Can't stand garden pests? Try this beauty aisle buy for keeping them at bay, say experts

The cheap soap is a kind method for keeping small mammals away from your veggies

sweet peas in garden on wigwams
(Image credit: Getty)

Deterring pests while avoiding harsh chemicals is a hard balance to strike. Seeing your homegrown vegetables getting eaten by pests is hugely frustrating - but Irish Spring soap appears to be an effective solution to this common dilemma.

Gardening lovers say that you can grate a bar of Irish Spring soap and sprinkle a barrier around your plants to put off animals like chipmunks and deer. Alternatively, you can cut the soap up, put it in a pouch and hang it on a stick.

Admittedly, neither option looks great in the garden, but if it fends off the hungry chipmunks it's worth a shot.

irish spring soap

(Image credit: Alamy)

Leslie Vincent, a gardening expert from Atkins (opens in new tab) explains that animals find the smell of Irish Spring soap unpleasant, and will leave your crops alone. Leslie suggests you 'slice the bar up in ½ inch cubes and place 2 pieces into a drawstring pouch. 

'Place some wooden sticks around the garden and tie the bags or pouches around the sticks,' she says. 'Keep an eye on how things go, obviously, for larger animals, you may need more soap – a deer is going to need a lot more than a mouse.' 

Alternatively, you could put the pouches around the bottom of your plant and it will do the same job, giving you a good non-toxic pest control solution.

chipmunk in grass

(Image credit: Getty)

Andrew Gaumond, Horticulturist, Botanist, & Director of Content at Petal Republic (opens in new tab) says that from his experience, Irish Spring soap most effective in deterring mid-sized animals like rabbits and deer. If it's smaller pests like bugs and insects that you're struggling with, he recommends homemade insecticidal soap.

'It can be easily made by mixing 1 spoon of fragrance-free liquid soap (dish or hand-soap is fine) with 5 spoons of vegetable oil with around 16 fluid ounces of warm water in a spray bottle,' Andrew says. 

'Give the mixture a good shake and apply immediately and liberally on sweet peas and other growing matter in your garden,' he adds. This homemade soap is suitable for both garden plants and your best indoor plants.

deer in a backyard

(Image credit: Getty)

If you're also being visited by cockroaches inside your home, our guide on how to get rid of cockroaches will help.

While Irish Spring soap works well, it's by no means the only option. Jill Sandy, a gardener, and founder of home and gardening blog Constant Delights (opens in new tab) recommends using a soap that has eucalyptus oil, cinnamon, or mint in its ingredients.

'It is great to test which of the different soaps are effective in repelling the pests because they all have different formulas and ingredients,' she says.

Will you be trying Irish Spring soap in your garden?

Millie joined Real Homes in early 2021 as a homes news writer. When she isn't writing about trends, makeovers and houseplant care, she spends her free time making tweaks to her rented flat in North London. Her next project is a very basic armchair reupholstering job to help create a cosy reading nook in her living room. She loves browsing antique centres, tending to her small front garden, and is never without some fresh flowers at home.