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4 Simple Ways to Keep Squirrels Off Your Deck

4 Simple Ways to Keep Squirrels Off Your Deck

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Squirrels are often an adorable sight as they climb up a tree, twitch their noses, and look for nuts. Once they’ve entered your territory, they’re not as cute to deal with.

Like other small rodents, squirrels can leave their droppings all over the place and make a mess of garage areas. They can even chew on the wood of your deck.

I’m not even factoring in that they can carry a lot of parasites and diseases that no one wants around their home or pets.

In addition, squirrels can get into several different areas because they’re small and can fit into tight spaces. When it’s time to forage for food, they could weasel their way into your home.

The good news is that there are plenty of options for getting rid of squirrels. The article will discuss methods to keep them from living near or causing further damage to your deck.

4 Prevention Methods to Keep Squirrels Off Your Deck

You might’ve just moved into your new home or noticed an increase in the squirrel population. In either case, starting your pest prevention process now will pay off later and save you future infestations. Here’s how to go about it.

1 – Do Not Feed the Squirrels

Feeding Squirrel

Squirrels, just like any other animal, will follow the food. It might be cute to see these fuzzy little critters scurry into your yard and nibble adorably on small pieces of food. But that only extends the long and arduous process of keeping them off your deck.

So, if you’re trying to keep squirrels away from your deck, ensure there’s no food or water source near your deck. That also includes bird feeders.

Fortunately, there are feeder options in the market specifically built to ward off squirrels. They’re called caged squirrel-resistant feeders. No matter how long the squirrels attempt to nibble their way in, they won’t be able to access the food inside kept for the birds.

Besides that, make sure to store any pet food in your home. Cutting off their food source means they’ll try their luck elsewhere.

2 – Secure Your Trash

Squirrel On Trash Can

Speaking of food sources, your garbage cans can make for a consistent meal time for many pests. It’s like a buffet for raccoons, mice, rats, insects, and squirrels.

For this reason, you need to animal-proof your trash can. Squirrels have exceptionally strong, sharp teeth. They’re notorious for chewing through garbage cans.

When storing garbage cans outside, go with the heavy-duty kind. Try to find ones with sealed lids. That way, it’ll also trap any emanating scents that’ll attract the squirrels.

Sturdier trash cans also tend to have a tighter seal. The harder it is for animals to get their food, the more likely they’ll look through other food sources.

3 – Make It Less Homey

While food is high on the survival list for animals, a close second is if they can find a reliable shelter.

So whether you know it or not, your deck is like prime real estate for nearby squirrels. It offers shelter from the elements and protection from predators.

The tree-climbing rodents are especially attracted to areas with debris, leaves, and shrubbery. Squirrels use them to build their nests and make your deck extra homey.

If there are no decks around, they’ll take refuge in bushes, trees, and any other type of covering that offers protection for them and their young.

To avoid these unwanted visits, keep your yard clean and debris-free. The fewer options they have for shelter, the more likely they’ll move on to greener pastures elsewhere.

Yard cleaning may be tedious, but it will help keep critters from building their nests on your property.

It’s also a good idea to check your chimney. Even if the squirrels aren’t living under the deck, they can live in tight spaces, like the chimney.

Make sure to also keep your garage closed as often as you can, along with your greenhouses, sheds, birdhouses, and even dog houses—at least until the squirrels stop coming your way.

4 – Give It Distractions

You might be an animal lover and enjoy watching squirrels wandering around your yard but aren’t so fond of the mess they make on your deck. Luckily, there’s a middle ground.

You can give them a distraction to keep them from venturing onto your deck. It might seem like the opposite of everything written in this article, but it allows you to see the squirrels from a safe distance, where they don’t vandalize your deck.

Try setting up some delicious snacks on the other side of your property. You can fill a little box with grazing material, such as peanuts, sunflower seeds, and corn cobs.

They’ll happily nibble away, and you can enjoy watching them do so without the threat of them wreaking havoc on your patio or deck.

12 Methods to Get Rid of Squirrels

If you’re reading this and the squirrels are already a problem, deterrents won’t quite do it anymore. Instead, you’ll need to find ways to get rid of the rodents and then implement steps to keep them away permanently.

All methods mentioned below are safe. While you may opt for lethal options, it’s always best to just get rid of the squirrels rather than kill them off.

1. Use Soap and Water

Soap And Water

You don’t have to leave your home to find an effective squirrel repellent. Just go to your bathroom or kitchen cabinet and take out a bottle of liquid soap.

Then, mix the soap with water in a garden sprayer. When your mixture is ready, you can then go about spraying the impacted areas.

Start by spraying around the boards of the deck, then move on to the rest of the house. It won’t only repel the squirrels, but it can also do some cleaning for you.

Don’t go too heavy with the soap spray. While it might be cute to watch a squirrel stumble around, it can lead to pretty nasty falls for humans.

2. Vinegar

Vinegar With Sponge And Spray Bottle

Vinegar has natural repellent qualities thanks to its strong odor. Like the soap method, create a mixture of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Don’t dilute it excessively so the smell remains pungent enough to deter the squirrels.

With the same soap method of spraying around impacted areas, you can keep squirrels, rodents, bugs, and other pests from frequenting the deck.

Plus, it’ll save you a lot of trouble and money spent on repairing damages that these critters can cause.

3. Cayenne Powder

Like some people, squirrels aren’t a fan of spice. The heat emitted from sprinkling cayenne pepper will steer them clear of your deck.

