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Irish Spring Deer Repellent: How To Use for Maximum Success

Irish Spring Deer Repellent: How To Use for Maximum Success

Gardens and farms may encounter issues with deer and other wildlife, as these animals often roam onto private property and neglect boundaries while searching for food. This carelessness can greatly affect those who are responsible for maintaining the land. If you encounter any problems while attempting to complete this task, please notify me with the following error message: Unable to process the request due to encountered difficulties.

Does Irish Spring soap repel deer? Irish Spring soap is quite effective at repelling deer. The smell alone often deters deer from even approaching the area. At the same time, Irish Spring soap is safe to use near veggies and fruits in the garden since it doesn’t come in direct contact with the plants.

So how would you use Irish Spring soap to repel deer? Can it also work against squirrels and other unwanted wildlife in the garden or orchard? Read more to find answers to these questions.

Using Irish Spring Soap as Repellent

Deer are fast and agile. Low fences don’t stop them, and they don’t scare easily.

The most effective way to keep them from eating the trees, flowers, and veggies in the garden is to use a deer repellent such as Irish Spring soap. So what is it about Irish Spring soap that deer find so awful?

Why Irish Spring Soap Repels Deer

Irish Spring soap has a potent smell. The odors are not only strong, but they also linger in the air for as long as the soap bar or its shavings are near the plant.

Irish Spring soap doesn’t have any negative impact on the plants themselves since it doesn’t contain toxins that spill over onto the leaves and fruits. 

What Does Irish Spring Soap Repel?

Irish Spring soap doesn’t just repel deer. It’s also effective at keeping small wildlife away. If you have rabbit, squirrel, or rat infestations, keep Irish Spring soap in the garden at strategic points to repel all types of four-legged wildlife.

That said, the odorous soap doesn’t seem to work as efficiently against insects. 

It could work against aphids, but the soap shavings have to come in contact with these insects directly. Only then would the strong soap absorb the moisture in the aphid’s body and kill it by dehydration.

What Animal Eats Irish Spring Soap?

The only animal that doesn’t find Irish Spring soap repulsive is the possum. The critter not only forages near the spots where you have left the soap, it actually eats it.

So if you go to the garden in the morning to find your Irish Spring soap gone, chances are you have a possum that raids your garden frequently.

Interestingly, I have personally found that mice will not hesitate to sample Irish Spring soap when given the opportunity, even though they are said to be repelled by it.

Does Irish Spring Soap Repel Insects?

Irish Spring soap has no effect on insects. It repels small mammals, but the strong odor doesn’t disturb insects or keep them away from the plants. 

Will Irish Spring Hurt Plants?

Unlike pesticides and fungicides, Irish Spring soap doesn’t come in contact with the plants when placed strategically.

It doesn’t contain toxins that contaminate the food you grow in the garden, so you can safely use it to repel deer and other pests.

How Long Does Irish Spring Repellent Last?

The durability of Irish Spring soap as a repellent depends on how you use it. If you’re keeping the whole bar in the garden, then it can last for weeks before you have to shave the bar of soap to reveal the fresh and odorous layer beneath it. 

Soap shavings don’t last that long. After one to two weeks, the potent odor is gone, and you will have to replace it with fresh shavings or a fresh bar.

Direct sun exposure as well as rainfall can also impact the potency of the Irish Spring soap. If it rains, you’ll have to use a fresh bar of soap and throw out the old one.

How To Use Irish Spring Soap To Repel Deer – 2 Methods

An up-close shot of a deer in the middle of a rose garden.

In general, there are two ways to use Irish Spring soap. Either use soap shavings near and around the plants or hang the soap in a bag over the plants. Each method has its advantages and drawbacks. Here’s how to use each method effectively.

Method #1 – Shavings

To turn a bar of Irish Spring soap into shavings, you’ll need a cheese grater or a knife. If you don’t like to have slivers of soap stuck under your fingernails, then a cheese grater is the safest way to get soap shavings. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Unpack a fresh bar of Spring Soap. Check the manufacturing date on the package because the older the bar, the less potent the smell.
  2. Wear gloves to protect your hands against cuts from the knife or cheese grater. It will also keep the smell off your hands. If you use the cheese grater, then a face mask and goggles are needed to shield your face from soap dust.
  3. Hold the soap against the broad side of the cheese grater that produces long slivers of soap. Don’t use the narrow side that turns the soap into powder. 
  4. Slowly move the soap against the cheese grater applying appropriate pressure. More pressure means thicker slivers of soap and vice versa.
  5. Collect the shavings on a sheet or a dry paper towel. 
  6. Now sprinkle the soap shavings around new shoots and seedlings in the garden. 
  7. If you still have extra shavings, throw them on the ground near the entry points where deer and other small mammals make their way into the garden.

The downside to this method is that the soap shavings lose their odor much faster due to exposure. If it rains, the shavings will turn into a paste and will need to be replaced.

Method #2 – Hanging Bags

Another way to use Irish Spring soap to repel deer is to hang the bar of soap in a bag near the plants that deer feed on.

On average, one bar of soap would cover a 100-foot square area, but you can get the maximum effect from a bar of soap if you follow these steps.

  1. Unbox the bar of Irish Spring soap, and make sure it’s fresh.
  2. Use a knife to cut the bar into small cubes. You could get as many as eight cubes out of one bar of soap.
  3. Drop two to three cubes in a mesh bag, and hang it just above the top of the plants that attract deer and rabbits.
  4. You can use a fence or a hook on a stick to hang the bags. Make sure the bag has a long string to adjust the height of the hovering bag over the growing plant every few days.

Using hanging bags of Irish Spring soap instead of shavings has many advantages. You can target certain plants and areas directly with the soap.

The hovering bag is out of reach of possums that eat the soap, and finally, the cubes of soap are more durable and don’t lose their scent as quickly as the soap shavings exposed to sunlight and rain.

On the downside, you won’t cover as many areas with cubes of soap as you would with soap shavings. 

Irish Spring Soap Squirrel Repellent

You can use Irish Spring soap to effectively deter squirrels as you would use it against deer. Squirrels don’t like the combination of fragrances in the soap and would steer clear of your garden and bird feeders.

To apply it, sprinkle Irish Spring soap shavings around the bird feeders or garden, or hang a mesh bag full of soap cubes just over the target area.

Irish Spring Soap Mosquito Repellent

Insects in general are not known for their great smell sense. Since the potent element in the Irish Spring soap is its odor, mosquitoes and other insects are not deterred by the soap.

Related Questions: 

Does Irish Spring Soap Repel Snakes?

Thanks to their tongues and special Jacobson’s organ in their mouths, snakes have a strong sense of smell. They will often avoid the strong odor of Irish Spring soap, so you can try to use the soap to repel snakes.

Does Irish Spring Repel Mosquitoes?

No, Irish Spring doesn’t repel mosquitoes as mosquitoes don’t have a sense of smell.

Does Irish Spring Soap Repel Roaches?

Roaches, much like other insects, are not bothered by the odors in the house be they good or bad. If you have a roach infestation, Irish Spring soap will not help you get rid of the insects. 


Irish Spring soap is an excellent deer repellent. It has a strong odor that deer, squirrels, rabbits, and other small mammals find offensive.

Sprinkle shavings of the soap around plants, or hang cubes of it in a mesh bag over the plants to protect them against wildlife.