How To Keep Raccoons out of a Trash Can

Are raccoons constantly digging through your trash can at night? Raccoons are very smart and stealthy. They can easily break into your trash can if you leave it outside unprotected. To keep raccoons out of a trash can, you must take steps to make it more difficult for them to open the can or get into your garbage. Luckily, there are a few tricks for making your trash can less inviting for raccoons. Here's how to keep raccoons out of a trash can:

  1. Purchase the right trash cans. If you've been having raccoon troubles, invest in a trash can with a tight-fitting lids. Even if the raccoons knock the can over, they shouldn't be able to get the lid off. Find one with a screw-on lid, if possible; these are difficult for a raccoon to manipulate.
  2. Secure the lid to the can. Further reduce the likelihood that raccoons will be able to get into your trash using a bungee cord. Loop it through the handle on the can and the handle on the lid, securing it on the opposite side so that the lid cannot be opened without removing the cord. Another method is to place a very heavy object, like a large brick, on top of the can so that it cannot be pushed over by raccoons.
  3. Double-wrap your garbage. Some types of garbage, particularly food waste, are more attractive to raccoons. Double-bag these bags of garbage before you place them in the can so that raccoons will not be able to smell what's inside. Placing mothballs in the trash can also mask these odors.
  4. Install lighting or sprinkles. Motion detection lights or sprinklers can keep raccoons from coming into the trash can area.
  5. Dust the cans with baby powder. To keep raccoons out of a trash can sprinkle the lid with baby powder. Raccoons hate getting dust or powder on their paws.
  6. Do not confront the raccoons. Though raccoons may look cute, they can be surprisingly vicious. Do not try to trap or confront a wild raccoon. If the raccoon problem persists, call your local Animal Control agency rather than trying to deal with the raccoons yourself.
  7. Wait to put your garbage cans out for pickup. If possible, put your garbage can outside for pick up in the mornings, rather than the night before. Store the can, and the bags of garbage you accumulate during the week, in your garage or shed. You can also build an enclosed area in your yard to keep your trash cans where the raccoons can't get to them.

These tips for keeping your garbage in the can should stop most raccoons, even the craftiest ones. Raccoons can learn to overcome obstacles such as these, so you might want to change strategies every few months.


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