All you have to do is mix the cayenne powder with water and spray it around the affected regions. You’ll want to respray from time to time to keep the smell going strong.

After a rainstorm, the mixture can become diluted and lack the strength needed to keep the squirrels away from your deck, so make sure to reapply it.

4. Peppermint

While it might be a refreshing scent for you, squirrels tend to cover their noses or paws if they smell peppermint. It also repels other pests like insects.

This method involves grabbing a spray bottle and filling it with about 10 to 20 drops of peppermint essential oil. Afterward, squeeze in a couple of drops of liquid dish soap.

Shake the spray bottle to allow your ingredients to mix. Lastly, spray the concoction all over your deck and other affected areas.

The best part about using this method is that it’s natural and innocuous. Plus, you get a bonus invigorating scent around your house.

The only downside to using peppermint is that it may irritate your pet’s respiratory system. Consequently, I only recommend using the oil if you don’t have pets or if they don’t go near your deck.

5. Commercial Deer Repellent

Deer and squirrels have similar repelling scents. With that to consider, you can kill two birds with one stone, or rather, repellent, by applying this commercial solution to your deck. It’ll keep the large and small pests from visiting your deck area.

Deer repellent is also ideal if you want to keep your patio furniture protected from damage. Simply spray the repellent on the underside of the patio furniture so that you don’t damage the furniture in the process. 

6. Garlic

Like with several other natural repellents, squirrels will stick up their noses at the scent of garlic. The common kitchen ingredient is harmless to humans but can be toxic to your pets.

That said, you can use garlic in a couple of methods to deter the squirrels. The first involves crushing or mincing the root vegetable and placing it in inconspicuous areas of your deck.

A less messy alternative would involve getting a spray bottle, adding minced garlic and water to it, then spraying it in impacted regions.

7. Install Screens

If you have a covered deck or patio, you can install a screen to create a netted protective barrier from the critters.

Make sure the screens you purchase have tiny holes to make it more difficult for squirrels to pass through.

Additionally, choose a durable material that a squirrel couldn’t potentially nibble its way through, especially when motivated by a food source nearby.

8. Coyote and Fox Urine

Fox In Grass

If things are getting out of hand with your squirrel infestations, you might have to go back to nature’s food chain roots. That means using fox and coyote urine to emanate a predator’s scent.

If squirrels smell that coyote or fox urine, you’ll push them to relocate quickly. Fortunately, you can get your supply of urine from your local garden and home improvement stores.

Use a lawn sprayer and cover the deck area. Be careful not to go too heavy on the urine as the smell can also be rather unpleasant for people.

9. Introduce Other Predators

Black Lab In Grass

Sometimes, all it takes is a few warning barks for invading squirrels to get the message. If you have pets, put your cat or dog on patrol. Let them hang out on the patio or in the backyard for extended periods.

The squirrels will either see the animals and bolt, or they will have the unpleasant experience of getting chased.

Just be cautious; you don’t want your pet to eat the squirrels. Not only is this a potentially nasty mess, squirrels carry plenty of diseases and could put your dog or cat at risk.

If you don’t have a pet, you can buy statues or plastic variations of hawks or owls. Put them out in the open. Squirrels might be more hesitant to approach your deck since both are natural predators.

Keep in mind that this trick will likely only work for a few weeks at a time; squirrels will eventually figure out that they aren’t real and will move on to something else.

If that doesn’t work out, you can play the predator role instead. Squirrels are frightened of people, too. They’ll stay away from areas where people spend a lot of time.

If you’re looking for an excuse to spend more time on your patio or deck, this is the best one that you can have.

10. Install Ultrasonic Repellers

You’ve tried visuals and scents. It’s time to use the sense of hearing to get rid of the squirrels. That’s where ultrasonic repellers come in.

These devices will emit a piercing, high-frequency sound that’ll scare off the squirrels from your deck. You can find ultrasonic repellers with plug-in, battery-operated, or rechargeable options in the market.

I recommend the two latter options since they’ll be more convenient to carry around or hang outside near your deck.

The only downside to this sound-based method is that it won’t only bother the squirrels. Your pets may find the sound intolerable as well. Surrounding birds may also not appreciate the screeching sound.

11. Trim Overhanging Branches

Trimming Tree

Overhanging branches provide a bridge for squirrels to drop onto the patio, deck, and roof. It also gives them an effective escape route should they feel threatened or in danger.

Subsequently, if you have trees with overhanging branches, trim them down. Start by trimming them back so they’re at least five feet from the patio or deck. It’ll restrict the squirrels from being able to jump down.

12. Install Sprinklers


Squirrels do not like getting wet. Spraying the pesky rodents with the pressurized water of a sprinkler is a practical deterrent.

You can set the sprinklers up on repeated timers, providing more moisture in the yard than the squirrels are comfortable with.

Final Thoughts

Squirrels can be persistent if they feel they have a direct line to a food source or a reliable place to live. Using one method may be effective for a short period before leading to a squirrel’s return.

Try mixing and matching some of the solutions laid out above. For instance, predators may work in the short-term, but not enough to keep them away permanently.

Create as much resistance as possible, and the squirrels should eventually just give up and move elsewhere.


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Margaret Irene Kildee

Saturday 15th of January 2022

will the birds still come around if I use the vinegar, or soap solution?

mary lesisko

Saturday 21st of May 2022

@Margaret Irene Kildee, yes. The birds are not bothered by it.