Imagine a world where your perfect little trash can remains 100% pest-free… Now, snap back to reality sweetheart because it ain’t all that simple. Yet, we can help you make it happen!

Whether you have raccoons, opossums, crows, rats, squirrels, black bears, the neighbor’s dog, or any other critter ripping through your bins; the following is our surefire plan for keeping every pest out of your bin.  Welcome to Blazer Brand’s Ultimate Garbage Can Pest Prevention Guide.

How to Stop Every Animal From Getting Into Garbage Cans

  1. Invest in a high-quality trash can.
  2. Store your cart so that it cannot be knocked over.
  3. Add a lid strap or lock to your bin.
  4. Keep your can/storage area clean and odor-free.
  5. Use specialty mint-scented trash bags.
  6. Install a motion activated spotlight.
  7. Spray your can with a repellent.
  8. Fence in your trash storage area.
  9. Trap the critters.
  10. For troublesome bears, do your research and invest in a 100% bear-proof trash can.

How to Read Our Guide

We’ve broken our guide down into three useful parts. In Part One, we give you a detailed overview of every possible preventative action listed above. In Part Two, we get specific. We’ve listed every popular garbage can critter and described our best steps for keeping them out of your garbage. Finally, Part Three consists of some visuals to make it all clear. Dive in and swim around as you please.

Part 1: The Essentials


1. Invest in a high-quality can.

Everything starts with the can – crappy cans produce subpar results.  When searching for a can look for the following…

  • Rigid Material: look for thick plastic walls or a can made of metal
  • Stiff Lid: find a lid that is hard to bend
  • Low Center of Gravity: a can with a wide base that is hard to knock over
  • Handle: every well-made trash can comes with a handle.

For most, we recommend this 64-gallon trash can.  If you’re dealing with rats or squirrels (or any pest that likes to chew), then we recommend a galvanized steel can.

for small to large pests we recommend a 64-gallon toter cart
for rats, squirrels, and other chewers we recommend a steel can

2. Keep your cart upright

Pests gain leverage when they knock your garbage can over.  When storing your can, find an effective way to keep it upright.  Here are some suggestions…

  • Store your can on level ground
  • Place your can in-between other cans
  • Tuck your bin into a corner
  • Store your can with the handle facing a wall (makes it difficult to grab)

For larger pests, adding a can foundation (i.e. a box around the base, or a pole to attach the can to) will help keep your cart upright and in the same spot.

3. Lock the lid

Next, you’ll need a way to keep the lid shut.  There are a number of methods (see: amazon.com “garbage can lock”), but obviously we recommend our patented product, the Strong Strap™.  Our premium lid latch is designed for every can and every environment, and requires no tools to installShop here!

statistics of how pest proof the strong strap is versus common garbage can pests. dogs 100. raccoons 97. possums 98. bears 15 or 85 with two. birds 100. squirrels 100.

4. Keep your can clean

If your can smells, then it is more tempting to pests.  Cleaning it out won’t stop them, but it will decrease their perceived reward.  Overall, pests won’t be willing to work as hard to get into a clean can.  Plus, no more flies!

Grab a hose, some dish soap, and a nice scrub brush – wet your can down, scrub the grim out, and rinse the can.  It’s that simple.  Don’t have a hose?  Search for garbage can cleaning companies.. yes, they exist.

Advanced Techniques

1. Fence in your trash collection area

If you want to guarantee your cans won’t get knocked over, then you should build a trash can enclosure. Here is a list of design ideas, some are basic, some are wild, the choice is yours.

2. Trap the critters

If you know your state’s laws and how to safely trap animals (we mean keeping yourself and the animal safe), then trap the pests yourself.  If not, we recommend calling in a professional.  A quick Google search for “local pest control or trapping service” is a good place to start.

3. Bears – WARNING

Bears are another level of ruthless.  If you want to stop bears you’re going to have to step up your game.  First, it’s necessary to break bears into two categories… Black Bears and Brown Bears.  For Black Bears – we recommend TWO Strong Straps.

Otherwise, for Brown/Grizzly Bears we do not recommend the Strong Strap.  Instead, browse the internet and be prepared to spend $250+.  Be assured your investment will pay off, one place to start is Bearicuda.com.  Otherwise, there are solid steel trash cans that exist for these large, powerful, and persistent bears.

Other Methods

1. Use specialty trash bags

When you have a particularly smelly bag of trash – place it into one of these mint-scented trash bags before placing it in the bin.  Note: these bags will enhance the basics, but they won’t work on their own.

2. Install motion sensing lights/sounds

These will scare some skiddish pests away for a few days, but eventually they may catch on and realize the lights aren’t a threat.

3. Spray a repellent on your can

There are a lot of mixed reviews on this method, but mixing cayenne pepper, water, and a little bit of dish soap could help prevent pests.  Otherwise, repellent formulas are available online.

