If your prized garden is being overtaken by pesky animals like deer, rabbits, and squirrels, don’t fret— you actually have a lot of options that can help keep these munching critters away! There are several expensive (and disgusting!) items on the market, like coyote pee, that have been proven to keep these guys away, but who wants to pour piss over their petunias, anyways?

Luckily, we know of one remedy that’s as sanitary, safe, and economical as it is effective—and you probably already have a stock pile of it under your bathroom sink. That’s right, bar soap doesn’t just help keep you squeaky clean and healthy, it also carries a scent that these cute little garden destroyers can’t stand!

Now, before you start lathering up your succulents with your favorite body wash, it’s important to note that this project requires a bit of elbow grease. Here’s what you will need in order to make your own animal deterrents:

  • About a dozen bars of a strongly scented bar soap (many say that Irish Spring works best!)
  • Knife
  • Half a dozen mesh pouches or pieces of cheese cloth
  • 6 wooden stakes (should be tall enough to stick out at least 2-3 feet above the ground)
  • Staple gun

  1. Start by carefully cutting up each of your bars of soap into small pieces with your knife. Once finished, divvy up the pieces equally into the six mesh pouches.
  2. Use your staple gun to secure the pouches to the stakes (one pouch/stake). Drive each stake into the ground so that it makes a perimeter around your garden.
  3. To better protect your plants, you can sprinkle more remnants of soap around the soil. Deer, in particular, have also been known to feed within 3 feet of the soap, so also be sure that you are spreading the stakes out far enough. Some gardeners say that it’s worth it to add the bags in as many places as possible, as it allows the scent to spread further.
deer eating treePhilip Stewart via Flickr

The best part is that if you leave these contraptions out in the rain, the scent will obviously strengthen, which is your goal here. Just be sure to replace the soap if it ends up breaking up too much, as the suds can do some unwanted damage to your greenery.

Another important thing to note is that not all soaps are created equal—many contain an ingredient that might end up ATTRACTING these animals! The main culprit here is coconut oil; for whatever reason, deer can’t get enough of the scent. They must have read an article or two about its health benefits

Now, if the invasive creatures in your neighborhood are not afraid of a little bit of smelly soap, then you can always make the same stake-based apparatuses and fill the bags with human hair instead of the Irish Spring. We found stories saying that some die-hard plant-lovers have even been known to hit up their local hair salons to replenish their stashes!

At the end of the day, we think it’s definitely a garden hack that is well worth a try. Isn’t it amazing what a bit of soap can do?

What do you think of using Irish Spring to keep away deer and small animals? Have you tried this remedy before? How do you keep animals out of your yard? Tell us all about your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!