3 DIY Deer Repellents to Protect Your Garden from Hungry Guests

Try these homemade deer repellent solutions to keep deer from eating your most colorful blooms and the fruits and vegetables you worked so hard to grow.

Walking outside to see your prized clematis vine and garden tomatoes chewed and withered is heartbreaking, especially for dedicated and hardworking gardeners. There are some vegetables and flowers that deer don't like, but they'll eat just about anything depending on how hungry they are and what's available. Keep hungry deer away with these easy ways to deter them from your favorite plants. These DIY natural deer repellents are less toxic than store-bought sprays, which often use chemicals that seep into your garden's soil.

DIY Natural Deer Repellents

BHG / Nez Riaz

Soap Deer Repellent

Deer stay away from strong fragrances, making deodorant bar soap an inexpensive option to keep deer out of your garden. And because this natural deer repellent doesn't physically touch plants, it's perfect for vegetable gardens.

To add soap to your plants:

  1. Using a sharp knife, cut a bar of soap into several pieces.
  2. Dump the soap pieces into an empty sock.
  3. Secure the top of the sock with twine to create a pouch.
  4. Attach the soap pouch to a wooden stake with a staple gun.
  5. Drive the wooden stake into the ground where you want to keep deer out.
deer in wooded area
Deer dislike strong smells—these DIY repellents are heavily scented to keep deer at bay.

Smelly Deer Repellent Spray

The smell of rotten eggs and spoiled milk is stinky enough to keep deer at the yard's edge. So if you use these pungent ingredients as a natural deer repellent, make sure they're far away from windows and outdoor living areas, so they don't waft into daily life.

To create this easy deer spray:

  1. Beat an egg in a bowl.
  2. Use a small funnel to pour the beaten egg into an empty 16-ounce spray bottle.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon cooking oil, 1 tablespoon dish soap, and 1/2 cup milk to the bottle with the egg.
  4. Fill the bottle halfway with water, then close the lid tightly. Shake the closed bottle to mix the contents together.
  5. Store the spray in the refrigerator until ready to spray it outside.
  6. Spray the mixture around the garden, but not on anything you are going to eat.

After a few days of spraying, deer should get the hint that your plants are not their next meal.

Essential Oil Deer Repellent

For a DIY spray with a more pleasant aroma, use vinegar and herbal essential oils.

  1. Use a funnel to add 8 ounces of white vinegar to an empty 16-ounce spray bottle.
  2. Add 6 drops of peppermint essential oil and 4 drops of rosemary essential oil to the spray bottle with the vinegar.
  3. Tightly close the spray bottle lid and shake to mix the contents together.
  4. Spray this mixture onto plants, refraining from spraying anything you plan to eat.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long do homemade deer repellents last?

    Homemade egg-based deer repellent lasts around two weeks unless it rains. An essential oil-based repellent can last up to 5 weeks without rainfall. Soap deer repellent lasts until the scent is gone or the soap melts or is dissolved by moisture.

  • How often do homemade deer repellents need to be applied?

    Reapply egg-based deer repellent after rainfall or every two weeks. Essential oil-based repellent should be reapplied every 5 weeks or after it rains. Soap deer repellent should be added to a garden when the existing soap has disintegrated.

  • What other odors can be used to make DIY deer repellent?

    A mixture of hot sauce, garlic powder, liquid dish soap, and water keeps deer away. Other scents they don't like are mint, oregano, sage, and thyme. Add these to your garden to repel deer.

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