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15 Tips on How to Get Rid of Raccoons Fast [Humanely]

raccoons in yard

Raccoons are intelligent animals that play a role in our ecosystem. However, they’re not exactly the best house guests. They go through the garbage, invite themselves into buildings, cause property damage, and sometimes even transmit diseases that can harm humans and pets. 

It’s no wonder so many people are desperate to find out how to get rid of raccoons! And if you’re one of them, you’ve come to the right place. Before we dig into the best raccoon prevention methods, let’s go over a few important notes about pest control in general:

  • Check your local laws. This is critical. Certain pest control methods may be outlawed in your region. Even methods that seem humane, like trapping and releasing, aren’t always legal due to the risk of spreading diseases.
  • Read about your local wildlife management department. Even if there are no legal concerns involved in your activities, you should do your research. Your local wildlife management department is a great resource that can help give you tips to control nuisance animals and, most importantly, can warn you about safety concerns like rabies or roundworm.
  • Animal cruelty is never okay. Coexisting with your local wildlife is a beautiful thing, but we understand that that’s not always possible. Raccoons, though they are native throughout much of North America, can be very disruptive pest animals. But even so, humane raccoon control is a must. Even if it is determined that the raccoons on your property need to be culled, this should be done with professional help, ensuring as little harm is done as possible.
  • Prevention is key. Getting rid of raccoons should only be a problem after every prevention method has been exhausted. The best way to get rid of raccoons is to maintain your property and strategically eliminate raccoon entry points or attractants.

Keep these points in mind as we walk through some of the most effective raccoon deterrents we’ve found.

1. Install a motion activated sprinkler

An unexpected blast of water is a natural raccoon repellent. Imagine how you would feel if you were creeping around where you weren’t supposed to and you suddenly got doused with a surprise blast of water. Not fun, right? Turns out, raccoons feel the same way.

But one quick spritz with the hose isn’t enough to deter a stubborn pest. Consistency is the key to getting rid of raccoons. 

If you plan to use water to solve your raccoon problem, be prepared for the increase in your water bill. Plus, you run the risk of overwatering your plants and destroying your garden.

water sprinkler

The solution is to use a motion-activated sprinkler to keep raccoons out of your yard. This will prevent your water bill from getting out of control by only spraying raccoons when the sensor detects motion.

This is a good way to repel raccoons and other pests as well. Motion activated sprinklers are very popular choices for protecting your yard from pests because of its wide range of customizable settings. 

If you’re using this to scare away raccoons, adjust the settings so that it will only turn on at night when these creatures are most active. You can position the sensor at raccoon-level height to make movement detection more accurate. Install within a 40-feet radius of where you often notice raccoons congregating.

2. Test out an ultrasonic animal repeller

Another potential humane method for controlling raccoons is with noise-based deterrents. Try using ultrasonic repellers to scare raccoons away.

These devices typically function by emitting loud and off-putting sounds at frequencies that only animals can hear. They’re often used to get rid of ground squirrels, but raccoons are also susceptible to their effects.

bug deterrent

You can choose other settings depending on the animal you want to repel. Some repellers are motion-activated and solar-powered, so you can set them in your yard and forget about them. They may also pair raccoon repellent sounds with bright LEDs.

Sound-based devices are some of the best raccoon repellents on the market because they do the job while being minimally harmful and minimally disruptive to humans.

With that said, depending on the individual, some people notice an annoying hum or high-pitched whine from these devices.

3. Use rodent repelling trash bags

One way to keep raccoons away is to ask yourself, “What do raccoons hate?” and then find ways to incorporate these things into your pest control strategy. It’s all about making your yard an unappealing environment for raccoons. To do that, we recommend hitting them where it hurts— the trash cans where they like to scavenge!

Mint-X Rodent Repelling Trashbags incorporate corn mint oil, methyl salicylate, camphor oil, and eucalyptus oil in the formulation of its plastic bags. The minty fresh scent will keep raccoons away as they, like many other pest animals, are put off by strong herbal scents.

raccoon

Because these aromatic additions are all-natural raccoon deterrents, they do not pose a health risk to those who take out the trash. Plus, bonus, they’re pleasantly scented and the smell of mint covers normal garbage odors.

Those who are conscious of their environmental impact may find it helpful to know that this product is approved for use by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Use this trash bag for accumulated kitchen scraps and leftovers that are highly attractive to raccoons and other pests. It’s perfect for protecting your food waste from raccoon attention.

The minty fresh smell will both put off raccoons and mask the telltale smell of food, stopping them from opening it up the bags and going through your trash.

4. DIY Spicy raccoon repellent

Did you know you can make your own homemade raccoon repellent using ingredients from your very own spice rack?

Raccoons have a sensitive sense of smell that they use to sniff out food, predators, and potential mates. Because of this, their noses are easily offended by certain smells, one of which is pepper.

