8 Scents That Lizards Hate (And How To Use Them)

Portrait of lizard on wall

Lizards are a pest that may not be common everywhere but have massive populations where they are found. Not only do they come in large numbers, but they also are often tiny and able to get into homes and other areas where they may not be wanted! Following the tips below, you will be able to effectively repel lizards from anywhere they don’t belong.

Lizards have a strong sense of smell, and like a snake use their tongue to smell their surroundings. Natural scents lizards hate include strong spices, lemongrass, citronella, garlic, onion, eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, lemon, and man-made options such as vinegar and Pine-Sol.

Understanding why you should keep lizards at bay is the first step toward finding the right solution to do so. Below we will answer why and how to keep lizards away to find the best solution for you – let’s get to it!

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Why Do You Need To Repel Lizards?

Lizards and other reptiles are very effective at pest control, including insects and small animals that may be a problem, but they may become a pest when they infest homes and properties.

Thankfully, lizards are typically harmless, especially the ones that usually find themselves close to where people live.

However, harmless or not, most people do not want lizards surprising them in the morning when getting dressed and making coffee, or finding them crawling on food or hiding under the fridge.

Reptiles also strike fear in many people no matter how big or small they are, and the constant fear that they might crawl on you at night is enough to give anyone the heebie-jeebies.

Lizards Are A Scary Sight

Herpetophobia is the fear of reptiles and is one of the most common phobias in the world, and for good reason. Snakes and lizards represent bad omens in many cultures and many species of venomous reptiles exist, which further adds to their scary nature.

Being small and moving quickly does not help either, often darting and only being seen out of the corner of the eye as a blur of unknown.

“When I was younger, had a pet Leopard Gecko get loose in my house for eight months and when my mom saw it run across the kitchen floor, she was not happy. I will say that it was surprisingly healthy, which just goes to show how resilient they are and good at hiding, as that was the first time we saw it in all that time.”

Lizards May Carry Salmonella

Information shared from an EPA senior biologist notes that lizards themselves are rarely dangerous and have positive potential. Generally, the negative potential of diseases they carry outweighs the positive. In general, lizards pose the risk of spreading salmonella through their skin, urine, or feces.

With kitchens being a warm and humid area in the house, it is not unlikely that lizards find their way into food and cooking supplies.

With over a million people getting salmonella a year primarily from contaminated food, there is no reason to increase your odds because of a lizard in the home.

Practicing good hygiene and cleaning is the best prevention method in case a lizard does make it inside!

Lizards Can Get Where They Don’t Belong

Lizards are small and able to sneak into places they do not belong. Not only in the kitchen but in other areas of the house where they can cause issues.

One area lizards may cause issues is getting into anything electrical and causing short circuits. Lizards are often attracted to electronics because of the warmth they generate and may end up touching just the wrong spot.

In some cases, this may be treatable with some at-home solutions, and in others, a professional may need to be called to remove lizards and lizard-proof areas to prevent similar incidents in the future.

How To Keep Lizards Away With These 8 Scents That They Hate

Bunglon surai (bronchocela jubata) is a species of tree lizard

Thankfully, there are many ways to deter lizards from certain areas simply by using certain smells that they hate. While these methods are usually effective, they are most effective in combination with other methods of deterring lizards, such as eliminating their food source or closing gaps.

Most of these methods are based on natural smells and use non-poisonous ingredients that are environmentally friendly. Be sure to check with local laws if you plan to use anything more intense than the recommendations on this list. 

By the way, I also recommend taking a look at our guide the reasons why lizards are in your yard in order to better understand where you should use these scents!

Strong Spicy Smells Deter Lizards

Perhaps the most effective smells to start this list are strong spicy smells. This can include black pepper, chili powder, cayenne, and even plain ol’ hot sauce.

These scents are effective for two reasons: lizards hate the smell of spicy things, and they know that coming in contact with spice can cause skin irritation for them. As a result, these are pretty effective options, and can even be combined with other scents and used as a spray to increase overall effectiveness.

Lemongrass And Citronella Send lizards Running

Lemongrass and citronella are two similar plants with a kind of lemony scent and are popular for keeping insects away. Citronella is probably most famously known as a mosquito repellant, and both are equally effective at keeping lizards away.

The terpene expression in these plants is perfect for creating scents that are relaxing to humans and perfect for keeping reptiles and other creepy crawlies out.

These scents serve two purposes: repelling lizards and repelling the insects that they feed on, giving them another reason to hang out somewhere else.

The plants themselves can keep lizards out of certain areas, and essential oils can be vaporized, mixed into a spray, or even using soaked cotton balls strategically placed to act as a deterrent.

