Raccoons in Basement: Risks and Removal Solutions

Raccoons in the basement can be a troublesome and potentially hazardous situation for homeowners.

These clever and adaptable creatures can wreak havoc on your property, posing threats to both the structural integrity of your home and the health and safety of its occupants.

In this context, it becomes imperative to understand the risks associated with raccoon infestations and how to effectively address and prevent them.

From property damage and health concerns to the methods for eviction and prevention, this topic delves into the multifaceted challenges of dealing with raccoons in the basement.

How to Remove Raccoons from the Basement

If you find raccoons in your basement, there are several humane steps you can take to remove them and prevent their return:

  1. Seal off potential entrances: Install approved chimney caps or raccoon screens to cover furnace chimneys and close any other possible entry points.

  2. Use live traps: Employ live traps to capture and relocate the mother raccoon and her babies. Ensure compliance with local regulations and guidelines for humane trapping and relocation.

  3. Clean out the nest space: Once the raccoons have been removed, thoroughly clean out the nesting area under your home or deck, including the removal of all bedding material.

  4. Seal all access points: After cleaning, seal all access points to thwart raccoons from re-entering.

  5. Deter raccoons from your property: Employ motion-activated sprinklers, secure your trash cans, bag all household waste and securely contain it, keep pet food indoors, and utilize exclusion fences to safeguard areas like compost piles and fish ponds.

  6. Use scent deterrents: Soak rags in ammonia and place them in areas where raccoon activity has been observed, or leave a bowl of ammonia near the basement entrance.

Note that female raccoons typically give birth between January and June, so take care to remove the raccoons without orphaning their babies.

Risks of Having Raccoons in the Basement

Having raccoons in your basement poses various risks to both your property and the occupants of the house. Below are some of the dangers associated with having raccoons in the basement:

  • Property Damage: Raccoons can cause significant harm to your property by tearing insulation, damaging ducts and vents, and weakening the foundation.

  • Health Hazards: Raccoons can carry diseases such as rabies, roundworm, and leptospirosis, which can be transmitted to humans and pets through contact with their feces, urine, or saliva.

  • Fire Risk: Raccoons are known to chew on electrical wires, creating a potential fire hazard.

  • Noise and Disturbance: Raccoons can be noisy and disruptive, particularly at night when they are most active.

  • Aggressive Behavior: Raccoons can become aggressive when they feel threatened, especially if they have young in their nest.

It is crucial to take immediate steps to remove raccoons from your basement to mitigate these risks.

For further insights, please consult our guide titled ‘How to get Rid of Raccoons.’

How to Disinfect a Basement After a Raccoon Invasion

Here are the steps for effectively disinfecting your basement after a raccoon invasion:

  1. Wear Protective Gear: Prioritize your safety by donning rubber or plastic gloves, a mask, and appropriate protective clothing to prevent contact with raccoon feces, urine, or saliva.

  2. Remove Contaminated Materials: Eliminate all items that have been tainted by raccoon droppings or urine, including insulation, fabrics, and other affected objects.

  3. Ventilate the Area: Enhance air circulation by opening windows and doors to allow fresh air into the space.

  4. Spray with Disinfectant: Utilize either a general-purpose household disinfectant cleaning product or create a bleach solution by mixing 1.5 cups of household bleach with 1 gallon of water. Thoroughly spray all hard surfaces, such as floors, walls, and countertops. Allow the disinfectant to sit for at least 5 minutes before wiping it away.

  5. Mop Hard Floors: Employ disinfectant to mop hard floors to ensure the removal of any remaining dirt or debris.

  6. Dispose of Contaminated Materials: Securely place all contaminated materials, including insulation and fabrics, into plastic bags for proper disposal.

  7. Clean and Disinfect Other Surfaces: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to clean and disinfect additional surfaces and items within the affected area.

  8. Move Storage Items: Relocate storage boxes and containers containing potentially contaminated items to a well-ventilated area exposed to direct sunlight.

Remember that taking precautions during the cleanup process is crucial to avoid exposure to harmful bacteria and viruses potentially present in raccoon feces, urine, or saliva.

If you’re uncertain about the proper disinfection procedures for your basement, consider seeking assistance from a professional cleaning service.

Recommended Cleaning Products

When disinfecting a basement after a raccoon invasion, there are several recommended cleaning products to consider.

Two effective options are Unsmoke Microban QGC, a versatile household disinfectant that can be diluted at 8 oz per gallon of water for cleaning, and a bleach solution, created by mixing 1.5 cups of household bleach with 1 gallon of water (or a ratio of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water).

When working with bleach, ensure you wear rubber or plastic gloves and exercise caution, as it should not be applied to all surfaces and should never be mixed with other cleaning products.

Always adhere to the instructions provided on the cleaning product labels and take necessary precautions to shield yourself from potential exposure to harmful bacteria and viruses that could be present in raccoon feces, urine, or saliva.

How to Prevent Raccoons from Invading the Basement Again

To effectively prevent raccoons from re-invading your basement, consider implementing the following steps:

  1. Remove Attractants: The simplest way to deter raccoons is by eliminating enticing factors on your property. This includes using secure covers for your trash cans, refraining from leaving food outdoors, and removing wood piles and overgrown bushes where raccoons tend to nest. Additionally, trim branches and trellises that provide access to your roof and cover open spaces beneath your house, which raccoons might consider as potential nesting spots.

  2. Seal All Holes and Openings: Raccoons are drawn to dark, confined, and dry spaces, many of which can be found in and around your home. Ensure that windows and window screens are well-maintained and sealed. Address any gaps in your siding, foundation, or walls by replacing damaged sections or sealing them with silicone caulk and expanding foam. Vents and ducts are also potential entry points, so consider installing wire mesh barriers to block access.

  3. Use Deterrents: Raccoons are repelled by certain odors like cayenne pepper, ammonia, and vinegar. Sprinkle these scents around your basement and deck to discourage raccoons from returning. Motion-detecting lighting can also be effective in areas where they’ve invaded.

  4. Secure Trash and Pet Food: Ensure your trash cans are securely closed and store pet food indoors to avoid attracting raccoons with easily accessible food sources.

  5. Remove Existing Raccoons: If you currently have raccoons in your basement, employ humane methods to remove them and take preventive measures to keep them from returning.

By following these steps, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of raccoons invading your basement again.