Deer are notorious for eating the most beautiful, colorful blooms in the garden—along with the produce you worked so hard to grow all season. Try these homemade deer repellent solutions in your garden to keep deer off your property.


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 will eat just about anything depending on how hungry they are and availability. Keep hungry deer away with these easy ways to deter them from your favorite plants. These DIY deer deterrents are more natural than store-bought sprays, which often use chemicals that seep into the soil of your garden.

deer in wooded area
Deer dislike strong smells—these DIY repellents are heavily scented to keep deer at bay.

Soap Deer Repellent

Deer stay away from strong fragrances, making deodorant bar soap an inexpensive option as a repellent. And because this repellent doesn't physically touch plants, it's perfect for vegetable gardens. Using a sharp knife, cut a bar of soap into several pieces. Dump the soap pieces into an empty sock. Secure the top of the sock with twine to create a pouch. Attach the soap pouch to a wooden stake with a staple gun. Then drive the wooden stake into the ground in the area you want deer to stay away from.

Smelly Deer Repellent Spray

The smell of rotten eggs and spoiled milk are fragrant enough to keep deer at the edge of the yard. If you do use these pungent ingredients, make sure you use them far enough away from windows and outdoor living areas so they don't waft into daily life. To create this easy deer spray, start by beating an egg in a bowl. Use a small funnel to pour the beaten egg into an empty 16-ounce spray bottle. Then add 1 tablespoon cooking oil, 1 tablespoon dish soap, and 1/2 cup milk to the bottle with the egg. Fill the bottle halfway with water, then close the lid tightly. Shake the closed bottle to mix the contents together.

Store the spray in the refrigerator until you are ready to spray it outside. 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 Repellent

For a DIY spray with a more pleasant aroma, use vinegar and herbal essential oils. Use a funnel to add 8 ounces of white vinegar to an empty 16-ounce spray bottle. We used 6 drops of peppermint essential oil and 4 drops of rosemary essential oil and added them to the spray bottle with the vinegar. Tightly close the lid of the spray bottle and shake to mix the contents together.

Spray this mixture onto plants, also refraining from spraying anything you plan to eat.

Comments (2)

October 31, 2018
I use Irish Spring original scent to keep deer out of my hostas. I throw the whole bars on the ground around my hostas. The whole bars last all summer through the rains so I do not have to replenish the treatment. No matter what method you use, the trick is to start before they start nibbling. Once they find something they like to eat, they keep coming back!
October 20, 2018