Using common household items to repel and kill insects is nothing new. Lots of the products we use have ingredients and scents that either attract or repel certain critters and can come in handy in a pinch.
I always thought it was crazy when my parents would do things like hanging Irish Spring soap in the garden, but they swore it kept deer and other mammals from eating their vegetables. This thing about bars of soap helping with garden pests wasn’t the only soap hack I had heard about.
How Does Irish Spring Soap Repel Fleas?
One thing I have seen a lot is that Irish Spring soap can repel the common flea. Unfortunately, the criteria for what constitutes flea repellents depends on there being no fleas around, to begin with, and so the details and studies on soap repellents are murky at best.
But we can take a look at the properties of Irish Spring soap to see if there is any way it could act as flea control and prevention method.
Bars of soap often contain ingredients that are regularly found in insect repellents, just not in high concentrations. On their own, most bars of soap will not stop fleas or other insects from biting you or living on pets. However, aspects of the soap can be used to discourage or repel pests if appropriately applied.
The natural scents and distinct smell of Irish Spring make it handy as an air fresher or fabric protector. The original scent can deter closet and drawer pests without the smell of mothballs. Strong scents in dry places last for a long time, and most insects and pests find Irish Spring soap and the smell of mint to be overpowering.
The scent of the soap on a person or pet with flea issues will not be enough to remove or repel pests. Bar soap used as directed will not repel insects and will just clean your skin as directed; however, the smell can prevent pests from nesting in corners of basements and is a cheap method of mice deterrent.
The texture of the soap may not kill a single flea as a bar, but when Irish Spring soap is made into a pile of shavings, it can become a critter control hack. The more surface area exposed to air, the more spicy scents the soap will give off. A handful of shavings placed strategically around the home can deter the sneaky basement mouse and has been a useful pest-repelling method for decades.
Creating a finer shaving of Irish Spring soap can increase the chance of any flea treatment formula in the soap coming into contact with flea eggs and full-grown adult fleas. Flea biology shows that a cluster of flea eggs exposed to many non-toxic cleaning products can be rendered inert and not produce viable flea offspring. Cheap soap can repel fleas.
Fats and Oils
The fats and oils in soap have long been used as a suffocate to protect plants from critters. Aphids, white flies, and countless other creepy crawlies have been destroyed by the fats and oils in a piece of soap. Animal fats and plant oils are combined to create a rich lather, and when a leaf is coated with that, pests never stand a chance.
Dissolving soap in the water and spraying it where house fleas hide or enter the home are good options for flea prevention. These soap hacks have been used for years and work as a non-toxic pest control solution. Most gardening books have whole sections on using dish and other soaps to kill pests on plants.
Ways to use Soap As a Pest Repellent
The way the soap is processed can make a huge difference regarding how pests are repelled with soap. The list of scents on the ingredient label on the bar of soap can be a good indicator of what pests it can treat. Anything with clove oil, eucalyptus oil, or a lemongrass product will have a greater impact as a pest repellent. Some ways to use soap bars are:
Hanging a Bar of Soap
Wild animals like mice and squirrels and larger animals like deer can be kept out of gardens by simply hanging or placing bars of soap around your garden. Foraging animals search for food by scent, and the pre-formulated scent of Irish Spring soap can be a natural deterrent
Shavings made from grating soap can be more easily placed in hard-to-reach places. Much like conventional pesticides are placed inside of walls, soap shavings can be sprinkled into dry, pest-friendly corners and gaps of your home, keeping insects and rodents out. This is effective in keeping the harbinger of fleas and mice out of your crawl spaces.
Made into a Solution
Adding water to soap shavings can create a liquid solution for application on indoor and outdoor pests. If you spray common entry points, you can keep ants and other insects from passing your threshold for a few days. When sprayed onto insects or eggs, the chemicals are sufficient to kill or immobilize most pests. Adding soap with other insecticidal or repellent oils can increase the effectiveness, while the stickiness of the dried soap allows longer treatment periods.
Broken or Cut into Pieces
Sometimes slight discouragement is all that is needed to keep your space free of pests. Breaking or cutting a chunk of soap off of the bar and tossing it around your garden can deter skunks and other pests. This technique will not repel a determined animal but can be enough to dissuade the casual feeder from entering your garden
Other Pests Irish Spring Repels
Aside from fleas around your home and inside your couch, Irish Spring soap can be used to repel other pests. Knowing what creatures your household soap is effective against and which ones it isn’t can save you time and money when dealing with pests.
|Deer||Hang bars of soap||Very Effective|
|Mice||Shavings in corners||Effective|
|Insects||Spray on surfaces||Somewhat Effective|
Larger wildlife like deer can be very hard to keep out of gardens. In most cases, when plenty of food is available, a simple deterrent like Irish Spring soap can be enough to send the critters away from your garden and back into the wilderness. When food is scarce, fences and other wildlife exclusion methods will need to be incorporated with bars of soap to stop pests.
These critters are the leading cause of fleas in the home. Most pets are treated for fleas or have a flea collar making it hard for any adult fleas to survive on them. Rodents, however, are not treated and can carry the bugs into our homes that give flea bites and possible diseases. Shavings in places where mice move around can keep these pests out of your home.
Dry soap in drawers and closets can act as a deodorizer and pest deterrent. Without the camphoric smell of mothballs, Irish Spring soap can keep insects out of your home. The soap made into a spray solution can also be used as a repellent outdoors. Keep harmful insects at bay the non-toxic way by spraying soap at home entry points and on bug-infested plant leaves.