How to Get Rid of Raccoons

How to Get Rid of Raccoons

Throughout North America, raccoons are one of the most bothersome animals in suburban and country homes, and now even in city dwellings. From destroying your vegetable gardens to raiding trashcans, these critters are extremely adaptable in their destructive behavior. If you have ever seen a raccoon attempt to open a nearly sealed garbage can, you’ll agree they have amazing agility and persistence. Because of the severity of destruction that raccoons can cause, many people seek solutions to deter or remove raccoons from their property.

Getting Rid of Raccoons with Homemade Raccoon Repellents

Using homemade recipes is a natural but not-inexpensive method to get rid of raccoons. There are two categories of repellents you can make or use: taste repellents, and odor repellents. Taste repellents use strong and offensive flavors, such as cayenne pepper, to deter a raccoon’s interest. Odor repellents use strong and offensive smells, such as ammonia.

Taste Repellents as a Way to Get Rid of Raccoons

One homemade “taste” raccoon repellent recipe uses 1 bottle hot pepper sauce or 1 bottle cayenne pepper powder and mixes it with a gallon of water and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. The soap helps the liquid to adhere to what you’re spraying, and should be sprayed on the entire area that you would like to protect. The cost to gather the ingredients for this and other homemade recipes can range from $9 to $20 for a single application. Homemade recipes can seem like a cost-effective way to get rid of raccoons at first, however because they are easily washed away with rainfall (Central PA gets an average of 130 days of rainfall each year), you need to apply the product fairly often, which leads to greater expense and effort to get rid of raccoons in the long run.

Also, hot peppers and soap are nose, mouth and eye irritants in animals, children, and adults, should they come into contact with the sprayed area.

Ingredients Required:

  • Dishwashing Liquid Concentrate $3 (144 applications)
  • Hot Pepper Sauce ($3) or Cayenne Pepper Powder ($3)
  • Empty ¼ Gallon Spray Bottle ($3)
  • Covers 1000+ square feet (approximately, depending on heaviness of application)

Cost of Application: With 100+ reapplications per year the cost for a single year can be great than $300.

Effectiveness for Getting Rid of Raccoons: Fair

How to Get Rid of Raccoon Problems with Odor Repellents

A raccoon is very sensitive to smell so it’s natural to try using strong odors as a way to keep them out of gardens and under patios. Household products can be used as a repellent such as, ammonia and mothballs, however these products need to constantly be replaced, are harmful when the come into contact with mucus membranes, and mothballs are purported to be toxic. Professional trappers report that intelligent raccoons are more likely to remove an offending odor, or cover it up than to vacate the premises.

Ingredients Required:

  • Ammonia (1 gallon=$4)
  • Mothballs (14oz = $3)

Cost of Application: Continuous ($150/year or more)

Effectiveness for Getting Rid of Raccoons: Negligible

How to Get Rid of Raccoons by Using Electronic and Water-Based Raccoon Repellents

Sprinklers are another method to deter raccoons because they really dislike being around water. Running your sprinklers at different times during the day to get rid of raccoons will work, but since we’re living in a time where water is becoming more precious every day, this solution can be wasteful and expensive. Many parts of the United States will no longer allow sprinklers to be run every day so taking this route is not environmentally friendly or cost effective. Mesh or wire fencing is a commonly used method of fencing. This type of fencing is relatively inexpensive ranging from $10 to $30 depending on the square footage of the area being protected. Although this method is a fairly cost effective method for getting rid of raccoons, it is rather time consuming to set up, and raccoons like to climb, being very agile creatures. Simply fencing is not enough to deter them.

However, there are products on the market specifically designed to conserve water while providing effective deterrents for raccoons. Motion Activated Sprinklers can be purchased for $50 to $180 depending on the product. These sprinklers are only activated when they sense something approaching. The device then emits a mist of water and a noise to accompany the water and effectively frightens the raccoon away from your yard.

Cost of Units: $50-$90 PER UNIT

Cost of Units: $50-$90 PER UNIT

Cost of water additional

Cost of batteries additional; some units are solar powered, which is more cost effective.

Effectiveness for Getting Rid of Raccoons: Good (depending on brand)

Fencing Options to Get Rid of Raccoons

Mesh or Wire Fencing

Mesh or wire fencing is a commonly used method of fencing. This type of fencing is relatively inexpensive ranging from $10 to $30 depending on the square footage of the area being protected. Although this method is fairly cost effective, it is rather time consuming to set up, and raccoons like to climb, being very agile creatures. Simply fencing is not enough to deter them.

Cost of Application: $10-$30 depending area to be fenced

Effectiveness for Getting Rid of Raccoons: None*

Wooden or PVC Fencing

Durable wood fencing could be an option as well, but, even if the raccoons can’t climb the fence, they will still dig under it.

