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How to Get Rid of Snails

Snails can be a real garden pest, as they munch through your plants, flowers, and vegetables. Luckily, there are many options at your disposal - natural or otherwise - for getting rid of snails.

Method One of Three:
Using Natural Snail Repellents
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  1. 1
    Make beer traps. One of the most well-known and effective ways to get rid of snails is to make beer traps. To make:
  2. 2
    Try using copper. Copper is used by many gardeners to repel snails and slugs. You can use copper in one of two ways:
    • You can buy copper tape at a plant nursery and wind it around the perimeter of your vegetable patch or flower bed, or you can simple sprinkle copper pennies around the base of the plants you are trying to protect.
    • Copper repels snails due to a reaction between the metal and the mucous (or slime) produced by the snail as it moves. This sends the snail an unpleasant electro-neural signal, which basically feels like an electric shock.[2]
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
    Encourage snail predators. One way to discourage snails is to encourage other garden creatures who snack on snails.
    • These include toads and frogs, who you can invite into your garden using ceramic toad houses. Turtles, garter snakes and salamanders are also believed to enjoy snails, in addition to most birds (especially robins).
    • Allow ducks and chickens to roam your garden. Ducks and chickens will also eat snails and slugs, and they are actually quite nutritious for them. However, ducks and chickens might trample or eat the plants as well, so be careful with this one!
  6. 6
    Use diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is great solution for getting rid of snails. Just be sure to buy the non-toxic, food grade version.
    • Diatomaceous earth is a type of powdered rock made from the fossils of tiny sea organisms. It has very fine, sharp edges which is harmful to the snails' soft bodies.
    • Diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled on the soil surrounding plants and flower beds. However, it becomes much less effective when wet, so a fresh layer will need to be reapplied after watering your plants or following rainfall.[3]
  7. 7
    Use other deterrents. The list of items people use to kill or deter snails goes on and on. Some other popular substances include:
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Method Two of Three:
Changing Your Gardening Routine
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  1. 1
    Change your watering schedule. Snails prefer moist earth, as it is easier for them to travel over and they can move faster.
    • Simply by watering your plants in the morning, instead of late afternoon or evening, you will ensure that the soil is slightly dried out by the time night falls.
    • This makes it much harder for the snails to get around, and can actually reduce their presence by up to 80%.[3]
  2. 2
    Frequently till the soil. Frequently tilling the soil around your plants and flower beds using a rake or cultivator fork is a good idea, as it will kill off any snail eggs in the soil. This can significantly reduce future snail populations.
  3. 3
    Clear any debris from under plants. Snails like to hide in any nooks and crannies they can find, so clear away debris from underneath plants and flowers. This will leave the snails more exposed, and therefore less inclined to make a home there.
  4. 4
    Use landscaping materials like wood chips and gravel. Certain landscaping materials, such as wood chips, gravel and sand, are difficult for snails to climb over, and can deter them from making a home in your garden.
  5. 5
    Grow plants that repel snails. Certain flowers, plants and herbs are believed to be unappealing to snails, so think about introducing them to your garden. These include flowers such as freesias, daylilies, azaleas, foxglove, tansy and hibiscus, and herbs such as mint, rosemary, fennel, parsley and basil.[5]
  6. 6
    Hand pick the snails from your plants. One time-consuming but surefire method of removing snails from your garden is to physically pick them off your plants by hand. The best time to do this is in the early morning or late evening, as this is when they will be most active.
    • There are two ways of dealing with snails once you've picked them. You can either crush them immediately, or you can place them in a bucket and transport them to another location - somewhere away from your plants!
    • A faster way of hand picking the snails is to place upside-down ceramic pots in your garden and leave them overnight. The snails will gather underneath it, so in the morning you'll be able to catch many of them in one go.
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Method Three of Three:
Using Pesticides
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  1. 1
    Use metaldehyde. Metaldehyde is a natural compound which is used as a pesticide for killing snails, slugs and other gastropods. It is highly effective, however it is also toxic, so it should not be used in home gardens where pets such as cats or dogs are allowed to roam freely, or where it runs the risk of being consumed by small children.[6]
  2. 2
    Use iron phosphate. Iron phosphate is a molluscicide used for killing slugs and snails. It is the main ingredient in commercial slug repellents (such as Sluggo Plus) and as it is only harmful to slugs and snails, it is a much better option for people with children and pets.[7]
  3. 3
    Make garlic spray. Crush garlic and mix with water. Leave for a few hours to allow the garlic to "marinate". Add to a water spray can and spray your flowers, plants and herbs for a natural slug and snail repellent.
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Community Q&A

