How to keep raccoons and the smells they hate away (2023)

There are several scents that keep raccoons away, but some are especially effective. And when it comes to deterring raccoons, you'll need all the help you can get!

This guide will cover the various scents you can use to repel and keep raccoons off your property. Some of them will surprise you!

table of contents

  • Why You Need to Keep Raccoons Away
  • Other ways to discourage them

Why You Need to Keep Raccoons Away

Raccoons are one of the most tenacious pests you will find on your property. These masked mammals are surprisingly intelligent and have nimble hands that help them get into all sorts of trouble. Though you'll rarely see them during the day, raccoons come out of the shadows at night to terrorize entire neighborhoods.

Like any other pest animal, raccoons are primarily concerned with food, shelter and water. They got used to living in the suburbs and near man-made buildings. One of the reasons they migrate to densely populated areas is that homes provide all the resources they need to survive.

Thanks to their strong sense of smell, raccoons have the ability to rummage through trash and find even the best-hidden bits of food! While some see their scavenging behavior as nothing more than a nuisance, it's important to take action and deter these animals as much as possible.

How to keep raccoons and the smells they hate away (1)

Once they find a reliable source of food, raccoons will stay and continue to wreak havoc in your home. Females build nests in your attic, under your porch and any other safe place. You may inadvertently increase the raccoon population while endangering your family and pets.

Raccoons may seem cute at first, but they can be fierce when necessary.These pests can attack pets and livestock on your property. Not only that, but they can leave behind feces and other potentially dangerous messes.

That's just one of the reasons why you should try to keep raccoons away.These animals are known carriers of a large number of viral infections.Some of the most dangerous are rabies, distemper and parasitic worms. These diseases can spread quickly through bites and droppings.

You should never ignore a possible raccoon infection. Despite the prevalence of these mammals, there are many odors raccoons hate and several repellants you can use to keep them off your property.

Raccoon Repellents and Scents They Hate

The best way to keep raccoons away is to scare them away before they enter your yard! Instead of resorting to baited traps and other physical deterrents, you can get creative and use the raccoon's most valuable resource against them.

Here are some smells raccoons hate, as well as additional repellents you can use to turn your property into a no-go zone.

1. Black or cayenne pepper

When looking for food, raccoons use their olfactory receptors to pick up even faint odors. That's how they can find food in your trash bin. Your sense of smell is incomparable.

One of the most effective methods of keeping raccoons away is to take advantage of the smells they hate, and pepper is one of the most potent scents you can use to do just that! Black pepper or cayenne pepper powder has a powerful effect that causes a lot of discomfort and is likely to drive raccoons off your property.

If you've ever put pepper in your nose, you know how uncomfortable it can be. Now imagine how bad that sensation is for an animal with an ultra-powerful sense of smell!

Sprinkle pepper in places where raccoons are more likely to find food. Focus on the area where you keep your trash cans or compost piles. If you have a garden, it might also benefit from sprinkling some pepper around the perimeter.

(Video) What smell do raccoons hate?

Apply the pepper regularly, as it can be washed off in heavy rain. It won't be long before the smell starts to drive raccoons away.

2. Ammonia

Here is a scent that raccoons hate with a passion. In fact, it's one of the strongest deterrents on the list!

Ammonia is a chemical compound used in everything from household cleaning products to agricultural products. In its purest form, ammonia has an intense aroma, fully capable of causing respiratory problems.

In fact, most ammonia products have clear warnings about using them indoors without protection. Without proper ventilation, ammonia can cause coughing fits, watery eyes and lung pain.

Raccoons can detect ammonia long before they approach, and most flee the moment the gas hits their noses. This makes it a great repellent that you can use to ward off these animals or get rid of existing ones.

There are a few ways to use ammonia.The easiest is to simply pour it into a bowl and place it near potential food sources.The scent will float in the air and create a barrier of defense.

Alternatively, you can soak some old rags or tennis balls in ammonia. When they are fully saturated, place the item where it is most needed. You can put it on the porch or bury it in the trash can.

Either way, soaking ensures that the ammonia slowly evaporates, allowing the scent to linger all night.

Quick tip:As always, be careful when handling ammonia. Although this liquid is readily available, it does have its risks. Be sure to keep it out of anyone's reach and be careful if you have small children or pets running around.

3. Peppermint oil

If you prefer something with a slightly more pleasant scent, try peppermint oil.

Peppermint essential oils are derived from the plant of the same name. The oil is super potent, but dilute it with a little water or a carrier oil.