Cost of Fence: $16,000+ (For fencing a 1 acre property)

Effectiveness for Getting Rid of Raccoons: None*

Electric Fencing

Another option for getting rid of raccoons is to install an electric fence around the perimeter you are trying to protect, and/or to add an electric fence wire to the bottom area of existing fencing (*which would make the above options more effective). This is a mid-range cost method starting around $40 and going up to $500 depending on existing infrastructure and the area of coverage. Not only will it ensure you’ll never have to worry about raccoons, but it can keep a host of other animals out of your yard, vegetable patches and gardens and it is a one time “set it and forget it” type product. However, “set it” is misleading since there is a learning curve of some degree to installing your own electric fence. Please see for more details.

Cost: $500+ for all necessary parts of stand-alone electric fence (1 acre)

Effectiveness for Getting Rid of Raccoons: Great

How to Get Rid of Raccoons with Humane Live Animal Traps

DIY Raccoon Trapping

Live animal traps can be an option if you are looking to relocate a raccoon. These live traps range in price from $50 to $100 and can be used numerous times. Before trapping a raccoon, make sure to check with your state and county’s laws on live trapping and relocation. A number of states require proof that the raccoon is a nuisance or causing damage to your property in order to justify the animal’s relocation. Depending on your area and the type of animal, a permit may be required in order to trap the raccoon. Obtaining a permit usually requires a simple application to be filled out and submitted to your local conservation office. Always make sure to check your state’s regulations on live trapping, removal and relocation.

Getting Rid of Raccoons by Using Professional Trapper Services

Professional trapping and removal is also an option that is available to get rid of raccoons. Although this method is quick and ensures the safety of those involved, it is very expensive. Pest control experts view raccoons as wildlife, and will use the same traps you can buy for personal use when trapping the animal. The difference with a professional trapper is that he or she is licensed to remove wildlife, and should know the ins and outs of dealing with a wild animal.

Your yard and garden is often your pride and joy and it’s something that people love to show to others. Don’t let raccoons and other animals destroy what you work so hard to achieve. Evaluate the best solution for your needs and take action to rid your yard of raccoons.

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Havahart® is a leading manufacturer of caring control products for pets and wildlife. By offering animal repellents and live animal traps, Havahart® covers a wide spectrum that truly is caring control for pets and wildlife.


  • J.D.

    I have a raccoon in my attic. I know how he got in and I can close that avenue for him, but first I would like to get him out. Can I get him out during the day, or is it best to wait for nighttime? Is there any special time of night he is likely to leave? Or, what time is he likely to return? I will get up in the middle of the night to deal with him, after all one night’s sleep is well worth it to get rid of him.
    P.S. I just put new insulation in my attic last year and a new roof, so I know my attic was raccoon free until this last night.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

    • 11:22 am - July 31, 2012

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi J.D.,

      Can you answer a clarification question for us? Are you using a live trap to remove him from your attic, or are you waiting until he leaves to close up your attic?

      Let us know!


      ~Your Friends at Havahart®

      • 12:13 pm - August 3, 2012

      • Reply
  • john o'hara

    i have a raccoon in my barn i would like to get rid off…i have a haveaheart trap and don’t know what kind of bait would attract it the best…i don’t want to kill it just relocate it away from my house…any help you can offer wil be sincerely appreciated…john o’hara…

    • 7:07 am - November 5, 2012

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi John,

      Thank you for your question and for deciding to relocate the raccoon instead of harming it!

      The best baits for raccoons include canned fish, watermelon, sweet corn, fatty meat, bacon and marshmallows. We’ve found marshmallows are their favorite! Keep in mind when choosing the bait, you have the chance of trapping an animal other than the raccoon. There are animals such as foxes and opossums, for example, that will be attracted to the meat baits.

      Good luck!

      Your Friends at Havahart®

      • 10:10 am - November 5, 2012

      • Reply
  • Robert J Wakefield

    I have racoons that like to defecate at the base of my house, on the roof…. Any way to stop it?

    • 12:53 pm - April 19, 2016

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hello, Robert! You can either trap the raccoons, or repel them. Luckily, we have multiple products for each solution! Check out our selection of products here: Let us know if you have any other questions, thank you!

      • 1:15 pm - April 20, 2016

      • Reply
  • David Sack

    I bought a havahart trap for raccoons. I set it up exactly as the directions said. I’ve tested all of the entrances and exits. It seems to work fine. I have baited the trap and for the last 2 nights the trap was sprung, the bait was gone, and the raccoon has escaped. How are they getting out? Your product doesn’t seem to be working.

    • 12:00 pm - May 31, 2016

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi, David! We are sorry to hear that your trap is not catching the raccoon in question as quickly as you had hoped! Click on whichever trap you have here: and check out the Q&A and videos to see if there is any additional info that might be helpful. If you try that and the trap continues to not work for the next few nights, please call 1-855-5-HAVAHART and a member of our team would be happy to help! Thanks!

      • 6:03 pm - June 1, 2016

      • Reply
  • Glenn

    I found by accident years ago that raccoons are attracted to black oil sunflower seeds. I have used this many times with success. Put about a cupful in the trap.

