Will Vinegar Keep Raccoons Away? Myth or a Bust?

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Science Behind Vinegar as a Raccoon Repellent

Imagine trying to fall asleep at night but hearing sounds of rummaging coming from the backyard. You go downstairs and find out that there are dozens of raccoons creating a huge mess. To avoid this kind of situation, you need to use raccoon repellents. And vinegar is the cheapest and most accessible raccoon repellent you can use. So, will vinegar keep raccoons away? 

Vinegar has a strong scent that overpowers the smelling capability of raccoons. They hate the smell and leave the area immediately. If done correctly, vinegar can be a safe and humane method to keep raccoons away from your house. In this article, we will explore how to use vinegar to prevent raccoons from getting in your house and backyard.  

How to Identify Raccoons?

You can easily identify raccoons thanks to their unique black face mask appearance. On their body, they have thick black and gray-white lines. Moreover, they are usually 2-3 feet in height. Their fur is thick all around their body. And their tail has a black ring design pattern.

Their ears have rounded shapes and are short in size. They have white fur at the edge of the ear. Usually, the males are bigger and heavier than their female counterparts. When it comes to activity, they are mostly active at nighttime.

The Science Behind Vinegar as a Raccoon Repellent

Raccoons don’t like the strong smell of vinegar at all. The strong smell overloads their senses, which confuses them. More so, the acetic acid solution in vinegar can make raccoons go into panic mode. As a result, they will do everything to keep themself away from vinegar.

Many use apple vinegar to deter raccoons from trash cans and kitchen areas. And due to their sensitive smelling capacity, raccoons can’t stand areas with a strong acidic scent. 

Types of Vinegar and Their Effectiveness

There are two types of vinegar you will find in the market. These are white vinegar and apple cider vinegar. To be specific, white vinegar is made with 5 to 6% of acetic acid. The rest of the solution is pure water. 

On the other hand, apple cider vinegar is made with raw fermented apple juice. Hence, it’s stronger compared to white vinegar. It has a powerful smell, containing raw apple juice and its fragrance. 

After comparing these two, apple cider vinegar is the clear winner. We recommend using apple cider vinegar to deter raccoons from your property. As white vinegar has water in it, it’s not as effective on raccoons. 

How to Use Vinegar to Repel Raccoons

Here are some simple steps to use apple cider vinegar to repel raccoons away from your house:

Step 1: First of all, you need to take a bowl and put an ample amount of apple cider into it. 

Step 2: Afterward, take a piece of cloth, rag, or towel to soak up the apple cider vinegar solution. 

Step 3: Let the rag soak in the vinegar solution.

Step 4: Afterward, put the rag in the area of the house where raccoon activity is high. 

Due to the strong vinegar scent, the raccoons will not come to the area. They hate the smell and don’t prefer to linger around it. That makes the technique mentioned above a total success.

Alternative Method

If the above method is not feasible, use the alternative one. In the following technique, mix 2 gallons of water and 2 ounces of vinegar in a bowl. Afterward, you need to put them into a spray bottle. You could buy one from the supermarket if you don’t have a spray bottle.

Note: You could change the vinegar and water percentage in the solution based on your preference. 

Once you put the vinegar solution into the spray bottle, spray it over places where raccoon activity is common in your house. For example, you could spray on the surface they use to enter your house or the trash area. Or you could spray it all over the kitchen area to keep them away.

However, don’t forget to check whether the vinegar solution is causing damage to your furniture or floor. If so, make sure to add more water to dilute the solution. 

Safety Note: Whenever you are handling vinegar, make sure to take safety precautions. Avoid getting any vinegar on your skin or eyes. 

Additional Strategies for Keeping Raccoons Away

Additional Strategies for Keeping Raccoons Away

In case the vinegar technique is not working out to deter raccoons, don’t panic. The good news is you could use plenty of other strategies which work. Try out these techniques and see how effective they are.

1. Predator Urine

Collect samples of raccoon predator urine and put them in your yard. For example, you could take the urine of a coyote and place them in a strategic place. If anyone is unaware, the coyote is one of the biggest predators of raccoons. They often hunt raccoons and destroy their colony. Having the urine will make them think a predator has taken their place. Hence, raccoons will very likely avoid invading your house.

