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

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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