How to Keep Critters Out of Your Trash Can

Ever walked out your front door only to be greeted by your knocked over trash can with garbage strewn all over the doorstep? It’s an unsightly mess that can attract even more rodents and unwanted pests. Which means you need to find a way to keep critters out of your trash so it doesn’t happen again.

It can be tempting to assume the first time will be the only time, but once pests find a food source, chances are they’ll be back. Dealing with that nuisance can be a pain. Here are some things you can do to keep those pesky critters out of your trash.

Top Tips on How to Keep Critters Out of Your Trash Can

Keep the Trash Can Securely Closed

You can try placing a heavy rock or cinder block on top of the garbage, but this will only be effective for smaller animals like raccoons, opossums, squirrels, rats or other small creatures. If you suspect you’re dealing with a bigger pest like a bear, then try tying a bungee cord over the garbage to keep the can secured in place. 

Rinse Bottles Before Throwing Them in the Trash

Rinse all bottles, packaging, and containers that have food residue on them before putting it in the waste basket. Even bottles that held lotions or shampoos should be rinsed since animals don’t always distinguish between food and other sweet smells.

Start Composting

Get a compost bin or start a compost pile.  Not only is it great for the environment, it will keep the number of edibles out of your garbage can.

Install Motion-Activated Lights

Motion activated lights can deter rodents by scaring them off. Since they don’t turn on until the animal is near, it may be enough to startle them and convince them there is danger nearby. This is also useful for any intruders that might be sneaking around your house too.

Physically Lock Your Trash Can

If your municipality doesn’t provide a specific type of trash can, purchase a metal or industrial can with a locking mechanism on it. That way, you can chain it up and not have to worry about how you’ll keep critters out of your waste. With a proper lock secured over the lid, animals won’t be able to get in!

Keep Your Trash Can Upright

Secure your trash can to keep it upright. If pests or rodents can’t knock it over, they’ll have a harder time accessing the food, lose interest, and leave. This method works best for smaller pests who have to knock it down before they can go through your garbage.

Place Your Trash Can Inside

Consider moving your trash can to an indoor location like your garage or carport. If possible, keep your garbage indoors until it’s closer to garbage day so it reduces the chance of smells attracting critters. Make sure all bags you place in the can are securely tied.


Following these tips on how to keep critters out of your trash will help, but it also means you’ll be handling your trash can a lot more. To help reduce germs & other odors that may attract pests, sign up for Clean Cans!   We  make taking out the trash can a clean and more pleasant experience!

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