What Smells Do Squirrels Hate [14 Smells]

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Squirrels are cute but destructive, especially when searching for food, and will turn an entire place upside down. It will build the nest nearby and will be a regular visitor. To stop the squirrels, you must come up with a solution. The scent always works in getting rid of pests, so what smells do squirrels hate?

Squirrels have excellent olfactory receptors and can smell things from far, even under multiple layers of snow. Squirrels hate sharp smells such as coffee, peppermint oil, cinnamon, dryer sheets, garlic, mint, mothballs, pepper, rosemary, vinegar, onion, predator urine, cayenne, and soap.

Read the article to learn about the sharp-smelling products to deter squirrels from your house and the yard.

Smells That Keep Squirrels Away

Squirrels rely on their smell sense for food search. They have sensitive olfactory receptors and can detect scents from far. They are also famous for sharp hearing, extraordinary eyesight, and an excellent memory.

Squirrels communicate in their community through sound, while they detect the presence of an animal through the scent and will remember the smell for a long time. Surprisingly a squirrel identifies food items and their family members through their induvial scents.

To get rid of the squirrel, you can use their sharp smell sense in your favor and place pungent-smelling things around your house. Below are a few things you can use to stop regular squirrel visits.

1- Mint


Squirrels hate the smell of mint, so all types of mint deter squirrels, particularly peppermint and spearmint. You can remove squirrels from your house or yard by planting mint or employing peppermint essential oil. Squirrels despise mint as it contains the highest level of methanol and avoids going near it because it hurts their delicate nostrils.

Therefore, grow peppermint and spearmint plants around your house and on the lawn. Squirrels hate the mint smell, but we all love it. Plus, you will always have fresh mint for pasta, ice tea, and mojitos.

2- Use Peppermint Oil


Squirrels hate the smell of peppermint oil, If squirrels are nibbling on your plant, gently spray water and then pour a few drops of peppermint oil on them. You can also make a spray by mixing one cup of water and adding three drops of peppermint oil. Then spray this solution on plants and other surfaces as well.

Alternatively, soak a few cotton balls or small pieces of a clot in peppermint oil. Place these soaked cotton balls in a container on the lawn or near flower beds. You can also place these cotton balls near the squirrel entry points.

3- Coffee


Squirrels hate the smell of coffee, but humans love coffee. Squirrels enjoy rummaging through your garden. But they will run away when there is a scent of coffee. Not only the smell, but squirrels also hate the feeling of the coffee beans under their paws.

There is no scientific reason squirrels hate coffee. The only reason that can explain squirrels’ hate towards coffee is the scent of humans and squirrels do not like humans.

Coffee grounds are a natural fertilizer and great for the garden as it contains nutrients that are excellent for the soil. Coffee will nourish the plants and keep the squirrels far away.

You must watch plant health when using coffee, as it is highly acidic. Therefore, avoid using it in access.

Sprinkle coffee grinds on the grass and the plants that squirrels are nibbling. To reduce the acidity in the plant, mix coffee grounds with the soil. To avoid damage, place a few cotton balls soaked in coffee near the plants.

4- Garlic


Squirrels hate garlic smell and flavor due to its sharp smell. They will wrinkle their nose and will run away. However, garlic is not as effective as peppermint oil and predator urine. But it works fine for a limited time. The tips below will guide you effectively in using garlic to get rid of squirrels.

Garlic Spray

Use garlic spray to deter squirrels. You can purchase garlic spray from the stores or make one in your home using a few basic things. However, garlic spray does not last long, and you will have to spray it after every few hours or a day.

Make a mixture of chopped garlic, salt, and sugar. Let it sit for a few hours, then blend it with water. Spray this solution on plants, fences, garbage bins, and around your garage.

Garlic Solution With Vinegar

You can also make a garlic solution with pepper and vinegar. However, do not spray the vinegar mixture on plants because it will burn them. If squirrels are eating plants, rub some crushed garlic or garlic oil over plant roots and stems.

5- Mothballs


Squirrels hate the smell of mothballs, so mothballs are effective in getting rid of many pests, including squirrels and rats. It consists of naphthalene and is flammable; it has a distinctive smell, similar to that of a forest fire.

Squirrels will stay far away from the area with mothballs or naphthalene scent. The best way to use mothballs to remove squirrels is to place them in plants, flowerbeds, bushes, vegetable patches, lawns, near fences, garages, and attics.

However, mothballs are poisonous as it contains highly toxic chemicals which can kill humans and animals and are dangerous to wildlife. Placing mothballs around the house is risky when you have pets and children. Utilizing mothballs to remove squirrels is not humane, and it is illegal in many states.

6- Dryer Sheets

Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets are for removing the scent from the laundry. Surprisingly, this is not the only function of dryer sheets. The dryer sheets deter annoying small animals like squirrels, rats, and insects.

