Outdoor PestsWildlife

What to Spray on Garbage Bags to Deter Animals

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Garbage bags can often become a magnet for unwanted creatures. From raccoons to rats, opossums to skunks, and squirrels to birds, these animals are attracted to the smell of food in our garbage bags and bins. However, there are a number of sprays available that can effectively deter these creatures and keep your garbage safe. This article will explore the different types of sprays, how to use them effectively, their safety around children and pets, and their potential drawbacks.


To deter animals from your garbage bags, you can spray a variety of substances that animals find unappealing. These include ammonia, vinegar, pepper spray, citrus spray, and eucalyptus oil. Simply mix these substances with water in a spray bottle and spray it on your garbage bags. Remember to reapply each time you change the garbage bag and to always use these sprays responsibly, considering their potential impact on your health and the environment.

Types of Sprays


Ammonia is a potent substance that most animals dislike due to its strong smell. Mix ammonia with water in a spray bottle and spray it on your garbage bags. Remember to wear gloves and protective eyewear when handling ammonia.


Vinegar is a common household item that can also deter animals. Simply mix vinegar with water in a spray bottle and spray it on your garbage bags. Its strong odor is disliked by animals and can keep them away.

Pepper Spray

Pepper spray contains capsaicin, the same chemical that makes peppers spicy. Animals do not like the smell of pepper spray, making it an effective deterrent. Be cautious when handling pepper spray and always wear gloves and protective eyewear.

Citrus Spray

The strong smell of citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruits can deter animals. Squeeze the juice of these fruits into a spray bottle and spray it on your garbage bags.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil is a great natural deterrent for animals. The strong scent of eucalyptus can keep animals away from your garbage bags. Mix a few drops of eucalyptus oil with water in a spray bottle and spray it on your garbage bags.

How Often Should You Apply These Sprays?

To effectively use these sprays, you should apply them every time you change the garbage bag. If you notice that animals are still getting into your garbage despite using these sprays, you may need to spray your garbage bags more frequently.

Are These Sprays Safe Around Children and Pets?

While these sprays can be effective at repelling animals, it’s important to consider their safety around children and pets. Always choose products that are labeled as safe for use around children and pets. Follow the label instructions carefully, and avoid using broad-spraying pesticides. Remove children and pets from the area before applying pesticides, and keep them away from treated areas until the pesticide is completely dry and the area has been well ventilated.

Potential Drawbacks

While sprays can be an effective solution, they do have potential drawbacks. Prolonged use of pesticides can lead to the development of resistance in pests, making them less effective over time. Some sprays can also contribute to poor indoor air quality, and exposure to high levels of some pesticides can cause health issues. Always use sprays responsibly and consider eco-friendly alternatives when possible.


In conclusion, there are a number of sprays available that can effectively deter animals from getting into your garbage bags. From natural options like vinegar and citrus juice to more potent substances like ammonia and pepper spray, these solutions can keep your garbage safe and your home free from unwanted critters. Always remember to use these products responsibly and consider their potential impact on your health and the environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use these sprays on my garbage bin as well?

Yes, you certainly can. These sprays are not only effective on garbage bags but can also be used on the bins themselves. Just make sure to apply the spray on the inside and the outside of the bin for maximum effectiveness.

Where can I buy these sprays?

Most of these sprays can be made at home using common household items. For instance, vinegar, ammonia, and citrus fruits are readily available in most grocery stores. Pepper spray can be purchased from most department stores, and eucalyptus oil can be found in health food stores or online.

Will these sprays harm the animals in any way?

No, these sprays are meant to deter animals, not harm them. The strong smells are unpleasant to animals, causing them to avoid the sprayed areas. However, these sprays do not cause any physical harm to the animals.

Can I mix these sprays to make them more effective?

While it’s possible to mix these sprays, it’s not recommended without proper knowledge. Some substances, like ammonia and vinegar, can react with each other and produce harmful gases. It’s best to use these sprays separately to avoid any potential risks.

How long do the effects of these sprays last?

The duration of the effects can vary depending on the spray and the weather conditions. In general, these sprays should be reapplied every time you change the garbage bag. However, in wet weather conditions, you might need to reapply them more frequently.

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