Outdoor PestsRodents

What Deters Squirrels From Gutters

Squirrels From Gutters

Squirrels are a familiar sight in our neighborhood, and we weren’t concerned about them until recently. A squirrel had got trapped inside the downspout of the house next door, leading to its unfortunate demise.

Our neighbors only came to know about it when the carcass started spreading a foul smell around the entire neighborhood.

Removing the dead animal was no easy task, as a pest exterminator had to be called in for help. Our neighbors also had to bear further costs associated with repairing the downspout.

Witnessing the trouble our neighbors went through encouraged us to look into squirrels making merry in our gutters more seriously.

We soon came across various methods to easily deter them from gutters, and we employed many of them, resulting in these cute furry guests staying away from our house.


There are many ways to repel squirrels from gutters effectively, including removing trees and branches that provide easy access to the roof, properly covering gutters and downspouts, using squirrel deterring scents, and manual removal.

Let’s find out the trouble squirrels in gutters can cause, what attracts them to gutters, and the best ways to repel them from gutters and houses.

Common Problems Caused by Squirrels

Although cute to look at, squirrels residing in gutters can go on to cause all kinds of problems for homeowners.

They are busy workers who use excellent agility, strong paws, and razor-sharp teeth in their everyday adventures, resulting in all types of property damage and unsavory outcomes.

Problem #1: Drainage Problems

Street Water Drain Sewer

The most common problem caused by squirrels taking shelter in gutters is blocking drainage. Squirrels move into the gutters with a lot of stuff, hoping to keep themselves and their babies warm and safe.

These include all kinds of matter, such as moss, leaves, vines, and twigs.

Squirrel nests are also more robust than they look, with a solid structure of twigs and other materials keeping things steadily in place.

As a result, a squirrel nest in a gutter or downspout can disrupt drainage, leaving rainwater nowhere to go and resulting in water spilling over the siding of gutters or roofs.

Such spillage over time can cause expensive damage to gutter systems, roofs, and walls.

Problem #2: Damages Due to Chewing

Baby Red Squirrel Damaging Eating

The teeth of squirrels grow throughout their lifetime, requiring them to frequently chew on hard objects to keep the length of the teeth in check.

This behavior can cause all kinds of damage to houses and artificial structures.

Problem #3: Dealing With Squirrel Carcasses

Dead Squirrel On Road

Squirrels can sometimes get stuck in gutters and downspouts and eventually die. A stuck squirrel usually tries to chew or dig its way out, damaging the gutter.

Most homeowners, just like our neighbors, discover squirrels stuck in gutters when it’s too late and the carcass starts smelling.

Removing a decomposing squirrel carcass is a complex and messy job that sometimes requires professional help from a pest control technician or a wildlife expert.

Problem #4: Moving Into Other Parts of the House

Squirrel Sitting On Windowsill Looking

Squirrels residing in gutters are already familiar and comfortable with humans. As a result, there is a good chance of them moving indoors, including areas in houses such as wall cavities, foundations, attics, storage rooms, and garages.

Damages are usually much more expensive when they move into the house, and removal can also be trickier, incurring additional costs.

What Attracts Squirrels to Gutters

Squirrels wander into gutters for various reasons and take shelter in them. Poorly maintained gutters offer abundant nesting materials for squirrels, including moss, leaves, and twigs.

Squirrels who search for such material might save the trouble of running around by nesting in the gutters or downspouts.

Enclosed areas of gutters such as ducts and downspouts provide safety from most predators squirrels flee from. As a result, squirrels might nest in gutters or get stuck in them while escaping predators.

Squirrels usually choose nesting spots close to food sources. Therefore, feeding squirrels and leaving food outside, including bird feeders, can often attract them into gutters.

Ways To Deter Squirrels From Gutters

There are many ways to stop squirrel activity in gutters effectively. I mainly focused on maintaining clean gutters, using various scents to drive them away, and making it difficult for them to access the gutters.

However, I have also listed some methods for more severe squirrel occupation in gutters.

1. Remove Easy Access to Gutters

Gray Plastic Gutter System

Branches spreading over gutters and the roof offer easy access for squirrels searching for shelter. Therefore, trimming branches and removing trees to maintain a 15-foot perimeter around the house can make it difficult for squirrels to access the gutters.

2. Clean the Gutters

Spring Rain Gutters Cleaning

Maintaining clean and clear gutters offer many benefits, including keeping squirrels away. Start by carefully removing leaves, twigs, and debris from the gutters.

Then, use a hose to spray water down the gutters and flush out the remaining waste. Make it a point to clean the gutters at least twice yearly, with a few extra inspections in the fall and rainy seasons.

3. Install Gutter Toppers

Plastic Guard Over New Dark

Gutter toppers made from wire prevent the accumulation of leaves, twigs, and other debris that attract squirrels to gutters. They also stop squirrels and many other pests from entering gutters.

4. Cover Downspouts

Rain Flowing Into Storm Water

Remember that squirrels are intelligent operators. They can still access gutters through the downspouts if they want to. Therefore, it’s vital to cover downspout openings using mesh.

Ensure that the mesh is adequately secured without any gaps since squirrels will widen the slightest gaps and squeeze through them.

5. Squirrel-Repelling Scents

Agaricus Bisporus Rosemary Sprigs Garlic

Squirrels are gifted with highly sensitive noses, giving them a strong sense of smell.

