How To Keep Raccoons Away From Your Garbage (A Simple Guide)

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Raccoons are one of the most resilient wildlife creatures that you may find in your backyard. Their ability to find food is one of the reasons they thrive in urban environments. Because of that, garbage cans are often one of their main targets, and they’ll do everything they can to get in them and find a meal.

You can look for some signs if you suspect that raccoons are getting into your trash cans. They include:

  • Strewn garbage
  • Footprints
  • Droppings
  • Scratch marks on trash can lids

Knowing how to keep raccoons away from your trash is the best way to keep them away from your house in general. As soon as they realize that there is no food in your garage or backyard, they will move on to the next place.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • How To Keep Raccoons Away from Your Trash
  • What Raccoons Like To Eat
Reviewed By:
Ed Spicer

Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!

Table of Contents

    How To Keep Raccoons Away from Your Trash

    There are quite a few different methods for keeping raccoons away from your trash, and it’s a good idea to try all of them and see which ones work the best for your particular home. Changing the raccoon repellent methods now and then will also keep new raccoons from showing up and getting around your deterrents.

    1. Clean Your Trash Cans

    Raccoons have an excellent sense of smell, and they’ll have a much easier time finding your garbage cans if they’re dirty. Rotten food and fermenting fruits and vegetables will leave residue on your cans and make them more attractive to raccoons and other pests like cockroaches. Spray your cans with soap and water every time they get emptied to ensure they won’t alert any critters of food sources.

    2. Secure Your Trash Bins

    Keeping your trash cans locked away in a storage cabinet is one of the best ways to keep raccoons out of them. Storage cabinets can be purchased in a wide variety of colors and will match almost any outdoor decor. By locking your cans away after you take the trash out, you can be sure that no animals will be able to get in, and they can be a lot more raccoon-proof.

    3. Double Bag Trash

    If you have trash that is especially pungent or contains a lot of food scraps, it’s best to double bag it. While a second bag won’t deter raccoons from getting into the trash, it will contain the smell much better than a single bag will. This is especially true if you use scented trash bags. Make sure they are sealed all the way up at the top and that both of the bags are closed tightly.

    4. Bungee Cord Your Can Lids

    If you don’t want to purchase a trash can storage cabinet, you can also secure your trash can and recycling bin lids with bungee cords. Raccoons are incredibly dextrous, but they will have trouble getting the cords off the lids and won’t get to the trash inside. Bungee cords come in many different sizes, so you should be able to find some that will fit your cans perfectly so you can use them on trash day.

    5. Sprinkle Ammonia on Garbage Bags

    Ammonia is one of the best ways to neutralize any smells on your garbage bins or trash bags. A little liquid ammonia sprinkled on your bags before they get put into the cans will cut any smells that might be attractive to raccoons. It also works as an animal repellent and will help keep mice, rats, and other rodents away. There are a number of rodent repellents on the market that will usually work to keep raccoons away from your trash as well.

    6. Eliminate Standing Water

    While raccoons are very focused on food, they are also always on the lookout for water sources. Not only do they drink it, but they also use it to grip food, so they need water to rinse off dirt and dust and get a better handle on it. If your front or backyard has any standing water, it’s best to eliminate it as soon as possible. Planters and buckets should all be turned over during heavy rains, and it’s always a good idea to install proper drainage in your yard.

    7. Use Motion Detection Lights

    Raccoons are primarily nocturnal animals that look for food at night and sleep during the day. Because of this, they are especially averse to bright lights. Motion detector lights in your backyard around your trash cans can be an excellent deterrent against raccoons. You can also install bright string lights around your cans and keep them plugged in overnight.

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    What Do Raccoons Like To Eat?

    One of the main reasons that raccoons have been able to thrive in places with a large human population is that they are omnivores. They will eat almost anything that people leave out in their trash, as well as plants, insects, and other animals. This means that there is almost no limit to what they will eat if they can get their hands on it.

    One of the most distinctive traits of raccoons is their ability to scavenge. While they have been known to hunt living things like birds and rodents, they mostly spend their time searching for food that is easier to eat.

    For example, if you have a chicken coop, raccoons will be more likely to sneak in and eat the eggs before killing the chickens. However, they can kill large birds, so it’s best to ensure that your coop is fully sealed and free of any holes. If you have plants in your yard that bear fruit, make sure you keep them as harvested and trimmed as possible. This will eliminate freshly fallen fruit on the ground, which can be an easy meal for raccoons.

    Some of the foods that raccoons have been known to eat in the wild include:

    • Berries
    • Eggs
    • Nuts
    • Fruit
    • Insects
    • Frogs

    Raccoons are omnivores

    They will eat almost anything that people leave out in their trash, as well as plants, insects, and other animals. This means that there is almost no limit to what they will eat if they can get their hands on it.

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    Keep Your Yard Safe by Keeping Raccoons Out

    By understanding what raccoons eat and how you can keep them away from your garbage cans, you can also keep them away from your home. While raccoons are cute, they also carry many diseases and can be dangerous when cornered. Preventing them from getting in or around your home is the best way to keep it safe.

    If you’re dealing with a raccoon problem, there are many ways to get rid of them. However, by preparing your trash cans and keeping them either locked up or safeguarded, you can prevent them from finding food and keep them out of your yard in the first place.



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