Although they may be cute, raccoons can be destructive and leave messes. Because they are excellent climbers and diggers and willing to eat almost anything, keeping raccoons away from your yard and home can be challenging.

The key is to make raccoons pass by your yard by eliminating sources of food, water, and shelter. The following tips will help make your yard and home a place where raccoons won’t want to hang out.

  • Secure Your Trash Cans. Raccoons are famous for getting into trash cans, ripping open bags, eating what they find, and leaving behind a mess. The best option is to store your trash cans in a closed garage. If this isn’t possible, use trash cans with lids that can be locked or put something heavy (such as bricks or cinder blocks) on top of the lids. Another option is to secure lids with bungee cords that have been soaked in hot sauce or raccoon repellent. To reduce odors, double-bag meat items and use trash bags infused with essential oils that repel raccoons.
  • Don’t Leave Food Outside. Raccoons are opportunistic eaters—they’ll eat anything edible they find. Food sources can include pet food left outside and bird seed. Once raccoons realize that your yard is a reliable source of food, they’ll return repeatedly. To prevent this, don’t leave any food outside or put it away during the evening hours when raccoons are most active. Clean up any fruit or vegetables that may have dropped to the ground from trees or in a garden. If you have a compost bin, make sure it is secured.
  • Make Your Yard Inhospitable. If raccoons find your yard uncomfortable, they’ll stay away. Ways to do this include installing motion-sensing lights and playing radio on low volume (a talk radio station is best as the sounds of human voices will scare off the raccoons). Another option is a motion-activated sprinkler. You can also use a raccoon repellant or a multi-purpose repellent that will repel raccoon act as a fly killer spray and will help you keep other common household pests at bay. And some people even sprinkle bits of Irish Spring soap around their yard because they swear that the soap also repels raccoons. Apparently, raccoons dislike the strong smell of the soap. And remember, the key of this method for keeping a raccoon out of your house is to mix it up so that the raccoons don’t get acclimatized to one of your repelling methods and stop viewing it as a threat.
  • Keep Your Yard Tidy. Don’t provide a place for raccoons to hide. You can do this by cutting your grass, trimming your shrubs, and removing brush and debris. Prevent access to areas under a shed or deck by using chicken wire covered with hardware cloth. (If you don’t like the look, you can cover it with lattice.)
  • Put An Electric Fence Around Your Garden. Raccoons view gardens as a ready source of food. However, an ordinary fence won’t be enough to keep out raccoons as they are talented climbers. Experts recommend using a two-wire electric fence, with the wires placed at six and twelve inches off the ground. Because raccoons are nocturnal, use a timer to activate the fence at night and leave it off during the day.
  • Seal Access Points. If you think raccoons are living in your home, look for possible entry points (i.e., any hole that is four inches or bigger). To check if this is where the raccoons are entering, fill the hole with newspaper. After a few days, see if the newspaper has been pushed aside. If so, this is probably where raccoons are entering and exiting your house. Next, wait until you are sure the raccoon has left your home. You can then repair the damage or use 16-gauge hardware cloth on both sides of the hole.