Inside: Fed up with squirrels feeding on your outdoor pillows and cushions? The one simple solution and the only thing that worked for me! ➡
Squirrels. I have a love-hate relationship with them.
Watching their cartoon-level cuteness as they scurry, gather, and frolic in my yard is a little dose of everyday happiness. I throw on my brakes every single time not to run over one on my street.
But they cross over to my bad side when they destroy hundreds of dollars in outdoor furniture cushions.
They’re like tiny Terminators. They absolutely will not stop—ever, until they get what they want.
And that’s exactly how I got them to leave our outdoor cushions alone!
I’ve read and tried most of the tips for keeping squirrels away from patio furniture cushions online and honestly, they didn’t work for me (I’ll cover why further down).
Just like us, squirrels are just trying to make a nice, comfy home for their family.
So they’re constantly on the hunt for twigs and whatever soft materials they can find—leaves, feathers, animal fur, etc. They’re probably screaming “jackpot” in their head when they discover the endless smorgasbord of downy soft fluff hidden beneath that outdoor cushion fabric.
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The one thing that really keeps squirrels from destroying my outdoor cushions.
The one and only thing that has allowed us to live in harmony? That lets us sit on untattered patio furniture while watching the adorable squirrel show?
The “sacrificial cushion”.
Desperate to be able to keep the cushions out on the furniture, I gave the squirrels exactly what they want. Their very own buffet of soft, fluffy stuffing that they can line their nests to their hearts’ content with!
I tried so many squirrel repellent tips with no success, One day after the most recent squirrel damage, I was at my wit’s end and carrying an old cushion to the trash. And in a frustrated “what do I have to lose” moment, I tore the cushion open and laid it near the outdoor chat set, hoping they would go for it first.
Here you go you little tree rats—have at it!!
They took the bait.
It’s been several years now with no mishaps. Since deciding this torn-open cushion serving up the stuffing was working, I’ve experimented with different kinds of old pillows. It’s been a great way to get some use out of indoor throw pillow inserts I don’t need, and old bed pillows I can’t donate!
- The thin cover on a throw pillow insert will eventually disintegrate in the weather, so encase it in some other kind of covering like an old throw pillow cover before tearing it open.
- Put an old white bed pillow into a pillowcase in a color that will be less noticeable.
Are there downsides to this squirrel cushion deterrent method?
- No, it’s not 100% foolproof to keep them from discovering the cushions and pillows you don’t want to be chewed.
- Squirrels aren’t that neat. I find bits of stuffing around the flower beds and in the yard. But it’s proof that they’re taking it and it’s working!
- It’s not super attractive to have a busted cushion laying on the ground. But you can always hide it when you want the backyard to look extra nice.
Methods usually recommended to keep squirrels from chewing outdoor furniture.
These are the deterrents you’ll see recommended most often. I’ve tried many of them, but with little success. Some might be good for other squirrel problems, like keeping squirrels out of gardens, but my goal was to keep them from nibbling on my cushions.
- Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar diluted with water for a homemade squirrel repellant. (I didn’t try this one because I’m not a vinegar scent fan, plus you have to reapply often.)
- Pepper. Another natural squirrel repellant is to sprinkle pepper or make a pepper mixture spray from any mixture of pepper—black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, etc. (I don’t want to constantly smell spice, plus you have to reapply after heavy rainfall.)
- Predator urine. The scent of coyote or fox urine is a signal for squirrels to stay clear of the area. You can usually find these products in home improvement stores. (I just don’t like the idea of putting pee on or around my outdoor furniture.)
- Peppermint. Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil for a good smell that repels squirrels. (I tried this one with no luck at all for the cushions.)
- Coffee grounds are another strong smell squirrels don’t care for. (I don’t want coffee on the cushions, and putting it around the area didn’t work.)
- Irish Spring soap. I tucked sachets with pieces of soap under the cushions with no luck. And when the cushions got wet, so did the soap.
- Fabric softener sheets. Smells great, but again, no dice.
And a few more squirrel deterrents that you may not have thought of (and some maybe you shouldn’t, lol):
Squirrels chew not just to get at what they want, but have to constantly grind down and sharpen those rodent squirrel teeth that are continuously growing. Unfortunately, metal electrical wires are a perfect tool for this. If you have signs of squirrel droppings or activity in your attic, take immediate action with a professional to avoid a fire.
One problem tackled, but I’m still trying to find a way to keep pesky squirrels from eating my bird seed. I’m experimenting with squirrel-proof bird feeders, but maybe I need to use the same concept and add a squirrel feeder!
I am dying for the cuteness of these:
Mr. SH&H may lose his mind when he finds out I’m thinking about feeding them…😂
You may also be interested in a pretty way to scare away mosquitos—see it in the post, “DIY Lovely Lemon & Herb Luminaries: Heaven-Scent Mosquito Repellent“.
This simple “sacrificial cushion” trick solved my number one squirrel dilemma. But those little suckers will chew anything. They’ve chewed everything from our house eaves to the handle on our outdoor refrigerator (I would have just given them a beer).
But I’m back to enjoying having the cute critters entertain me in the yard. It’s the least they can do in exchange for the less work they have to do to feather their nests.
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