Dawn Dish Soap Deer Repellent – Does it Actually Work?

Deer can be extremely harmful to gardens, and as cute as they are, they are intrusive. Deer can ruin months of work in the garden in one day.

There are countless homemade deer repellents, and most of them contain aromatic herbs, water, and soap.

One of the most commonly asked questions is whether or not Dawn dish soap deer repellent actually works – and the simple answer is yes!

There are many stipulations when using this soap as a deer repellent, but in general, it will deter the deer from eating your beautiful plants.

1. DeerinYard

Deer are adorable animals, although the damage they cause to gardens can be enormous. Luckily, Dawn dish soap is one of many repellents that work on deer. 

The Importance of Deterring Deer

Keeping deer away promotes the health of the ecosystem and the safety of humans.

Deer attract larger predators and scare off smaller ones, so having a high deer population can cause an imbalance.

Also, fewer deer around means a lower risk of human injuries and the spread of the detrimental deer tick!

Most importantly, deterring deer is crucial in order to keep your plants intact and healthy! Deer love to eat vegetative and young plants.

2. deer tick

Deer ticks are transported by deer and carry many diseases. These ticks are small but can cause severe illnesses in humans. 

Characteristics of Dawn Dish Soap

So, you’re having trouble with deer in the garden? Dawn dish soap is a good starting place for treating this issue.

While it may not be your best option, the soap does work as a repellent.

There are pros and cons to using this method, and it may be beneficial to know the properties of the soap before trying it out.

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After being created in the 1970s, this soap became the top brand in the U.S. It is not only used as dish soap but also as a deer repellent and pesticide. 

Characteristics of this soap are as follows:

  • It is an antibacterial compound (potential to kill pollinators)
  • Has a neutral pH
  • Is a degreaser
  • Is inexpensive
  • Generally non-toxic to larger mammals

The Benefits of Using This Soap

The dish soap method does actually work, and there are many benefits if you decide to use it.

  • Overall is non-toxic to larger species
  • Deters deer, mice, moles, and other animals
  • Easy to buy

The Negative Side of Utilizing Dish Soap

  • It can break down the waxy plant cuticle which can harm plants
  • Deer can become accustomed to it over time (like any repellent)
  • It can injure pollinators

Make Your Own Dish Soap Repellent

If Dawn dish soap deer repellent is the route you’d like to go, below you can find some recipes that can help to save your plants!

For all of these recipes, you will need a sprayer to apply the product to your plants. Also, shake all the sprays before applying them to the plants.

Spraying in the evening time will reduce the risk of sunburn and other injuries to the plants. Most sprays will need to be applied every 7 to 10 days.

3.backpack spray

Pictured here is a backpack sprayer, which is most common when applying homemade sprays. If you only have a few plants, you could fill a spray bottle with a repellent and then apply it. 

Classic Recipe

Mix 1-2 tablespoons of the soap with 1 gallon of water in a sprayer.

Plant-Based Recipe

Deer do not like many types of herbs, so adding essential oils to the classic recipe will increase the rate of success.

To make this recipe, make the classic recipe as directed and add a few drops of essential oils in the sprayer, shake, and apply.

Since deer become accustomed to different smells, it is good to switch up the scents that you use. The dish soap is not harmful to the deer but they really dislike the taste and smell of it.

Essential oils you could add to your spray include:

  • Peppermint
  • Lavender
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus
  • Eucalyptus

Egg Recipe

Eggs contain a protein that deer dislike, so you can make a mixture of one egg, a tablespoon of dish soap, and a gallon of water to repel deer.

For most homemade repellents, it works best if you let the mixture sit in the sun for up to a week in order to increase the odor.

Picante Recipe

For this formula, mix a gallon of water, garlic powder, a tablespoon of cayenne pepper and dish soap, and one diced onion.

Let the mixture sit in the sun for no more than a week and then spray it on your plants.

4. multiple deer

Any type of spicy plant or substance will deter deer from traveling into your garden and eating your precious plants. 

The Smelly Method

This method is for the brave, for it will have a pungent odor after the mixture sits in the sun for up to a week.

Mixing this formula requires a tablespoon of dish soap, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, a cup of milk, and one egg.

