Although many recommend using ammonia to deter raccoons from digging through trash, doing so in enclosed, poorly ventilated areas can cause more problems than it solves. The noxious fumes can damage mucous membranes of baby raccoons and agitate adults, sending them into attack mode.
Common solutions for dealing with raccoons include increased lighting, loud noises and foul smells. To keep raccoons away from the trash, suggested solutions range from using tight trashcan lids, embedding radios and turning them on at night, and sprinkling dog urine. Cayenne pepper, repellent pellets and mothballs are less toxic solutions suggested for ridding basements and attics of raccoons. Motion-detecting scarecrows, sprinklers and noisemakers work well in yards and around trash areas.