Does Garlic Repel Slugs?

We all know that slugs thrive in our gardens thanks to the moist environment and all the dark places they get to hide in. So, how do you get rid of slugs without using chemicals and pellets? They dislike strong smells, so does garlic repel slugs or not?

Yes, garlic does repel slugs. The best way to use garlic to repel slugs is by making a simply repellent spray.

Slugs hate strong odours, which is why they do not like garlic. Garlic is a wonderful slug-repellant that can keep your plants safe from damage.

The allium family is well-known for driving all sorts of insects and pests away, including slugs. You can use both fresh garlic and other forms in your garden to keep the slugs at bay. 

Do Alliums Repel Slugs?

Garlic belongs to the allium family, known to deter insects and drive them away. Garlic has a compound called allicin, which is its powerful odour. When garlic is crushed, it releases this compound, which is why slugs stay away. 

There are other alliums like onions which also work nicely against slugs. However, unlike garlic, they may not be effective because they have a less powerful smell.

However, ornamental alliums will not repel slugs effectively. These alliums are tall with flower heads and have no culinary use.

The smell and taste of ornamental alliums are quite subtle, which is why they will not be as effective when it comes to repelling slugs (the bees do love them though).

Is Garlic Safe for Plants?

Many gardeners like using garlic in their garden to keep insects and slugs out. Garlic is a natural way to deal with pests, but many people wonder if it is harmful due to its powerful nature? Is garlic safe around plants or not?

Unlike the harsh chemicals which people use to kill slugs, garlic is a far better alternative. You can make a garlic mixture for your garden and put it on your plants. There will be no repercussions to the environment when using garlic, as there is with slug pellets. 

If you’re worried, make up a garlic spray (like the one we outlined in the next section) and spray it on a hidden leaf or two on a plant. Wait a day or 2 and then check the condition of the leaf. If there’s no change then the garlic spray is safe to use.

How To Use Garlic to Repel Slugs 

Now that you know what garlic does to slugs, you need to learn how to use it. Luckily, there is more than one way you can use to repel slugs using garlic:

Make a Garlic Spray

The first thing you can do is create a garlic spray. This is an easy job, and you only need to boil some garlic in water. The smell of garlic will drive the slugs away when they smell the sulfur compounds.

The compounds disturb the sensory receptors, which keep slugs away. 

Just Use Fresh Garlic

If you do not feel like making a spray, you can just use fresh garlic.

The key to using fresh garlic is crushing it to release the smell and oils. After that, you can take your crushed garlic and put it in various areas of your garden.

Sprinkle Garlic Powder

Sometimes, you may run out of fresh garlic to use. So, if this is the case, you can use some garlic powder. You can sprinkle some garlic powder directly on the soil and the plants.

However, keep in mind that this may not be a great idea if you live in a windy area. Any wind can blow away the garlic powder. If it rains, the garlic powder will also be washed away, and you will need to reapply it. 

Grow Garlic

You can also repel slugs by growing some garlic plants. You can either create a boundary so slugs do not enter, or you can put it among plants that are susceptible to slug damage. Garlic plants will not only help in repelling slugs but also other pests.

If you want to grow cabbages and brassicas, for example, then between each row of vegetables make sure you also sow a row of garlic.


Slugs can be quite a handful to deal with as they work their way through your garden eating everything and anything in its path. Using chemicals against slugs is not the right solution as it can cause problems in the long run.

Instead, you can use the slug’s sense of smell against it by using garlic as a repellent. Garlic works well to repel slugs because of the allicin in it.

Garlic can be used as a spray, as fresh cloves, as a powder or even as plants – all of which can work to repel slugs in some way.

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