You can make a natural deterrent for raccoons by mixing a gallon of water with a bottle of hot sauce or a can of powdered cayenne pepper. 

bat repellent

Adding a couple of drops of liquid detergent will help the mixture stick to where you spray it, and allow it to stay longer on the surface without evaporating. 

Fill up a spray bottle with the concoction and use it wherever you see raccoons go. If you want to keep raccoons off your deck or away from nooks and crannies where you’re worried they might nest, spray this mixture around the perimeter. If you want to stop them from getting at the trash, douse the garbage cans with the stuff. 

A spicy pepper spray is the best raccoon repellent if you do not want any risk of toxicity. Just make sure to spray it on places that people or pets do not touch. While this spicy raccoon spray is not poisonous, it can be irritating to the skin or eyes.

5. Use strategic placement of ammonia

The moniker “trash panda,” would lead one to think that raccoons are messy animals, but that is far from the truth. 

They make it a point to pee and poop far away from their den and food, so the stench does not disturb their sensitive sense of smell. And you can use this to your advantage. 

So how do you keep raccoons away from your house using their pee and poop? You don’t. But you can repel raccoons using a component of waste that is easily found in home improvement centers: ammonia. Ammonia is a chemical that gives urine that distinctive, pungent smell. 

moth balls

Raccoons take pains to pee elsewhere just so the scent doesn’t interfere with their sleeping or eating. Ammonia and raccoons simply don’t mix.

Note that ammonia is not raccoon poison but a raccoon deterrent. They won’t even go near the stuff, much less drink or nibble at it. It’s a good way to get rid of them without hurting them.

You can make a raccoon deterrent by soaking rags in ammonia and leaving them where these animals come out to play. You can also leave a bowl of ammonia near the raccoons’ entry points to your home. 

It’s a strong smell that even humans don’t like, but when you see how quickly it fixes your raccoon problem, you’ll know it’s worth it. Just be careful to handle ammonia safely, follow all instructions on the packaging, and keep it separate from other cleaning chemicals. When combined with other chemicals, ammonia can create dangerous fumes.

6. Secure the trash can

If you’re tired of picking up your trash from last night’s raccoon feast, the first raccoon control method you need to try shouldn’t focus on the animals themselves, but rather the features that are attracting raccoons to your yard. An ounce of prevention is always better than a pound of cure. In the case of raccoons, this means that removing their access to food is sometimes the best solution, because it removes their reason for visiting your yard to begin with.

Securing your garbage so that raccoons can’t get to it is the most basic thing you can do to discourage them from visiting again. 

Once you remove their access to food, they’ll realize that it’s useless to hang out in your property and will move on to seek greener pastures.

four colorful trashbins

You should also buy a trash can made to withstand the pilfering of wild animals. Usually, these are heavy, durable, and have a lid that can be locked in place. 

A DIY version of this is to thread a bungee cord through the lid and tie it to act as a lock. Raccoons are pretty smart, so if they can’t pry open garbage can lid, they’ll try to push it over to release the contents. 

Build a garbage can fence or garbage rack to prevent this. Make sure your trash cans are placed on even and stable ground to make them harder to tip over. You may also consider reducing the amount of food waste you discard.

7. Remove food sources

Raccoons will eat anything edible that is left in your yard. And when they find that your home has a lot of food, they’ll strongly consider making it their home too.

Check your home for possible food sources. If you leave pet food outside, move your dog or cat’s feeding bowl inside to minimize raccoon temptation. 

Make sure to pick up and properly discard berries or fruit that have fallen to the ground. This not only helps to deter raccoons but also makes your yard look cleaner and makes it less inviting to other pests, like rats and insects.

green field

If you take your garbage out the night before garbage collection, consider changing your schedule and doing it in the morning instead. Raccoons look for food at night, and when they come out and see there’s nothing for them, they’ll move on. 

If you leave your trash out, install a motion-detecting light over it to scare away raccoons. You should also clean and disinfect your garbage can area regularly. 

Remove anything that might have fallen out of your trash bags. Even if there is none, the stench of garbage may be enough to attract them. Cleaning it will get rid of the smell and any leftovers that these animals might forage.

8. Raccoon proof your bird feeders

You may have installed bird feeders with the intention of waking up to relaxing chirping, but with hungry raccoons in your neighborhood, you might get more than you bargained for. 

Just like birds, raccoons are attracted to grains, nuts, and seeds. Your bird feeder may be the reason why you hear raccoon noises and have raccoon waste all over your yard.

The simplest way to get rid of raccoons eating from your bird feeder is to stop leaving out food for the birds completely. But if that isn’t an option, there are ways to raccoon-proof your feeders. You can change your bird feeding habits. 

backyard

Make sure to put only the amount of feed you are sure the birds will consume within the day, so there’s nothing left for raccoons to forage at night. A more time-consuming alternative is to remove leftovers completely before nightfall.

