How to Kill Gophers with Bleach and Ammonia?

You may never have seen these ground kings and queens but chances are you’ve seen the aftermath of their activities. They are a great problem for homeowners and can cause great damage to grass lawns of gardens. That’s not something you want, right?

As these creatures burrow underground in search of food, they can kill plants by eating their roots and even weaken the ground. Fortunately, gophers seldom stay away from their tunnel. The fact that they rarely migrate their homes underground makes it easy to kill them while in their homes. 

Bleach and ammonia repel and suffocate gophers completely. To kill gopher with bleach and ammonia, first you need to split the gopher’s hole in two halves. Then, insert a funnel into the hole and pour a gallon of bleach through the tunnel followed by a gallon of ammonia. The bleach will decompose into hydrochloric acid and react with ammonia to cause toxic fumes, thus killing gophers.

Block rest of the holes to prevent gopher and the fumes to escape.

Do not start mixing Bleach with Ammonia before pouring it into the holes as mixing bleach with anything can result in dangerous reactions and cause serious injuries.

What are Gophers?

What are Gophers?

They are small herbivores that live build their homes underground. They are called pocket gophers, popularly christened gophers. This is because of their pocket-like cheeks where they normally carry their nests’ building materials and food. They boast of small eyes and ears. Their whiskers and tail helps the navigate their tunnel networks.

Characteristics of Gophers

  • They thrive in destroying plants and soil.
  • Have sharp teeth and claws and can measure up to a foot in length.
  • Their homes can run to hundreds feet.
  • They are territorial and loners.
  • They are active 24/7.
  • They breed in spring and their gestation is approximately three weeks.
  • They prefer sandy soils to clay soil.

 Benefits of Gophers

 Benefits of gophers

Love or hate them, gophers serve as ecosystem engineers and positively impact the soil where they live.

  • They increase the speed at which plants decompose and are important to the plants biodiversity. 
  • They help aerate the soil by moving it from one point to another.

Well, probably that’s to remind you that everything has its own advantage and disadvantages. However, considering the nuisance and the amount of damage caused by gophers, humankind is better off without them in their lawns of farms.

How to kill Gophers with Bleach and Ammonia?

Ammonia’s awful smell was somehow a blessing in disguise, as far as Gophers are concerned.  For them, the smell of ammonia is the last thing they want to encounter. It totally repels and suffocates them. A mixture of bleach and ammonia which produces a poisonous called chloramines gas is a perfect way of killing them, ammonia alone just suffocates them. Here is how you proceed with the mixture of bleach and ammonia when killing gophers.

  1. Use a shovel to cut the hole into half. This is not a must though, but it could help increase the almost assured effectiveness more quickly.
  2. Insert a funnel into the hole. Again, you could need to elongate it especially if you hadn’t shortened the hole.
  3. Pour down a gallon of the bleach through the tunnel.a gallon of bleach
  4. Follow it up with a gallon of ammonia.
  5. This causes the bleach to decompose into hydrochloric acid. It then reacts with ammonia to cause the toxic fumes.

 Caution: Please note that the two chemicals mix down the hole, they are not mixed in a container and then poured inside. Doing so could poison you instead of gophers. Be careful.

Advantages of Using Bleach and Ammonia to kill Gophers

  • It’s cheap. This low-cost system is probably the cheapest for all the burrowing rodents you have in mind, e.g. gophers and squirrels.
  • It’s almost 100% guaranteed to kill the gophers. Very effective.
bleach and ammonia

Disadvantages of Using Bleach and Ammonia to Kill Gophers

  • Highly corrosive and irritating fumes. Long exposure to smell of ammonia causes burning of nose, eyes and the respiratory tract. This can cause lung damage, blindness or even death. That being not something you want, always wear goggles to protect your eyes and gloves to protect your hands. Ensure the wind is blowing away from you so as to decrease chances of you inhaling the ammonia fumes.

Precautions When Killing Gophers 

Chances are that you have animals like dogs and cats in your yard. This means that using some of the methods mentioned above, such as poison and traps could injure or even kill them. As such, always mind these other animals and take the necessary precautions to prevent them from any possible negative effects.

Be careful when using bleach and ammonia

Prevention of Gophers

While this doesn’t go as guarantee that they won’t invade your lawn or farm, if you don’t irrigate, the soil will be less accommodating to them since they like moisture.