The best thing about using this oil over ammonia is that it is gentle on the nose. While ammonia can burn and create just as many respiratory problems as raccoons, peppermint oil is much more bearable! In fact, many use it for home diffusers or topical medications.

However, it's still a scent that will keep raccoons away. It is a powerful all-natural repellent that also works on many insects.

To use, add a few drops of the oil to a spray bottle filled with clean water. The more oil you add, the more potent the solution will become.

Spray the oil mixture around your property. Like other sprays, peppermint oil will weaken over time. This means you will have to reapply regularly.

Quick tip:If you have access to a large amount of peppermint oil, you can use it to saturate washcloths, cotton balls, and other porous items. This can help you wear the perfume a little longer than diluted sprays.

4. Fluid dump

Dump fluid is a one-off product with unpredictable results. Homeowners have used this solution to deter raccoons for a long time, but these animals do not always respond in the same way.

(Video) What scent will keep raccoons away?

Raccoon females are the most likely to stay away from him.That's because it replicates the scent of male raccoons.

The fluid is a simple mixture of male raccoon urine and gland secretions. It's pretty cheap and easy to get, so it might be worth a try. It is usually available in liquid and paste forms.

As a result, you have some flexibility with the app. The best way to use eviction fluid is to apply it where the womancan raccoons have a nestwith young children Areas such as the attic or crawl spaces are a great place to start.

The shedding fluid works by reminding females of the inherent dangers males pose to their babies. Men often practice infanticide. Females smell the discharge fluid and think that a dangerous male is nearby, so they often move the nest to a safer place.

5. Sal de Epsom

Here's another inexpensive product that won't spoil your use.

Epsom salt is a form of magnesium sulfate that has a long history of medicinal use. However, it also produces a scent that will keep raccoons away.

Interestingly, Epsom salt is virtually odorless. Some manufacturers may add essential oils for use in the bath, but common salt shouldn't be offensive to you or your family.

Sprinkle Epsom salt around your property. You can focus their attention on areas where raccoons might go, like around the trash can or under the porch. However, you can also apply it to your garden and lawn!

Quick tip:It is also an effective fertilizer that can benefit a wide range of plants. Salt increases green coloration, increases flower blooms, and even produces more foliage for shrubby plants. All the more reason to use Epsom salt to keep raccoons away!

6. Onion and pepper spray

Onion and pepper sprays have a similar effect to standard dried pepper. However, the liquid-based solution can have a more lasting impact when it comes to deterring raccoons.

To create your spray, boil equal parts onion and cayenne pepper in a little water. For the spiciest results, use raw onions and bell peppers. Dried seasonings might do the trick if you're in a pinch, but raw vegetables have a stronger aroma that will keep raccoons away.

After the solution has cooled, you can transfer it to a spray bottle and apply it to the ground outside. The spray will have a strong odor, but the odor will lessen over time. For continued protection, spray regularly.

7. She

Garlic is a culinary necessity for most people. But for raccoons, their aromatic smell and taste are too much to handle!

There are a few ways you can use garlic to keep raccoons away.

If you have a green thumb, consider planting some garlic cloves. Garlic sprouts quickly, producing long flowering vines called flower buds. The aroma emanates from the entire plant, so you can plant the garlic strategically for maximum coverage.

Alternatively, you can simply bury your teeth without intending to cause them to erupt. Some homeowners like to toss a few nails in the bin along with their garbage. That way raccoons aren't tempted to rummage around.

Finally, you can create garlic juice. Like the other spray solutions we've discussed, garlic juice is easy to apply around potential food sources. It will be absorbed into the soil while the odor persists to deter raccoons.


To make the juice, place several cloves in a blender or juicer. Garlic presses work too.

8. Mothballs

Mothballs contain naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. The chemical compounds are initially solid, making it easy to distribute the mothballs wherever raccoons become a problem.

However, the chemicals eventually turn into gas vapors. Vapors can even penetrate nearby porous materials, further maximizing propagation.

Mothballs are toxic to many animals and insects. The mere smell of the material works as a warning sign for raccoons, making it an effective repellent tool.

Quick tip:The only problem is that you have to be cautious. You can spray mothballs outside by the garbage can or in the garden. But if you have small children or pets nearby, take some extra steps to prevent accidental consumption.

Simple mothball holders are an option for this, but they have limits on how many pieces you can use.

