What Repels Raccoons? (Top Ways to Deter Raccoons)

In this article, we’ll answer the question:

“What repels raccoons?”

First, you’ll find a short summary of the common ways to deter raccoons from your yard and house, then get a detailed list and explanation of those things as they relate to the two primary deterrents: scent and physical repellents.

Raccoons are medium-sized mammals in the family Procyonidae under the order Carnivora. These omnivores are native to North America but are also distributed across mainland Europe, the Caucasus, and Japan. These ring-tailed mammals are primarily known for their intelligence and curiosity, which often get them into trouble with humans.

raccoon being repelled

What Repels Raccoons?

Raccoons are repelled by scent and physical deterrents such as cayenne pepper, vinegar, peppermint oil, ammonia, coyote urine, motion-activated sprinklers and lights, fences, and pest repellents.

Scent Repellents for Raccoons

One of the ways to repel raccoons is to use scents that they dislike or fear. Raccoons have a strong sense of smell that helps them locate food sources. However, some smells can irritate their noses or make them think that there is a predator nearby.

Some of the common scent repellents that can deter raccoons are:

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a natural repellent for many types of pests, including raccoons, because it contains a substance called capsaicin that gives the pepper its hot flavor. Raccoons detest both the spicy smell and taste of cayenne pepper, making it an easy and effective raccoon repellent.

You can sprinkle cayenne pepper around your garbage cans, garden beds, chicken coops or other areas where raccoons frequent. You can also make a spray by mixing one small canister of cayenne pepper and one bottle of hot sauce with a gallon of water, and spray it on your plants, bushes and shrubs.


Vinegar is another natural repellent that can keep raccoons away from your property. Vinegar has a sour smell and taste that raccoons dislike. You can soak rags or cotton balls in vinegar and place them around your garbage cans, compost piles, bird feeders or other places where raccoons may look for food. You can also spray vinegar on your plants or lawn to discourage raccoons from digging or eating them.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is an essential oil that has a minty smell that raccoons hate. Peppermint oil irritates the sinus cavities of raccoons, making them avoid areas where it is present. 

You can dab peppermint oil on cotton balls or rags and place them around your house or yard where raccoons may enter or roam. You can also use peppermint oil-based products such as Mighty Mint Rodent Repellent Spray or Mint-X Trash Bags to repel raccoons.


Ammonia is a chemical compound that has a pungent smell that raccoons find unbearable. Ammonia mimics the smell of urine of predators such as coyotes or foxes, making raccoons think that there is danger nearby.

You can soak rags or cotton balls in ammonia and place them in jars or cans with holes in the lids around your property where raccoons may visit. You can also spray ammonia on your plants or lawn to prevent raccoons from eating or digging them.

Coyote Urine

Coyote urine is another scent repellent that can scare away raccoons from your yard or house. Coyote urine signals to raccoons that there is a coyote in the area, which is one of their natural enemies. Raccoons will avoid places where they smell coyote urine for fear of being attacked.

You can buy coyote urine online or at some garden centers and apply it around your property where raccoons may come. You can also use products such as PredatorPee Coyote Pee Shakin’ Flakes or Shake-Away Coyote Urine Granules to repel raccoons.

Physical Repellents for Raccoons

Another way to repel raccoons is to use physical barriers or devices that prevent them from accessing your property or scare them away. Raccoons are agile and dexterous animals that can climb, dig, jump or open things. However, some physical repellents can make it harder or unpleasant for them to do so.

Some of the common physical repellents that can deter raccoons are:

Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Motion-activated sprinklers are devices that spray water when they detect movement in their range. Raccoons do not like getting wet or startled, so they will avoid places where they get sprayed by water. 

You can install motion-activated sprinklers around your garbage cans, garden beds, chicken coops or other areas where raccoons may intrude. You can also use products such as Orbit Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler or Hoont Cobra Motion-Activated Sprinkler to repel raccoons.

Motion-Activated Lights

Motion-activated lights are devices that turn on when they sense motion in their vicinity. Raccoons are nocturnal animals that prefer to operate in the dark, so they will avoid places where they get exposed by bright lights. 

You can install motion-activated lights around your house or yard where raccoons may enter or roam. You can also use products such as LEPOWER LED Motion Sensor Security Light or Mr. Beams Wireless Motion Sensor LED Spotlight to repel raccoons.


Fences are structures that enclose an area and prevent access from outside. Raccoons can climb over or dig under most fences, but some fences can make it more difficult or impossible for them to do so. 

You can build fences around your property or specific areas where raccoons may cause damage, such as gardens, chicken coops or goldfish ponds. You can use materials such as wire mesh, electric wires, metal flashing or hardware cloth to make your fences more raccoon-proof.

Pest Repellents

Repellents are substances that create an unpleasant sensation or reaction in animals that come into contact with them. Raccoons can be repelled by repellents that affect their taste, smell or touch.

You can apply repellents on your plants, lawn, garbage cans or other places where raccoons may feed or explore. You can use products such as Bonide Repels-All Animal Repellent Granules, Havahart Critter Ridder Animal Repellent Spray or Must Garden Dog & Cat Repellent to repel raccoons.

What Natural Remedies Keep Raccoons Away?

Some natural remedies that keep raccoons away are scents that are spicy, pungent, or sour, such as cayenne pepper, vinegar, garlic, onion, peppermint oil, or ammonia. These scents irritate the raccoon’s nose and make them avoid the area. Another natural remedy is predator urine, such as coyote or wolf urine, which makes the raccoon fear for their safety123

Does Irish Spring Repel Raccoons?

Irish Spring is a brand of soap that has a strong and fresh scent. Some people claim that Irish Spring can repel raccoons by masking the smell of food or garbage that attracts them. However, there is no scientific evidence that Irish Spring or any other soap can effectively repel raccoons. Raccoons may get used to the smell over time or ignore it if they are hungry enough4

What Is the Best Homemade Raccoon Repellent?

The best homemade raccoon repellent may depend on your situation and preference, but one of the most popular and easy recipes is a hot pepper spray. To make a hot pepper spray, you need a bottle of hot sauce or hot pepper flakes, water, and dish soap. Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and spray the solution on plants, trash cans, fences, or any other places where you want to keep raccoons away. The hot pepper spray will irritate the raccoon’s nose and mouth and deter them from coming back12

Learn More About Raccoons

Now that you know more about the things that attract raccoons, you may also be interested in these other educational guides on these mammals:

Repel & Deter Raccoons Summary

You now know what repels raccoons from entering your yard and house.

As you discovered, there are two primary deterrents for raccoons: scent and physical repellents, and by agitating the senses or adding a physical barrier that raccoons cannot pass, you can prevent these ring-tailed mammals from coming onto your property.