Using Salt to Control Slugs and Snails | Application and Criticism

Can salt be used to fight slugs and snails?

Many people recommend using salt against slugs and snails in the garden.

But does it really help?

The answer is yes and no. It depends on the method of application.

Salt against slugs
How can salt be used to control slugs and snails?

Why does salt kill slugs?

Salt crystals bind moisture, and this makes it deadly to slugs and snails if sprinkled on them.

Some people, therefore, use table salt or road salt to kill collected slugs and snails.

But this is extremely painful for the animals and horrible to watch.

There are much more “human” ways to kill slugs and snails.

Even better, there are ways to deal with the pests without killing them.

More info here:

natural slug control

slug barriers

Peaceful Slug Control & Plant Protection

Slug Repellent Copper TapeSlug Collars | Multipack
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salt in the garden
Salt barriers around plants?

Can salt be used as a barrier?

Does it help to scatter salt around endangered beds as a kind of protective barrier against the slimy invaders?

Again, the answer is yes and no.

Yes, slugs and snails are unable to crawl over a line of salt, so at first glance, this seems a suitable solution.

But this method has negative long-term effects.

Rain or watering can cause the salt to be washed into the soil and quickly become ineffective.

As a result, the soil’s salinity will be heavily increased and beds become acidified.

Putting out the salt in the garden can have the same effect as acid rain.

salt kills slugs and snails
Salt not only kills the slugs. In the end, also the plants suffer.

Soil pH levels will decrease, and plants begin to die or stop growing properly.

Eventually, many useful soil organisms will also die.

With continued use of salt, the garden will slowly turn into a salt desert.

Therefore, applying road salt in this way is by no means a suitable method; indeed, in most countries, this practice is prohibited by Plant Protection Acts.

plus minus


Never put out salt into the garden or on the soil.

However, if this has already been done, you can try to counteract the salinization of the soil with garden lime.

This can help achieve a neutral pH value again.

Slug Collars | Alternative Snail & Slug Control for single plants | Multipack

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salt desert
Salt desert.

Could Salt Still Work?

There are also positive reports that salt can help fight slugs and snails without unintended side effects.

To achieve this, double-sided tape is applied around flower tubs and carefully sprinkled with fine salt crystals.

This solution should successfully fend off slugs and snails, without becoming ineffective with the first rain.

Slug & Snail Fence | Protective Barrier

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I have yet to try this. I worry that rain or watering could quickly wash the salt into the ground.

But maybe slug collars could help prevent this from happening.

So, my tip is to treat this idea with caution. However, it can be tested easily and is cheap, too.

If you have any experiences with this solution, I would be glad to read about them below.

salt kitchen not garden
Salt belongs into the kitchen – not into the garden.


Salt does not belong in the garden and usually damages more than it helps.

It causes great harm not only to slugs and snails, but also plants and other, more beneficial creatures in the garden.

Killing collected slugs and snails with salt is not an appropriate method, as they die slowly and painfully.

Not only does this make for a gruesome sight, it is also highly questionable in terms of animal welfare.

However, one interesting possibility is to use salt with double-sided tape to protect especially potted plants, at least for a certain time.

Alternatives to Salt Barriers

Slugs dislike eating these vegetables and herbs.

You could attract enemies of slugs and snails to your garden.

Further Information

Control slugs and snails in your garden with:

Slug barriers

Slug and snail deterrent paint

Electric slug fence

Slug-resistant flowers and flowering plants: perennials and annuals

Homemade slug and snail control

Runner ducks against slugs and snails

Peaceful Slug Control & Plant Protection

Snail & Slug Repellent Copper Tape | AdhesiveAnti-Slug Fence | Protective Barrier
Offer on AmazonOffer on Amazon
Offers on eBayOffers on Etsy

Sheep Wool Pellets | Natural Snail RepellentAnti-Slug Collars | For Single Plants | Multipack
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8 thoughts on “Using Salt to Control Slugs and Snails | Application and Criticism”

  1. Hi

    I developed a method for pots which involves the following;

    1 x wooden disc, slightly larger than base of pot
    Cover disc in suitable oil for outdoor protection
    Attach wooden feet to disc, around 5cm high
    Cover underside of disc with PVA glue
    Cover glue with table salt
    Shake to move excess salt
    Use spray mount adhesive to hold salt in place
    Place side of disc with salt covering facing downwards
    Place plant on clean upper side of disc
    Result – my collection of Hostas, around 8 large pots looking better than ever.

    In the past I’ve collected snails and relocated them to a nearby park around 400 metres from my garden. I can’t even crush them let alone poor salt over them. I Also seem to have fewer snails as a result. Any loose salt that I notice I sweep up and remove to a bin.


    • Yes and don’t believe the complete bullshit all over the internet about slugs not eating poppies! I’m starting to thing 90% of the “facts” that come from google are absolutely bullshit. I have lost nearly every single poppy I have planted this year and could not figure out why. I was blaming my cat that she was peeing in my flower beds! Well tonight I just happened to be outside looking around and noticed oh my god!!! My yard is infested with slugs!!!! What’s worse, they haven’t touched the blueberry plants or anything else that I’ve planted for that matter…they are FEASTING on my poppies ONLY!!!!! Every single poppy plant that hasn’t died yet I looked through and yep! Slugs all over them feasting!!!

    • Hi Jerry,

      thank you for your comment!
      Slugs love young and weak plants. Even varieties that are normally resistant will be eaten if they are not strong and healthy.
      To protect them you could try to put lettuce leaves near by. Then slugs will prefer these leaves and the young plants get enough time to develop their resistance.

      May you enjoy your garden and all flowers of mother earth!

  2. My problem is slugs getting into the treadle feeder inside my chicken run. Copper tape did zip, so I just now ran a line of double sided tape around the favorite entry point and patted kosher salt onto it. If this helps, I’ll try a narrower tape and finer salt as I think smaller granules will be less likely to attract the attention of the chickens.

    • Be careful w/ salt around coops especially beware of rock/road salts in or around a coop ive heard bad stories about the reactions w/ chickens.

  3. Hi l tried to use salt many times but spinach died because the salt. I wish I can use medicine to chace those snails away. Even if raining salt washed away I’m confused, give up I lost my plants. What is easy way to kill the snals than there salt ,can you also organise somebody who can speak is Xhosa some of we are not in good to English thank you

  4. I’d recommend regular white glue, wood glue over double-sided tape. You can cover the surface with the glue and cover it completely with salt. It will create better and more permanent adhesion. Don’t roll the sand in the glue or you will end up coating the salt. Just sprinkle basically. Use the coarsest salt you can find, ideally epsom salt. But you can even get small salt rocks in bags.


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