Having the occasional raccoon ransack your garbage may feel innocuous, but inviting wild animals to snack on your outdoor garbage can be dangerous.

Between bears and wildlife in New Jersey that carry diseases or threaten homeowners and their families, it’s very important to protect your trash from wildlife threats.

Furthermore, the smell of garbage can attract other nuisance pests that eventually enter your home.

To prevent these issues, we’ve outlined 10 quick tips to keep animals out of your garbage once and for all.

1. Minimize the amount of food waste in your trash.

If you can, use the garbage disposal on your sink or put food into your trash bins only on pick-up day. Make sure that cans are always brought to the curb on garbage day and that you aren’t letting any trash pile up outside the can.

2. Keep your trash can lids secure.

Many of the older metal cans have lids that clip on tightly. Today, the new plastic cans that can be picked up by garbage trucks have lids that blow open fairly easily. A bungee cord can keep the lids closed without much hassle.

3. Move your trash indoors.

If you have a cold garage or shed, you can keep your trash cans inside. Keeping trash indoors will keep the creatures out, though it may invite pests, such as big black ants if you don’t secure your lids properly.

4. Cover up the smell of food.

Spray bleach, ammonia, or vinegar to mask the smell of rotting food and garbage. Raccoons, cats, and squirrels will be repelled and fooled by these smells, so apply them regularly if you feel that your trash is a bit too strongly scented. This will also help keep away rodents.

5. Stake down the garbage cans.

The wind can knock your garbage cans over. Run a rope over the top of the cans and stake them down to the ground for added protection. This will also protect your cans from wild animals that topple your cans in search of food.

6. Wash your trash cans frequently.

The build-up of delicious-smelling food runoff is irresistible to our furry little diners. Keeping your cans clean will eliminate any residue or unwanted smells that build up over time.

7. Keep food scraps in the freezer until garbage day.

Freezing food scraps during the warmer months will keep them from smelling bad while you are waiting for pick-up day.

8. Christmas lights can keep animals out.

Christmas lights scare raccoons and other animals, so they are perfect to keep critters out. You can put out a small wooden or metal frame or simply hang lights on the garbage cans to keep everyone out.

9. Build a chicken-wire box for your trash cans.

Anything that can keep the animals from being able to open the tops will prevent them from getting in. Try erecting a chicken wire fence or keeping your cans behind an existing one, even on a porch or deck if possible.

10. Animal repellent is a simple solution.

Several over-the-counter sprays can be put on the cans and on the trash that will keep the raccoons and other creatures out.

Generally, though, most preventative pest control best practices will be useful in keeping animals out of your trash, though you might need to take some extra precautions.

One critical note: If you see a raccoon or other animals acting strangely, please call Anchor Pest Control as soon as possible. Raccoons and other mammals can carry rabies and give it to pets and family members.

If you find that you have a consistent problem with animals in your garbage, call us, and we will come out to assess the situation. We have professional solutions that will keep your garbage in the cans when these DIY options may not help.

FAQs: How to Keep Animals Out of Trash

How can I deter raccoons from rummaging through my trash?

Place a brick or cinder block on the lid of your can to prevent raccoons from opening them with their hands.

Are there any eco-friendly ways to keep animals out of my garbage?

Spread natural herbs, such as mint, around trash cans to repel animals. Other natural pest control methods, such as ammonia, are also helpful as they irritate wildlife but not necessarily hurt them.

What should I do if I encounter a wild animal while managing my trash?

Call animal control or your local exterminator immediately. Even animals, such as opossums, can be highly dangerous if they have rabies or carry any other diseases.