Dumpster Pest Prevention: Strategies That Actually Work

August 15, 2023

Indeed, dumpsters are often breeding grounds for various vermin, and they can be impossible to expel once they’ve moved in. Learning preventative methods can help keep your home off pests’ radar. 

Here’s what you should do to prevent pest infestation of an outdoor dumpster:

  1. Make Sure the Lid is Closed
  2. Cut Back Shrubbery
  3. Regular Dumpster Cleanings
  4. Noise-makers 
  5. Motion-detecting Lights
  6. Sprinklers
  7. Regular Inspections
  8. Concrete Pad
  9. Basic Pest Proofing
  10.  Keep the Dumpster at a Distance
  11. Use smells 

Read on and learn how to minimize dangerous health hazards near your dumpster by utilizing these easy measures. 

Make Sure the Lid is Closed

Raccoons are notorious for opening garbage cans and tearing through trash bags. That’s why closing the lid of your dumpster might not be enough to keep these critters out. Instead, close the lid and lock it when not in use. 

Sealing the dumpster also prevents odors from seeping out and attracting insects or rats. Everything remains contained inside – untouched. 

Cut Back Shrubbery

If you cannot move the dumpster away from forests or shrubbery, the next best thing is cutting foliage back. Bushes conceal burrows, nests, and hideouts of pests. The more bushes there are, the better chance a rat has to sneak unseen to the dumpster. 

Cut back shrubbery and enhance your field of vision around the dumpster.

Regular Dumpster Cleanings

Clean your dumpster monthly after it's fully emptied. Check if your dumpster rental service offers cleaning services or if they can recommend a company that does.


Otherwise known as 'ultrasonic pest repellers,' noise makers emit high-pitched sounds and vibrations that repel pests. These are usually small electronic devices situated on a ledge or at the base of a dumpster. Some devices require batteries, while others need to be plugged in.

They repel:

  • Cockroaches
  • Mosquitoes
  • Silverfish
  • Bed bugs
  • Flies
  • Mice and rats
  • Birds 

Motion-Detecting Lights

Another answer to "What should you do to prevent pest infestation of an outdoor dumpster?" is lights! Lights are a particularly effective deterrent for nocturnal pests like raccoons, possums, bed bugs, and rats. They will scatter to avoid the light. 

This is also an effective way to be alerted to their presence (if the dumpster is visible from your residence). Follow this alert with an inspection to confirm no critters lingered. 


Motion-activated sprinklers also exist, and much like lights, they deter pests, but with water. There are even sprinklers with lights attached for extra reinforcement. Many of these sprinklers are solar-powered with a post directly into the ground. 

Place sprinklers on tripods near dumpsters on concrete or asphalt to clean them efficiently.

Regular Inspections

Inspect your dumpster for rusty, chewed, or broken areas. Chewed areas are the first sign that something is lurking around your dumpster, and it’s time to bump up pest prevention. 

Then check around the base for burrows or further indication of vermin presence. 

Rust and broken pieces indicate a dumpster has weaknesses that rats and raccoons can exploit. Rust eats through metal, making it brittle and thin. 

Concrete Pad

All dumpsters should be installed on top of a concrete slab. This slab raises the dumpster off the ground and prevents rats from burrowing underneath. 

The concrete pad is also a great barrier between bugs since you can mark the perimeter with glue traps, pesticides, or peppermint oil. 

Basic Pest Proofing

  • All food, oils, creams, and heavily scented items should be in tied trash bags. 
  • Consider using caulk to seal gaps. 
  • Make sure there is no standing water. Standing water attracts mosquitoes and gnats. 

Keep the Dumpster at a Distance

A dumpster's ideal distance from your facility/residence is 100ft, which is only sometimes possible for some facilities. At the very least, a dumpster should be 50 feet from a residence. 

When the distance decreases from 50 ft, the risk of exposure to a health hazard significantly rises.

Use Smells 

One of the best repellents is scents, specifically peppermint and ammonia. 

Momentum Dumpsters

Momentum Dumpsters is a dumpster rental service operating out of Tennessee. We are happy to help folks in Maryville, Tallassee, Alcoa, Walland, and plenty more; check out our website to see if you're within our service radius. 

We offer fast delivery on 15 and 30-yard dumpsters, with rentals lasting three to seven days and ranging from $300 to $525. 

If you're looking to clean up a demo site or empty a storage unit, Momentum Dumpsters is here to help. 

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