How To Get Rid of Chipmunks In the Garage

How To Get Rid of Chipmunks In the Garage

How To Get Rid of Chipmunks In the Garage

Chipmunks are some of the cuter species of rodent out there, with their bright eyes and bushy tails! However, if they come into your home or garage and try to take up residence, you will certainly find yourself thinking of them in less fond terms. Luckily, there are several ways that you can try to get rid of chipmunks in your garage without harming them or having to call the exterminator.

If you got garage chipmunks, we can offer some solutions

So You Got Some Chipmunks?

If you do have chipmunks in your garage, there are a variety of methods that you could try out to get rid of them– many of these are humane and will not harm the furry creatures. Read on to learn more. 

Coffee Grounds

Scent can be very off putting to animals– after all, we are sensitive to smell, too. Many animals can smell much better than we can, so they are extra sensitive to pungent or offensive scents. One example of using scent to eliminate chipmunks is by using coffee grounds. Not only is using coffee grounds cost effective, it is easy to obtain them. In order to use them properly as a chipmunk deterrent, you should sprinkle them in the garage, concentrating in any areas where the chipmunks have begun to nest. You can also sprinkle the coffee grounds in your yard and near your house so that the chipmunks never attempt to move closer. 

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is another example of using scent to get rid of chipmunks. Peppermint essential oil can als be used for other rodents, such as mice or rats, as none of them like the smell. You can sprinkle the oil in corners and areas where you have seen the chipmunks congregating. If you see a chipmunk nest, you can even put some of the peppermint oil in the nest itself. When you are using essential oils, it is also often recommended that you soak cotton balls in the oil. Once these are soaked and will retain the smell, you can place them in different areas of the garage to deter the pests. You can also place the cotton balls or sprinkle the oil outside, like with cotton balls, to keep chipmunks away from the yard and garage entirely. 


Mothballs are another humane solution to a chipmunk infestation. This is because mothballs emit a chemical that is known as napthalene. Napthalene repels chipmunks because they are very sensitive to its scent and do not like it– most of the most humane solutions for getting rid of chipmunks are scent based, due to the rodents’ sensitivity. It is important to note, though, that napthalene is considered to be a poisonous chemical, especially in spaces that do not have proper ventilation. It is for this reason that it is unwise to use mothballs for getting rid of chipmunks in your home. 

Cayenne Pepper

You likely have cayenne pepper in your spice cabinet, making this an especially effective and easy solution when dealing with an infestation of chipmunks. The rodents do not like the smell of cayenne pepper, due to its intense odor. In fact, this is one of the most potent ways that you can deal with chipmunks. You can spread the pepper itself in your garage, or you can create a cayenne pepper spray to spray the garage with and better distribute the smell.

Electronic Repellents

Another option here is electronic repellents. These types of repellents do not rely on smell like most of the other suggestions on this list. Instead, they use ultrasonic waves to disturb the pests and create an inhospitable environment. You can purchase a high quality machine for around $20 to $30, and it will be able to cover 900 to 1200 square feet successfully. This should be plenty of capacity for your garage! Some may believe that these waves will move the chipmunk nests. However, this is not true. However, it does disturb the rodents and make them want to leave the nest– and leave the garage entirely!

Here is a breakdown of things that work and things that Don’t

Certainly, let’s start with a table summarizing these methods:

MethodPrimary UseEffectiveness in Dealing with Chipmunks
Cat LitterCarry scent of a predatorModerate (temporary deterrent)
Bird EggsAttractantNot effective (might even attract)
Sunflower SeedsAttractantNot effective (might even attract)
Coffee GroundsScent-based deterrentMixed reports (some find it effective)
Cayenne PepperSensory irritantModerate
Cayenne Pepper SpraySensory irritantModerate
Peppermint OilScent-based deterrentModerate
Juicy Fruit GumRumored ingestible deterrentDubious (not proven to be effective)

Discussion on Effectiveness:

  1. Cat Litter: Used litter carries the scent of a cat, a natural predator. While this might act as a temporary deterrent, over time, chipmunks may realize there is no real threat.
  2. Bird Eggs: Using eggs is more likely to attract chipmunks or other wildlife rather than repel them.
  3. Sunflower Seeds: Similarly, sunflower seeds are a favorite food of chipmunks, so using them as a deterrent would be counterproductive.
  4. Coffee Grounds: Some claim that the scent of coffee grounds can repel chipmunks, but reports on its effectiveness are mixed.
  5. Cayenne Pepper & Cayenne Pepper Spray: These work as sensory irritants. When chipmunks come into contact with them, the burning sensation will deter them. However, these methods might require frequent reapplication, especially after rain.
  6. Peppermint Oil: Like coffee grounds, peppermint oil’s strong scent can act as a deterrent. Yet, its effectiveness can vary, and it may also need regular reapplication.
  7. Juicy Fruit Gum: There’s a rumor that when chipmunks eat this gum, they can’t digest it, causing them harm. This method is both unproven and potentially inhumane.

