How to Keep Raccoons Out of the Trash

What You'll Need
Bungee cords
Baby power or sand
Protective clothing

Raccoons may be cute and furry, but they can be destructive pests. Discovering garbage strewn across your yard or driveway every morning is an indication that you have a raccoon raiding your trash cans.

Step 1 - Securing Trash Cans

Raccoons are omnivores so they will eat both plants and meat. As natural scavengers, they are drawn to the discarded foods in your full garbage cans. Raccoons are very dexterous, so they can easily pry off a lid. To prevent this, make sure your trashcan lids are tightly sealed. Secure a bungee cord through the handles of the lid to hold it in place, or set a concrete block on top of the lid to make it hard to remove.

Step 2 - A Raccoon Follows Its Nose

Raccoons are attracted to your garbage because of the smell. Double bag your waste to diminish the odor.

Two scents that raccoons find unpleasant are ammonia and mothballs. Pour a small amount of ammonia on your garbage, or spread mothballs around the outside of your trash cans to deter animals from getting too close.

WARNING: Ammonia is toxic to humans, so wear protective clothing (long-sleeved clothes, gloves, safety glasses and face mask) when using it.

Step 3 - Scaring Off Raccoons

Raccoons are nocturnal animals, so they prowl around at night. You can stop raccoons with motion detection lights or sprinklers that are activated by a sensor. Keeping your trash can area brightly lit with flood lights can also be a deterrent to raccoons.

Step 4 - Raccoons Don’t Like Dusty Paws

The feel of powder on its paws is annoying to a raccoon. Sprinkle baby powder or even sand around your trashcans to keep animals away.

Step 5 - Isolate Trash Cans

Fence off the area where you keep your trash cans to prohibit raccoons from having access to them. These animals are tenacious, so be sure the fence has no spaces where a raccoon can fit through.

Step 6 - Raccoons Don’t Like Humans

A raccoon will shy away from human contact as well as human voices. Place a radio near your trash cans at night and tune to a talk station. This can fool a raccoon into believing that humans are present.

Step 7 - Raccoons and Water

Raccoons like to have a water source not only to drink from, but also to wash their food. Eliminate any water that you have outside your home, including birdbaths and pet dishes.

Step 8 - Never Approach a Raccoon

If you have a raccoon problem, don’t try to capture the animal yourself. Raccoons have sharp teeth and claws, and they are bold creatures that will attack when they feel threatened. There is also a good possibility that the raccoon is sick or carrying rabies, which can make it even more aggressive. Call your local animal control office to handle any persistent raccoon on your property.

Step 9 -Raccoons are Clever

All of the methods mentioned for discouraging a raccoon can be effective, but don’t underestimate the intelligence of this animal. Raccoons may eventually figure out a way to get around the obstacles that you have set up for it. To confuse the raccoon, it is a good idea to frequently change your tactics.