Their whiskers allow them to detect and identify objects even when they cannot see them.
  • Raccoons are known for “washing” their food in water which is actually an instinct to moisten their dry food since they don’t produce much saliva. Their scientific name “Procyon lotor” means “washer dog.”
  • Urban raccoons can recognize human faces. Researchers have discovered they can remember people who have harmed or helped them before.
  • Baby raccoons are called kits or cubs. Raccoon kits stay in the den with their mother for 8-16 weeks before venturing out with her to learn hunting and foraging.
  • Raccoons are excellent climbers and swimmer. They can rotate their hind feet to grip branches and climb down trees head first. Their water-resistant fur provides insulation and buoyancy.
  • Raccoons are highly adaptable and found in a wide range of habitats from forests, marshes, and prairies to cities. They are one of the most widespread mammals in North America.
  • Raccoons do not truly hibernate but go through periods of extended sleep during cold winter months, only waking for short periods to eat from stored food.
  • When frightened, raccoons can produce a screeching whine to alert other raccoons to danger. Mother raccoons will fiercely defend their young if approached.
  • Raccoons are nocturnal and most active at night, dusk, and dawn. Urban raccoons shift their schedule to be more active during the day to take advantage of human trash cans and food sources.


Raccoons can be a frustrating nuisance, but with some diligence, you can find effective ways to deter them. The most important preventative measure is removing food sources, water, and shelter that might attract raccoons to your home.

Repellents provide additional protection, with natural options like vinegar, essential oils, and coyote urine often proving effective. Devices that emit high-pitched sounds or bright lights can also discourage raccoons from denning too close.

For gardens and trash, try motion-activated sprinklers or fencing. Focus deterrents near likely entry points identified by raccoon damage or droppings. Persistence is key, as clever raccoons may become accustomed to certain tactics over time.

The humane thing is to make your property unwelcoming without harming raccoons. But if they persist in causing problems, don’t hesitate to contact a wildlife raccoon removal professional for advice and assistance. With some creativity and commitment, you can find a balance that keeps raccoons wild and your yard raccoon-free.

About Jarrett Kovacek 34 Articles
My role as co-owner means wearing many hats, from accounting to HR to hiring, and more! I graduated college with a degree in English, but soon after graduating, I worked as a recruiter for account professionals. While working in sales, I learned the importance of professionalism, integrity, and caring for every customer. Never did I imagine that the skills and experience I gained would lead me to join talents with my husband, David, someday. Together, we built Raccoon Removal from scratch; and I’m so proud of what it has become! In my free time, I love traveling, boating, reading, and spending time with my family and our furry pets.

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