9. Predator urine

One of the best methods of keeping raccoons away is to trick them into believing that there are predators nearby. Many animals leave behind a scent trail to mark their territory and make their presence known. Even your dog does this every time he goes to the bathroom.

Remember that raccoons have an excellent sense of smell. It doesn't take a lot of urine to send a danger signal and repel nearby raccoons.

So how exactly do you spread a predator's urine? Believe it or not, you can buy some at many stores! Scent products like this are available at many bix-box hardware stores. You can also get them at stores that specialize in hunting and outdoor activities.

Try using urine from natural predators in your area. It's not too difficult to find urine products that belong to specific animals. For example, you're likely to see urine sprays with wolf, lynx, coyote, and even cougar urine.

Regardless of what you choose, the application process is quite simple. Spray urine on problem areas. As always, reapply frequently to keep odor-based warnings stronger than ever.

Areas to use these scents and repellents

Now you know which scents will keep raccoons away, but there's a little more you need to familiarize yourself with. These scents are only effective if you use them strategically.

Remember, location is everything.

You must apply the scents in the areas where these crooks will visit regularly. Otherwise, they can easily avoid them and still get to your junk hoard.

The most obvious places to place them are in areas close to food sources.If you're already trying to get rid of raccoons, you probably have a pretty good idea of ​​where they go and how they eat. Whether they're looking for your outdoor trash can or your vegetable patch, make it your starting point.

Apply scents to create an invisible barrier. Think of it as a perfume-based wall. If there is a break in the smell, raccoons can break in and still wreak havoc on your home.

(Video) What smells do raccoons hate?

If you are concerned about raccoons entering your home,try to place the perfume next to all the outside walls.Make a perimeter of the scent and pay special attention to possible access points.

Many owners forget to take into account the raccoon's climbing abilities. They can easily use poles, wires, and even small openings in the wall to get in. Drench those areas in the scent they hate to make sure it never goes near them.

Finally, don't forget to think about nesting sites.Even when scents are used to deter or repel raccoons, many females will brave the scent to reach "clean" nesting sites. They often resort to attics and chimneys, as most homeowners don't even think about treating these places.

Take the time to apply the scents there. Even if you aren't actively dealing with a nursing raccoon, having those scents linger will ensure none of them move.

Other ways to discourage them

Scent-based raccoon deterrents are quite effective, but they are not the only method of keeping raccoons away. If you want a little more peace of mind, go further and adopt other deterrence techniques.

Start by keeping your yard clean.Raccoons love to investigate backyards with tons of hiding places. They will take advantage of trash, yard debris, and anything else they can find to protect themselves.

To limit possible hiding places, keep your yard as tidy as possible. Trim overgrown bushes, pick up bushes and keep things from getting out of hand.

Here are some steps you can take to prevent raccoons from gaining access to food.Raccoons will continue to spawn if they can find food.

Invest in pest-proof trash cans. They have locking mechanisms that raccoons struggle to open. Many also have airtight seals to ensure the smell doesn't attract them in the first place.

The same measures should apply to compost piles or dog food bowls. Take everything inside and seal everything that needs to go outside.

If you want to go all out, you can invest in some additional raccoon repellent products.

The sky is the limit here. Some owners resort to additional fencing or litter cages. Others use electrical wiring that produces a slight discharge.

Motion detection products are also available. The motion detection lights will instantly turn on, giving the raccoon a big scare! You can also invest in automatic sprinklers, rattles and many other products.

There are many ways to keep raccoons away. Typically, the best course of action is to adopt various techniques, leveraging scent-based repellents to make your yard as undesirable as possible.

final thoughts

Knowing which smells will keep raccoons away is valuable knowledge for any homeowner. These creatures are persistent, intelligent and not easily deterred!

We hope you put the repellent suggestions to good use and successfully get rid of those pesky raccoons that roam your property. If you have any questions about proper implementation, feel free to send us a message.


What do raccoons fear the most? ›

Raccoons stay away from animals that are their natural predators. These natural predators include; bobcats, coyotes, the great horned owl. You may have picked up a pattern here- raccoon predators are typically large. They need to be large as raccoons are formidable targets.

What do raccoons hate to walk on? ›

Raccoons have sensitive feet. Because of this, they stay clear of walking on prickly plants. They will certainly avoid squashes like pumpkin. They will also avoid oriental poppies, cucumbers, “Kentucky Wonder” pole beans, and globe thistle.

What noise scares raccoons away? ›

Motion Activated Noise Systems. Much like motion activated sprinklers or lights help to keep raccoons away, activated noise systems startle raccoons from the property. Since raccoons feel safe in predictable environments, this tactic may help deter them from returning in the future.

