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What Smell Do Pigeons Hate? (Easy Ways To Repel Pigeons)

What Smell Do Pigeons Hate? (Easy Ways To Repel Pigeons)

Pigeons are beautiful creatures — only as long as they don’t decide to make a nest on your property!

These birds feed and live on anything. You will find them roosting on trees, roofs, street lights, and even billboards. While this indicates their excellent adaptability skills, it also means they poop on everything!

It doesn’t matter whether it’s your house or car. Pigeons won’t hesitate to ruin them, so you should get rid of them as soon as possible. 

Unfortunately, pigeons are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981. This means you can end up in serious legal trouble if you hurt them in any way. So, you have only one effective option to deal with this matter – smell deterrence. 

Pigeons have an excellent sense of smell that they use to navigate their way. You can use this against them by spreading smells they hate. But what smell do pigeons hate? Let’s find out below!

What Smell Do Pigeons Hate?

Smell Pigeons Hate

Image Credit: andyaj60

Generally, pigeons hate strong and pungent smells – especially if they have a spicy or warm accent. Their sensitive nose can’t tolerate the intensity, so they will flee away from such smelly areas.

Some popular examples of these scents include:

1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a common kitchen ingredient that we use to make a variety of delicious baked goods. It has a warm, fruity odor. You can compare it to vanilla, except that cinnamon smells a little peppery and woody too. 

For pigeons, this is an absolutely disgusting smell. The chemical compounds in cinnamon are also natural irritants. So, when a pigeon inhales the cinnamon smell, it not only feels unpleasant but also causes extreme discomfort in their sinus. 

However, there are no serious consequences (like death). This makes cinnamon a safe and effective smell deterrent

Just break a cinnamon stick into smaller pieces and put them in areas where pigeons are seen the most. If you’ve powdered cinnamon, add a few tablespoons to a bottle of water and shake it vigorously. Once dissolved, spread the mixture around the pigeons. 

2. Chili Peppers

Pigeons detest all types of chili pepper because of their spicy scent. But, it’s not just the smell, chili peppers can cause burning if it enters the eyes, throat, or nose. 

This happens because of the compound Capsaicin. It is a powerful irritant that produces the sensation of burning, heat, and pain. It also causes the skin to redden. In higher concentrations, capsaicin can lead to temporary blindness, diarrhea, and breathing issues.

So, we don’t recommend using the hottest chili peppers like ghost peppers. Instead, choose moderately spicy ones, such as:

  • Red pepper
  • Jalapenos 
  • Cayenne Pepper 

You can either directly sprinkle the spice flakes onto pigeon-infested areas or create a pigeon repellent. To make the spray, mix fine chili powder into water. If you want to increase the potency, add a few teaspoons of hot sauce too. 

3. Vinegar


Image Credit: natalie_nuthatch

Vinegar is well-known for its natural cleaning properties. The acidic solution dissolves the toughest of stains and brightens the surface. It’s why you can find it in almost every commercial cleaning product.

However, it has a very pungent, sour odor that lingers for hours. This makes it a highly effective and cheap deterrent for pigeons. Use a spray bottle to spread it over the walls, windows, fences, and other places inhabited by pigeons. 

Please note there are different types of vinegar with different smell potencies. For pigeons, we recommend only white vinegar (no apple cider vinegar, please!). 

4. Peppermint

Peppermint is a hybrid plant between spearmint and watermint. It has a strong and sharp minty smell. Most of us find this to be refreshing and cool, but for pigeons, it’s awful. This is why they will never go near peppermints. 

So, if you have a garden, we suggest planting peppermint. You don’t have to grow it from scratch as many nurseries sell adult plants. However, this can be an expensive option. 

Alternatively, you can try peppermint essential oil. Just add a few drops of peppermint oil to the diffuser and place it near the windows. The smell will spread indoors as well as outdoors – scaring the pigeons away!

5. Garlic and Onion 

Both garlic and onions are great pigeon deterrents. It’s impossible to keep their pungent smells contained within the kitchen when cooking something. Imagine how well they will work outside where the fast-flowing wind can carry their scent far and wide.