Other Methods to Get Rid of Gophers

So here you are, you have gophers digging all over your lawn and are now almost burrowing tunnels into your house. Fret not! As a matter of fact, there are a number of ways you can eradicate gophers. One of the major and most effective methods is killing them by use of bleach and ammonia. Before we get there, here is a quick overview of other ways you can kill gophers.

  • By use of Irritating Gas From Vehicle Exhaust Pipes: Simply connect a hose to the exhaust and direct it to the gopher hole, then start the engine. It rarely works, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
  • Drop Some Chewing Gum into their Holes: The gum is said to interfere with their organs thus killing them.
  • Use of Traps Called Gophinators: If done correctly, these traps may help. However, as expected, they do the eradication quite slow.
  • Use of Cats: Outdoor cats feed on gophers, you might decide to give them a try. 
  • Grow Crops that Repel Gophers: Such plants are garlic, rosemary and castor beans.
  • Use of Ultrasonic Gopher Repellents: These devices are normally powered by batteries and their vibrations can help repel gophers from your lawn.
    •  If gophers have been feasting on your natural grass lawn, you can replace it with artificial grass to make it less desirable for gophers to carry out their hobbies-tunneling.
    • After gophers leave your yard, fill those holes to prevent future gophers from migrating into them.
  • Use of a Garden Hose by Entering in into the Gopher Complex: Honestly, this is the last method I would like to hear someone mention to me. I ever tried to use it to kill gophers and I somehow made those small creatures personal. You might think attitudes apply only to human beings but that’s not it, they apply to these animals as well. My act resulted into more gopher mounds here, there and new dirt piles virtually everywhere. Well, maybe the liked my water supply. I hereby tell you about the method that was and remains all time favorite.

Bottom Line

These underground animals are talented in finding your plants and destroying them. They are also known to multiply rapidly. You don’t want to imagine them destroying your plants and constantly gnawing through your irrigation pipes and what have you, isn’t it? Thankfully, using bleach and ammonia as explained above might save you a great deal. What’s more, the method won’t drill holes into your pockets. Success in killing ‘your gophers.’ Thank us later.

Related info: Home Remedies to Get Rid of Moles

About Jennifer Igra

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York City known for it’s green gardens. Jennifer, a 30 year old gardener and green living fanatic started Igra World to share her gardening journey and increase gardening awareness among masses. Follow Igra World to improve your gardening skills.

16 thoughts on “How to Kill Gophers with Bleach and Ammonia?”

  1. Sorry, bleach plus ammonia is unacceptable. You will find all sorts of warnings on line about this. Any house with children (or even occasional child visitors) must separate these two products.
    Even if I wanted to do this, I wouldn’t call this cheap. One gallon bleach plus one gallon of ammonia PER GOPHER HOLE would run up to big money in our yard.

    • Hi Gary,
      Thanks for the concern, and this is well taken. The Point here is that its one of the method to get rid of Gophers and is an effective one, and one needs to be Highly Cautious while using this. Take an example of Rat Poisson, its a deadly remedy to get rid of Rats, but one often uses it.
      Keeping it as Simple…..Proper handling & Safety should be the Priority.


    • Hi @Stephanie, No it won’t until its often used. As Ammonia turns the soil alkaline, and further is converted to nitrate, which eventually turns soil to acidic and can effect some of the plant’s growth. Using Ammonia Bleach once and in a small quantity will do the work.


  2. I’m sure you could use equal parts of these 2 ingredients in smaller portions and still achieve the desired results.Adios Senor Gofo!

  3. Can using this be done in a vegetable garden without the toxic being absorbed into the vegetables root system affecting / poisoning the vegetables

  4. Plus there’s the others wonderful side effect — when the bleach/ammonia dry together, they make a very nice explosive. Just the thing for a family yard.

  5. Is this a bad idea if the gophers are living under an out building? Will they die in their burrow and smell for a long time or will they run first and then die?

    • Hi,
      It all depends, there is a 50% probability for each of the scenarios. But this is certain if they died in the hole, the smell will ruin your nostrils 🙂


    • Yes, its better to cover the hole. But try not to pour ammonia & bleach near plants, as it would kill the plants too.



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