In conclusion, while some of these methods might offer temporary or moderate solutions, a comprehensive approach that combines multiple deterrents is often the most effective strategy. Always prioritize humane methods and avoid causing harm to the chipmunks or any other wildlife.

So What are The Best Methods for Scaring off a Chipmunk?

The best ways to scare off a chipmunk usually involve leveraging their natural fears and instincts without causing them harm. Here are some effective, humane methods to deter chipmunks:

  1. Predator Presence: Using decoys like motion-activated owls or garden statues of predatory birds can give the illusion of a threat. Since chipmunks are prey animals, the perceived presence of predators can be a strong deterrent.
  2. Predator Scents: Spraying products made from the urine of chipmunk predators, such as foxes or coyotes, around the area can make chipmunks think twice about coming close. These scents signal danger to chipmunks, making them more likely to avoid the area.
  3. Noise: Chipmunks are skittish by nature. A sudden loud noise, such as clapping, can scare them off temporarily. There are also ultrasonic repellents on the market, although their effectiveness can be inconsistent.
  4. Motion-Activated Devices: Devices like motion-activated sprinklers can be quite effective. The sudden movement and spray of water startle and deter chipmunks from entering an area.
  5. Sensory Irritants: Cayenne pepper or other spicy substances can be sprinkled around areas you want to protect. When chipmunks come into contact with these substances, the mild irritation will discourage them from returning. However, these need frequent reapplication, especially after rain.
  6. Peppermint Oil: The strong aroma of peppermint oil can act as a natural repellent for chipmunks. Soaking cotton balls in peppermint oil and placing them in areas where chipmunks frequent can deter them.

Remember, while these methods can be effective in scaring off chipmunks, it’s also essential to address what might be attracting them in the first place. Reducing food sources, sealing entry points, and making the environment less hospitable (e.g., by removing shelter spots) will also help in keeping them at bay.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Cat Litter have to Do With Chipmunks?

Using litter to deter chipmunks stems from the idea that the scent of a predator, in this case, a cat, will deter prey animals like chipmunks. The underlying principle is similar to the use of predator urine products. Here’s how litter might relate to chipmunk deterrence:

  1. Scent of Predation: Fresh, used litter carries the scent of a cat, a natural predator for chipmunks. Placing this litter in or around the garage might make chipmunks believe that there’s a predator nearby, thus discouraging them from entering or encouraging them to leave.
  2. Temporary Measure: This method can be a temporary deterrent, meaning it might work initially, but over time, especially if chipmunks don’t encounter any real threats, they may become desensitized or realize there’s no immediate danger.
  3. Limitations and Considerations: Not all litter will be equally effective. Only used litter that carries the cat’s scent might have any deterrent effect. Additionally, leaving used litter exposed can be unsightly, potentially attract other pests or animals, and may not be hygienic.

While some people swear by this method, results can vary. It’s always a good idea to combine multiple deterrent methods for a more comprehensive approach to keeping chipmunks out of your garage. And remember, if using this method, it’s essential to replace and dispose of the used litter responsibly and regularly.

How Do I Lure a Chipmunk out of my Garage?

Luring Chipmunks with Natural Foods:

Having a chipmunk in your garage can be an unwelcome surprise. Fortunately, these creatures are naturally attracted to certain foods which can be used as lures. Sunflower seeds, birdseed, and nuts are among their favorites.

Setting a Food Trail:

To encourage the chipmunk to leave, place a trail of these foods leading from inside the garage to an outside area. This will create an enticing path for the chipmunk to follow.

Using Peanut Butter:

Another effective bait is peanut butter. Its strong aroma and sticky consistency can be particularly attractive to chipmunks. This can be placed near the garage exit to draw them out.

Trapping Option:

If simple luring doesn’t lead to success, consider using these foods in a humane live trap. Once trapped, the chipmunk can be safely relocated to a distant wooded area, ensuring its return is unlikely.

Creating a Safe Environment:

During the process, maintain a calm and non-threatening atmosphere around the garage. This will make the chipmunk more likely to venture out and towards the bait.

What will scare away chipmunks?

Chipmunks naturally avoid areas where they believe predators are present. Utilizing decoys like motion-activated owls can simulate the presence of these predators and deter chipmunks. Furthermore, spraying products derived from the urine of predators like foxes or coyotes can reinforce this illusion. The scent makes chipmunks believe there’s an imminent threat nearby, prompting them to stay away. Additionally, sudden and loud noises can startle chipmunks, causing them to flee. Lastly, frequent human or pet activity in an area can also make it less appealing for chipmunks, as they prefer quieter, undisturbed spaces.

