This Pungent Odor Is Said To Repel Chipmunks, But Is It Safe?

If you've ever had a garden ruined by chipmunks or found your household overrun by these critters, you know the struggle is real. Chipmunks might look cute, but they can be a real menace when it comes to gardens and homes. They dig up bulbs, eat fruits and plants, and can even cause structural damage with their burrows (though most experts believe this is improbable at best). Homeowners often find themselves desperate for solutions to keep these tiny troublemakers at bay. Surprisingly, the answer might already be in your cupboard — ammonia.

Ammonia has a strong, pungent odor that chipmunks hate, and driving these pests off is only one of several ways to use ammonia effectively in your home. Imagine the smell of a thousand gym socks after a workout — that's ammonia for chipmunks! This makes it a pretty effective deterrent. The science behind it? Chipmunks have a fairly strong sense of smell and rely on their noses to find food, shelter, and sense danger, so introducing a foul odor like ammonia can send them running.

To use it effectively around your garden, you can soak rags in ammonia and place them on wooden stakes all around the perimeter. This method works best for small areas, creating an invisible barrier that keeps chipmunks from venturing too close. However, while ammonia can be a handy tool, it's not without its drawbacks, mainly in that it is not entirely safe to use around small children and pets.

Is ammonia safe to use?

Although ammonia might make chipmunks skedaddle, it's not the safest option if you have pets or small children. Inhaling ammonia can be harmful, potentially causing respiratory issues and irritation. You wouldn't want your cats, dogs, or kids to accidentally come into contact with it, in other words. But don't worry! There are less risky options that can still send chipmunks packing. For instance, the smell of humans can be enough to scare them away. You can spread hair clippings or old clothing in the garden as barriers. These familiar human scents create an environment that feels unsafe for chipmunks, making them think twice before moving in.

Another way to repel chipmunks is to use scents they hate, including one common kitchen spice that can keep chipmunks from destroying your garden: cinnamon. Peppermint, garlic, and eucalyptus are other examples. Sprinkle these around your garden to create a fortress that chipmunks won't dare enter. Blood meal and mothballs can also be effective, but again, you will want to know the dangers before using blood meal and be mindful when using either around pets and children, as they can be harmful to both.

Keeping chipmunks out of your garden doesn't have to be impossible, and while ammonia can be a powerful deterrent, its risks could also outweigh its benefits if you have little ones or furry friends running around. Remember, the goal is to make your garden a welcoming place for you and an unwelcome spot for those cheeky chipmunks — not the other way around!