Foxes aren’t really termed as pests, but they are wild animals and they can cause untold damage to your property – not to mention pets kept outdoors in hutches. Their very powerful sense of smell is the main contributor that brings them to your garden in the first place, however, you can use this sense to your own advantage as a means to repel them for good.

Foxes love a rich and diverse garden, and even more so one with compost or accessible rubbish they can dig through.

From fruit and vegetable patches to livestock, foxes can smell this prey from a mile off, and not much can physically prevent them from burrowing their way through fences to get to it.

But besides the classic advice to keep your garden clean by throwing rubbish away properly, not leaving food outside, and securing your garden as best as you can, using their strong sense of smell can put them off if you know how.

There are a few scents that foxes absolutely detest and fortunately, they aren’t hard to get hold of.

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Human scents

Foxes are renowned for being nervously shy among humans and one of the main reasons they get away with creating havoc is due to this fear.

They can detect the presence of humans long before we spot them, so naturally, they’ll wait until there are no humans around before intruding.

So a good way to keep them away is by tricking them into believing humans are around, and there are several ways you can do this.

BC Pest Control highlights the effectiveness of using urine to “mark your territory” but that’s entirely up to you if you’d like to go down that route.

For those less in favour of doing that to your garden, you can use other human substances like hair clippings.

Sprinkle them around your garden to create a form of a territorial line. It will produce a very subtle scent that you won’t be able to smell, but the foxes certainly will.

White vinegar

Like most humans, foxes aren’t huge fans of the smell of vinegar. It’s also a classic item most already have in the house but if you don’t, it’s always cheap to pick up.

White vinegar contains a lot of acetic acid which carries a particularly strong and potent smell.

Foxes hate the smell because it messes with their sensitive olfactory glands.

You can mix up a water and white vinegar solution and spay your bins and property with it although, this will need to be reapplied.

So alternatively, you can hang up some vinegar-soaked cloth around the property or leave an open bowl of vinegar in places the foxes tend to congregate.

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Hot pepper

Hot peppers are another strong fox repellent due to containing a compound called Capsaicin.

This active ingredient gives peppers the signature sense of being hot and spicy – which becomes particularly apparent to animals with a strong sense of smell.

From basic chilli to cayenne, sprinkle the dried spice around key areas foxes might enter, or mix it into a solution of vinegar and water to spritz the areas.


Foxes don’t really like the smell of garlic, either. Although it might not deter them entirely, it will have an impact.

When crushing garlic, it releases a chemical compound called alliinase, which is what creates the distinct scent.

The best way to use it is to crush the garlic up and boil it in water or vinegar to spray around the property.

Commercial fox repellent

If you’d rather opt for something a bit stronger, you can always go for a commercial fox repellent, and these tend to be readily available at most gardening stores as well as the likes of Amazon.

For most commercial fox repellents, the magic ingredient is ammonia.

According to BC Pest Control, this mimics the natural compounds found in fox urine, tricking them into thinking a fox has already marked its territory there, which will, in turn, steer them well away.