Dealing with Unwanted Chipmunks:

If chipmunks have found their way into your garage or home, it’s understandable that you’d want to deter them in a humane manner. One effective way is to tap into their natural fear of predators.

Utilizing Predator Decoys:

Chipmunks are naturally wary creatures, always on the lookout for potential threats. By using decoys, like a motion-activated owl, you can simulate the presence of a predator. As nocturnal predators, owls are feared by chipmunks. A motion-activated owl will not only look like a threat but will also appear to “react” to the chipmunk’s movement, enhancing the illusion of danger.

Harnessing the Power of Scent:

Another potent method is using predator scent markers. There are commercially available spray products made from the urine of animals that prey on chipmunks, such as foxes or coyotes. Spraying these around your garage or entry points to your home can deter chipmunks. The strong scent convinces them that a predator is nearby, making them think twice about venturing further.


By leveraging their natural instincts and fears, you can effectively and humanely encourage chipmunks to steer clear of specific areas, ensuring both their safety and your peace of mind.

Do mothballs get rid of chipmunks?

Mothballs have been touted by some as a home remedy to deter various pests, including chipmunks, because of their strong odor. The active ingredients in mothballs, usually naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, release fumes that can be repellant to some pests.

However, there are several important considerations:

  1. Effectiveness: The effectiveness of mothballs in repelling chipmunks is not consistent. Some people report success, while others find it doesn’t make much difference.
  2. Toxicity: Mothballs are toxic to pets and humans, especially if ingested. They can also be harmful if their fumes are inhaled over extended periods. Using mothballs outside of their intended purpose (protecting clothes from moths) can expose you, your family, and pets to unnecessary risks.
  3. Environmental Concerns: Mothballs can contaminate soil and water. Using them outside can harm the environment.
  4. Legal Concerns: In many places, using mothballs in a manner inconsistent with their labeling is illegal.

In summary, while mothballs might deter chipmunks for some, they are not a recommended solution due to health, environmental, and potential legal concerns. It’s better to seek out more effective and safer methods to manage chipmunks.

Does cayenne pepper get rid of chipmunks?

Cayenne pepper is one of the scents that does bother chipmunks! It can be an effective way to deter them from taking up residence in your garage. The spicy odor and pungent smell is a deterrent to many other rodents as well, and may even cause them to leave your garage immediately when they smell it. 

What will make Chipmunks Go Away?

If chipmunks have taken up residence in your garage, here are steps to safely and humanely encourage them to relocate:

  1. Seal Entry Points:
  • Conduct a thorough inspection of your garage’s foundation, walls, and doors to find any holes or cracks.
  • Use steel wool, hardware cloth, or metal flashing to seal these points. Chipmunks can’t chew through these materials easily.
  1. Remove Food Sources:
  • Make sure no food, including pet food or birdseed, is stored in the garage without being in sealed containers.
  • If you store your garbage cans in the garage, ensure they have tight-fitting lids.
  1. Use Repellents:
  • There are commercial repellents available that may deter chipmunks. Look for those that are specifically formulated for squirrels or rodents.
  • A homemade remedy involves sprinkling pure peppermint oil around the areas they frequent. Many rodents dislike the strong smell.
  1. Set Live Traps:
  • If chipmunks are persistently present in your garage, consider using live traps. Bait them with peanut butter, nuts, or seeds.
  • Check the traps frequently (at least twice a day) to ensure that any trapped chipmunks are not subjected to stress for an extended period.
  • Release captured chipmunks at least a mile from your home, preferably in a wooded area away from other homes.
  1. Use Motion-Activated Devices:
  • Setting up motion-activated lights or sprinklers in or near your garage may scare away chipmunks.
  1. Keep the Garage Clean:
  • Regularly sweep and clean the garage to remove any potential nesting materials or food debris.
  1. Ultrasonic Repellers:
  • There are ultrasonic devices available that claim to repel rodents by emitting high-pitched sounds. However, their efficacy is debated, and they might not work for everyone.
  1. Regularly Check the Garage:
  • Frequently inspecting your garage can help ensure chipmunks don’t establish a long-term presence.
  1. Natural Predators:
  • Having a cat or dog frequently visit the garage might deter chipmunks, as they would sense the presence of a predator.
  1. Avoid Using Poisons:
  • Rodenticides are harmful to pets, children, and other non-target animals. They can also result in chipmunks dying in inaccessible areas, leading to odor and decomposition problems.

After using any method to drive the chipmunks out, always be proactive in ensuring they don’t find a way back in. Regular maintenance and vigilance can be crucial in preventing a recurrence.