    • 10:50 am - July 1, 2016

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Great tip, Glenn! Thanks for sharing!

      • 12:58 pm - July 6, 2016

      • Reply
  • Daphnee

    Is the pepper, hot sauce and dishwashing liquid spray garden safe? Stupid raccoons have ate all our corn and now they are after our watermelons. Do I spray it directly on the plants or just around the perimeter of our garden? I am determined to save these watermelons!!

    • 8:09 am - July 26, 2016

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi, Daphnee! We recommend spraying it around the perimeter, and not directly on the plants themselves!

      • 1:46 pm - August 3, 2016

      • Reply
  • Kathy

    I have a couch and 2 mattresses with pieces of wood on my back porch. I went out there today and there is a raccoon. I was going to remove the furniture but dont know what is the best option to get rid of the raccoon..the exterminator wants to costs me $450.00. I don’t have that kind of money. Need help

    • 12:08 am - August 30, 2016

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Kathy! We are happy to help, and have many much more affordable options! You can trap the raccoon then release him, or you can repel him using a variety of our products! Here is a guide that should help you!

      • 5:30 pm - August 30, 2016

      • Reply
  • jessie logan

    Is there anything that will repel raccoons but won’t bother cats? I live in an area of 2-5 acre wooded properties (including 6 vacant acres adjacent to mine), home to much wildlife. 4 feral cats live in my workshop, accessed via roof, since the walls aren’t finished inside. They spend most of their time in the w/s or on the roof. I feed them twice a day, putting out the food and removing it when they are done, no food is left out. Still, raccoons enter. I’m also trying to trap the cats to get them neutered and rabies shots. I put out traps WITHOUT food, using plastic cable wraps to tie the doors open, to get the cats accustomed to the traps. The stupid raccoons go in, chew up the ties, and are trapped. Any ideas how to keep the raccoons out of the w/s and traps, without bothering the cats? Thank you

    • 1:25 pm - September 7, 2016

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi, Jessie! Thanks for your question! Check out our resources on how to repel raccoons and see if there is anything additional that may be of help: Unfortunately, many of our repellents that work on raccoons also repel cats. Please let us know if you have any additional questions, thanks!

      • 2:03 pm - September 7, 2016

      • Reply
  • Will Johnson

    Hello everyone! I want to know what is the best way to get rid of raccoons, maybe someone try methods whitch describes here and can give me advice o something like that, and they have not far from my house is the den, what i need to do with that? Thanks very much!

    • 6:27 am - November 7, 2016

    • Reply
  • Ron

    hi, I have a racoon that climbs the pole where I have peanuts for the woodpeckers. I have a 10 diameter baffle abut 20 inches in length and a triangle baffle above that but he still gets to the feeder. He can’t get into the feeder but knocks it around and off the hook to the center of the pole. He doesn’t bother the other feeders with just bird seed in them but is crazy about the peanuts.
    I have tried using a live trap to remove him from the yard. This method worked with three of them but this guy digs under the trap to get the bait (peanuts and Peanut butter). Suggestions would be appreciated.
    Would something like WD 40 sprayed on the top triangle baffle work? Would vegetable shortening work by applying it to the triangle baffle?


    • 4:51 pm - December 5, 2016

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Ron, thanks for your question. Sounds like you have a very persistent squirrel! I would not put anything oily on the baffle, squirrels and other critters could get sick if the consume it when trying to clean their fur. Likewise, if birds get it on their feathers, it can make flying more difficult. If peanuts are the only thing he’s interested in, you could just eliminate those from your feeders, or try adding cayenne pepper to them before you put them in the feeder. Squirrels don’t like the spice, but birds don’t notice it.

      • 2:03 pm - January 26, 2017

      • Reply
  • Jami

    Hi – we live in a typical subdivision with a wooden cedar fence around the back yard. There are raccoons living in the street drains. They come out at night and eat my garden. Just when the tomatoes are aaalllmost ripe, the next morning they’ve taken a big bite. Or worse yet, picked them, taken a bite, and left them on the ground. The least they could do is enjoy my tomato instead of wasting it! LOL They eat tomatoes, green beans, squash, peppers, everything. I’ve almost given up on growing a garden.

    I’ve tried pepper sprays. Can’t say they’ve really worked. I can’t see exactly where the raccoons are entering, but I know they are there. The dog goes crazy at night.

    Any miraculous suggestions? Please? Thanks for your time.

    • 12:42 am - January 28, 2017

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Jami, sorry to hear about your raccoon problems! Deterrent plans work best when they are multi-layered. For example, use a treatment such as Critter Ridder to make your garden unpleasant to them. It is best to use it as a perimeter treatment around all the edges of your garden (but not on the plants themselves). You could try pairing this method with a physical deterrent such as a mesh fence around your garden, or one of our Spray Away electronic repellents. We hope that helps!

      • 8:19 pm - February 8, 2017

      • Reply

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