How to Keep Squirrels from Damaging Your Home

Squirrels love climbing on houses and can cause damage to the outside of your home by chewing on everything from lead roof flanges and attic vents to wood shutters and siding.

If they manage to get inside your walls or attic, squirrels can cause extensive damage to your home, including chewing into wiring and tearing up insulation for nests.

Squirrel hole gnawed in eave of house.
Squirrel hole gnawed in eave of house.

To keep squirrels out of your house, start by thoroughly examining the exterior of your home – paying particular attention to the eaves – for holes and cracks; then fill or cover any gaps you find with a hard material such as fiber cement, sheet metal flashing, or auto body filler.

Check gable, soffit, and power vents in the attic – as well as caps on chimneys – to make sure they have metal hardware cloth behind them that’s firmly attached around the edges.

Squirrels have a keen sense of smell and taste, and have a strong dislike for capsaicin – the active ingredient found in cayenne peppers. Commercial squirrel repellents are available; or you can make your own using cayenne peppers.

Here’s a recipe for a homemade squirrel repellent using capsaicin:

  • 1 bottle of cayenne pepper sauce
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 teaspoon mild liquid dishwashing detergent

Mix the ingredients up together, and spray or brush the repellent on areas where squirrels are active.

Keep in mind that no repellent is 100% effective to a determined squirrel. Also, the repellent will wear off over time and need to be reapplied periodically.

Another idea is to give squirrels a reason to go somewhere else. Squirrels go nuts for peanut butter and sunflower seeds. So, you might want to provide a nice little oasis with a bird bath for water and a feeding station, so the critters will tend to congregate there instead.

Further Information


  1. Thank you…I’m on my way to the store. One squirrel had my daughter terrified because she keeps climbing the screens in our TV room. At least it gets her away from the tele, but she won’t go outside!!

  2. so i have squirrels been coming in through my windows because it is the summer it is incredibly hot in my house! however this morning while i was sleeping 2 more squirrels happened to come in! so i’m trying this hopefully it will work though my whole bedroon wreaks of cayanne pepper i used sammossa sauce! however its mostly hot sauce thats on my window ratio to water was off alittle!

  3. Looking for a raccoon baffle for a hanging bird feeder. I already have a dome-type baffle above the bird feeder, but the raccoon seems to be able to hang from the branch above and work around the baffle. I have no where else to hang the feeder other than from this branch. Also have no area in the yard to place a pole-based bird feeder.


  4. HELP!! I don’t want to be kept a prisoner in my own home! I LOVE to keep all my windows open – especially in the Fall, and out of my about 20 squirrels, I think it;s the same ROGUE that keeps jumping on my window screens! He knocked the one right out of the kitchen window and it took me 4 Hours to get him out of my house after he found a hiding place on top of, and under, my china cabinet board. I have lived in this 1 story ranch house for 16 years, and I have constantly fed all the birdies and squirrelies, and have NEVER had a problem like I am having this year! I have to keep all my windows and doors closed. But once I give in and fill their 9 stations in the backyard – they calm down a little and stay away from the windows. I have tried sprinkling cayenne pepper straight from the spice jar on the sills, but it doesn’t seem to help much. I also don’t want the wind to blow it inside on my dishes or drainer. How can I enjoy the autumn weather? If I stop feeding them at all, my heart hurts.

  5. I have a squirrel who ate under shingles, fixed it. Dug into eaves was under roof. Screened it in. Finally he ate through my flashing under the eaves. Big hole in flashing. I had my handyman put the steel screening over that part too. However, house is for sale and what an eyesore. What could I do to reinstate the flashing and of course will remove the screening. Do they sell a 3 ft piece of flashing? I have now spent over $400 for this damn squirrel. He has moved now to neighbors home.

  6. by the way Debra get real. Do not feed the wild and you will not have wild animals in your home. They have natural instincts and will out survive us they are so efficient at feeding themselves. let your heart go and use your head.

  7. Squirrels love our vertical cedar sided house. They love the pink blown Fiberglass insulation installed over 30 years ago in the attic. It settled To R12 so had it replaced last Nov. with cellulose fiber, which squirrels dislike. Do not hear them in the attic anymore. Also caught 18 squirrels in live traps 3 years ago, About 2 last year, and 10 removed this July to join their friends and family about 2 miles away near a grove of oaks. We have 2 live traps, and will start campaign again in a few days, as there appear to be 3-4 out there. I’m rebuilding our daughters play house built 38 years ago, but has been badly chewed up. Turning it into a garden shed, but will use metal siding Where possible, and asphalt shingles instead of wood shingles. Using 4 x 8 chipboard was not a good idea. Also considering something different to keep them from penetrating underneath building. Have a lot of old patio stones for skirting.
    Good luck with yours!

