How to: Make Inexpensive, DIY All-Natural Pest Deterrents for Your Garden

'Tis the season to be gardening. And with it, 'tis the season to be ridding your garden of nasty pests that munch on your prized plants. 

How to: Make Inexpensive, DIY All-Natural Pest Deterrents for Your Garden

I love creating my own DIY deterrents to rid the garden of those pesky pests, without harming my plants, myself, or the environment. These non-toxic recipes are very inexpensive and simple to make at home.    The Recipes: I like to keep the following around. The first two are liquid mixes that I store in a spray bottle, while the last two are simple shakes made from ingredients you probably already have in your spice cabinet.

  • Homemade Insecticide Spray
  • DIY Ant and Gnat Remover
  • Rabbit Deterrent 
  • All-Purpose Critter Deterrents

If you'd like, you can download the printable labels used in this post here.

Insecticide Spray Close UP
1. Non-Toxic All Purpose Insecticide Spray

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  • 3 cups warm water
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 Tbls. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 medium onion, quartered
  • 1/2 tsp liquid Castile soap, fragrance free

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Add the 3 cups of very warm water to a blender.

2. Add the garlic and the onions.

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Then, add the cayenne pepper. Do not lick your fingers. I repeat...do not lick your fingers.

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Finally, add the liquid castille soap.

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Throw all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer to a spray bottle using a funnel.

Insecticide Spray Far
Lightly mist the offended plants with the insecticide spray. Bugs won't like the spicy smell and take off for greener pastures. This works great on any plants-whether potted or planted in the ground.

Ant & Gnat Spray Close Up

2. Non-Toxic Ant and Gnat Remover. I make this spray for small, spastic bugs that evade my every move.

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  • 1 tsp. natural, mild dish soap 
  • 3 C Water

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Using a funnel, add the dish soap to an empty spray bottle.

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Next, add the water to the spray bottle.

Ant & Gnat Spray Far

Shake, spray and smile as the ants go slip-sliding off of your precious leaves. That's it! Just be sure to wash all leaves or fruit before consuming. 

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3. All-Purpose Critter Deterent. Simply fill a shaker canister with garlic salt. This will deter almost any critter.

Critter Deterrent
Squirrels hate the smell, slugs can't stand it and dogs quit relieving themselves on your squash plants when you carefully sprinkle this around the soil.

*Note-Do not sprinkle on the leaves of the plant. This will actually kill them. Not that I've ever done that....nope. Just shake a light coating on the soil at the base of the plant.

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4. Make your very own Bunny Deterrent by filling up a shaker canister with Cayenne pepper.

Bunny Deterrent
Sprinkle around the edge of your garden and flower beds. Cayenne pepper doesn't burn the leaves of the plants or your grass like garlic salt will. Bunnies don't like to sniff this spicy spice and look next door for an easier harvest. 

If you'd like to print the labels used in this project, you can easily download them here! They're designed for Avery 22820 oval labels, but could be adapted to fit whatever you can find.

Do you have any DIY recipes for natural pest deterrents? Please share your ideas in the comments below.  

Happy non-toxic, pest-free gardening!

Rebekah Greiman is the creator of Potholes and Pantyhose, a web blog dedicated to original DIY projects. Rebekah’s detailed tutorials are written to educate and entertain, while highlighting crafts, home decor, recipes, remodeling and more. See them all at Potholes and Pantyhose.

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Jeanne on Apr 22, 2014:

Great recipes and suggestions. I have one for dandelions: It's a "mechanical" solution called a weed-popper. Shove the tines under the plant, step down on the other part, and the whole dandelion pops out of the ground. Very easy and much faster than treating the plant with some solution. Works on any weed that's hard to pull. And it is VERY earth friendly and nontoxic!  :-D

Alan B on Apr 22, 2014:

Vinegar works on weeds

Aidel.K on May 02, 2013:

I had some success using cayenne pepper on squirrels. It washes away fairly easily, so you must reapply it. I find squirrels' digging especially destructive. Like @Terryk, I have been looking for some non-toxic solution for dandelions and the like. I've been trying to be vigilant about picking off the yellow flowers, but it's hard to keep up with it--and I'm not sure it's really helping.

Jeanne on May 02, 2013:

I have a problem with squirrels. They eat my moss rose hanging baskets-leaves, stems, and roots! Will the Rabbit Deterrent work on them as well? Or does anyone else have a suggestion?

Chrissie on May 02, 2013:

Boiling water is a great weed killer, destroying evildoers like wiregrass for weeks. Don't pour it on or near anything you want to keep. This is great for clearing an area where you want to plant something else: poach the things, wait a couple of days for them to wilt and turn brown, then remove the weeds with a hoe. They'll come back eventually (in a few weeks) if you don't keep up with the area afterwards, but this is an easy way to clear a troublesome spot.

Terryk on Apr 26, 2013:

Any home made remedy for weeds that are perennial problems or spreaders ( aren't they all!!)?

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