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.
Pam Kamphuis
About Pam Kamphuis 125 Articles
Pam Kamphuis is an editor and writer for Piedmont Virginian Magazine and Piedmont Lifestyle Magazines.

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