We share our planet, our gardens, and our properties with all sorts of animals. Not all of them are charismatic, cute and cuddly; some of them are scary, scaly, repulsive and dangerous!
Why not combine all four negative traits in the form of a snake? Snakes might be an important part of the ecosystem like every other animal, but I still don’t want them in my garden.
Close encounters with venomous snakes can also be life-altering events, and not in a good way!
It has been said before that you can use something as simple as Irish Spring to repel snakes and keep them away. Is this even possible? Does Irish Spring soap repel snakes?
Yes, Irish Spring soap repels snakes. Snakes actually have very sensitive olfactory systems, and the intense fragrance of Irish Spring seems to irritate them and drive them away safely.
This is great news, considering that commercial snake repellents are expensive and hard to get and there are plenty of old wives’ tales concerning snakes that just don’t hold up.
For once, I’m more than happy to report that this is an old-timer strategy that’s definitely worth using in your garden!
But, as you might imagine, there’s a lot more you’ll want to know, so keep reading and I’ll tell you all about it…
Is There a Precedent for Irish Spring as Snake Repellent?
Yes, there is. Or rather, Irish Spring has been reported for a very long time to be useful as an improvised animal repellent. But I will level with you the origins of this technique are probably lost to history.
Typically, you’ll hear some folks explain that Irish Spring works to keep mosquitoes and other biting insects off you, either by keeping a bar in your pocket or by washing with the soap.
Sadly, this just isn’t true, but it is true that Irish Spring does work to repel other animals, including cats, deer and reptiles – and so that includes snakes.
I looked all over, and couldn’t find an original source for this inspired tactic, so I think it probably, eventually, made its way on to the internet in various places over time.
That’s because the lore was handed down verbally before the internet was really a thing. I remember hearing about this myself when I was a youngster, so I will personally attest to that!
Does Irish Spring Contain Any Actual Repellent Ingredients?
No, it doesn’t. Or rather I should say that Irish Spring doesn’t have any active or inactive ingredients that are shared with other repellent solutions and reptile repellents in particular.
That’s probably where the white lie part of the legend came from; I’ve heard it said it repeatedly that Irish Spring has certain ingredients in it that are identical to ones found in commercial bug sprays.
Again, not true, except in the case that it might have one or two inactive ingredients with some kind of product out there.
But all you need to know is that Irish Spring can repel snakes because of its fragrance.
I’m not sure how or why, and I don’t think it’s been scientifically ascertained, but there is something about the aroma of Irish Spring that seems downright intolerable to all kinds of animals and that includes snakes.
Snakes have a surprisingly sensitive and sophisticated nose, if you want to call it that. When they flick the air with their tongues, they are basically gathering scent molecules to analyze them.
Accordingly, the intense, citrus-like fragrance of Irish Spring is just too much for them to handle and they will tend to avoid it at all costs.
Will Irish Spring Repel Non-Venomous Snakes?
Yes, it will. The soap will work on non-venomous snakes.
Will Irish Spring Repel Venomous Snakes?
Yes, Irish Spring works to repel venomous snakes. Any snake should be deterred by the fragrance, though you should have a backup plan in case it fails.
Will Irish Spring Hurt Snakes That Touch It?
No, Irish Spring won’t hurt a snake. At least it won’t hurt it through incidental contact.
Many kinds of soap tend to be dehydrating, and so they won’t be good for the health and condition of a snake’s scales, but those that happen to brush by it or pass it generally won’t be harmed by it.
If you are committed to avoiding the infliction of injury or pain on the wayward animals you want to keep away from your garden and property, Irish Spring is a great option for the purpose.
Will Irish Spring Body Wash Keep Snakes Away?
It is unknown, but I suspect that it won’t or at least it won’t work as well as the soap does.
There’s a definite difference between the actual fragrance of Irish Spring body wash and the soap, and the soap is more useful for our purposes anyway.
Don’t fix what isn’t broken, stick with the bar soap and your snake problem will soon be a thing of the past.
Could Irish Spring Soap Actually Attract Some Snakes?!
No. Irish Spring is not a snake attractant in any way. Unlike some domestic mammals, which might be attracted to the smell of Irish Spring in case they learned to associate it positively with their human caretakers, snakes will be under no such auspices.
That means that if you put the soap out in your garden or anywhere else on your land, it’s only going to drive snakes away, not do the opposite.
How to Use Irish Spring to Repel Snakes
Using this soap to keep snakes away is actually really simple. A quick and dirty method is to cut a bar of fresh, unused Irish Spring up into a few cubes, then place them near corners, crevices and entrances where snakes might try to slip through fencing or mesh.
Chances are they’ll run into that aroma and then turn around and go the other way…
A much better method is to shred the soap using a cheese grater and then sprinkle a perimeter of it around any area that you want to protect, be at your garden or perhaps raised beds. It’s also not a bad idea for protecting chicken coops!
But my favorite approach, and the way that I first heard about this technique, is to grate the soap as before but place it in an old sock or unused tea sachets for placing them in strategic points or hang them up just a little bit off the ground.
This will increase the spread of the aroma and help the soap last longer.
The only thing you need to watch out for is the fact that the soap will not maintain its fragrance forever, and exposure to sun and moisture will degrade it. Be prepared to replace your soap perimeter periodically.
You Might Use Irish Spring as a Spray to Keep Snakes Away
There’s another good way to use Irish Spring as a snake repellent, and this time you can form a nearly invisible all-over barrier with it.
All you need to do is grate the soap or chip it up very fine with a knife, then add it to a quantity of warm water and stir it until it is dissolved totally. You’re going for a solution with a consistency that is similar to whole milk.
Then, strain out any little leftover bits as you pour it into a spray bottle. Then you can spritz down any surfaces that you want to protect from snakes.
When those snakes crawl over the invisible barrier of Irish Spring that you made they will stir up the scent molecules and be overwhelmed. Similarly, it might even irritate them a little bit giving them extra incentive.
As usual, make sure you reapply periodically and especially after it rains once it has dried out.
Don’t Spray Snakes Directly with Your Soap Solution
Note that you shouldn’t spray a snake directly with a solution of Irish Spring, for a couple of good reasons.
For starters, this isn’t going to be good for the snake and could eventually result in problems with their scales or skin that can lead to poor health, injury or even death. Plus they won’t be able to wipe the stuff out of their eyes, you monster.
But even more importantly, if you’re getting close enough to a snake to squirt it with a household spray bottle, you are probably in strike range.
If you happen upon a venomous snake unawares, that could easily irritate the snake or frighten it into biting you.
That would certainly result in a trip to the hospital and, in the case of a rattlesnake bite or the bite from some other viper, the loss of a limb.
Just scatter the soap or spray it down as a barrier as I detailed above, and you’ll keep the snakes away.
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.