Homemade Deer Repellent Spray

Dear Chicago House,

You are a dark horse. Who knew the short burst of heat we had last week would produce such abundance of color in your garden. I had no idea so many of your bushes would produce such a wonderful array of blossom. We have pink, white, fushia and yellow.

What more could a girl ask for? I know, what how about a cheap home made spray that keeps those pesky deer from eating your juicy hostas.

Low and behold here we are, coming up one homemade deer repellent spray.


2 eggs
1 cup of skimmed milk
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of dish detergent

Whiz up in a blender and put in an old spray bottle. The deer are repelled by the smell of rotting eggs… but I have been unable to detect much of a odor so Chicago garden you will carry on smelling sweet to the likes of me.

Chicago house your hostas WILL be protected.

Love from

Creative in Chicago


P.S. This spray is still doing it’s job…check out the latest photos from my garden

70 thoughts on “Homemade Deer Repellent Spray

      1. Once a week worked for me but if there was a massive downpour I would give my plants a quick spray afterwards. If you are diligent about this at the start of the season you can be a bit lazier later as by then the deer have learned to avoid your plants!

    1. I am sad the deer are eating my fav hosta. It was so big last year. I was going to buy wire. But will try this Spray

    2. I have used Ivory soap, stroked with a wire brush, allowing the shavings to drop onto the leaves and around the plants. This really kept them away. Likewise, it must be reapplied after a rain.

          1. Yikes, that’s a new one for me, I thought you were going to say rabbit or something more mundane! I’d give it a go, can’t hurt and is going to cost you just pennies. Let me know if it works!

  1. Is this recipe bee friendly? I have Mason Bees that I don’t want to harm and I want them to pollinate the plants.


  3. Thank you so much for this recipe! I have been using this for 3 years now and no plants have been harmed by deer, except for the ones I didn’t spray like the holly I thought was safe, not! I apply about once a month from spring to late summer. Rain doesn’t even take away its effectiveness. I tell everyone I know about this, it’s the cheapest and best thing I’ve ever used.

    1. Hi Hillary,
      When you first start using the spray you really need to use after every rain which is a bit of a pain. However the deer learn to avoid the plants after a while so you can reduce the usage.

    1. I actually use it all in one go and just make up a new batch as I need. It would probably last a long time the the fridge but would begin to stink a bit!

  4. Does it have to be regular milk? Or do you think coconut milk would work? That’s what I have. Just found half my hostas gone 🙁

    1. You could try it with coconut milk…it is much cheaper with cows milk though! The milk is the carrier for the eggs so I see no reason it shouldn’t work. Let me know!

  5. Thanks for the information. Please give me more detail about the usage. At first, apply after every rain. Does this mean every spring? Then, when do you start easing off? Every 2 weeks, once a month? Do you need to do it even in the winter. Thanks! Camilla

    1. Hi Camilla, I usually start to apply as my hostas start appearing…it seems of all the plants in my garden it’s those that the deer love the most. I apply probably about once a week until the plants are well established then about once a month or after a really heavy rain. I only apply to plants I know the deer like to eat. You can use in winter and I wish I had, as the deer took huge chunks from a yew hedge during the snowy months when they couldn’t find anything to eat. The hedge has yet to fully recover!

  6. Thanks for the recipe! I love the deer but they are destroying my coneflowers and hydrangeas! I wrote the recipe on the spray bottle so it’s always handy…praying it will work!

  7. I can’t wait to try this! Another unrelated question…..do you know of anything that can be sprayed on basil that has been damaged by ? Something is eating holes in leaves….last year the snails were bad and doing that…moved them this year…holes by not snails now. Have them in pots and moved them to different areas of the yard each year. Always damaged by not sure what. I know they say Sevin is safe, but I don’t trust something like that on basil…where it is the leaf one eats. I tried making a potion of hot sauce in water with a little Dawn…helped a bit. Plant itself not happy about that…leaves burned a little. Any help appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Hi Nancy,
      Not sure what to suggest for your basil but it sounds like caterpillars …but then you would see those. Slugs?

  8. I use this same recipe to deter deer but I add 2-3 Tbsp of vegetable oil, it helps the solution to stick to my plants. I also mix it in a 2 gallon pump up sprayer & fill to fill line with water, adding dish detergent last to avoid foaming over. Have used this for 10 years with great success!

