Irish Spring soap is the perfect pest zapper for your plants and there's two ways to use it

Gardening pros reveal how to use Irish Spring soap for plant pest control indoors and out

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Irish Spring soap may be the simple, budget and cost-effective solution you've been looking for to tackle pest plant problems.

Keeping your plant babies happy and thriving without having to resort to harsh chemicals and convoluted pest control processes is a big tick here at Real Homes, and our gardening pros have high praise for Irish Spring soap, revealing the ways you can use it on your greenery to clear away bugs and repel critters.

Follow our easy, expert led guide on the application process to keep your best indoor plants and the shrubs in your backyard, looking great and feeling even better, pest and critter-free.

How to use Irish Spring soap for pest control

Avid gardeners say grating a bar of Irish Spring soap from Amazon and sprinkling it around your plants, both will deter bugs such as gnats, and outside, keep animals such as chipmunks and deer from chomping on your plants.

Our gardening pros experts reveal why it works, and exactly how to use it.

Why Irish Spring soap deters pests and animals

Leslie Vincent, a gardening expert from Atkins, explains that animals find the smell of Irish Spring soap unpleasant, and will leave your edible plants alone. 

The soap contains picaridin which prevents pests from being able to find items covered in it — making your plants invisible. It's why the man-made chemical is often used in insecticides, especially those applied to the skin for it's gentle and effective properties.

Irish spring soap also contains oil of lemon eucalyptus, a citric smell that pests loathe so even if they know your plant is there, the smell will put them off making an approach to nestle in or chomp.

Many users of Irish Spring soap note the very strong fragrance and how it lasts for weeks, even after being removed from regular pest-prone areas such as garages and attics and that can be attributed to this essential oil ingredient.

How to use Irish Spring soap to deter pests and critters outdoors

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For balcony areas or ground plants in small backyards, simply grate Irish Spring soap around your pots, planters or soil as a good non-toxic pest control solution. For larger gardens, Leslie recommends using a different method.

"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."

Andrew Gaumond, horticulturist, botanist, and director of content at Petal Republic says Irish Spring soap is most effective outdoors at deterring mid-sized animals like rabbits and deer.

How to use Irish Spring soap for indoor plant pest control

Irish Spring soap is known to deter smaller insects and other pesky plant bugs because of its citric odor, so for indoor use, either grate it around the soil of your potted beauties, or whip up a solution to spray on your green-babies.

You can easily make a homemade insecticidal soap spray using one spoonful of liquid soap (try the Irish Soap shower gel available on amazon), with five spoons of vegetable oil and 16 fluid ounces of warm water.

Once ready, load it into a spray bottle. Walmart sells Equate continuous spray reloadable bottles which are perfect for the job.

Andrew adds, "Give the mixture a good shake and apply immediately and liberally onto plants." 

Other smells that deter bugs and pests can be worked into your next batch if you tire of Irish Soap, or if you don't like the smell of Irish Spring soap, instead opt for a fragrance-free organic liquid soap such as the vegan and cruelty-free Lily Farms Botanicals hand soap, also on Amazon for your liquid solution.

Other plant pest control options

While Irish Spring soap is a handy hack, there are plenty of backup options. Jill Sandy, a gardener and founder of home and gardening blog Constant Delights 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.

So if you're trying to keep your plants healthy and aren't willing to share your hard work pruning, watering and caring for plants with bugs and animals, grab a bar of Irish Spring soap in your next online order.

If your pest problems are taking a trip indoors, learn how to get rid of ants in a kitchen or get rid of roaches in the kitchen

Punteha van Terheyden

Hi! I'm editor of Real Homes. I've been a senior journalist and editor for national magazines and newspapers for 16 years, specializing in consumer, real-life, and lifestyle articles. I have a BA in English Language and Communication, mentor journalists, and I’m also founding editor of Lacuna Voices, an independent digital platform. I love to cook, add character to my newly-built home, try my hand at DIY projects, keep my collection of plants alive, and make memories with my little family of three. For Real Homes, I specialize in articles on pest control, DIY, declutterring and cleaning, interviewing experts daily for their top tips and product recommendations.

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