Squirrels hate the smell of dryer sheets. They are composed of Just like garlic, dryer sheets are not long-lasting and lose their scent within a few hours after placing them outside. Therefore, dryer sheets are not reliable for the long-lasting removal of squirrels.

The key to using the dryer sheets in getting rid of the squirrel is placing them in the right spot. Instead of using one or two, it is better to use a stack, pile them in each corner of the potted plants, and place them across the yard.

You can also hang a few on the trees, fence, birdfeeders, roof, attics, outdoor lights, and mailboxes. For added effect, sprinkle some peppermint oil or cinnamon. You can also pile the dryer sheets near their nest.

7- Cinnamon


Squirrels hate the smell of cinnamon, so cinnamon can be used to repel squirrels, especially the scent of cinnamon oil and ground cinnamon. Have you ever taken a spice jar near your nose? You must know it irritates and cause runny nose chances are you will be sneezing for the next few seconds.

Similarly, ground cinnamon irritates the sinus cavities of squirrels.

Ground Cinnamon

Squirrels have delicate nasal passage linings. Inhaling the cinnamon in high amounts will aggravate their nostrils. Sprinkle cinnamon around the potted plants, trees, vegetable patches, soil, and fence. To prevent squirrels from damaging your yard.

For better results, use a lot of cinnamon and sprinkle it again after every few days because cinnamon can be blown away by wind or can mix with rainwater. You can also make a cinnamon solution with one cup of water and a few tablespoons of cinnamon, and spray it on the tree trunks, branches, stems of plants, and grass.

Cinnamon Oil

Cinnamon oil is equally effective in getting rid of a squirrel. Mix the cinnamon oil with peppermint oil or cayenne pepper and add a cup of warm water.

Soak a few cotton balls in the solution and place them in the squirrels’ favorite areas. This cinnamon pepper solution is more effective than ground cinnamon.



Squirrels hate the smell of pepper, every type of pepper deters squirrels, including; black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, jalapeno pepper, chili pepper, and paprika.

Squirrels and many other animals have low tolerance toward the chemicals in pepper. Squirrels have a sharp sense of smell and thin nostrils that can get easily irritated by the peppers.

Sprinkle Pepper

If squirrels are eating the plants in your yard and destroying the plants from the roots, sprinkle some peppers.

  • Moisturize the plant by spraying water.
  • Then pouring the pepper on it will prevent the pepper from blowing away by the wind.
  • Pour black, cayenne, or chili powder on the soil, grass, and bottom leaves of the plants, flower bushes, and vegetable beds to stop squirrels from searching for bulbs and seeds.

However, you will have to pour the pepper again when it rains because rain will wash away the powder.

To stop squirrels from nibbling on bird feed, pour some cayenne pepper powder into the bird feeder. Pepper does not affect birds as they cannot taste it.

Prepare Homemade pepper spray.

Use homemade pepper spray to prevent squirrels’ access inside the house. Warm four cups of water, then add half a cup of any crushed pepper flakes, preferably jalapeno flakes.

Let the mixture sit for thirty minutes to forty-five minutes. Strain the solution and pour it into a spray bottle. Do the patch test before spraying it everywhere around the house. You can also add two different types of pepper to this solution.

Tabasco Spray

You can prepare your own pepper spray by mixing five cups of warm water with one cup of Tabasco sauce.

  • Blend the ingredients to combine them into the solution.
  • Then pour it into a spray bottle.
  • Spray this solution wherever you need it, whether in the attic, fence, or lawn.

But be extra careful when spraying on plants. Do not spray this solution on the plants on a bright sunny day as it will burn the leaves.

Mixture Of Cayenne Pepper And Petroleum Jelly

Commercial petroleum jelly already has chemical scents. Combining it with cayenne pepper will be very effective in deterring squires. Take a large tub of petroleum jelly and add sufficient cayenne powder.

However, be careful while mixing them and must wear rubber hand gloves. Apply this mixture of cayenne pepper and petroleum jelly to the stems of potted plants, fences, mailboxes, and poles.

Jalapeno Pepper- Vinegar Spray

To get rid of the squirrels, you can also use jalapeno pepper.

  • Fill four cups of water in a spray bottle, and add half a cup of white vinegar and five tablespoons of crushed jalapeno pepper.
  • Shake the spray bottle a few times, and then spray this solution all across your lawn.
  • Add one egg if you are going to spray it on the tree.

Egg causes stickiness, and the mixture will stick on the tree bark for a few days.



Squirrels hate the smell of the strong scent of rosemary. But it will not mind a faint rosemary scent. Therefore, rosemary is not very effective in repelling squirrels.

As soon as the rosemary scent starts fading, squirrels will come back. You can prepare a strong-smelling rosemary solution to get rid of the squirrels.

