If you don’t care for plants in any capacity, seeing a rabbit in your yard is probably just a fun distraction.
Watching them hop along, nibbling on grass, before bolting at the slightest disturbance can certainly be a heartwarming sight.
However, if you are a gardener, or even if you just take care of decorative plants in your landscape, the sighting of a rabbit can fill you with dread and anger.
Rabbits can absolutely demolish all kinds of plants in short order, from vegetables to ornamental flowers.
Worse, it is very difficult to keep rabbits out of a garden and away from plants due to their agility and their propensity to dig.
However, some people assert that you can repel rabbits using nothing more than the common Irish Spring bar soap. Is it true? Does Irish Spring repel rabbits?
Yes, there is evidence to suggest that Irish Spring soap can deter rabbits. Properly placed around your garden or strategically located around other plants it might help keep them safe from nibbling rabbits.
I can hardly believe this myself when I first heard it, and I was doubly shocked when I found out that it was mostly true.
But, it seems that sometimes the truth is indeed stranger than fiction, and Irish Spring does have some utility as a repellent for common pest mammals. I will tell you all about it below.
Can You Really Keep Rabbits Away Using Irish Spring?
Yes, you can. I know it sounds hard to believe, especially in this age of internet nonsense. But there is plenty of anecdotal experience that seems to indicate at least some rabbits will be reliably repelled by the scent of Irish Spring soap, at least for a time.
This is in stark contrast to similar promises that you sometimes see made regarding this classic favorite.
Some assert that Irish Spring repels every kind of insect and arthropod along with mammals, and concerning those tiny life forms at least it just isn’t true.
But it definitely is true concerning mammals, particularly small and medium-sized mammals such as rabbits.
How Can Irish Spring Repel Rabbits?
It boils down to fragrance. In short, the smell of Irish Spring is highly disagreeable to many mammals, rabbits in particular but also other, larger mammals like deer.
Exactly why this is still remains something of a mystery, but believe me there have been enough people that have tried this method and reported success even after other methods of deterrence have failed that there must be something to it.
Perhaps rabbits are just turned off by the fresh and bracing scent of Irish Spring. Maybe it is the smell of soap in general that is unsettling or unusual enough that they stay away.
Some even speculate that animals, particularly prey animals, instinctively associate “soap” with “human” after many generations of exposure.
After all, the only thing in their environment that would smell like soap is a human being, and human beings and variably mean trouble and death for many animals!
Whatever the case, and whatever the reason, there is at least a certain percentage of rabbits that will catch a whiff of Irish Spring and decide to turn tail and go the other direction.
Will Irish Spring Hurt Rabbits?
No. Irish Spring, though disagreeable in scent to rabbits, will not hurt them.
What if Rabbits Try to Eat the Soap?
It is unlikely, though not out of the question, that rabbits will eat any soap, including Irish Spring.
Only a rabbit that was truly desperate or genuinely starving is likely to even try such a thing, and if they did, it is further unlikely that they would continue eating it after getting a taste of it.
Soap does not taste good to mammals, obviously, and even though it smells good to us it still does not taste like it smells, now does it?
So you don’t have to worry about rabbits trying to eat the soap you leave lying around, though if they persisted somehow it is possible it could cause them some harm or at the very least a seriously upset stomach.
But considering your alternative solutions for rabbit repellent or disposal, many of them lethal, this is probably a good trade-off.
How Can You Use Irish Spring for Best Results?
Like we said above, it is the smell of Irish Spring that dissuades rabbits from coming closer. Therefore it makes sense that we want to do everything we can to crank up the “reach” and intensity of that smell.
So, if you want to protect the perimeter of your home and in particular the landscaping, or just keep your garden safe from marauding rabbits you’ll need to get your Irish Spring and maximize how much scent it will put out.
We do this by chopping it up into tiny cubes or grating it into fine shavings. You’ll need a sturdy knife to do the former, or a heavy, standing cheese grater to do the latter. Then you’ll have a choice.
Your first option is to take the cubes or the shavings and sprinkle them all around the area you want to protect. This should give you a blanket of all-over protection.
An alternate method is to take the cubes or the shavings and hang them up in a sock or other cloth bag that will still allow the smell to escape readily into the air.
Some folks even use oversized tea sachets and hang them directly from the plants that they want to protect the most. Both options are viable.
And that’s it. Assuming it is going to work on your local rabbit population, they shouldn’t come too close to it.
Do keep in mind that Irish Spring is entirely dependent upon its fragrance in this role, and that fragrance will wear out over time, particularly when it gets wet or exposed to constant UV.
You’ll need to make it a point to refresh your “scent markers” from time to time by repeating the steps above.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.