To use them, chop a few garlic cloves and onions. Make sure to cut them small so that there are more pieces to scatter in the pigeon-infested spots

If you want to double up the effect, create a thick paste of garlic and onions. This will bring out the natural juices of the vegetables and increase the smell potency. Pour this paste into small containers and put them wherever pigeons are nesting. 

6. Black Pepper

Black Pepper

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Black pepper is another cheap option that you can try. Thanks to its spicy odor, pigeons don’t roost in areas where black pepper is spread out. 

However, you need to be careful with powdered black pepper. If you create black pepper trails under the open sky, chances are that the wind will blow it away into the eyes of pets, children, and passersby. 

Instead, scatter a handful of dried black peppers into the affected areas. Or, empty the tea bags and fill them with ground black pepper. Staple the bags from the top so that the pepper doesn’t fall out, and place them near pigeons. 

7. Mothball

A mothball contains chemical pesticides and pungent deodorants. They are commonly used to get rid of moths and other fiber pests (hence, the name mothballs). 

Since their smell is sharp, like nail polish remover, they work well for pigeons too. Place them under eaves, on the roof, and on the balcony. Usually, one ball is enough for one area, but if you’ve found pigeon nests, it’s best to have two or three mothballs together. 

8. WD-40 Oil 

The term WD stands for water displacement. So, the WD-40 oil is a unique water-based formulation that brings together different lubricants with anti-corrosion properties. Although its main job is to displace water, the oil is an excellent solvent and degreaser. 

But why are we telling you this information? Because it also smells like a strong cologne or perfume. While most people like this scent, pigeons despise it!

Besides, WD-40 oil makes the surface too smooth and slippery for pigeons to hold onto. So, if you pour some of it on the rooftop or soffit, pigeons will stay far away. However, we don’t recommend using it on walls or any other visible spot. The oil can leave nasty stains.

Does Smell Deterrence Really Work for Pigeons?

Yes, smell deterrence does work because pigeons are sensitive to smells. They use odor to detect what is good ad what is not. So, if you spread a smell they hate, they will leave the area immediately,

However, note that smells last for a specific time. They will lose their potency – especially if it is too windy or it rains. And when the smell fades, pigeons will come back.

You need to reapply the unpleasant smells after every 12 to 24 hours for effective results. If you want to get rid of pigeons permanently, you must try physical deterrence methods too. 

How to Get Rid Of Pigeons Permanently?

Pigeons are good learners, and when they see something that isn’t good for them, they never go near it. So, how do you teach a good lesson about Stay Away From My House? By combining smell deterrents with physical ones!

Here are some excellent bird-repellent ideas to get rid of pigeons permanently:

  • Bird Gels — thick, sticky gels that make landing onto surfaces difficult. However, it can be pricey when used in large quantities. 
  • Bird Spikes & Wiring – running parallel steel wires or installing spikes is an effective way to solve pigeon problems. It will not only stop pigeons from invading your property but also other pests and animals. Just make sure these installations aren’t accessible to your children and pets.
  • Bird Netting – a 50mm nylon net prevents pigeons from sitting and nesting on eaves, roofs, sheds, and balconies. It also blends well with the surface, so nothing looks odd.
  • Falconry – refers to the use of live predator birds to deter pigeons. To use this method, you will need the help of a professional falconer who will direct the natural predators (falcons and hawks) toward your property.

When pigeons will see these birds in the area, they will automatically shift to another place. This is because pigeons aren’t brave or aggressive birds. They would rather flee than fight. 


To recap, pigeons are annoying pests that can damage your property. They shouldn’t linger around your house for long and definitely not make a nest on the roof. If you find them doing so, scare them away using smell deterrents. 

So, what smell do pigeons hate? They dislike the smell of cinnamon, hot chili peppers, vinegar, peppermint, black pepper, garlic, onion, mothball, and WD-40 oil. You can also use commercially sold smell deterrents. 

Have you tried any other smells for pigeons? Let us know your experience in the comments below!

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