How To Deter And Keep Raccoons Away From Garbage With Raccoon Proof Trash Cans

Learn How To Stop Raccoons From Getting Into Your Garbage Without Harming Them
raccoon (9 months) - Procyon lotor

I love cute animals but raccoons (sometimes spelled racoon) are pesky and sneaky little critters. They love to dive in trash looking for food scraps to bring back home to their babies. They are true ominvores who eat just about anything.

There’s a high chance if you have outdoor trash cans you’ll find a raccoon at some point. And if you have pets, you probably don’t want to attract other animals like raccoons to come to play with your dogs or cats.

So how can you raccoon-proof garbage cans?

Some say it’s very hard to raccoon proof your garbage cans, but I want to share some ideas with you today that actually work.

Why Do Racoons Eat Garbage?

But first, let’s be clear about why raccoons love eating garbage. Like humans, raccoons are omnivores and have teeth designed to grind plants or tear through meat. They are smart and can solve problems easily (like opening up your trash can lid)! Left in the wild they are skilled at catching fish or stealing eggs using their furry paws. They will eat worms, chickens, berries, acorns or anything they can get their paws on.

So why garbage?

Because most raccoons live near humans, they’ve adapted to find food wherever they can. They are now considered “urbanized” animals.

In heavily populated areas it’s difficult for raccoons to find all of the foods they would normally eat.

They scavenge for food in the backyards of their human neighbors. It’s easy for them and they can’t pass up that smell!

They have acidic stomachs and few get sick from eating the decomposing matter in your trash. They tend to be resistant to bacteria and toxins found in the trash.

But it’s still a good idea to keep them from eating your trash. You don’t want them to think it’s OK to visit your home especially if you have pets or children.

let’s look at the options you have for keeping these clever creatures out of YOUR garbage…

How To Racoon Proof Your Garbage Cans

If you already have a metal or plastic trash can like a standard city garbage can (96 gallons) then all you need is a simple bin strap to lock the trash lid down. You must keep the lid tight so there’s no way an animal can get into the lid, even from the corners of the lid. And if a raccoon or other animal knocks over the trash can, the strap should keep the lid closed even if the garbage can is fully loaded.

Pros and Cons of Bungee Cords or Bin Straps For Trash Can Lids


  • Bungee cords and bin straps are cheap to get and easy to install.
  • If installed correctly and you get a bin strap specifically made for your trash can this should be an effective way to keep animals like raccoons out of your trash.


  • Bungee cords can break if the trash can is knocked over.
  • They are prone to sun exposure causing weakness.
  • They can “spring” off if incorrectly mounting or cause injury when installing if not careful.
  • Some raccoons may be too smart and figure out how to remove the straps.

Garbage can raccoon proofing using steel pins

I’ve seen other DIY approaches and kits like Joe’s which require you to buy some parts and have a drill in hand. You simply drill holes in the side of the trash can and place one pin on each side. But as some of you may know, raccoons are sneaky and smart. Chances are, the raccoon will eventually figure out how to remove the pins! You can see the video for yourself below:

Best Garbage Bin Straps To Racoon Proof Your Trash Can

I’ve found two bin straps that are most effective at keeping raccoons out of your trash can. They can work on different size trash cans and should work with plastic or metal trash cans.

Bin Strap Garbage Lock Trash Can Lid Strap Garbage Can Security System One Piece – No More Mess By YYST

This is a universal adjustable strap that uses a quick release buckle made from nylon. It’s also UV resistant which means the sun won’t break it apart over time. It’s effective for raccoons, cats or small dogs. Chances are it won’t stop a bear!

Doggy Dare Trash CAN Lock fits 33 Gallon Trash cans

This is a second option that works well. Yes, it’s made for dogs but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for raccoons and other small animals too.

It has a similar design to the YYST bin strap and is constructed from 10 feet of durable shock cord. It’s not UV protected but it’s a very thick and durable material so sun exposure shouldn’t be a problem for a long time. They have kits for 45 gallon trash cans and 33 gallon trash cans.

Racoon Proof Metal Garbage Cans

If you have a metal trash can, you may be able to use one of the trash can lid straps I just shared with you above. But I have some alternative ideas for you.

  1. Weigh down your lid – this isn’t the fanciest or most secure option but it’s an easy solution. Simply place a heavy rock or cinder block on top of the trash can lid. Just make sure that however needs access to the trash can easily lift them. Again, this isn’t ideal and can be a bit dangerous. But it’s literally free and easy to do if you have some heavy rock laying around.
  2. If you are a DIY person, you could add a padlock to the trash can lid if you don’t already have one with a padlock. Then you can use a lock to secure it.
  3. Consider using raccoon-proof garbage bags. Or at the very least place your garbage in strong and thick plastic trash bags so even if a raccoon does get into your trash there’s one more barrier to entry. MINTX makes a rodent repellent trash bag.
  4. Not my favorite choice but you can also spray rodent sheriff pest control spray around the trash can.

Natural and Safe Racoon and Animal Repellent Alternatives

I am a big fan of natural and safe alternatives because I know my dogs will eventually get into whatever I spray in the yard. In addition to animal-proofing your trash cans you may want to consider my new favorite way to deter pests like raccoons and squirrels (I have a garden that squirrels love getting into) – motion-activated sprinklers!

What I recommend trying is the humane “don’t hurt ’em just squirt em” Orbit Yard Enforcer. It’s a motion-activated sprinkler that works in the day or night to repel animals out of your yard or garden. I haven’t met a raccoon that loves water yet. This just squirts harmless water rapidly as soon as it detects the raccoon within 70 feet.

Build A Wooden Garbage Can Holder

If you are handy with tools and building things, you may want to consider building some type of wooden garbage can storage container or holder. Check out the video below for some ideas.

In Conclusion

Raccoons are smart critters. These clever animals have been known to pry the lids off sealed garbage cans across the country. They frequent camp sites and raid coolers at night. If you have pets you probably don’t want them making friends with raccoons.

To keep pest animals like raccoons from wreaking havoc in your yard and your garbage, the best thing you can do is get the right trash can lock which we’ve listed in this article. To be even more pro-active, new motion-sensing technology is available to harmlessly deter pest animals away from your whole property. I suggest a combination of both especially if you have pets, children or a garden. I hope this helps you make a decision in choosing the best raccoon proof solutions for your outdoor adventures.

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