Nowadays, authors sort of make up their own rules about vampires. My vampires, for example, are not bothered by crosses or holy water, they aren't repelled by garlic. But traditional vampires in folklore had more rigid rules. If you wanted to keep a vampire away from you, you had several options.
First, thresholds have historically held significant symbolic value, and a vampire cannot cross a threshold unless invited. The connection between threshold and vampires seems to be a concept of agreeing to allow evil into your life.
Before Christianity, methods of repelling vampires included garlic, hawthorn branches, rowan trees (later used to make crosses), scattering of seeds, fire, decapitation with a gravedigger’s spade, salt (associated with preservation and purity), iron, bells, a rooster’s crow, peppermint, running water, and burying a suspected vampire at a crossroads. It was also not unusual for a corpse to be buried face down so it would dig down the wrong way and become lost in the earth.
After the advent of Christianity, methods of repelling vampires began to include holy water, crucifixes, and Eucharist wafers. These methods were usually not fatal to the vampire, and their effectiveness depended on the belief of the user.
Garlic, a traditional vampire repellent, has been used as a form of protection for over 2,000 years. The ancient Egyptians believed garlic was a gift from God, Roman soldiers thought it gave them courage, sailors believed it protected them from shipwreck, and German miners believed it protected them from evil spirits when they went underground. In several cultures, brides carried garlic under their clothes for protection, and cloves of garlic were used to protect people from a wide range of illnesses. Modern-day scientists found that the oil in garlic, allicin, is a highly effective antibiotic.
So there you have it. Ways to stay safe from vampires. I remember when I was young and had watched a vampire movie that scared me, I made sure to sleep with my cross on and tucked my blankets firmly around my neck. Hey, vampires don't like the taste of cotton, right?
Anyway, that's how traditional rules tells us to repel vampires. But let's be honest. We're more interested these days in attracting vampires than repelling them, right? lol!