You can try installing your feeder from an old clothesline, far away from branches that raccoons may be able to climb and jump from. Placing it on a thin rod makes it difficult for raccoons to grip, making it impossible to reach the food.

Another way to do raccoon pest control on your bird feeder is to purchase a raccoon guard or “squirrel baffle.” This will make it harder for raccoons to access your feeder, but be aware that spilled bird seed on the ground is likely to continue to attract raccoons. You may need to begin regularly sweeping the area beneath your feeders.

9. Seal off your chimney

If you want to keep raccoons off of your roof, you should seal off your chimney. This dark, tight space may not seem inviting to us, but to raccoon mothers, this is the dream maternity ward.

Yep, that’s right. The most common reason a raccoon would want to enter your chimney is to give birth in it. 

To a wandering mother raccoon, open chimneys look a lot like tree holes and hollow trunks, which is where raccoons prefer to nest in the wild. Before sealing your chimney, first examine it to make sure there isn’t already a raccoon family living in it. 

three chimneys

Raccoon removal from chimneys is best done by pest control experts, as they can transmit diseases and become aggressive.

Once you’ve made sure it’s empty, you can now go about sealing your chimney. You can use a spark arrester or a chimney cap that has meshwork to make the hole inaccessible. 

If you’re installing this yourself, be sure that it is screwed in tight. Raccoons are good with their hands and can make easy work on a poorly-secured spark arrestor or chimney cap

While it’s very effective at keeping raccoons out, this will require a little bit more maintenance on your part. Clean the meshwork every couple of weeks to ensure that the ash does not clog the grills.

10. Seal your roof, attic, and holes in your house

It’s not just chimneys that raccoons like to hide out in. Any opening in your house to a dark and safe space is an ideal home for a raccoon family. 

To prevent this from happening, seal all openings they might use to enter. If you happen to know that there are a couple of raccoons snoozing quietly in a certain part of your house, make sure to get them out first before sealing in the entrances. 

You would not want to trap a raccoon inside your house! Call in the experts to do the job safely and prevent you or your family from contracting rabies.

house with a green yard

You may think that you should only focus on the large holes that raccoons can go through, but it’s best to cover all your bases and seal holes of all sizes. 

These creatures can easily use their claws to widen the openings. Keep an eye out for loose flooring and roof tiles or cracks in the siding and foundations. Once you’ve located all the possible openings, fill them in with the material of your choice. 

Depending on where the hole is and how big it is, you can board it up with wood or concrete, or fill it up with caulk or expandable foam. There are many options in the hardware and home improvement sections.

11. Remove easy access to roof

Raccoons often enter the attic through the roof. This is an ideal place for them to make their nest and build their family, as it is dark and well-protected from the elements. 

First things first: Make sure to keep your roof in good order. Ensure that there are no holes in the eaves and check for loose shingles.

If there are raccoons on your roof, chances are they’ve already done damage to infiltrate your attic. Ask the help of pest control services to get them out, and then work on preventing it from happening again by limiting access to your roof.

backyard

Typically, raccoons climb trees, vines, and poles to get up there. You can prune the branches that graze the sides of your house to remove their footholds. 

If you would like to take more severe measures, avoid planting trees and vertically-climbing plants near your house. You can grow shrubs or low-lying flowers instead.

Downspouts act as ladders for raccoons to get to your roof. You can stop them from climbing by installing a protective collar on your downspout, available in hardware stores and home improvement centers.

Another way you can make your roof inaccessible is to line it with roof spikes. There are products available that are designed to be inconspicuous to save the aesthetics of your home. 

12. Eliminate raccoons with a fence

A fence is a good way to keep pests out. Unfortunately, a simple physical barrier is not enough to repel raccoons. 

These wily creatures can easily climb over or dig under the fence and get to where the food is, whether it’s your garden, your fish pond, or your compost pit. You should also protect newly-planted turf, as raccoons enjoy rolling this back to look for grubs underneath. 

To keep raccoons out of your yard, consider installing an electric fence. The jolts will repel raccoons and discourage them from entering. You can also opt to raccoon-proof your ordinary fence with the simple addition of a single electrified wire. 

fence

How is one strand supposed to deter this large animal? Strategic placement is key to making this effective as a raccoon repellant. Install it 8 inches from the ground and 8 inches out from the fence base. 

You can charge this using a fence charger typically used in cattle fencing. This has a high voltage but low amperage. For garden crops, you may consider a two-wire system set lower to the ground. One should be around 6 inches high and the other 12 inches high. 

If you use electric wiring, you can save on costs by activating it from sunset to sunrise. Raccoons are nocturnal animals, so this will be the time they’ll likely try to cross the fence. 