Part 2: Pest Specific

How To Stop Raccoons

Strong Strap Defense Rating vs. Raccoons: 97 – w/ Two Straps: 100

Raccoon Strengths

  • Intelligent
  • Mechanically Inclined
  • Persistent
  • Loves Garbage
  • Fearless

Recommended Steps for Stopping Raccoons

  1. Lock your lid (Part 1 – Basics – Step 3)
  2. Invest in a high-quality can (Part 1 – Basics – Step 1)
  3. Keep your cart upright (Part 1 – Basics – Step 2)
  4. Keep your can clean (Part 1 – Basics – Step 4)
  5. Use mint-scented trash bags (Part 1 – Enhancements – Step 1)

How To Stop Black Bears

Strong Strap Defense Rating vs. Black Bears: 15 – w/ Two Straps: 80

Black Bear Strengths

  • Powerful, duh.
  • Large teeth and claws
  • Big ‘ol fan of those veggies

Black Bear Weaknesses

  • Scare easily
  • Not too persistent

Recommended Steps for Stopping Black Bears

  1. Lock your lid with two Strong Straps (Part 1 – Advanced – Step 3)
  2. Invest in a high-quality can – we recommend a hinged-lid can(Part 1 – Basics – Step 1)
  3. Keep your cart upright – build a foundation or box around the base.(Part 1 – Basics – Step 2)
  4. Keep your can clean.(Part 1 – Basics – Step 4)
  5. Use scents – spray your trash with a hot-pepper formula.(Part 1 – Enhancements – Step 3)

How To Stop Squirrels

Strong Strap Defense Rating vs. Squirrels: 100 – w/ Two Straps: 100

Squirrel Strengths

  • Buck teeth for chewing
  • Small body can fit into small spaces
  • Natural born climbers

Recommended Steps for Stopping Squirrels

  1. Lock your lid with a Strong Strap (Part 1 – Basics – Step 3)
  2. Invest in a high-quality can – we recommend a metal can (see: buck teeth) (Part 1 – Basics – Step 1)
  3. Use mint-scented trash bags (Part 1 – Enhancements – Step 1)

How To Stop Rats

Strong Strap Defense Rating vs. Rats: 100 – w/ Two Straps: 100

Rat Strengths

  • Nasty like trash
  • Born in the trash
  • Live by the trash
  • Squeeze their little bodies into any space
  • Strength in numbers

Recommended Steps for Stopping Rats

  1. Invest in a high-quality can – we recommend a metal can (Part 1 – Basics – Step 1)
  2. Keep the can upright – rats will squeeze through if the lid is slightly open (Part 1 – Basics – Step 2)
  3. Use a Strong Strap to prevent overflow (Part 1 – Basics – Step 3)
  4. Use mint-scented trash bags (Part 1 – Enhancements – Step 1)
  5. Keep the surrounding area clean (Part 1 – Basics – Step 4)

How To Stop Opossums

Strong Strap Defense Rating vs. Opossums: 98 – w/ Two Straps: 100

Opossum Strengths

  • Creatures of the night
  • Medium size means mild strength

Recommended Steps for Stopping Opossums

  1. Lock your lid with a Strong Strap (Part 1 – Basics – Step 3)

How To Stop Dogs

Strong Strap Defense Rating vs. Dogs: 100 – w/ Two Straps: 100

We love dogs, and while they can learn a lot of tricks, they’re bad with mechanical stuff.  Simply add a Strong Strap to your can and they won’t break-in again.

Recommended Steps for Stopping Dogs

  1. Lock your lid with a Strong Strap (Part 1 – Basics – Step 3)
  2. Buy a cat – LMAO

How To Stop Grizzly Bears

Strong Strap Defense Rating vs. Grizzlies: 0 – w/ Two Straps: 15

Grizzly Bear Strengths

  • Being a Grizzly Bear
  • Massive
  • Powerful

Recommended Steps for Stopping Grizzly Bears

  1. Buy the strongest can you can find – if it seems strong enough, its probably not.

How To Stop Crows

Strong Strap Defense Rating vs. Crows: 100 – w/ Two Straps: 100

Crow Strengths

  • Devil Birds
  • Love to pick at overflowing cans
  • Flight

Recommended Steps for Stopping Crows

  1. Lock your lid with a Strong Strap – helps prevent open lids too (Part 1 – Basics – Step 3)
  2. Use thick black trash bags

Part 3: Useful Images

For the visual learners out there, here is a sample of a garbage can area designed to prevent all unwanted access from pests.  Model it and thrive.

tips for keeping racoons opossums squirrels crows pests out of garbage cans
shows a steel trash can with a strong strap on it designed to prevent rats

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Justin Blazer says:

    If you have any questions visitors, let us know! We’re always open to tried and proven universal solutions.

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