How to Keep Raccoons Away from Your Trash

How to Keep Raccoons Away from Your Trash

Have you ever woken in the morning and come to find your trash cans are knocked over and garbage is strewn all over your front yard?  If this has happened to you, a raccoon is most likely the culprit.

Raccoons are very intelligent, curious, and dexterous animals.  This means they can cause a lot of damage. They can tip over trash cans and can even remove a tightly applied lid.  If trash day has become a nightmare for you, follow these tips to keep raccoons away from your trash.

1. Change Your Trash Day Habits

The best habit you can fall into is to put out your garbage the morning of pick-up instead of the night before.  Raccoons are nocturnal so they do most of their damage overnight.  Waking up earlier to take out your trash in the morning can save you a lot of aggravation.


  • Buy a trash can specifically made to withstand wildlife
  • Double-bag trash that is pungent to keep the smells contained
  • Instead of placing garbage bags curb-side, protect them by placing them inside a trash bin
  • Properly secure lids with a bungee cord through the handles and across the lid
  • Place a weight on the lid of your trash cans

2. Proper Trash Placement

Whether you store your trash cans outside at all times or only take them outside for trash day, placement is key to keeping raccoons away from your trash.

  • If you store your trash cans outside, place them in a protected area or secure them to your home or garage.
  • Place cans on level ground where they cannot be tipped over as easily.
  • Place your trash cans in the line of sight of a spotlight or motion-detecting light.
  • Raccoons prefer darkness and can be startled away by sudden light.

3. Use an Animal Repellent

Use an animal repellent to deter raccoons and keep them away from your trash. Repellents use scent, taste, or a combination of both to drive raccoons away from the protected area.

Sprinkle granular animal repellent around the area where trash cans are stored.  Additionally, spray a liquid animal repellent directly onto trash bags, trash cans, or recycling bins as you place them curb-side.  If you employ both repelling methods, you’ll have greater long-term success.

TIP: Reapplication is critical to maintaining full repellency.  Be sure to follow the instructions and reapply as necessary.

In addition, you can set-up an electronic repellent to frighten off raccoons. An electronic repellent will shoot a quick burst of water, motion and sound when it senses a raccoon approaching. You’ll achieve best results if you position the sensor and sprinkler in the direction that raccoons are approaching.

4. Clean Your Trash Cans Periodically

When you store your trash cans outdoors, it’s important to clean them out and disinfect them regularly to remove lingering odors and trash residue.  Use ammonia when cleaning out your trash cans, as raccoons find the scent of ammonia to be very unpleasant.


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