What attracts raccoons to your property? ›

Main Attraction: Your kitchen waste can includes lots of items that are appealing to raccoons, especially meat and fish scraps. Once raccoons find sources of high-value foods like these, they will make regular visits and be extremely persistent in getting to it.

Will lights keep raccoons away? ›

As nocturnal animals, most raccoons prefer to stay out of the spotlight. Bright lights that resemble daylight can scare raccoons away.

What can raccoons not resist? ›

Raccoons have a big sweet tooth. They just can't resist a plate of sugar or honey-coated veggies.

Do mothballs keep raccoons away? ›

Mothballs get rid of all kinds of critters

Raccoons dislike the strong smell of mothballs. Buy a box and scatter them around your property to prevent raccoons from taking up residence.

Do raccoons hate Pine Sol? ›

Homemade Raccoon Repellents that can be used

Ammonia - It can be applied or soaked onto pieces of cloth or even kept in small opened bottles. The soaked pieces of cloth can be placed around the house, such as near food sources or around garbage cans and bins. Pine Sol can also be used in place of ammonia.

Where do raccoons go during the day? ›

In the den

In more urban settings, a raccoon's den may be an abandoned vehicle, a chimney, an attic or crawl space, or any other protected location they can get into. They also often take refuge below homes or underneath woodpiles. Raccoons typically have multiple dens, and they move between them every couple of days.

Do raccoons hate the smell of bleach? ›

Raccoons should be repelled by the bleach and leave your garbage alone.

What do raccoons hate? ›

Hot pepper, garlic, peppermint oil, onion, and Epsom salt are a few scents used to repel raccoons. Read on to see how you can discourage these pests from entering your house and make sure that they're out for good.

Does Irish Spring soap keep raccoons away? ›

Soap the yard

Raccoons use their superb sense of smell to forage for food, and some scents are really effective at keeping them away. The ingredients in Irish Spring soap are generally effective in keeping raccoons and other small mammals out of your yard.

Does aluminum foil scare raccoons? ›

From string, or a clothing line strung across a fence, hang balloons, strips of cloth or aluminum foil. These will frighten the animals and encourage them to leave the area. Remove or cover all possible food sources. Seal food in tightly closed containers of glass or metal.

What time of day do raccoons come out? ›

Raccoons are primarily crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) and nocturnal (active at night). They occasionally venture out in the daytime, but that does not mean that they are diseased. Raccoons often adjust their feeding schedules, especially in spring when rearing their young.

Does vinegar scare raccoons away? ›

Raccoons hate the smell of apple cider vinegar (and so do some humans!). Soak a cloth in apple cider vinegar and place it in an aerated container near the den. The smell will deter them!

Will wind chimes scare raccoons away? ›

You can get rid of raccoons by taking advantage of a raccoon's fear of sharp, loud sounds. Sounds that scare raccoons include the following: Wind Chimes: The random clanging will scare raccoons away, but these intelligent animals will ignore the chimes unless you change the location and type of chimes regularly.

Why do raccoons hang around your house? ›

Like humans and most other animals, raccoons have three basic needs for survival: food, water and shelter. Your home provides ample opportunities for each. Raccoons are excellent climbers that have no problem scaling fences or finding ways into attics and crawlspaces that provide them entry points.

Why do raccoons keep coming back? ›

The availability of food sources in close proximity to potential den sites attracts female raccoons to nest. The presence of food sources is one reason raccoon populations can grow rapidly and become very large in urban and suburban areas. Eliminating food sources is the first step to deter raccoons.

Is it good to have raccoons around your house? ›

Benefits. Thanks to their choice for a variety of foods, raccoons help keep your yard totally free of pests. Raccoons additionally consume various other pests, such as tiny rats, keeping your backyard free of a range of issues. Basically, no, raccoons are not dangerous around the house.

Do raccoons come back to the same place? ›

Raccoons have been known to have multiple dens sites in a residential area. They may leave temporarily but are sure to return, especially if one of their other den sites is disrupted or destroyed.

Does Epsom salt keep raccoons away? ›

Epsom Salt (bonus!)

Epsom salt is a double benefit because not only will it deter raccoons, but it is an excellent fertilizer. Sprinkle some Epsom salt around places like garbage cans and gardens to keep them out.