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  • How do I keep snails from climbing up my above ground pool?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Put salt on double sided sticky tape. This creates a barrier that they cannot cross.
    Thanks! 47 21
  • How do I rid my lawn of tiny snails?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Get used coffee grounds from your local café or coffee shop and load them into a rotary fertilizer spreader. As you fertilize your lawn with the coffee grounds, it will also make it very unpleasant for snails to cross.
    Thanks! 41 21
  • I found some small snails biting on my papaya fruits, causing the fruits to have black pepper spots on them. What would be the best to control these pests? I hate to spray something that may harm my ducks and chickens.
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Try a garlic marinade up in water and spray the plants. The snails and slugs hate this and it deters them safely and it's non toxic. If you're patient, also try picking off the snails and popping them into a container for disposal.
    Thanks! 28 14
  • How can I protect my garden from snails without harming them?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Use only natural repellents, like eggshells and copper, which are meant to deter snails rather than kill them.
    Thanks! 41 23
  • What is the best non-toxic snail repellent?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Rub a ring of Vaseline around pots or along the sidewalk to the plants. Snails cannot cross the barrier.
    Thanks! 28 15
  • How can I prevent snails from crawling up the siding on my manufactured home?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Use copper tape, available from hardware stores and garden centers. Snails can't cross copper.
    Thanks! 23 14
  • How do I prevent snails from coming into my house?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Non-toxic iron phosphate bait, or salt, kills them. After an active night, use a flashlight and follow their shiny trails to their entry locations (near pipe openings, ducting, joints, baseboard trims, and under cabinets). Then, block larger openings with expanding polyurethane foam and smaller openings with silicone sealant.
    Thanks! 15 9
  • Why do I get snails in my house?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • They are usually seeking cool and dark places if it is hot and dry outside, or food sources. Don't leave dirty dishes in the kitchen for extended periods (stack them in the dishwasher as you go) and empty your food waste bins regularly.
    Thanks! 20 18
  • How to get rid of small snails crawling on my wall and on doors?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Try using snail spray or snail pellets. Snail spray is used by simply spraying it all around your snail infested areas. Snail pellets can be scattered all around the infected area. Do not use the pellets if you have pets.
    Thanks! 9 7
  • How do I get rid of the tiny transparent green snails in my soil garden?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Try to till your soil with a small shovel or rake. This will also prevent the snail eggs from hatching.
    Thanks! 2 2
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  • What is a very simple way to get rid of slugs on a hydrangea?
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TipsEdit

  • If you don't have time to deal with a garden snail infestation yourself, you can always call pest control. They should offer snail services and rid your garden of snails for you.
    39 Helpful?  70
  • You can also try sprinkling your yard with salt every day. You can go to 'Costco' and buy large tubs of 'Kirkland' salt for a good price. If you have sprinklers, make sure to sprinkle the salt every day because it will be washed away. Keep the salt well away from plants, though, otherwise they may be harmed too. But it is considered a bit cruel to put snails in salt, as they slowly dry.
    0 Helpful?  1
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About This Article

1,453 votes - 92%
Co-authors: 23
Updated:
Views: 639,957

Reader Success Stories

  • A

    Anonymous

    May 12

    "Changed my watering schedule to mornings."
  • MW

    Michael Waweru

    Apr 18

    "The use of easily accessible home remedies like egg shells and salt helped.Thank you!"
  • JM

    Jonna Mcdonald

    May 5, 2016

    "Wonderful to find ways to get rid of snails that can be done on a larger scale. I have almost an acre of yard and the snails were everywhere. Sprinkling salt would have been too expensive and time consuming. And I would've needed a whole Budweiser truck full of beer to do it that way! Started using D-earth around my fig tree and bird of paradise. Next, I will try some of the natural sprays to do bigger sections of the yard. Thank you so much for an article everyone can benefit from."..." more
  • A

    Anonymous

    Jun 2, 2017

    "I used pellets and gel that are not harmful to kids or pets. I also used pennies around the base of the plants. I could see the snails/slugs were attacking. I salted the perimeter of my garden. I still see evidence of these garden destroyers, but not much."..." more
  • A

    Anonymous

    Dec 18, 2016

    "Appreciated the simple, logical, easy-to-follow suggestions; a good range of options. No jargon, and ingredients you're likely to have at home. Nice to not get bombarded with commercial product solutions - very refreshing. Liked the pictures, too."..." more
  • JR