A sprayer will get clogged with this formula, so apply it to your plants with a used paintbrush.

Additives You Could Consider

You can experiment with homemade deer repellents based on the dislikes of deer.

Some additives you could add to your formulas include oils, vinegar, or mayonnaise.

Deer don’t like the stickiness of vegetable oil, vinegar is unpleasant, and mayo forms a pungent smell when left to sit in the sun.

Oil helps to counteract the effects of the Dawn dish soap stripping the plant cuticle. Oil aids in the moisturization of the leaves, and ¼ cup of oil added to your formula would be sufficient.

Vinegar is not highly recommended because it is acidic and strips the plant cuticle, but if you use it, add oil to the mix.

Mayo works well as an additive because vinegar, spices, and eggs are all unpalatable to deer. This product also allows the mixture to stick to the plants better.

5. fridge

Many of the items that you find in your fridge or kitchen can be used as a repellent including dairy products, vinegar, and Dawn dish soap!

Additional Methods to Keep Deer Away

Most times, there needs to be multiple methods implemented to control deer from eating your plants.

If the dish soap recipes don’t protect your plants enough, you may want to consider these other methods.

Deterring Deer with Sound or Sight Mechanisms

Implementing foreign objects or sounds into your garden can help to keep deer away.

Sound devices include wind chimes, ultrasonic devices, tin cans, and whistles, all of which can scare deer.

In terms of sight, you could hang old CDs or strips of aluminum foil around your plants to confuse deer.

The reflective light will make them ponder if they should dare mess with your plants!

Deer-Resistant Plants

In addition to using Dawn dish soap to repel deer, you could also implement deer-resistant plants into your landscape.

In general, deer-resistant plants will be aromatic, hairy, and leathery, and have thorns, prickles, or spines.

Compiled here is a list of plants that deer dislike, which will help deter them from your other plants:

  • Marigolds
  • Sage
  • Lavender
  • Thyme
  • Poppies
  • Daffodils
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Iris
  • Peony
  • Astilbe
  • Allium
  • Snapdragons
  • False Indigo
  • Cat Mint
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Bleeding Hearts

6. daffodil

Daffodils are a popular spring flower that come in a variety of colors including orange, yellow, and white. Not only are they gorgeous, but deer also dislike them!

Fencing or Barriers

Adding a fence around your garden may be the best deer control method.

Any physical barrier that can separate the deer from your plants might have the best success.

Chemical Repellents (Commercial and Homemade)

There is a variety of chemical mixtures you can either buy or make to help with deer problems.

You can find reliable deer-repellent products at your local chain stores or online, or you can make your own.

Most commercial and homemade deer repellents consist of plant essential oils or smelly products such as rotten eggs.

Should I Use Dawn Dish Soap as a Repellent?

Yes, although I would not use it all the time. Dawn dish soap as a deer repellent can cause damage to plant leaves over time and deer will be accustomed to it.

I recommend using it short term and switching out that spray with a different homemade one to continue to confuse the deer.

Does Dish Soap Hurt Plants?

If it is used all the time, then yes. The dish soap breaks down the plant’s cuticles which results in moisture loss and brown spots on leaves.

Which Type of Soap Will Deter Deer?

Not every soap will repel deer, but there are a few types that deer severely dislike. Deer will stay away from Dawn dish soap and Irish Spring soap.

You can make a spray mixture with the Dawn, and with Irish Spring, you can just set bars of it out in your garden.

You have to make sure deer don’t like the scent of a certain soap before you put it in your garden. For example, coconut-scented soap will attract deer.

7. soap

Not all soaps repel deer, so it may be helpful to do research on what scents that deer like before utilizing soaps. You can either make a spray from the soap or put shavings of it throughout the garden. 

Are There Cons to Using Dish Soap as a Deer Repellent?

Yes. Even though Dawn dish soap is an effective method, it will hurt your plants over time. Not to mention, deer will before familiar with the smell and start to eat your plants.

How do You Make Deer Spray?

Most deer sprays can be made with items already found in your house. For some homemade solutions, check out the recipes mentioned earlier to help repel deer!

8.dawn deer repellent canva1 9. dawn deer repellent Canva