What month do raccoons have their babies? ›

Mother raccoons can have between two to five babies in a litter, and they will have just one litter per year. Baby raccoons are called kits, and they are typically born in early spring between March and April, but if a mother's first litter does not survive she may give birth to a second litter as late as June.

Do raccoons poop in the same place every day? ›

Raccoons usually choose certain locations to defecate (poop) and then use those same places repeatedly. Raccoons can also be attracted to areas where humans live and play. In pools, raccoons usually defecate in the shallow areas (for example, on the steps).

What is racoons favorite food? ›

The preferred raccoon diet contains food found in or near water, such as crayfish, frogs, fish, snails and clams. They also enjoy insects, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts and even dead animals. Raccoons are not experts at hunting prey, but they do manage to occasionally catch a young mouse, rat or squirrel.

Why should you scatter soap around your yard? ›

It allows us to preserve beneficial insects in the garden. It also means that not every insect will be bothered by soap. Small, soft-bodied insects are the best candidates for management with soapy water. Aphids, whiteflies, thrips, and mites are all good candidates for soapy water sprays.

Will vinegar keep raccoons away? ›

Raccoons hate the smell of apple cider vinegar (and so do some humans!). Soak a cloth in apple cider vinegar and place it in an aerated container near the den. The smell will deter them!

Will a porch light keep raccoons away? ›

Although a porch light is helpful, it will not keep every raccoon away because the light source is too high. Motion-activated floodlights are lower and will only activate after a raccoon triggers the sensors. If you place the lights in key locations around your property, they will scare the raccoons away.

Will mothballs keep raccoons away? ›

Mothballs get rid of all kinds of critters

Raccoons dislike the strong smell of mothballs. Buy a box and scatter them around your property to prevent raccoons from taking up residence.

What smell do raccoons hate the most? ›

Hot pepper, garlic, peppermint oil, onion, and Epsom salt are a few scents used to repel raccoons.
Raccoons Hate :
  1. Hot Pepper Keeps Raccoons at bay- ...
  2. Spray a concoction of onion and pepper- ...
  3. Peppermint essential oil- ...
  4. Garlic juice- ...
  5. Epsom Salt-
Feb 1, 2021

What time are raccoons most active? ›

Raccoons are primarily crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) and nocturnal (active at night). They occasionally venture out in the daytime, but that does not mean that they are diseased. Raccoons often adjust their feeding schedules, especially in spring when rearing their young.

Where do racoons go during the day? ›

In the den

In more urban settings, a raccoon's den may be an abandoned vehicle, a chimney, an attic or crawl space, or any other protected location they can get into. They also often take refuge below homes or underneath woodpiles. Raccoons typically have multiple dens, and they move between them every couple of days.

What colors do raccoons not like? ›

Repellent lights flash a colored beam, usually red, over your yard at night to keep away the unwanted animals. Many nocturnal animals, including raccoons, have eyes that are sensitive to this type of light, and the flashing disturbs them enough to keep them away without fencing or chemical deterrents.

How do you get rid of nuisance raccoons? ›

If you're just dealing with adult raccoons, you can DIY their removal by trying bright lights and loud noises (like a loud battery-operated radio in the attic or fireplace) to scare them out. Also, try placing a bowl of cider vinegar at the base of the chimney — it's a smell raccoons find foul, so they'll run from it.

What chemicals do raccoons hate? ›

What Are Some Smells That Raccoons Hate?
  • Epsom Salt: Epsom salt consists of a mineral compound called magnesium sulphate sold in crystal form. ...
  • Cayenne Pepper: Like other hot peppers, cayenne pepper contains a naturally occurring chemical called capsaicin that gives it its spicy heat and sharp smell.
Dec 2, 2021


1. Public Health During COVID-19 - Dr. Amy Acton and Jim Watkins | BG Ideas podcast S6 Ep1
(Bowling Green State University)
2. Garden Maintenance : How to Repel Raccoons
3. A non lethal way to scare away raccoons forever
(Garden & Pallets With Me)
5. What do raccoons hate the most?
(Ask About TECH)
(Garden & Pallets With Me)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

Last Updated: 04/08/2023

Views: 5581

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (73 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

Birthday: 1994-06-25

Address: Suite 153 582 Lubowitz Walks, Port Alfredoborough, IN 72879-2838

Phone: +128413562823324

Job: IT Strategist

Hobby: Video gaming, Basketball, Web surfing, Book restoration, Jogging, Shooting, Fishing

Introduction: My name is Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner, I am a zany, graceful, talented, witty, determined, shiny, enchanting person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.