Does Dawn Dish Soap Deer Repellent Work?

deer running through green plant filled backyard

Deer in North America seem to be everywhere.  From the wild mountainous areas to city streets, deer are ubiquitous.  They once were hunted to small numbers, but now after years of successful conservation efforts their numbers are likely greater than they ever have been.  Though these are beautiful creatures, there are many reasons you might want to keep them out of your yard.  We’ll go through some of them and a few methods you might want to consider for keeping these graceful pests at bay, like using dawn dish soap deer repellent.

Why Are Deer Attracted To Your Backyard And Why It’s Bad

First, if you have a vegetable garden, you probably have noticed deer have their favorites.  For example, if you grow kale, you probably love the fact that everything else in the garden has been harvested, but your kale stays strong and healthy well into the fall.  Until one day when the deer decide it’s time to eat the kale, and overnight it all disappears.    

To keep deer out of a vegetable garden most people use a fence.  Unfortunately deer can jump over just about any fence up to 8’ in height.  A 6’ fence will keep them out most of the time, but if you really want to keep the deer away from your vegetable buffet , 8’ is necessary.  Often times people will want to avoid a fence of this height for aesthetic or code reasons, and are left to pursue other methods.

Another reason people are looking to keep deer out of their yards is the deer ticks which live on their skin.  Deer ticks carry a number of diseases, the most famous of which is Lyme disease.  In certain areas, like Massachusetts, avoiding ticks is nearly impossible.  However, keeping the deer out will be a big help.  

One of the ways you can help train deer to stay out of your yard is using livestock management methods like an electric fence.  Yes, the deer could easily jump over it, but given the electric fence is just a wire, they’ll often try to go under it, giving themselves a harmless little jolt.  This will train them to stay away from this area.  This has mixed results and some people have gone to the extreme with double ringed fences in their yards.  However, it’s worth using as another prong in your deer defense system.  

Does Dawn Dish Soap Deer Repellent Work?

Yes, it’s not a myth that deer do not like Dawn dish soap. Something about the ingredients make deer think twice about nibbling on plants that have Dawn dish soap applied. You can always use actual deer repellent spray, but Dawn dish soap is a 2 for 1 scenario.

Test spraying deer repellent spray against dawn dish soap deer repellent on green plants in backyard

How To Use Dawn Dish Soap Deer Repellent

Now lets discuss more about using Dawn dish soap deer repellent. Applying Dawn dish soap may seem like a strange way to keep deer away.  What you want to do is create a solution of Dawn dish soap and water. Then, put it in a garden sprayer and spray down the vegetation at your property edges every few weeks. 

This will have a minimal impact if any on the plants being able to grow. However, the taste and smell of these Dawn-sprayed plants will be affected. For this reason, don’t spray your vegetables or anything else you may eat. Instead, spray screening plants that deer don’t like eating such as arborvitae. This will have great results for deterring deer and no impact on your garden’s harvest.

The deer will avoid eating the Dawn soaked plants, and hopefully move on before they get through your barrier.  Dawn dish soap repellent is a good method, but not fool proof.  If deer are hungry, they will force themselves to walk through the Dawn dish soap repellent barrier to see if there’s anything on the other side.  However, most of the time, this is a good method of keeping deer out of your yard.

small deer turning away from dawn dish soap deer repellent plants in front yard

Additional Deer Repellent Methods

Another method which has good results but requires a little testing is an ultrasonic deer repellent solution like the Careland.  These systems use ultrasonic wave bursts to keep deer, raccoons, squirrels and other animals away from your yard.  Unfortunately, they don’t discriminate, so if you want the squirrels, but don’t want the deer, this may not be a good solution for you. Also, if you are placing these in the wooded edge of your property, you’ll need to charge them once a week or so. 

However, if you have them in a place where they get some sunlight, they are capable of solar charging on their own.  You will need to use multiple sets of these to be effective.  Most likely a minimum of 8-10 units for most properties to create the interlocking wave patterns to keep animals out.  Are these foolproof?  No, and there are deaf animals out there that’ll have no issue with these systems and walk right past them.  

Dawn Dish Soap Deer Repellent Summary

If you are looking to keep deer out of your yard, starting with the simplest method. Dawn dish soap deer repellent, is a great first step. If you notice this working, great.  If you need to add another layer, keep up with the Dawn dish soap deer repellent, but add the ultrasonic deer repellent units to the mix.  Then add the electric fence, and so on.  Oftentimes you need to use multiple methods to keep the deer out successfully.