2. Installing Motion-Activated Deterrents

Install motion-activated deterrents which sprinkle water. It will scare the raccoons away. The benefit of motion-activated deterrents is it acts instantly without requiring human input. The sprinkler will start spraying water in seconds after detecting motion.

3. Use Garlic Or Cayenne Pepper 

Similar to vinegar, raccoons don’t like the aroma of cayenne pepper or garlic. You could blend in cayenne pepper with a spoon of detergent. Afterward, put it into a spray bottle, and spray it on their entry points. Or you could spray it on hard surfaces like wood floors or kitchen desks to keep raccoons at bay. 

4. Fencing And Exclusion Techniques

Make sure to look around your house and boundary. Put barriers like fences, barbed wire, and mesh fences to block raccoon access. Look for tricky places where they could easily sneak through. Seal off these entry points so the raccoons can’t enter your house. Moreover, you should secure your garbage cans and compost bins as well.

5. Peppermint Essential Oils

Put peppermint oils in a spray bottle and start spraying in. You should target places where you think the most raccoon activity occurs. In fact, the kitchen and trash area are the places where raccoons usually congregate. Make sure to spray enough oils to keep them away. 

6. Remove The Vegetation

Avoid growing vegetables in your yard because raccoons will do anything to get into the backyard for food. But, if you have an existing vegetable garden, ensure they have proper protection around it. Make sure their branches don’t go beyond the fence, as it can attract raccoons.

7. Plant Cucumber

Avoid vegetation unless it’s cucumber. Raccoons don’t like the scent of cucumber at all. They will avoid entering your house if they smell the presence of cucumber. You can plant them around your property to keep raccoons away.

8. Ammonia

Similar to humans, raccoons hate the pungent smell of ammonia. As an instinct, they will avoid the areas where you have sprayed ammonia. However, ammonia can be harmful to humans as well. Make sure you apply it carefully to avoid affecting your family members.

9. Securing Garbage Cans And Compost Bins

Keep the garbage cans and compost bins in a safe and secure place. In case they are open, the raccoon will smell it out and get attracted to the area. Give extra effort to seal out the garbage cans so they don’t emit any smell and attract these pesky raccoons.


That marks the end of our in-depth answer to the question – will vinegar keep raccoons away? Vinegar is an effective way to deter away raccoons and other rodents. They hate the smell and avoid areas that smell like it.

However, you could also try other options if the vinegar solution technique doesn’t work out. There are plenty of alternatives that work great. Make sure to try them out. Raccoons are clever and can overcome your strategies, so be alert and creative in blocking their access to your house.


Can I use any type of vinegar for repelling raccoons?

Even though you can use any time of vinegar to repel raccoons, only some variants will be effective. For example, if you use white vinegar, it has 95% water in it. Instead, you should use apple cider vinegar, which has a higher amount of acetic acid. This will deter away the raccoons more effectively. 

How often should I apply vinegar to keep raccoons away?

You should apply the vinegar solution after every 2 or 3 days. However, ensure the vinegar solution is not strong enough to deteriorate the surfaces. 

Will vinegar harm my plants or garden?

Other than a few plants, vinegar is ok for most plant life and gardens. The vinegar does not accumulate in the soil to harm the pH level. However, don’t spray more than the recommended amount. Applying vinegar in moderation will not harm anything in your backyard garden.

Are there any risks associated with using vinegar around pets?

Many dogs have issues with the strong smell of vinegar. So, when applying it in the kitchen, you should keep the area open and ventilated. Moreover, you should monitor your dog’s activity and keep them away from the area where vinegar has been sprayed.

Can I use vinegar indoors to deter raccoons?

Yes, using vinegar indoors is completely safe. But ensure that you let plenty of air travel through the sprayed area. Otherwise, the strong vinegar scent might irritate your pets or children. 

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Alex Cooper

Alex Cooper

Hey there! I’m Alex Cooper—a nature enthusiast, always seeking thrilling adventures in camping and climbing. The crackle of a campfire and the starry night sky fill my heart with joy and a sense of belonging. As I conquer mountains, I feel an incredible rush of excitement. Through my heartfelt words, I want to share my deep connection with nature and inspire others, like you, to experience the same awe-inspiring emotions. Let’s embark on this amazing journey together, where we’ll discover the extraordinary and find ourselves embraced by the beauty of the outdoors.


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