Does Ammonia Repel Raccoons From Your Trashcan?

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You never know how much of an issue it is to have scavengers digging through your trash until you discover you have a raccoon problem. They can dig through your trash can, rip open plastic bags, and throw garbage around the vicinity in their quest to find dinner. To avoid that, some experts say that you should spray down your trash bins with ammonia to keep these hungry pests away. It's supposed to be a humane method to keep raccoons out of your yard. However, it turns out that this pest control hack isn't very effective. While it might scare them away for a day or two, raccoons will quickly get over the smell and go back to sniffing around your bins. 

The hack involves either pouring ammonia into a spray bottle and liberally spraying it over and around your garbage cans or soaking a rag with it and putting it on top of your trash. The idea is that it will mimic the scent of predators or other raccoons since urine contains ammonia, which will keep these masked critters from coming closer. While on paper it sounds like a solid idea, raccoons are much smarter (and more persistent!) than that. Instead, they will simply move the odorous rags out of the way, wait for the smell to fade, or get used to the odor and go back to rummaging. If anything, this is a short-term solution at best, but the chances are high that they will return.

How to keep raccoons out of your trash cans

Instead of using ammonia to banish raccoons from your trash cans, you instead need to make your receptacles as hard to dig through as possible. If they can't easily get to the food source inside, they will go hunting somewhere else in the neighborhood for their next meal. If they're removing the lid, weigh it down with bricks or enclose it with a latch (like the Blazer Brand Latch), a lid lock (like the Encased Store Heavy Duty Lid Lock), or regular bungee cords. If the issue is that they tip over your garbage can, then you will have to secure it either to a post, pole, or fence. This will keep them from knocking it over and therefore make it harder for them to access the contents inside. 

If these measures don't work, then the best course of action is to remove your trash from the outside entirely. Instead, consider storing it inside your garage or a shed near your backdoor. This will make it extremely difficult for the scavengers to access their next meal. And if that doesn't work, then it's time to call in a professional pest control company to take care of your critter problem.