How do I keep animals out of my trash can?

Raccoons, cats, and rats love to visit your house at night and raid your trash can, looking for anything they can eat. Animals like raccoons are usually harmless to people, but when they feel trapped they can become vicious. Also, raccoons and rats can bring diseases to your home and to your precious pets. How can I repel these animals and how do I keep animals out of my trash?

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If you’ve woken up in the morning to find the contents of your garbage can thrown all over your lawn, it’s highly likely that raccoons raided your can. Cleaning the stinking and unsightly mess left behind can be frustrating, especially if you have to do it every day. If you want to know how to make your garbage can raccoon-proof, continue reading below.

raccoon garbage can

Keep Potential Food Sources Out Of Reach

It’s important to understand that raccoons are omnivorous animals with a very extensive diet. When they’re hungry, they’ll eat just about anything they find in your garbage can, yard and other places within your home. This includes leftover pet food, left-over human food, young rodents, birds, insects, snails, and frogs. Therefore, if you want to keep them away from your
home, you have to start by eliminating potential food sources that may be attracting them.

For instance, if you and your family like having meals outside, make sure you properly clean food particles on the table and surrounding areas and place them in a secure garbage can. Also, don’t leave your pet food outside. If there are any leftover foods, take them inside the house and clean up your pet’s food bowl properly.

Raccoons and rats love dog and cat food. So if you keep a food bowl for your pet outside, make sure to pick it up and store it inside for the night. This is important because raccoons can also transmit diseases and fleas to your pets. So don’t let them share a food bowl!

Be sure to store your garbage can out of reach too. You can keep it any secure location that these animals can’t access easily likely the basement, garage or shed.

Use Physical Barriers

Install Secure Locks On Your Can

Since animals like raccoons are generally very persistent and intelligent, they’re likely to find a way to remove simple clips and latches used to fasten the lid on your garbage can. It’s advisable therefore to use a strong, secure lock such as a padlock and chain combo to fasten the lid and tie the handles against a nearby wooden or metal pole. This helps to keep your can in an upright position and prevents it from being knocked down.

You can also tie a strong and durable bungee cord (preferably made of rubber) from one handle of the can to the other. Make sure that the cord passes over the lid.

Place A Heavy Block On The Lid

You can also make the lid of your garbage can too heavy for raccoons to open. You can do so by simply putting a heavy concrete block or rock over the lid.

Tightly Seal Your Trash Bags

When you leave your trash bags open, the smell from the wastes is likely to escape into the air and attract raccoons. So, always seal your trash bags tightly before placing them in the can.

Reinforce Your Yard Fence

Since some animals burrow under the yard fence to get to your garbage can, you can keep them off by adding a mesh wire under your fence to seal any gaps. Make sure the mesh wire extends several inches into the ground to effectively keep these animals off your property.

Buy a lid lock strap

Since there are loads of people who have problems with rodents plundering their garbage cans, companies have come up with a problem solution product: The Lid lock (Click the link to see at what cheap price your raccoon problem can be fixed). This is a strong, rubber band that locks easily and can be opened with one hand. Very convenient if you are taking out a stinky bag of trash with the other hand! The lid locks are available in different sizes, so they can fit a 33-gallon garbage can, but also a 45-gallon trash can.

Use Deterrents

Increase The Volume Of The Radio

You can also try leaving a radio playing next to your garbage can all night long and turning up the volume. Noise from human voices usually scares raccoons off, so hearing music playing from the radio will also do the same. However, remember that raccoons are very intelligent animals with strong claws. You have to anchor the radio well if you don’t want these animals to run into the woods with it. Some people complain that raccoons play with their radio at night and turn up the volume. So test this trick to see if it works for you. You can also make sure the raccoons can’t reach the buttons of the radio.

Turn On The Lights Around Your Can At Night

Raccoons are nocturnal animals that love doing their business at night in complete darkness. Therefore, exposing them to sudden bright light can act as a deterrent. Install blinking Christmas lights or motion-detection lights over or around your garbage to help keep these animals away. Unfortunately, rats and cats are not scared away by lights.

Use Repellants Inside And Around Your Can

Sprinkling or spraying natural repellants such as cayenne pepper or hot pepper can also go along way in deterring animals. Ammonia also has a very offensive smell that a lot of animals can’t stand. So, try spraying it inside and around the can to discourage them from coming close.

Overall, if you’re tired of raccoons invading your garbage can every night to look for food, you can use the above-suggested methods to make your can animal-proof. Feel free to implement as many methods as you want till you find what works for you.

Raccoons are not only bad for your trash can

Raccoons are not only a nightmare for your garbage can. They dig holes in your lawn and mulch piles, looking for insects to eat. They will also empty bird-feeders and rabbit-feeders. Raccoons chicken coops, steal the eggs and they may even kill some chickens. So make sure the raccoons stay away from your garden.

How to keep raccoons out of your garden

Set a trap
If the raccoon problem is persistent, you can set a raccoon trap. Make sure to set the raccoon free at least 3 miles away from your home. (Please note: check local and state laws first)

Spread dog hair
Some people suggest that spreading dog hair throughout your garden will repel raccoons. They don’t like the smell of humans and dogs. We don’t know if this actually works, but it is a cheap way to try and get rid of raccoons.

Soak tennis balls in ammonia
Soak some tennis balls in ammonia. Place the soaked tennis balls in the corners of the yard, on fence posts, or in trees. It will not only repel raccoons, but also rats, mice, rabbits, and skunks.



I'm Wayne, owner of I'm a father of 2. I love reviewing products and showcasing the very best in my best of review lists. I want people to make an informative decision by going through these reviews before purchasing their selected products.

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