    1. Will this wash up the plants when you water them? Deer eat anything in my yard not only my hostas. They ate sweet potato vines as well. I have to put deer neetting to prevent them but one night they get so frustrated i guess that they ended up pushing the netting and made it all the way to the front and back of our house and totally made destruction. Ate everything. I sure would love to removemall the ugly deer netting fence i have and just rely on this. I been spraying the same concoction but our deer here in Ga seems to tolerate the smell. So frustrating to see all the hardwork you put into your garden destroyed jusat like that.

      1. Hi Sam,
        I feel your pain. Many years ago a deer jumped a fence in my garden and completely ate everything in it. I was heart broken and so began my quest to spray my plants to stop the carnage! The spray will wash off the plants with a heavy rain or watering but if you keep spraying it will hopefully train the deer to move on …to your neighbors plants. It is the rotten egg smell that deters the deer…although I can never smell it. One additional thing to try is crumbling the egg shells underneath your plant leaves…there should be enough eggs stuff left on them to create a bad egg smell.
        It’s worth a try ..those pesky deer are a pain. I

  9. I’m moving to a new home where deer visit daily. I don’t know what plants will pop up, but they like plenty already! I’m hoping to transplant some daisies, geese-a-walkin’, peony, lavender, and Lily of the Valley. What’s the benefit of the dish soap? Is it so it tastes gross? Or so the mixture sticks better? Thank you!

  10. I had a mishap w/ dish soap last year. I made a mixture of dish soap and water & sprayed on veggie plants to kill bugs. It wound up withering the leaves of the plants and nearly killing them! I probably used too much detergent, but not sure what I did wrong.
    Don’t want the same disaster this year using it in the deer spray mixture.
    Should I be concerned.

    1. I have never had an issue with my recipe affecting my plants at all. If you are really concerned I would make sure you spray in the evening so you can be sure there is no issue with the sun. Hope that helps!

  11. I am anxious to try this recipe!! I have deer that have eaten all the flowers and leaves from my rose bushes, Rose of Sharon trees, Star of Jasmine, just about anything with flowers they have devoured!!

  12. Do you think this would work for chipmunks? Every morning I walk out to see they have dug through my planters and dirt is everywhere. I’m sure they are chewing/eating the roots of my plants. Ugh!

    1. I’d give it a go. chipmunks can be a huge pain in the arse, they dug under our front porch step and caused it to cave in.

    2. I read that if you have chipmunks to spray cotton balls with peppermint oil and place in their holes. They also said broken up pieces of peppermint candy spread around. They hate mint. Mice also. Haven’t tried it but it’s worth a try.

  13. I’m gonna make a BIG batch and put it in a pump sprayer! Hydrangeas, hostas, hibiscus, new plants, established plants, gonna douse them all! Thanks!

  14. I’m going to try this deer repellent recipe. I have roses they love to eat.

    CHIPMUNKS: I love to watch them around our yard, however, they dig into my planters as well. I used Cayenne Pepper Powder by sprinkling lightly ove the soil in my platers. They quickly learned to leave my planters alone. I assume the spice causes a little irritation on their paws. Then they won’t bother the to dig. I add it after spring planting and if it rains. Then only if a new chipmunk comes along. It has always worked for me and the chipmunks enjoy some nut treats, so we’re both happy.

  15. I use Liquid Fence (all natural) and swear by it. Natural remedies have never worked for me but I can see how this recipe would be the closest thing to Liquid Fence. I might try it for nothing more than saving a little $$. Liquid Fence is pricey especially if you spray every 2-3 days like I have to.

  16. Do you spray this directly onto the actual flower blossoms? The deer devastate my roses and daylilly plants and blossoms but roses are so sensitive to moisture on their leaves which promotes fungus so I am concerned about night spraying but the leaves also burn out if sprayed in hot daytime sun. Also, any issues with your sprayer clogging from the egg? Just some advice…. I find the most success alternating sprays. Is this recipe the only one you use? Thanks.

    1. I have never tried it on roses but maybe just try the leaves. I always use a whole batch of spray in one go and really blend it up well to stop it clogging up my bottle. Fortunately I have moved house and no longer have a deer problem .. rabbits are my new enemy… there is always some critter who wants to eat everything!

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