A Guide for Keeping Animals Out of Your Garage

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If you have had problems with raccoons, stray cats, rats, or other furry friends entering your garage, you need to find a way to deter them—for good. These small animals can get into your trash or even climb up into your engine block for warmth during the night. Also, they are a hygiene and health hazard. If you have had problems with animals living, storing food, or nesting in your garage, here are some things you can do to keep them out permanently.

1. Repair and seal

Garages are not nearly as tightly sealed as the rest of your home. Broken garage windows are not usually fixed as quickly, and loose garage doors may be tolerated because nobody lives in the garage. However, these unsealed places are entrances for animals. Also be sure to stay on top of regular garage door maintenance, including greasing the tracks and replacing the springs. Overworked springs are not as effective as holding the door firmly in place. A weakened seal around the door can also provide an entrance for animals. Have a professional service your door and check the rest of your garage before winter each year if you have had pest problems in the past. Since these animals seek shelter and food more often in winter, doing the repairs before the snow flies will help.

2. Set traps

Live animal traps with bait can help you catch animals that routinely journey into your garage. These are especially effective for squirrels and raccoons. Do not try to relocate live animals yourself, as some wild animals, even cats, can be a rabies risk. Call animal control to have a trapped animal taken from your property. Rats can be caught and killed with traps and poison. 

3. Clean and declutter

Before winter hits and every spring after the snow melts, move everything out of the garage. If you store boxes of decorations and clothing in the garage, empty these out and repack them to make sure no pests are nesting in them. Sweep the garage out and remove any lingering trash, especially old packages that may have the scent of food on them. Wash out your trash cans, especially if you store them in the garage instead of by the alley or on the curb. You want to prevent forgotten items from becoming nesting spots (like old boxes), and removing things like dirt and leaves can also make the garage less comfortable for animals. 

Take care to also remove food sources. Keeping your trash in secure cans is part of that, but you should also remove dead insect bodies or dead mice, as these are still food for scavengers. Also, scrub down stored grills, camping gear, or barbecues—the few peanuts left in the trail mix or the burned meaty bits at the bottom of the grill are attractive to pests.

Finally, clean out all signs of past pest invasions, including droppings. Use a pressure washer on your garage floor and garage door to get rid of any lingering animal smells that might attract them back. Use a repellent for raccoon or other wild animals after you finish your thorough clean. 

4. Clear food out of your car. 

The smell of food is powerful for scavengers. Though you might keep the lids on your trash cans tightly closed, the smell of old fries or even a forgotten bag of groceries in your car in the garage can draw the vermin in. It's best to completely remove all food and food wrappers from your vehicle every time you arrive home and throw them away promptly in a animal-proof trash can.

If you are still having trouble with pests entering your garage, its best to consult a pest control company and a garage door company to make your garage pest free and pest proof.