Fauquier County Deer Repellent

By Karla Jones Seidita, home economist and impatient gardener

This ridiculous recipe was passed around a local garden seminar I attended years ago.   I couldn’t imagine how it could possibly work when my ravenous deer ignored all the expensive, “guaranteed” repellants and gadgets I had bought over the years. “Don’t laugh,” a fellow garden struggler whispered as she pressed the recipe that had been scribbled on a scrap of paper into my hand.  “This stuff REALLY works!”


Whisk together:

  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup dry milk powder
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil (other types of oil will get solid in the fridge)
  • 1 Tablespoon hot sauce (any type)
  • 1 Tablespoon liquid garlic (available near the vanilla extract at the grocery store or on Amazon)
  • 1 gallon tap water
  • 1 Tablespoon liquid dish soap (most people use blue Dawn)


Pour the mixture into glass jars (I use recycled pickle jars), put a double piece of plastic wrap over the opening and cap the jars.  Store in the fridge.  Keeps at least a month – maybe two – maybe a little more – it’s hard to tell because it smells spoiled even when it’s fresh.

To use, fill a spray bottle with the mixture and head out to the garden.  Liberally spray your roses (or other plants).  Respray as needed – especially after a rain or if you’ve watered your plants from above.


  • ALWAYS TEST THIS MIXTURE BEFORE USING! :Before spraying the whole plant for the first time, spray 1 or 2 leaves and let it dry for a few days to be sure your plant reacts favorably to the spray.
  • I add the liquid dish soap last so I don’t create too much foam when I whisk.
  • Don’t store the mixture in plastic containers because the smell will seep through making your whole refrigerator smell of deer repellant.
  • Best time for spraying is morning or late afternoon. Avoid spraying in the midday sun as the spray can dry too quickly and streak the leaves.
  • You won’t notice the smell of the deer repellant after it’s dried on the plants but the deer will.
  • When you’re done spraying for the day, put the spray part of your sprayer into a container of clean water and squeeze the trigger a few times to flush the nozzle. This will prevent the mixture from drying in the opening and clogging it.
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