13. Scare them with loud noises

Raccoons may be smart and wily creatures, but they’re also easily shaken up. All it takes is a sudden loud sound and they’ll go scampering away into the night.

If you can get a device that puts together a loud sound and flashing bright lights, that would be even more effective.

There are motion-activated speakers made especially to repel wildlife. You can choose one that emits raccoon distress calls or sounds made by a raccoon’s natural predators. 

grass

There are studies that show a recording of a dog bark is especially effective. They’ll stay clear of your home if they think that an aggressive predator lives on the premises.

There are also those that emit sounds above or below the frequency of what can be detected by humans. This makes it less annoying for neighbors who might not enjoy the intermittent loud noises coming from your backyard.

Any loud and abrupt sounds will work, as well. You would too if you were stealthily creeping around and a loud crack goes off. It is important that the loud noise isn’t continuous or at regular intervals. Erratic noises that are sudden and short are more likely to work.

14. Spray strong animal repellent concentrate

Raccoon repellents are usually made of very pungent, strong-smelling materials that are offensive to this animal’s senses. Ammonia, spices, and vinegar keep raccoons away, but if you want something commercial-grade, you might want to try concentrate solutions.

Take Repels-All Animal Repellent Concentrate, for instance. This product’s active ingredients include whole egg solids, cloves, and garlic oil. 

It also contains vinegar, urea, and wintergreen oil. This unique blend irritates the animal’s nasal passages, triggers the flight response. The animal smells it and leaves your property alone.

spray

This is economical because it can be used to make several batches of spray. For example, a quart of this stuff makes two gallons of repellent. There are instructions on how much water to mix in. Whatever you do, don’t mix this spray indoors. 

The smell is very strong in liquid form. As it dries, humans won’t be able to register it. But animals with more sensitive noses, including raccoons, will still find it very irritating. After diluting with the appropriate amount of water, put in a spray can for easy application. 

Use liberally in areas where you know raccoons enter or hang out. This is non-toxic and made of natural ingredients, which makes it safe for pets and kids. However, it’s doubtful they’ll accidentally lick or eat it as it really smells horrible.

15. Call a professional

If you’ve tried a combination of methods including physical exclusion, repellents, and deterrents, and still see no improvement after several weeks, consider calling in pest control services. 

A raccoon infestation that has gone on for too long can damage your house and expose your family to diseases. In this case, it’s best to catch the critters and have professionals deal with them.

While there are dozens of raccoon traps available online, we strongly suggest that you do not attempt to do this on your own. Raccoons can get aggressive when threatened and can bite or scratch you. 

person spraying chemicals

More menacing than physical wounds is the chance of catching a disease. These animals carry microorganisms and viruses that affect people and pets.

Hiring professional raccoon catchers may be a little more expensive, but they have the expertise and equipment to carry out the operation effectively and safely. Look for a reputable and registered raccoon pest control company that follows state laws on environmental preservation, use of chemicals, and animal welfare. 

Getting rid of raccoons is not the same as getting rid of other kinds of wildlife that encroach on a human property. Raccoons are quite smart, dexterous, and can be aggressive. Previous experience in raccoon control is excellent.

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9 thoughts on “15 Tips on How to Get Rid of Raccoons Fast [Humanely]”

  1. Avatar

    It’s also very important to not mount your bird boxes on wood posts or trees because the raccoons can climb them I mount my houses on steel posts and then grease them and have never had a problem.

  2. Avatar

    Garth, thanks so much for these ideas for products or diy approaches. I’m going back out to google to search for motion detector flash-bangs since the water hose is such a great idea but we’re starting to get temps down to freezing n my hoses wont like that.

  3. Avatar

    This spring we have lost three kittens, one at a time, to a big raccoon. The second one was in a carrier which was not only opened but carried to the far end of our property beyond our garden! Today we brought home two more kittens. I put them in a secured carrier for the night. My husband was going out to tie some bungee cords around it for more security, but the carrier had already been moved out in the yard. The kittens were traumatized but still in the cage this time. We tried to further secure the crate. Hope these kittens survive to enjoy nine lives!

    1. Avatar

      You must be one of the dumbest people on earth. Cruel and negligent. People like you make this world suck.

    2. Avatar
      Michele Dascenzo

      Ann why in the world would you put kittens in a carrier and then keep it outside how did you think that was going to go ? I feel really bad for any animals that you and your husband own because you have zero common sense !

  4. Avatar

    I’ve struggled with ‘coons and groundhogs for 30 years in my small
    neighborhood yard.The groundhogs destroy my flower garden and the raccoons
    destroy my house.If I could legally shoot them,I would.
    Alas,I’m going to try the Repels-All this year and hope for the best.
    I’ve hired pro-trappers(live traps),and all I ever caught were possum and
    squirrels,so frustrating.

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