Keeping Raccoons Out of Your Garbage Cans

By Chris Williams on May 12, 2011.

Q. How can I keep raccoons out of my garbage cans? We have one raccoon that just pops the lid right off and makes a huge mess. We even tried banging on pots to scare it away, but that didn’t last long!

A. First, never confront the raccoon yourself; leave that to a professional with wildlife handling experience. No matter how cute, raccoons are wild animals – they bite and carry diseases.

Once a raccoon discovers your garbage can, it’s difficult to deter him, especially if it’s garbage he particularly likes such as melon rinds or corn cobs. Raccoons are strong and clever so you should use more than one of these deterrent suggestions and rotate them from time to time.

raccoonThe best solution is to keep the garbage cans in a garage or closed shed until the morning of trash pickup or until you take them to your dump. If that’s not possible, buy heavy metal garbage cans with tight-fitting lids. Raccoons (and other animals) can chew through the lids of plastic garbage cans. But a clever raccoon can even work the lid off of a metal garbage can, especially if he can first tip it over. Thread a bungee cord through the lid handle and attach it to the side handles of the can.  You can also place a cinderblock or other heavy weight on top of the can.

Other things that may help keep raccoons out of your garbage cans:

  • Hose out garbage cans regularly with soap and drain them well.
  • Set up garbage cans on a level surface and in such a way that they can’t be knocked over.
  • Always use sealed garbage bags inside the can and double-bag really smelly garbage before putting it into the can.
  • Use a motion detector light or motion detector sprinkler near the garbage can that will come on when a raccoon is near.
  • Dust the trash can lids with baby powder. Raccoons don’t like the feel of “dust” on their paws.
  • Sprinkle ammonia on a rag and place it on top of the garbage bags inside the can.
  • Make sure there is no other food debris around your house such as pet food on the porch or bird seed or fruit on the ground that is attracting the raccoons to your property.
  • Get a yard dog!


Finally, admit that the raccoon has won and call Colonial! We are experienced in handling nuisance wildlife. It’s possible that the raccoon is nesting in your yard or even in your attic. We can conduct an inspection and set up a live-trapping program that will remove that pesky raccoon from your yard permanently.



We’re not satisfied until you are. Learn More