  • Boil half a cup of water and let it cool down.
  • Then pour the water into a spray bottle, and add four ml of pure rosemary essential oil.
  • Shake well to combine. Spray the solution in the attic, roofs, windows, mailboxes, fence, bird feeder, plant pots, flower beds, vegetable patches, garage, near your kitchen, and trash cans.
  • Another method of making the rosemary solution is to boil one cup of dried rosemary in one cup of water.
  • The ratio of rosemary and water is 1:1. Strain the solution after it is cooled. Then spray it where required.

10- Vinegar


Squirrels hate the smell of vinegar and will avoid going near it because of the pungent smell. They are repulsive to both types of vinegar; white and apple cider. Vinegar is cheap and easily accessible. Therefore, it is famous for deterring squirrels and rodents.

Ammonia-soaked Towels Or Rags.

  • Soak towels, old pieces of clothes, or rags in vinegar.
  • Place this ammonia-soaked cloth in the attic, roofs, and near dustbins.
  • To stop a squirrel from climbing or making a nest, hang ammonia-soaked rags on them.

When the odor starts wearing off, spray it with vinegar again. It is better to use apple cider vinegar for this technique, as apple cider vinegar has a more sharp and pungent smell than white vinegar.

Plus, you can place these ammonia-soaked rags near the squirrel nest and their entry points.

Spray Apple Cider Vinegar

Directly spray apple cider vinegar on the floorings, poles, mailboxes, fence, lawn furniture, deck, garage, shelves, BBQ grills, plant pots, and walls. Never spray pure apple cider vinegar on plants directly, as it will burn plants.

Make Vinegar Solution

  • To make a white or apple cider vinegar solution to spray on plants, take three liters of water and add half a cup of vinegar.
  • Pour this solution into a spray bottle and shake well.
  • Spray it in tiny portions on plants and let it sit for six or more hours, preferably overnight.

If there are no wilting or distress signs on the plant, you can continue spraying it.

However, never use this solution on plants placed directly under the sun. No matter how diluted it is, the sun and the vinegar will burn the plant. It is better to use it on cloudy days.

11- Irish Soap


Squirrels hate the smell of Irish soap. The quick and effective method to remove squirrels is Irish bar soap. Squirrels hate the smell of this soap and will never run away. To protect your lawn or the garden plants, grate a bar of Irish soap or chop the soap bar into small half-inch pieces.

  • Take a mesh pouch with drawstrings and pour half a bar of grated or chopped soap pieces into it.
  • Pull the strings of the mesh pouch, and tie the knot to secure it close.
  • Then place this pouch near potted plants, on the floor, on lawn furniture, and hang it on trees, flower beds, and vegetable patches.
  • Additionally, place a few Irish soap pouches behind the garbage cans.

You can place grated pieces of Irish soap bars in attics and bird feeders. If you don’t have a mesh pouch or bag, take an old pantyhose and cut them into square pieces.

Add pieces of soap bar and tie them. One Irish soap bar or a pouch will repel the squirrels within a ten-meter radius.

12- Onion


Squirrels hate the smell and taste of onion. This root vegetable has pungent scents that keep many pests away. Squirrels can smell things from far, even above many layers of snow.

Planting onions in the yard will protect vegetable patches and flowers safe from squirrels’ destruction.

Squirrels love munching the bulbs and seedlings of many plants. But when they smell the onion or garlic, it will run away.

You can also prepare an onion and pepper solution to deter squirrels.

  • Take two chopped onions, one teaspoon of cayenne powder, and one chopped jalapeno pepper.
  • Boil one cup of water and add all the ingredients to it.
  • Let it simmer for a few minutes, and then allow the mixture to sit for at least half an hour.
  • When the solution is cooled, strain it and pour it into the spray bottle.
  • Spray the onion pepper solution in the places of the squirrel’s regular visits.

13- Predator Urine

Many pests, including squirrels and rats, avoid going near the place with the smell of their predator’s urine. The common squirrel predators are foxes, domestic cats, wild cats, weasels, hawks, owls, coyotes, raccoons, dogs, and badgers. Squirrels have sensitive olfactory receptors and memory.

They remember their friends, family, and enemies through the scent. Squirrels are very skilled at identifying their family member through their specific odor. Therefore, it is not difficult for them to identify the presence of predators through smell.

The scent of the urine tells squirrels about the presence of its predator in an area, and they will never go near it. Fox urine is famous among many people for its immediate results in removing annoying creatures like squirrels and rodents.

Soak rags, old carpets, and towels in pure fox urine and place them on lawns, and garages to deter squirrels. Wear gloves before handling fox urine as it has a pungent smell that can linger on you. You can also place fox urine granules in attics to prevent squirrels from climbing in and building a nest.

