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preventing raccoons

When you think of something digging around in the trash in your garage, you probably picture a raccoon. They're basically the quintessential pest animal. They’re ubiquitous, bold, smart, resourceful, and most of all, they love garbage. Raccoons are common all over the US. Anywhere you’re living, these dumpster divers are living nearby.

Humans have so many run-ins with raccoons because they basically rely on us for habitats. They love living in the shadow of our homes and eating our leftovers. In the process, they often make trouble for us. Keeping raccoons away from your home means depriving them of the things they want. Here are the six best ways to do that:

6. Block off shelter

Like many other pest animals, raccoons like to hide in sheltered, dark, and quiet places. Homes often provide natural cover and shelter from the elements and predators. Many make simple dens in tree hollows, under decks, porches, or crawl spaces, or in window wells.

To prevent raccoons from taking up permanent residence near your home, cut them off from shelters like these. Install wire mesh fencing to cover the gap between the ground and your porch or deck. Cover or fill in tree hollows. Look for any other structural cover and make sure they can’t hide out in.

5. Keep your yard clean

Raccoons eat a wide variety of insects, worms, fruits, nuts, seeds, plants, and small fish and animals. Mostly, they're interested in any food they can access easily and reliably. If they can get that food near your home, the pests will come to get it, guaranteed.

Look for easy sources of food raccoons could rely on. Dispose of fallen fruit, nuts, seed, or berries in your yard. Make sure bird feeders aren’t leaking bird seed. Rake up fallen leaves and keep your lawn as trimmed and weed-free as possible. You can’t keep themfrom finding some food nearby, but you can keep your yard from turning into a buffet.

keep your garage door closed

4. Keep your garage door closed

Garages present an irresistible combination of things raccoons want. They’re dark, sheltered, warm, secluded, and usually stock-full of easy food. Raccoons are notorious for taking up semi-permanent residences inside garages. They’ll hide among firewood or other debris, eat bird or grass seed, and generally make a pest of themselves.

You should keep your garage door closed whenever you’re not using it. Re-examine what you keep in your garage. Raccoons can smell seeds, potted plants, and especially garbage from far off. If they can smell it, they want it, which means they want in your garage. Clear it out and shut them down.

3. Use chimney caps

People are always surprised by just how good raccoons are at climbing. When you think about it, though, it makes sense: the furry little pests are clever, plus they have those… little hands. Given any opportunity, raccoons will climb to the roof of your home. They may even attempt to infiltrate your home via your chimney. Like a less jolly, more frightening Santa Claus.

Look for possible ways raccoons could climb onto your roof. Trim away tree branches, bushes, or vines that rub up against your home. Install chimney caps on all chimneys on your roof. This will help keep them from climbing inside. Install covers over your vents, while you’re at it.  

Keep your trash clean

2. Keep your trash clean

Like we said before, raccoons are interested in easy food. That means food they don’t have to work very hard to get. They’re particularly attracted to messy garbage dumpsters with loose food remains. The smellier the better.

We strongly recommend washing out your garbage cans and dumpsters once a month. This helps keep garbage odors or residue from getting messy and attracting raccoons. You should also keep garbage in heavy-duty, sealed plastic bags. Rinse out disposable containers before throwing them out. The cleaner you keep your garbage, the less appealing it will be to raccoons.

1. Tie your dumpster closed

This is the best advice we’ve got for keeping raccoons away from your home. Raccoons want easy food; garbage is the easiest food. Given the chance, they’ll climb into a dumpster and help themselves day after day. In fact, a raccoon will often choose to live where they do because they can access garbage nearby. In other words, if you can keep them out of your garbage, they’ll probably move somewhere else.

We recommend using a pair of bungee cord to tie your garbage can lid down as securely as possible. Simply stretch the cords around the bottom of the dumpster and hook them together. Keep your cords over the dumpster lid whenever you aren’t using it. If a raccoon can’t get into your garbage, they’ll find an easy meal somewhere else.


At the end of the day, nature’s most cunning bandits are mostly looking for an easy score. If you can make your home appear unattractive and/or inaccessible, they’ll leave you alone. There’s always trash somewhere else, after all. Follow these tips, and you shouldn’t have to worry about raccoons and their... creepy little hands from now on.

If you do end up with a raccoon problem, however, just call Varment Guard right away. Our animal experts have what it takes to remove raccoons safely and humanely. We’ll take care of your problem and help you make sure it doesn’t happen again. Nature’s bandits never gets one over on us, no matter how sneaky they think they are.

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