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Do Mothballs Keep Raccoons Away? (Explained)

We can all agree that raccoons are not fun to have around, especially if you have toddlers or small animals as pets. But catching them is also no easy feat. So, what if good ‘ole mothballs could protect the house and yard like they protect our clothes? Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Keeping raccoons away with mothballs

Mothballs can keep raccoons away to some extent as raccoons seem to strongly dislike the smell that is emitted from mothballs due to the presence of naphthalene in it but this is by no means a permanent solution. In time, the smell will fail to bother the raccoons as much.

It is also not possible to leave mothballs on every square inch of the property. So, the first time the mothballs will surely shock the raccoons and might cause them to scramp but they will soon begin to identify the spots the mothballs are in and they will start to avoid those areas and just find new routes and new places to hide in.

And we must remember that they are not small animals which means mothballs won’t be as toxic to them either like it might be for cockroaches and other insects.

Are mothballs really effective to raccoons?

Mothballs are not the most effective solution to the raccoon problem, it would be great if it were though because they are much cheaper and less work than snares and traps but unfortunately they don’t work well enough to completely keep raccoons off the property.

The smell from the mothballs is their strongest suit because the smell they give off irritates raccoons and they seem to find the smell appalling enough to stay away but this mild irritation isn’t enough of a barrier to stop them from regularly visiting your property or the main house.

The mothballs will successfully deter them for the first few days though if they are unfamiliar with it but soon they will know how to locate them and there is no guarantee that they won’t just push the mothballs off their path either.

So, as you can see mothballs sound like a great idea to keep raccoons away in theory but they are not all that effective in actuality.

2 reasons why mothballs keep raccoons away

We have already discussed above how mothballs aren’t the best raccoon deterrents but that does not mean they are completely useless in keeping those pests away that can make our life harder than it needs to be.

If you are in a pinch and can’t afford or don’t know how to use snares and traps, you can use mothball to give them away from your property and here is why:


The main reason mothballs are able to keep off raccoons even temporarily is due to their smell. The smell of naphthalene that comes off from then can be quite strong and potent.

So, when raccoons try to sneak into the property they are hit by this scent that they dislike and also mildly irritates them and if they have never come across a place with mothballs, it will likely confuse them which will instill within them the fear of the unknown.

But we say this works temporarily because it might scare them for a few days but in time they will come to realize mothballs do not hold the power to harm them and they can easily be kicked out of their path.

Mothballs means peoples presence:

Now, as we have already mentioned mothballs aren’t the best way to keep raccoons away.

However, a lot of raccoons will leave places with mothballs alone because the presence of mothballs indicates there are people nearby and it also means there is a great chance that more traps may have been laid out around the property.

This can scare them away and promote them to avoid these places.

What mothballs keep away raccoons?

It is best to get mothballs formulated using paradichlorobenzene as opposed to those with naphthalene because the paradichlorobenzene mothballs are not as flammable as the ones made using naphthalene.

It is important to choose the right mothballs because you will most likely spread them throughout the house and property surrounding the house. These are places where a fire can start more easily than in a drawer or a closet where mothballs are usually placed.

Therefore, it is crucial to be extra careful with where you place them because even a small fire in the house or yard can not only destroy your property but it can endanger the lives of people living in the house who might be unaware of the fire before it spreads because it will most likely start out as a small flame.

How to get rid of raccoons for good?

Raccoons will most likely enter your property and will try to sneak their way into your attic, live on your roof or just keep coming to your yard at night.

Now, none of this will be ideal for you especially if you live with your pets or toddlers because the raccoons might try to hurt them if they feel threatened in any way.

We have listed below some steps you can take towards making your house and property a raccoon free living zone.

Remove food source:

You should start by removing all food sources from the attic and from around your property.

Food works as a bait to lure the raccoons into your space and eliminating this will remove the reason for them to keep coming back to your living space. Also, remove any clean water sources they might be drinking from.

Identify hiding area:

Before you take any more steps, you need to first locate and capture the raccoons living under your roof without paying rent. The last thing you need is a raccoon trapped and hiding in the house.

You should set traps for this to work and after you catch them, contact your local fish and wildlife department. They will be able to help you relocate them.

Seal openeings:

The next step will be slightly tougher, you will need to find all the openings the raccoons are using to get into the house, especially the attic as that is where they are most likely to stay in.

And you will need to seal and shut off the pathways that they might have previously used to enter the attic.

Remove hiding places:

You should try to get rid of hiding places for them by trimming bushes and removing clutter from the yard and also trim any trees that directly land or create a path to the roof.

This will ensure that they will not be able to hide easily in the yard and will also face difficulties climbing to the roof or attic without you noticing.

Install motion sensor:

This final step can be quite expensive but it is one of the best methods to keep raccoons away from your yard. You can install motion activated sound or light deterrents.

This will help to not only keep raccoons off your property but other animals and even thieves that may try to sneak into your place.

These have sensors that can pick up on movement and immediately emit loud sounds or bright light that scare the raccoons enough to keep them off the property permanently.

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What scent will keep raccoons away?

Raccoons have a keen sense of smells and a lot of scents seem to bother them. These scents are a cheap and effective way to keep them off the property. Some of those smells are:


The smell from cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon powder can keep raccoons away.

Black pepper and cayenne pepper:

These spices come with a smell that raccoons can not tolerate. A lot of people boil cayenne pepper and onions together and spray the liquid mixture around the property to keep the pests away.


Ammonia as we know is a very strong smelling chemical and it can keep raccoons away. Rags are often soaked in ammonia and left around the property to deter raccoons.

Final Thoughts

Mothballs can keep raccoons away but this is not the most fool-proof way to get rid of them. This solution can be used to temporarily keep raccoons away while other more effective measures are being taken to deter them and stop them from trying to make a home for themselves within your house.