  8. A squirrel was outside my window sill just sitting there making a noise. I pecked on the window to get him off and he jumped to the ground and back up to the bathroom window. When I pecked on the window, he became agitated and got really noisy. I wanted to go outside and get him off my property. Will they attack people?

  9. Have large screened lanai. Squirrels crawl on it. Might try the pepper spray But I have cats on the lanai. Will this affect them in anyway?
    Thank for your reply.

  10. A word of caution on live-trapping squirrels to remove nuisance. Living in NE Chicago, I had squirrels invading the attic and destroying garden produce (one bite and dropped on the ground; really annoying). I sealed the attic and live-trapped for over a year — 30+ squirrels — and released them in a Forest Preserve 12 mi. from home. At the end, there were no fewer squirrels around my home. They breed constantly and expand to fill up any environment with food (every garbage can in every alley nearby had a squirrel hole chewed through)

  11. Going today to get me a pellet gun and will also try HOT peppers to rub on house eves. If that doesn’t work, I’ll be getting some sticky board to staple where they are chewing my house. They haven’t gone through yet but I will stop them. Oh and I’m going to go to someplace and get a squirrel trap! Wish me luck!

  12. I live in a senior citizen apartment complex we are inundated with squirrels jumping on the screens knocking out the screens and destroying apartments what can be done about this besides pepper spray it’s horrible afraid to open my windows

  13. There are a plenty of squirrels in our subdivision. Last week I witnessed that a a corner of wood frame of my kitchen window has been eaten by an animal. I have two questions . 1. How to stop that animal from eating any further and 2. Do I need to replace my entire wood frame or window or use some kind of filler ? Thank you.

  14. Squirrel Damage Stopped by softening several jars of Vaseline in large bowl, stirring in several jars of powdered cayenne pepper, and troweling along edge of roof where they where hanging over trying to reopen a hole they had used to get into eaves for years. Since it is winter now the corner of the house is still nicely covered by the inch thick smear. If they even touch it they will be chased away by the burning quality of the pepper and the Vaseline has been keeping it there for several weeks now. This is our variation on the old advice to spray the area with liquid hot sauce and to keep repeating because it washes off. So far this is lasting and we are so relieved to see no new efforts or holes by those rascally squirrels.

  15. I have some pesty squirrels that are attempting to make a home in my soffet. I have vynal siding and soffets and aluminum fascia. They were successful over the summer because a piece of fascia fell off and before I could put it back up, they moved in. Once I was sure they were all out, I re-insulated put up chicken wire and put back the fascia. Now I see one attempting to get in at a different part of the house. How do I keep it from being successful? I cant patrol my yard 24/7 and these rats with fluffy tails can chew a hole in, over night !!

  16. I am seeing a red squirrel chewing on the log ends of my pine log home.
    This is the first time I am seeing this and I wonder why all of a sudden, as
    I’ve been here for 23 years! What to do? I have heard about cayenne powder but wonder exactly how to mix this and apply it. I appreciate any answers here.

  17. my problem is the squirrels will clinb from the ground up on the corners of my three story vinyl house to the roof and then live there forever, how do I stop them from climbing all four corners of my vinyl house

  18. Oh my goodness, I had to stay up one night because of Tornado threats and about 2:00 in the morning I heard this loud activity in my walls, I jumped sky high off the couch, banged the wall, didn’t disturb the activity at all. Sounded like a bunch of squirrels having a family reunion! I need help bad! Can’t stand the thoughts of these critters eating away at my home! Wish they could read, then I would put up a sign that said, “Pass this sign and you are Dead!!! For a single Senior, this is a real problem!!! I have a live trap but I don’t know what I would do if I caught one! HELP!

  19. Lemon or lime works too. Squirrels hate anything citrus. They chewed into the gas line on my van. We sliced fresh lemons and stuck in nooks and crannies under the car… no more issues. Also use lemon juice or lemon oil mixed with water to spray on brick or concrete steps where they chew the mortar to sharpen their teeth.

  20. I’ve just spent over an hour reading and researching articles such as this. Yes, all these are good suggestions. But none of them seem to add the caveat, but of course if you use fox urine and want to sit out on your deck, you’ll smell the strong odor. Or, if you use pepper spray on the railing and want to use your deck, when the wind changes it will blow in your face. So, either the squirrel apparently gets to continue to chew on the deck or I can’t use the deck either. No wonder people capture and kill them.

    • Good point, Tucker! That’s why we don’t recommend loose pepper.
      The mixture of pepper sauce, dishwashing detergent and water coats the surface, almost like a sunblock.
      It won’t blow in your face when the wind kicks up.
      Good luck!

  21. We have tried the concoction of hot pepper sauce, blue Dawn dish detergent and water and the rain washes away. When you live on a mountain, there are too many squirrels to try to capture and release. I’m going to try the vaseline and cayenne pepper and also throw some lemon rinds on the ground around where they climb to chew on my logs.


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