Does Vinegar Deter Squirrels?

Every bit of help counts when you’re battling off fluffy-tailed invaders from your property—especially if they’ve begun to invade your shed or damage gutters and eaves. 

Now, here’s a commonly used pest repellant: vinegar. But, does it work on squirrels as well as it does on small rodents? Does vinegar deter squirrels? 

Before spraying every tree in your backyard with it, let’s dig deeper into this common recommendation and see if this household kitchen ingredient in your cupboard has any practical application to help keep those persistent rodents away.

These tiny critters, as cute as they might be, can be a homeowner’s nightmare. Think—chewed wires, gnawed woodwork, and pillaged gardens

Those little teeth and persistent chewing can result in some not-so-insignificant repair bills. If they decide to make your property their playground, things can escalate quickly. So, addressing a squirrel problem isn’t just about peace of mind; it’s about preserving your outdoor space.

Ready to explore the world of vinegar as a squirrel deterrent? We’re about to deep-dive into why some folks swear by this DIY method. 

We’ll also touch on things you should consider before giving it a go. And by the time we wrap up, you’ll know if your vinegar bottle is destined for salad dressing or squirrel dissuading. Let’s get to it!

Key Takeaways

Distilled white vinegar is often recommended as a solution to keep squirrels away. While some homeowners claim success, the scientific evidence is limited. A study hinted at effectiveness, but the mixture also included hot sauce, complicating the results.
The recipe involves mixing equal parts of vinegar and water, potentially with the addition of hot sauce. The theory is that the strong smell will make these areas less appealing.
Vinegar’s pungent aroma can repel squirrels temporarily. However, the effectiveness can vary based on the severity of the situation and environmental conditions.
Vinegar can be a part of your arsenal against squirrels, but it’s not a magic potion. A holistic strategy, combining proactive measures and potentially expert assistance, provides the best defense against persistent squirrel invaders.
If vinegar and other DIY methods aren’t keeping squirrels away, reach out to a professional for assistance.

Vinegar Squirrel Repellant: Does It Work?

Regarding home remedies, distilled white vinegar often pops up as a versatile solution. Its acrid, astringent scent is easily noticeable, prompting the question: could this acidic aroma deter squirrels and other pests? 

Some Homeowners Have Had Success with Vinegar

Some homeowners swear by its effectiveness, recounting online the effectiveness of vinegar against shed-bound squirrels turned away by the scent. It’s tempting to buy into such simple remedies, especially when they’re cheap, everyday household items. However, it’s worth approaching these claims with a fair bit of skepticism. 

Limited Research Studies

Why? The science behind it could be more robust. No extensive studies verify vinegar’s efficacy in repelling squirrels. So while personal accounts are mostly positive, relying solely on them without concrete scientific backup might be premature. 

That being said, one published study from 2018 does indicate that a homemade repellant was effective in changing their foraging habits—deterring them from seeds or nuts surrounded by the DIY natural repellent. 

The DIY natural repellant in this study was made from: a half cup of water, two cups of apple cider vinegar, and 1 and a half cups of hot sauce

The obvious issue with this study is that it also uses hot sauce in addition to vinegar and hot peppers and hot sauce also deter squirrels.

Consequences of Squirrel Infestations

The playful antics of squirrels can be endearing to watch, sure. 

Damage to Structures

But behind their cute appearance lies the potential for substantial damage to your roof, gutters, and shed. These creatures can burrow into attics, gnaw on electrical wires, and even obliterate well-tended gardens—all in their quest for food. 

This can translate into costly repairs and replacements. 

Health Concerns

More important than financial implications are the health concerns associated with wild animals. Squirrels might bring parasites into homes through family pets or nesting sites, posing risks to inhabitants. Given these repercussions, the need for effective (and safe) deterrents becomes a matter of urgency.

Imagine waking up to your beautifully manicured garden looking like a war zone. Flowers uprooted, fruits half-eaten, and tiny holes everywhere—the classic signs of a squirrel trodden through your backyard. 

They aren’t just content with ruining your horticultural aspirations; they can also cause structural damage. 

White Vinegar in Glass Bottle

DIY Vinegar Solution

So, if you’re considering the vinegar route, here’s how you might proceed: mix equal parts of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar and water, creating a dilute solution. Armed with this concoction, you can spray it around the areas most frequented by squirrels. You can also add hot sauce to the mix, as mentioned in the 2018 study. 

The strong smell, in theory, should make these areas less appealing. 

However, it’s important to manage your expectations with a simple remedy like this. While vinegar might offer a temporary solution, it isn’t a silver bullet. Squirrels are resilient and adaptable. A smell they find off-putting one day might not deter them after a couple of weeks—especially if you’re not mindful to continuously re-apply. 

Therefore, if you’re facing persistent squirrels or a full-blown infestation within your attic, you should take more serious measures—which include consulting professional pest control experts.

While the internet is rife with anecdotal evidence of vinegar as a DIY remedy to all your problems, staying realistic is important here. Scientifically speaking, comprehensive studies focusing solely on vinegar as a squirrel deterrent are almost completely non-existent as we mentioned earlier. That being said, a couple of studies beyond the 2018 one we cited, have shown that DIY repellants can change squirrels behaviors and deter them from foraging in sprayed areas. 

We might lack solid scientific backing to declare it a sure-shot solution, but time has continually proven that vinegar’s strong smell will often drive wild critters away.

Why Vinegar Works (Temporarily)

If you’re curious about trying the vinegar route, here’s a simple way to test its potential. Whip up a mixture by blending equal parts of white vinegar and water. Once that’s done, go ahead and generously spray or drench the notorious squirrel hotspots in your vicinity. 

The Smell

The potent aroma of the vinegar is what we’re banking on to give the squirrels the message to stay away. Vinegar is effective because most of these animals, including squirrels, have an extremely strong sense of smell that they utilize to forage during the fall and winter months in the cold. Squirrels, like mice, are repelled by the pungent aroma.

Type of Vinegar

While many people sweat by standard white distilled vinegar, we would actually recommend apple cider vinegar instead. Apple cider vinegar has a slightly more harsh smell and can be more effective in deterring pests. 

Limitations of DIY Squirrel Repellant

Like everything, the vinegar approach has its limitations. Its efficacy can vary based on how bad your squirrel situation is. The potency of your mixture, and even the surrounding conditions (summer vs. winter) can make it more or less useful. 

Final Thoughts

So, the question: is vinegar your one-stop cure-all to a squirrel-free paradise? Probably not. It might give you an edge and act as a natural repellant, but it’s no magic potion—nothing really is. 

If squirrels are uninvited guests in your yard or you’re trying to keep them out of your gutters, you should adopt a more comprehensive plan. This might involve sealing off their favorite entry points, removing what draws them to your backyard, and calling in the experts for professional advice or pest control services. You do not want to resort to using rat poison on animals like squirrels. 

You can still throw the DIY vinegar mix into your arsenal. Just keep in mind that a well-rounded approach, with multiple proactive measures, will be your best bet against squirrels in your backyard or on your property. 

Photo of author
Sean is the founder of Conquer Critters. With more than 17 years of experience in dealing with various pests, he is passionate about spreading his knowledge to help everyone manage their pest problem in the fastest, most effective manor possible.