Use Irish Spring to Keep Out Garden Pests

Use Irish Spring to keep out garden pests
Garden pests eating my hostas!

Perennials are springing up everywhere. And the herbivores are loving it. The hostas pictured above are always the first course. Around here, the biggest culprit of garden dining are deer. Don’t believe me? I took the following picture of our back yard two years ago. Apparently, we are living in the Grand Central Station for the Bambi crowd.

Deer in backyard

Garden stores sell various deer and rabbit deterrents, but most are topical treatments that have to be applied after each rain or even heavy dew and, generally, they’re expensive. Since many are based on smells (a popular one is coyote urine), it’s not surprising a non-appetizing, odoriferous, rainproof thing such as Irish Spring keeps the critters at bay. $13.89 for 12 on Amazon.

Cut up Irish Spring soap

Just cut a bar into cubes, wrap the cubes in scraps of cloth, and staple them onto stakes.

Wrap soap in a sock and attach to a wooden stake

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Drive the stakes in among the tantalizing vegetation. I also cut smaller bits to scatter along the ground.

Place stakes with Irish Spring in garden

Yes, the yard smells ‘refreshing’ and no, the soap doesn’t suds up during a rain. Last year, I did the stake trick at the beginning of the year, but replenished my scattered pieces once a month or so. Together, they seemed to do the trick; the deer left my plants alone.


Having problems with other household pests? 
Here are  11 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Mice, and our best DIY Fruit Fly Trap T

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Bohunk on May 06, 2018:

I cut up a half dozen bars of IS,wrapped them in cheese cloth and tied them to my fruit trees. Last year the deer ate all of the new growth that they could reach. Last week I went out to check my trees and saw that there was no sign of deer damage but most of the IS was gone. A few pieces of the string were still attached to the limbs but the soap and cheesecloth were nowhere to be found.The only conclusion I can reach is that the deer ate the Irish Spring. I hope it cleaned them out.

Dana Acken on Jan 07, 2018:

Voles have very sensitive senses of smell, but they are also low on the natural food chain, so I didn't want to use a toxin that might then be passed onto another predator I wasn't targeting (like the neighbor's dog or cat). I bought a bag of garlic bulbs, and made a slurry in a blender of the raw garlic and as many various aging pepper and hot sauces as I could dig out of the back of my pantry. Strained it and put it in a sprayer - then sprayed the lawn with the stuff, then made more batches and stuffed cotton balls soaked with the stuff into every hole I could find. My yard stank to high heaven for a couple of days, but I haven't had a vole since.

Candy on Jun 19, 2016:

Do you have any ideas for Voles. they ha eaten my beans 3 times so far. attack from underneath Worried about my potatoes

Vickie Briercheck on May 15, 2016:

What about moles and chipmunks?

Todd on Aug 22, 2015:

If you don't like Irish Spring, Ivory bar soap works just as well.

Sheri on Aug 16, 2015:

I have opossums that poop in my plant pots. That is gross! I won't eat the tomatoes or strawberry's if they have. Do you think that will stop them too?

Lolo on Aug 05, 2015:

That's what I wanted to know if Irish Spring works on ground hogs? I think that is what is eating my Asiatic Lilies I didn't even get to see some of them bloom because they ate them before they could bloom. 8^(

Thanks if it works.

Anonymous on Aug 04, 2015:

Plant mint in areas you don't mind if it takes over, like around chicken coops, along a building etcerta to keep rodents out, mice, squirrels, rats etc.

Valeria on Aug 03, 2015:

you should probably research your animal pest to see if smell is an important part of their food hunting because it is the strong smell that deter deer. I don't  know if rabbit and moles are smell sensitive but I'm sure a bit of googling will help you find out. Mice apparently don't like mint. and some insects are turned off by rosemary. I notice that when my plants are being munched none of my basil or mint are ever chewed by deer. so you have to find out what theyd don't like the smell of

Anonymous on Aug 03, 2015:

I'm going to guess this tactic, Irish Soap, deters bunnies as well.  Anyone try it for hungry hosta loving rabbits?  

Ann on Aug 03, 2015:

Does IRISH SPRING work to deter ground hogs? They like my backyard...ugh!

Valeria on Aug 02, 2015:

I hung pieces of irish spring on my tomatoes after deer started chompin them. for a while I got no more chomps. I got complacent and forgot to put more irish spring on the taller new growth. Well, soon the new growth got chomped but not the lower leaves where the bars still hung. So yeah, it keeps them from chomping but it has to be very near the plant for the smell to deter. so keep it high and low.  I just hung it with yarn on various branches and on the trellis near the leaves. Also bird netting helps.

Trish on Aug 01, 2015:

I sprinkle Irish Spring chips in with my wool blankets and garments for storage and even put it in the pockets of wool coats that are hanging in my closet. So far, so good for repelling moths.

Jim on Aug 01, 2015:

for squirrels get a .22 rifle and shoot them like deer. they make a great meal fried up or baked to go with your fresh veggies. waste not, want not .

naz on Aug 01, 2015:

Is irish spring effective for  keep  squirrel out of garden as well? any suggestion?


Gene on Jul 31, 2015:

Works for me!

Jess on Jul 31, 2015:

Yes - please more info about rat deterrent. Will try Irish Spring under the truck hood for mice/wiring problem.  Brilliant! Thank you

rose l. on Jul 31, 2015:

There are many plants that repel deer and I KNOW it works. The gardens on the campus where are work are NEVER bothered by the deer on campus! The many gardens, including a large rose garden, are never touched by the deer. 

akimbo on Jul 30, 2015:

Irish Spring stinks.  I'd rather have chewed up hostas than a yard that smells like a brothel.  And fellow gardeners, seriously, the chemicals that are used in scented products end up in the environment and our oceans--forever.  As for rats and squirrels, I would recommend a Jack Russel terrier.  :)


D.K. on Jul 29, 2015:

Does anyone know how to get rid of squirrels?  Ground squirrels and grey tree squirrels.

The ground squirrels have so many holes it's becoming hard for me to even mow.  Then my dog makes the holes even larger trying to catch the squirrels. She's just never realized that they always have a back door, also.

The grey tree squirrels get my pecans before they even have a chance to ripen for the most part.  I know everything has to eat, but I haven't harvested one pecan in the last two years.  Because of their location, there is no way to keep the squirrels from getting in the trees, and I tried tieing the different colored plastic ribbons in as much of the tree I could reach with a ladder.  Didn't help.

I tried mothballs in the ground squirrels holes, but they just threw them back outside by the next morning.

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