House Pet

Squirrels have extraordinary smell sense. They can smell things from afar and identifies animals through their odor. Cats and dogs are natural squirrel predators. Having a furry friend around is fun and effective in removing squirrels.

Squirrels can recognize the smell of dogs and cats and will avoid coming near your house. If a dog sees a squirrel, it will go crazy and run after the squirrel until it is out of sight.

The scent of the dog itself is a threat to the squirrel. If there is a squirrel territory in your house, the squirrel will remove it after a few encounters with the dog or cat.

Cats are good climbers, so they can climb on a tree to create a mess in the squirrel’s nest or even injure or kill the pest. Thus, the presence of house pests frightens the squirrel, and they can smell them from afar.

14- Skunk Odor

Squirrels hate the skunk smell. Skunks have anal scent glands in their tail that secretes a pungent-smelling oily secretion. The odor coming from a skunk affects squirrels as they have sensitive nostrils. Therefore, they will avoid going near the skunk.

Wear gloves and soak the cotton balls in a skunk scent. Wearing gloves is important because the smell is foul, and even you will hate it. Place these soaked balls in your garden, near the plant pots, trees, bird feeders, and flower patches.

It is better not to use it inside the house because of the sharp smell. Replace the cotton balls after every few days.

What Will Scare A Squirrel?


Strong odors and predators scare the squirrel most. The most humane way of getting rid of the squirrel is using sharp-smelling things to scare them away.

Squirrels are destructive, hungry, and have sharp smell senses. In search of food, they can tear up the entire garden.

Squirrels enjoy eating nuts and bulbs and hunting for these food items will damage the roots of the small potted plant and the vegetable bushes. There are many ways to scare them, but sharp scents are enough to repel them.

Grow garlic, onion, lemon, and pepper in your vegetable patch. The smell of this vegetable will prevent squirrels from digging, and your plants will be safe.

Other popular scents to deter squirrels are mothballs made of naphthalene, dryer sheets, fox urine, Irish soap, and vinegar. Domestic cats and dogs will scare the squirrel in your yard, and it probably will never come back.

What Smells Deter Squirrels But Not Birds?

Squirrels love to munch on the bird feed making it rather complicated to get rid of them from the bird feeder. Strong odor and certain seeds like safflower seeds will deter the squirrels.

Squirrels hate strong odors like garlic, onion, vinegar, peppermint, lemongrass, cloves, cayenne powder, jalapeno pepper, black pepper, and rosemary. Grow these plants across your yard and place a bird feeder near them.

The scent of these plants will never annoy birds but will have an effect on the squirrel due to their sensitive nostrils. You can also add cayenne powder to bird feeders s birds cannot taste cayenne.

How To Get Squirrels Away From House

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Squirrels are playful but annoying and destructive. Remove squirrels from your house to protect your garden and the attic. Squirrels carry fleas, ticks, and lice which can transfer into your home and the pets.

Below are a few methods to get rid of squirrels.

  • Remove the trees near your house. If you cannot remove trees, cut all the branches leading to house windows and attics.
  • Cover all the cables with slim PVC pipes as PVC covers are smooth and slippery, making it impossible for squirrels to walk on them.
  • If you find a squirrel nesting in your attic, provide it an escape route by opening the window. It will eventually leave within a few hours.
  • Remove all the food sources, cover the dustbin lids tightly shut and get rid of water sources. You can grow natural squirrel-repelling plants in your yard.
  • Use live traps that can trap the squirrel, and you can later relocate them far from your house.
  • Does ammonia keep squirrels away?

The old method to get rid of squirrels is ammonia and mothballs. Squirrels hate the smell of these compounds. Mothballs consist of naphthalene, a chemical that repels squirrels and rodents.

However, naphthene is poisonous, and one must avoid using it. Ammonia has a pungent odor that irritates the sensitive nostrils of squirrels, and they hate its smell. Soak a few rags or old towels in ammonia.

Place these ammonia-soaked rags in the attic, garage, yard, near plant pots, and behind the dustbins. Wear gloves and a mask before handling ammonia.


Squirrels can create a mess in your garden and the house. It is illegal to harm wildlife in many states. Therefore, you must get humanely rid of them. Apart from living traps, you can use squirrel repellent. The sharp pungent smell deters squirrels because they have sensitive nostrils, which are easily irritated.

There are many natural squirrel repellents that you can grow in our yard, like onion, garlic, mint, and pepper. It is not necessary to purchase a commercial squirrel repellent spray as you can make one in your home with the things accessible.

Cayenne pepper and peppermint oil are the most effective ingredient of any squirrel repellent spray.


S, Katie (2018) “Homemade Squirrel Repellent Effectively Alters Natural Foraging Behaviors,”Findings from the Field: Vol. 1, Article 2

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