How to make garlic spray to deter slugs and snails - the natural way to protect your garden plants

Don't let muddy molluscs munch on your beloved garden with this natural pesticide spray to keep them at bay

jar filled with coffee grounds
(Image credit: Getty Images/nilapictures)

Here's a true story. Recently I mentioned to my mother how devastated I am that pesky slugs and snails are destroying my garden. Nowhere is safe, my sun-loving lupins are a polka dot mess and my shade-seeking Hostas devoured to stumps.  So, the next thing I know Mum is charging around my garden turning my beloved flowerbeds bright blue by showering them with chemical slug pellets. 

Don't get me wrong, I know my mum was only trying to help. With the UK's recent wet weather and mild temperatures, our gardens are overrun with the midnight-feasting gastropods eating every living plant morsel.

But, when considering how to get rid of slugs from my outdoor plot I would have preferred to try a natural pesticide solution. Something like garlic spray for slugs and snails that isn't dangerous to other wildlife and doesn't make my backyard look like a landscape on planet Neptune. 

How to make garlic spray for slugs and snails

When looking for natural remedies to rid slugs and snails there are a few ingredients that deter garden invertebrates kindly. It's important to note that the key is not to wipe them out entirely, but to prevent them from coming anywhere near your plants.

Three jars on greenhouse shelf, two filled with corks and one filled with coffee grounds saying 'slug and snail repellant'

(Image credit: Future / Heather Young)

The Royal Horticultural Society states that slugs and snails aren't the "bad guys" and, in fact, are valuable in the garden ecosystem. 

There are plenty of ways to stop eating plants naturally, such as laying slug tape,  sprinkling used coffee grounds or simply choosing plants that slugs hate. And, did you know that slugs and snails have something in common with vampires? They all shrivel at the mention of garlic. 

If, like me, you are irritated by these slow-moving menaces whose only role in life (it seems) is to fill up on the juicy green leaves of beautiful blooms, we have a solution, a garlic-infused, spray solution. 

Small garden with white painted fence and raised planter with hostas, foxgloves and a small tree

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

That's right, the star of this natural slug and snail-repellent spray is garlic. Slugs and snails are repulsed by the infamous strong taste and smell of these bulbous plant vegetables.

'Allicin is a defence compound created by garlic bulbs which both repels and kills slugs and snails,' explains James Wong otherwise known as @Botanygeek.

'OK, as you might have guessed, this stuff does have rather a strong salad dressing smell, but has proven incredibly effective for me.'

Allicin is the chemical responsible for garlic's distinct aroma and flavour when crushed. Slugs and snails seem to be so turned off by it they turn back in their sticky tracks.

Follow this recipe on garlic spray for slugs and snails to get your garden gorgeous again.

What you'll need

How to make garlic spray step-by-step

1. Peel and crush the garlic

For an ultra-organic garlic spray for slugs and snails, why not learn how to grow garlic? That way you'll have a never-ending supply to banish the mucous-making, mini-beasts from your plot. 

Peel and crush a few cloves of garlic with a crusher or with a blender to fully release the garlic's odious power.

A high-angle view of garlic plants on soil

(Image credit: Getty Images)

2. Mix the crushed garlic with water

Mix the crushed garlic with water and allow to infuse.

'Garlic can help to repel unwanted pests and insects. Crush several garlic cloves and mix in water until the solution is a liquid and pour the garlic mixture into a spray bottle,' says gardens expert, Laura Juniper at

At this point, some recipes suggest adding mild soap to the mixture as it may help the garlic spray stick to plant leaves and stems, but this is optional.

3. Spray the garlic solution liberally onto vulnerable plants

Apply the garlic spray for slugs and snails onto leaves and stems favoured by slugs and snails and on top of surrounding soil. If you're growing hostas, these are usually a prime target for slugs and will benefit from a garlic spritz.

Re-apply the natural garlic pesticide every few days or whenever you notice evidence of a return slimy invasion. 

Plot of vegetable beds at RHS Chelsea Flower Show filled with greenery and edged in stones

(Image credit: Future PLC/Heather Young)


Can you make garlic spray with garlic powder?

Garlic powder is a good alternative if you don't want to use garlic bulbs to make your spray. Since the scent and taste are what deter the slugs you should still get the same effect if you switch garlic bulbs for powder. 

However, make sure you check the ingredients on the back of your garlic powder first to check it only includes dehydrated garlic powder like this Rajah Garlic Powder available on Amazon. If it includes any other artificial colours or additives you should steer clear of it.

We hope that by using this homemade natural pesticide spray to deter slugs and snails, your stunning flower bed ideas will be back to full bloom without as much as a nibble or a single neon-blue slug nugget in sight.


Rachel Homer has been in the interiors publishing industry for over 15 years. Starting as a Style Assistant on Inspirations Magazine, she has since worked for some of the UK’s leading interiors magazines and websites. After starting a family, she moved from being a content editor at to be a digital freelancer and hasn’t looked back.