Due to the sensitive nature of their noses, they tend to stay away from certain penetrating scents, a quality I used to my advantage when deterring squirrels away from our gutters.

Spices Containing Capsaicin

Capsaicin is an irritant found in various spiaces. Squirrels prefer to avoid this scent, making it one of the best ways to deter squirrels from residential areas.

Sprinkle some cayenne powder or black pepper or mix them with water and spray the mixture in the gutters and entrances to the downspouts to keep squirrels away.

White Vinegar

Squirrels do not enjoy the smell of vinegar. Therefore, spraying vinegar in the gutters was a simple method I used to repel squirrels. It’s a common household item and easy to use.

I sometimes mix essential oils with vinegar to create a more powerful DIY squirrel-repellant.


Be careful when spraying vinegar in the garden since its acidity can damage certain plants.

Essential Oils

The scent of some essential oils, such as Peppermint and Rosemary, can repel squirrels. Squirrels hate peppermint’s smell, making it one of the best essential oils to deter them.

When it comes to rosemary oil, creating a strong scent is crucial since a mild aroma won’t do the job.

I mixed peppermint oil with vinegar before spraying it around the gutters and downspouts.

Another way to use essential oils to repel squirrels is to place cotton balls soaked in oil around the gutters, especially near downspout openings.

Dryer Sheets

The smell of dryer sheets is another excellent way to deter squirrels from gutters. Take a handful of dryer sheets and place them around areas with heavy squirrel traffic.

Spraying dryer sheets with peppermint oil before strategically placing them around the gutters enhanced the effects of this method.

Additionally, dryer sheets can repel many other pests, including insects and rodents.

Predator Urine

Animals such as minks, bobcats, weasels, badgers, bobcats, foxes, and coyotes are known predators of squirrels. As a result, squirrels opt to stay away from areas that carry the scent of these animals.

As a result, soaking rags with predator urine and placing them in gutters and downspouts can deter squirrels. In addition, predator urine of foxes and coyotes is available online at farm or gardening shops.


While a delicious spice to taste, coming to direct contact with cinnamon can irritate the human skin. Therefore, squirrels avoid cinnamon to protect their sensitive noses from similar irritation.

I found sprinkling ground cinnamon highly effective in deterring squirrels from the gutters.


The pungent smell of garlic scares squirrels away. Crush a few garlic cloves and place them in the areas squirrels access the gutters. It should keep them away for a few days.

It’s also a good idea to add crushed garlic to spray mixes containing vinegar and essential oils.

Coffee Grounds

Don’t toss coffee grounds in the garden or compost when having trouble with squirrels. They do not find the feel or smell of used coffee grounds amusing.

Place Moth Balls

The smell of mothballs can repel squirrels. Therefore, placing mothballs in gutters can keep squirrels away.


Mothballs are poisonous. Therefore, handle them carefully and keep them away from the reach of children and pets at all times.

6. Remove Food Sources

Cutting Nut Trees

Squirrels roam in areas where they can find food, especially their favorite foods such as nuts and birdfeed. Therefore, removing food sources in residential areas can discourage squirrels from nesting in gutters.

7. Provide Alternative Shelter

Colourful Pretty Flower Shrub

Squirrels move into gutters since they offer good shelter. Providing more desirable hiding and nesting places can discourage them from invading gutters and other human structures.

Planting shrubbery is, therefore, a great option since they don’t grow high enough to provide easy access to roofs while providing safe refuge for squirrels.

8. Use Squirrel Traps

Gray Squirrel Cage

Serious squirrel takeovers of gutters and houses raise the need to remove them manually. Most hardware stores sell squirrel gutter traps, which can be easily used with peanut butter as bait.

Place traps in areas frequented by squirrels. Once a squirrel is trapped, call animal control or release them to a suitable habitat away from human settlements.


Handle live squirrels with extreme caution since they cause injuries with their sharp teeth and transmit various diseases.

Therefore, seeking professional help to remove live squirrels is highly advisable.

Get Professional Help

Large squirrel infestations, especially if they move indoors, require professional help. Most pest exterminators provide squirrel removal services and various solutions to deter them from gutters, homes, and residential areas.

Consult a siding specialist or carpenter to carefully inspect the gutters or other structures frequented by squirrels upon deterring or removing them successfully. Doing so helps eliminate further damage or repeat infestations.


Our neighbors’ unfortunate incident opened our eyes to the downside of squirrels roaming and taking shelter in our gutters.

We found many straightforward methods we later employed to drive them away from our house, especially the gutters, and put our squirrel concerns to rest.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Stop Squirrels From Chewing on Gutters?

Various methods can deter squirrels from gutters, including making gutters inaccessible to squirrels, using penetrating scents that repel squirrels, such as peppermint oil, vinegar, spices, predator urine, and mothballs, and manual removal with the help of a professional pest exterminator or wildlife specialist.

What Will Keep Squirrels Away?

Strong scents of black pepper, cayenne pepper, vinegar, peppermint oil, rosemary oil, dryer sheets, and mothballs can keep squirrels away.

Therefore, spraying mixtures containing such substances or placing or sprinkling them in areas frequented by squirrels can repel them.

How Do I Keep Squirrels off My Patio?

Spray a concoction consisting of water and black or cayenne pepper, vinegar, peppermint oil, or rosemary oil around the patio’s perimeter to keep squirrels away.

Sprinkling or placing dryer paper, mothballs, crushed garlic, coffee grounds, and predator urine can also deter squirrels from patios.

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