Lizards Dislike Garlic And Onions

Onion and garlic close up on wood table

Garlic and onions are two more plants with powerful odors lizards just can’t stand. Garlic and onion scents are overwhelming for a lizard’s powerful sense of smell and naturally, they will choose to avoid them.

Using cloves of raw garlic placed near cracks and in corners of your home can be a great way to keep lizards away. Onions can be sliced and dispersed similarly, and both can be mixed into a spray to leave only the scent and not little bits of food scattered throughout your home.

Eucalyptus Keeps Lizards Away

Eucalyptus is another effective essential oil that is incredibly effective at keeping most species of reptiles at bay. While it is not clear why lizards hate the smell of eucalyptus so much, is it very effective and popular all over the world.

Even in nature, you won’t find lizards climbing in eucalyptus trees and we can take advantage of these properties as a great lizard repellant.

While eucalyptus may be a scent that lizards hate, this is a great essential oil to keep around to serve multiple purposes with relaxing and medicinal properties for people and is used worldwide.

Peppermint Essential Oils Deter Lizards

The smell of peppermint is one of the most versatile scents to use when repelling just about any kind of pest. Insects, rodents, and reptiles, including lizards.

With the added benefit of most people enjoying the smell of peppermint, this is a great way to treat areas and prevent lizards.

Peppermint and anything else minty is caused by the chemical menthol- a powerful scent most pests cannot stand. Using peppermint essential oils mixed in a spray bottle with water, you can spray around entrances and anywhere lizards might hang out to keep them away.

Or, a prepared mixture specially formulated for pest control such as Mighty Mint’s Peppermint Oil Insect & Pest Control Spray can be used and eliminate the hassle of preparing it yourself. While this product is designed and marketed toward insect control, it will also work well for any reptiles.

Vinegar Spray Keeps Lizards Out

Vinegar has such a pungent smell that it is no surprise that it is effective at keeping lizards away. Vinegar has a wide variety of uses, from cleaning to cooking to pest control. Keeping white vinegar on hand is a great way to handle many tasks around the house.

However, vinegar does come with a drawback- most people do not find this smell as relaxing as other scents on this list. Even diluted, it can be an overpowering smell that can drive you just as nuts as it drives lizards. This one is best used outside and is heavily diluted with water. 

Using vinegar and water-based spray can be combined with other scents on this list to help combat the overwhelming scent of vinegar. Adding 15-20 drops of any essential oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus, lemongrass, or adding chili powder can be a powerful at-home lizard repellent.

This is also a great method, as vinegar is likely something that you already have in your kitchen, and can quickly be deployed in a pinch.

Lavender Essential Oils Repels Lizards

Lavender is proven to relieve stress in people, but did you know it is also a smell that lizards hate? This may cause it to be even more stress relieving by getting rid of those pesky critters!

One of the best ways to use lavender as a lizard repellent is through an essential oil diffuser. Simply placing a few drops of lavender essential oil as per the manufacturer’s instructions will create an aroma that’ll spread in a designated area and discourage critters.

This one is also easy to know when to reapply the scent- when the oil diffuser stops, you can refill it easily. This method will work for any of the essential oils mentioned previously in this article so you can shake it up if you tire of one scent in particular.

Pine-Sol Cleans Away The Lizards

Pine-Sol is a fantastic cleaning product that doubles as a great way to keep lizards away. Both the original scent and the lemon scent work well to clean most surfaces and the ingredients in them will keep lizards searching for a new place to hide.

Pine-Sol also comes in several scents that use pine oil as the principal ingredient, making them safe and effective for pest control and offering options for you to choose from to best suit your scent preferences.

Pine-Sol offers a long-lasting scent and deep cleaning properties that’ll leave your home just feeling cleaner. Other cleaners that have a pine, lavender, or lemon scent to them will also probably work just as well, but Pine-Sol specifically is tried and true at preventing many pests.

Preventing lizards In The Long Term

House lizard or little gecko on a white wall.

While the scents listed above work great for repelling lizards, they are not always 100% effective and a plan of attack from multiple angles may be necessary to keep the lizards away.

Some of the most common reasons that lizards may infest an area are because it provides shelter, sources of food, and warmth—taking away these benefits for lizards or making it more difficult for them to access in combination with scents that they hate will be more effective than only using one or the other.

Of course, there is only so much that the average person can do without investing significant time and energy, so calling a professional may be needed in extreme cases. We do not condone any individuals putting themselves or their homes at risk by taking any extreme measures towards keeping lizards away.

Control Bug Populations To Keep lizards Away

Cutting down on food sources for lizards is one of the best ways to keep them out of a certain area. As a predator that feeds almost exclusively on insects, lizards have no interest in being somewhere without easy access to food. 

