Don’t use Dawn Dish Soap Deer Repellent (Read this first)


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So you have a deer problem. While it’s not too great of a situation, it’s also not too difficult to handle, and some people claim that the easily accessible Dawn dish soap does the trick to deter deer.

However, does Dawn dish soap really work when getting rid of deer on your property?

Dawn dish soap deer repellent
Don’t use dawn dish soap deer repellent

Don’t use Dawn dish soap deer repellent because many other solutions are more effective in the long term. Dawn dish soap is not fully biodegradable and can strip away the layer of wax on some plants. Instead, consider installing fences or planting deer-repelling plants.

Though you shouldn’t use Dawn dish soap to prevent deer from coming onto your property, there are still other things you can try.

What to Expect? To help you take control of the situation, let’s take a closer look at why deers come into your yard and how to prevent them from entering.

Introduction to Deers

To learn how to get rid of deers, you must first learn about them and why they may want to hang out in your backyard.

The first thing you need to know is that there are several types of deers in the United States and Canada, meaning that you may come across different species depending on the area in which you live. 

Deers are semi-large mammals with long legs, and they are often brown with the occasional white spots/markings.

Deers semi-large mammals
Deers are semi-large mammals

They have two black hooves on each foot, and many species of deer have antlers.

However, for most species (save one), only male deer grow antlers. Deer also lose and then regrow their antlers each year.

Examples of food that deers enjoy include grass, berries, tree shoots, and bark. Though more often than not, deers leave barks alone unless there is no other type of food available. 

Why Do Deers Come Into Your Property?

As herbivores, deers like to consume vegetation, so they may venture into your yard to eat some of your delicious plants.

However, as with humans, deers also have preferences.

Examples of things that may attract more deers into your property include:

Another reason why deers might enter your yard is if there is a water source.

Garden pond slope design ideas

If you have a pond, pool, fountain, or anything that contains clean water, then it can attract more than just deer, especially during the hotter months.

Even small birdbaths can also attract deer.

Though some people may not mind too much that deers come into their property, it can lead to a lot of (potentially expensive) problems.

Deers can ruin fences, garden furniture, and the terrain when they forage and tread through your yard.

Using Dawn Dish Soap as a Deer Repellent

Some say that Dawn dish soap is a common and effective deer repellent.

While that may be true since deers dislike the scent of soap, there are better ways to get rid of deer than coating your garden in that liquid.

Before we get into the negatives, let’s first look at Dawn dish soap and why some people may speak for this method as a deer deterrent:

  • Dawn dish soap is a popular cleaning product, which means that it is often more accessible and cheaper than other solutions.
  • Dawn dish soap is also around 90% biodegradable, meaning that most of the product breaks down naturally.
  • Moreover, in comparison to other brands of dish soap, we know Dawn to have fewer harsh chemicals in its formula.
  • You can also combine Dawn dish soap with some other ingredients and deterrents such as cayenne pepper. Such a mixture is incredibly effective in repelling deer from backyards.

Disadvantages of Using Dawn Dish Soap

Deer in a backyard
Dawn dish soap disadvantage

For all its advantages, using Dawn dish soap as deer repellant has many more drawbacks.

Although it is mostly biodegradable, it can still damage some of your plants if you add it directly.

Furthermore – We use dish soap as a cleaning solution, so it could potentially remove the layer of natural wax in plants that act as protection.

Since you will need to reapply, it can also be more expensive in the long term.

Moreover, while dish soap does not give out an unpleasant smell, the smell of flowers is even nicer.

It may also save you from weird conversations about why your yard smells like dish soap.

Preventing Deers From Being in Your Backyard

There are several ways in which you could repel deer, some being more natural and more environmentally friendly than others.

Deer fences
Install deer fences

One simple way is to install a semi-tall and sturdy fence, preferably a deer fence.

Install Deer Fences

Putting up a deer fence is a simple and straightforward solution.

Fences naturally help to keep wildlife away, especially larger mammals like deers who can’t get through small cracks and crevices.

When installing a fence, ensure that it is strong enough and built into the ground securely to prevent it from breaking.


There are certain plants that deers do not like and thus will deter them from going near the areas in which they grow.

If you add some of these types of plants to your garden, they act as a good natural repellent.

Daffodils plant

Examples of such plants include:

  • Lungwort
  • Daffodils
  • Peonies
  • Coneflowers
  • Winter aconite

If you want to use other plants but are unsure which ones would work to deter deer, as a rule of thumb, they dislike plants with a strong aroma.

Install Moving Parts

Another way to repel deer from your yard involves installing specific gadgets that can confuse or scare deer away.

For Example – Anything with a reflective surface may help send deer running since they do not come across such objects in the wild.

Windchimes are also reasonable solutions since they create unfamiliar noise that deer appear to dislike.

Wind chime installation
Aluminum wind chimes

Some garden decorations with moving parts, such as wind sculptures that spin during windy days, are also effective.

If deers end up coming into your yard anyway, running into any moving contraption can prevent them from returning in the future.

Tips to Minimize Damages From Visiting Deer

If you can’t find a solution that works for you and your needs, there are still some steps you can take to help minimize all of the damages from visiting deer.

If you grow some of your own produce in the comforts of your garden, then you should always keep track of whether or not it is ready for harvest.

Ensure that you harvest your vegetables or fruits when they are ripe so that it does not attract any deers.

It will also ensure that you are not attracting any other wildlife into your garden.

Another way to minimize damages is to remember to reapply your deer deterrent.

Whether you choose to purchase a commercial product or if you make a mixture from natural products, you must reapply it after rainfall.

Purchasing different types of deterrents can also help prevent immunity to the mixture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Deer repellents that work
Deer repellents

What Smell Do Deer Hate the Most?

Deers dislike anything with powerful aromas, including plants such as lavender, honeysuckle, and wisteria. They also dislike vegetables such as garlic, leeks, onions, and chives due to their strong smells.

Do Dryer Sheets Repel Deer?

There aren’t any official studies that confirm the deer-repelling properties of dryer sheets.

However, there is some anecdotal evidence that such a method works. Dryer sheets also have properties that can repel deer, including the strong scents they give out.

What Brand of Soap Keeps Deer Away?

Certain types and brands of soaps can better deter deer than others.

You can get lavender or ivory-scented soap shavings and distribute them across your garden to help keep the deer away.

For a specific brand, some people claim that Irish Spring soap is effective.


Overall, don’t use Dawn dish soap deer repellent.

There are many more useful and eco-friendly alternatives to preventing deer from entering your garden.

Planting deer-deterrent plants can be effective and give you a nicer landscape.

If you have deer running around your property, consider using the tips above to get rid of them.

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