I think, statistically, if you were to ask any given group of people what the cutest animal alive was, the majority would probably answer rabbits.
And they might be right! But if you’re a homesteader or gardener like I am, you know that rabbits can be the scourge of your existence.
They can dig, jump and get virtually anywhere and that means there’s little you can do to keep them out of your garden. Nibbled veggies and lost crops are just part of life if rabbits are around.
But some folks have suggested that you can actually keep rabbits out of your garden using nothing more than Irish Spring soap. Could it possibly be true? Does Irish Spring repel rabbits?
Yes, Irish Spring bar soap repels rabbits. It does this because the intense fragrance is upsetting to many mammals, and that includes rabbits. Irish Spring is safe, easy to use, and affordable, making it a great repellent.
Unlike so many things we read online these days, this one is no joke.
Although I didn’t hear about it in the context of rabbits back in the day, I can remember my parents and grandparents talking about using Irish Spring to keep deer out of the family garden.
Well, today I can confirm that they were absolutely right. More right than they would have thought!
Keep reading and I’ll tell you what you need to know about using this classic soap to repel rabbits…
Is There a Precedent for Irish Spring Soap as Rabbit Repellent?
Yes, there is, as I alluded to above. Using Irish Spring as an animal repellent isn’t just another random piece of internet lore and legend: it has a basis in reality from before the internet even was.
Turns out, back in the day, people had to be pretty self-sufficient, especially if they invested a lot of time into growing fruits and veggies in their garden or even fields of crops, it was a constant battle to keep crop-eating critters like deer away.
You couldn’t always throw up some huge fence or bury chicken wire.
Accordingly, somewhere along the line, someone figured out that most animals wouldn’t go anywhere near Irish Spring soap.
The idea spread like wildfire, and eventually made its way to the net- and now you’re here!
Jokes aside, this strategy is 100% legitimate and one that I recommend wholeheartedly if you have rabbits vandalizing your garden.
Does Irish Spring Have Any Actual Repellent Ingredients?
No, it does not. Now, full disclosure, it is possible that Irish Spring might share one or two lesser or inactive ingredients with any given kind of chemical repellent out there in the world. In fact that is all but a statistical certainty.
However, I say this to clear up the genuine myth that is sometimes repeated, one that asserts Irish Spring repels animals because it contains an ingredient that is an actual repellent. That’s complete bunk.
Irish Spring repels mammals because the fragrance is intensely off-putting to them, and they tend to avoid it and stay away.
And that’s even better news because this fragrance won’t harm animals, and it won’t hurt the environment.
Will Irish Spring Hurt Rabbits That Touch It?
No, it will not. Good news, I know, because most people don’t want to see precious little rabbits come to any harm but assuming that the rabbits only come into incidental contact with the soap they won’t experience any ill effects.
While it is true that soaps for people tend to be extremely drying and even harmful for many animals, including rabbits, assuming you aren’t bathing your rabbit in the stuff, you won’t have anything to worry about…
Will Irish Spring Keep Hares Away?
Yes, it will. Hares and rabbits are not the same animal, though. They are distinct species even though they look very similar and have many of the same traits.
If you’re dealing with hares in your area, Irish Spring will work much the same as it would for rabbits.
Will Irish Spring Body Wash Keep Rabbits Away?
No, or at least I don’t think so. I wasn’t able to find any verified accounts of someone using Irish Spring body wash in place of the usual bar soap as a rabbit repellent, or as a repellent for any other animals.
My own investigations led me to believe that the fragrance of the body wash is also quite a bit different from the soap itself, and considering how well the soap works I’m not inclined in the least to try anything different.
You shouldn’t either, so stick with the soap for best results.
Could Irish Spring Attract Rabbits?!
No, it won’t attract rabbits. As mentioned above, outside of the most extraordinary circumstances Irish Spring soap is intensely disturbing and irritating to rabbits so they won’t be attracted to it.
I suppose it is technically possible that a pet rabbit in your care might come to associate the smell of Irish Spring with you- assuming you bathe with the stuff, but that would be the only exception.
I guess if you have a pet rabbit, you can’t count on Irish Spring as a deterrent if you use it in the tub every day!
How to Use Irish Spring to Repel Rabbits
More good news: employing Irish Spring as a rabbit repellent is the picture of simplicity.
If you’re just dealing with one or two rogue rabbits, you can take a brand new, dry bar and cut it up into multiple chunks before placing those chunks at problem areas around your property.
You’re just protecting one or two raised beds, or if rabbits slip through a particular hole in the fence, this can work.
A better approach for more comprehensive coverage is to grate or shred the bar of soap into smaller pieces. A cheese grater works great for the purpose, no pun intended.
All you need to do then is scatter a perimeter of the flakes around the place that you want to keep the bunnies out of, or if you can do so safely scatter the flakes all through the space.
A refined version of this approach, and my preferred approach, is to grate the soap and then place the shards and flakes in small cheesecloth bags, tea sachets or even an old sock.
This will allow you to place them, hang them or tie them where needed and more effectively spread the fragrance.
It also helps the smell last longer compared to leaving the soap lying in the open.
But no matter what you do, remember that this fragrance will eventually dissipate over time, and do so quickly after a good hard rain, so make sure you replenish with new soap every so often or when you notice rabbits ignoring it.
Or Try an Irish Spring Spray to Keep Rabbits at Bay
Another innovative way to use common Irish Spring soap as a rabbit repellent is to mix it up with some warm water to form a solution you can apply with a sprayer.
To do this, simply stir and mash grated soap as described above in warm water until you have something that’s the consistency of milk or hot chocolate.
Once that’s done, strain out any large chunks and bits and then pour the fluid into a common spray bottle or a garden sprayer.
Then soak the perimeter of the area you want to keep the rabbits out of, along with anything that they dig under or chew on.
When the rabbits touch it, will definitely kick up the fragrance and if they nibble on anything you’ve treated with the solution it will give them a horrible taste that is likely to drive them off.
Consider All Approaches Rabbits Might Use
You can generally depend on Irish Spring to keep rabbits at bay, but also remember that it isn’t magic: rabbits that jump over your perimeter or come in by some other way that you didn’t protect might not be to put off by the nearby soap.
Also remember that rabbits tend to be really good diggers, and they might be tunneling in from below.
To prevent this, if you’re trying to protect your garden, crops or raised beds, it’s a good idea to scatter the soap around the perimeter but also throughout.
That way anywhere the rabbits go they’re always dealing with an in-your-face blast of that Irish Spring smell. This should lead to a higher success rate.
Tim is a farm boy with vast experience on homesteads, and with survival and prepping. He lives a self-reliant lifestyle along with his aging mother in a quiet and very conservative little town in Ohio. He teaches folks about security, prepping and self-sufficiency not just through his witty writing, but also in person.
Find out more about Tim and the rest of the crew here.