    Jeanne Rengstorf

    May 5, 2016

    "My feral cat colony is under attack by snails who are making it across my mote of water and bleach to the inner pan of cat food. I'm happy to learn that garlic and coffee grounds work and that grape juice may be used in traps instead of beer."..." more
  • VM

    Valerie Moist

    Feb 23, 2017

    "I did not realize the variety of ways to deter/dispose of snails other than pesticides or stomping on them. I may be a tad bit of a pacifist, but I feel as though I don't have the right to be "judge and executioner" of any living creature."..." more
  • A

    Anonymous

    Nov 11, 2016

    "My snail problem has been very irritating, to say the least. Patio, screens, and bricks have nasty trails on them, and I'm sick of the crunch under my shoe. Container of cheap beer coming up! Thanks!"..." more
  • PS

    Patricia Shapiro

    May 23, 2017

    "I've been dealing with slugs constantly crawling over my shed where I raise domestic doves. They make my skin crawl! Your article gave me lots of ideas how to keep them away. Thank you! "..." more
    Rated this article:
  • JO

    Jasmyne Okudo

    Jun 17, 2017

    "Wow, this is really helpful! Snails are attacking my aloe vera plants at home. Now I'm gonna try the egg shell, ginger or garlic spray technique. Thanks to you guys! Great article."..." more
    Rated this article:
  • A

    Anonymous

    Jun 19, 2017

    "This article was most helpful. While I haven't used any methods as yet, I will pursue the natural ways to get rid of them, and change some of my gardening habits."..." more
  • A

    Anonymous

    Jun 20, 2016

    "We knew about the salt on the snails. But I did not know they can multiply so fast. Now I know why we have so many. We are going to use salt and then water."..." more
  • NC

    Nadine Coburn

    May 30, 2017

    "Sprayed my cucumbers with garlic water and a little salt, and all the snails left in a few hours when I went back out to check. Thank you for the tip."..." more
  • JM

    Joan Mattice

    May 28, 2016

    "I was looking for alternatives to keep snails from eating my garden plants that wouldn't be toxic to pets. I found all the answers I needed."..." more
  • A

    Anonymous

    Jul 7, 2016

    "Will try tomorrow. Sounds like some of the ideas should for sure work. We have a terrible problem with slugs and snails in the northwest."..." more
  • A

    Anonymous

    Oct 24, 2016

    "Used beer traps and coffee grounds. Cleared debris and watered early morning rather than evening. Also put "woolly" pellets in pots."..." more
  • SH

    Sonnie Harris

    Jun 20, 2017

    "I had a huge snail problem and tried the coffee grounds and beer traps. I haven't seen any sign of them in the last few days."..." more
    Rated this article:
  • A

    Anonymous

    Sep 5, 2016

    "I needed to know the best way to get rid of the snails. I was told about the egg shells. I like that option best. Thank you."..." more
  • CR

    Cheyenne Rouzer

    Oct 11, 2016

    "This was very helpful and helped our class get through making our garden better and keeping snails from eating our plants."..." more
  • A

    Anonymous

    Sep 14, 2016

    "Used egg shells & pennies and only water in the morning. I didn't use DE because it also kills beneficial critters."..." more
  • A

    Anonymous

    Nov 6, 2016

    "Will definitely try the eggshells (makes great compost). Glad to find a natural remedy rather than poison...thanks!"
  • VR

    Vickie Reed

    May 18, 2016

    "Very helpful. I didn't know there were so many different natural ways to get rid of these pesty snails! Thanks!"
  • LS

    Leona Smith

    Jan 24, 2017

    "I brought several, and I mean several, boxes of salt. Every time I see a snail I go crazy with the salt."
  • A

    Anonymous

    Aug 21, 2017

    "Used beer in small containers and also hand picked lots of them. Pretty much under control now, thanks."
  • Tatjana Benak

    Jun 24, 2017

    "It was clear concise and varied with things I didn't know. I loved the images and layout!"
    Rated this article:
  • JB

    Joyce Brown

    Jan 16, 2017

    "I haven't tried it yet, but there seems to be some very promising remedies. Thank you."
  • A

    Anonymous

    Oct 1, 2017

    "I don't have to use toxic pest control and have several options to get rid of them!"
    Rated this article:
  • Aug 16, 2017

    "Once I am able to try using these methods, I will pass this along to my friends."
    Rated this article:
  • AH

    Andrea Huff

    Jul 7, 2016

    "Great ideas, some I never knew. Have not tried yet, but I will tomorrow!"
  • HI

    Husna Ismail

    Apr 9, 2016

    "The garlic spray has given amazing results for such a cheap option."
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