Many of the scents above serve double duty in preventing insects and make a great start to controlling bug populations.

Common insect control methods include proper food storage, creating a less hospitable environment, and more, which we have articles about including this one about using houseplants to prevent flies

Encourage Predators Of Lizards

A common myth for preventing lizards is to use crushed eggshells to drive them away. While this isn’t true because lizards will be drawn to eggshells as a food source, there is some truth to it because eggshells draw in birds who will then eat lizards.

While eggshells are not the most effective way of drawing in natural lizard predators, the idea is solid to keep lizards away. Bird feeders and baths are a great way to have birds in your yard that’ll scare lizards away.

Birds are the number one predator of lizards and will effectively scare any lizards away from their location.

Cats are another natural predator of lizards and if you are having a problem with them, adopting a cat may be a great way to repel them if you are looking to add a new pet to the family. 

Take Away Shelter To Send Lizards Elsewhere

If you have lots of places for lizards to hide in your yard, including rocks and other decorations, some landscaping may be in order. Eliminating anything that offers a secure hiding spot for a lizard will discourage them from staying in that area and moving on to another safe place to be.

Hiding places can range from pieces of wood to rocks and even something like a bench can offer many places to hide.

Completely removing all decorations from your yard may not be the path you want to take, but closing any gaps they may hide in and making it harder for them to access certain spots will drastically reduce the number of lizards that are hiding on your property. It will also prevent them from reproducing and only making the problem worse.

Seal Gaps

The University of California IPM program recommends sealing up any gaps larger than ¼ inch might be a necessary step to cut down on the number of lizards in your home. Adding draft guards under doors, caulking windows, and filling in any other gaps they may get in is a lengthy chore.

This is a long-term solution that may take many hours to find and eliminate all entrances and fill them in but will have one of the biggest effects on finding a permanent solution.

This may be a task too big for the average homeowner as well, and calling a professional will provide a complete solution to lizard-proofing your home. After all, there won’t be any lizards in a house if they can’t get in.

Plant Lizard Repellant Plants

Some plants that are used for their scents in essential oils and other solutions also are great to plant in and around the house to further repel lizards. Lemongrass and citronella are two plants that typically grow well in climates where lizards thrive and can serve as an attractive and natural option.

The benefits of growing lizard repellant plants include the natural beauty they add and taking advantage of their natural properties. Citronella will also repel mosquitos, which are an insect that most people would not miss.

Lower The Temperature In Your House

This technique may be especially effective when the temperatures outside start dropping and lizards search for warm places to hide.

Reptiles are cold-blooded animals and the ambient temperature has a massive effect on them, as it is how they generate energy. Lowering the temperature in your house is a great way to make it inhospitable to lizards and drive them out.

This method may not be available to everyone, but if you have the option to cool your house into the low 60s even for a few days, this may work to drive out the lizards making your home their own.

Call A Pest Control Professional

Experts are going to have many more tools and techniques at their disposal than the average person, and calling pest control to take care of a lizard problem might be your best bet. Professional pest control services will offer both immediate solutions and long-term prevention that will go a long way.

You can contact pest control services in your area (or wildlife) to choose the ones best suited for the job. Not all companies are equal, and some may be better equipped for certain pests like lizards and some may be better for insects, so do some research and choose the best ones for you.

Wrapping Up!

Lizards can be a tricky pest to deal with.

Most people cannot stand reptiles and having them in your home can be a big no-no. 

Lizards also come in many sizes, however, most of them are small enough to find their way throughout your yard and home and make it tricky to prevent.

Many scents can deter lizards, including:

  • Strong spices
  • Lemongrass
  • Citronella
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Eucalyptus
  • Peppermint
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Vinegar
  • Pine-Sol

While these lizard repelling scents are great and effective, they should be combined with more prevention methods to give you your best shot at a lizard-free home.

We hope you found this article helpful, and hope that you check out more articles to keep any pesky critters you may have out of your home!


Fitzwater, W. (1974). REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS MANAGEMENT DILEMMA. Digitalcommons.unl.edu.

Kraus, F., Sugihara, R., & Siers, S. (2020). Testing toxicants and baits to control small invasive lizards. Management Of Biological Invasions, 11(3), 461-475.

Nawi, M., Ishak, M., Rosli, M., Ayub, M., Khor, C., Ahmad Termizi, S., & Ishak, N. (2020). A Novel Green Technology Kaffir Lime Extract as Lizard Repellent. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science And Engineering, 743(1), 012010.

Pichersky, E., & Raguso, R. (2016). Why do plants produce so many terpenoid compounds?. New Phytologist, 220(3), 692-702.

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