baby raccoon playing in a pile of garbage

Having Problems With Raccoons?

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Raccoons are notorious for getting into garbage cans, feasting on their contents, and making a mess all over lawns. If you are having a problem with raccoons getting into your trash cans, here are some tips on how to keep them out.


Tips to keep them out

  • Never leave the lid off your trash can. That is an open invitation to raccoons to come searching through it.
  • Buy a metal trash can with a lid that locks in place. Some plastic trash cans have a screw that holds the lid in place, but raccoons can chew through plastic. When you go shopping, ask a salesperson for a raccoon-proof garbage can. You can also buy raccoon locks separately.
  • If you don’t have a trash can with a locking lid, you can use a chain and lock. Another option is to attach plastic hose pipe or tubing around the edge of the lid. Cut a strip of tubing or hose pipe along one side and slip it over the rim of the can. This will create a tight seal when the lid is placed on top of the can.
  • You can also tie the lid to the trash can by wrapping a rope or bungee cord around the handles. You can make it even more secure by wrapping the bungee cord or rope all the way around the trash can on two sides.
  • Another way to keep raccoons out of your garbage is to place a rock, cinder block, or other heavy item on top of the lid. Just be sure that the person who is responsible for taking out the trash is able to lift it.
  • You can soak cloths with ammonia and place them inside the trash can. The smell of ammonia is offensive to raccoons because it smells like urine to them. You can also spray other areas to keep raccoons out of your yard.
  • Raccoons prefer darkness. Installing a motion-controlled light near the trash can could discourage them from trying to open the lid and go through your garbage.
  • The sound of human voices can also deter raccoons. Place a radio set to a news or talk station near the trash can and play it at a low volume. You can increase the volume if necessary.


If these measures don’t work, you can put your trash can inside a secured area or enclosure, such as a shed, basement, or garage. Take it out as close as possible to the time trash is collected.


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