Does Ivory Soap Keep Rabbits Away

I’m not the only person to have noticed that rabbits seem to love my garden and flowers. I tried everything from fake snakes to chili powder. They all started with promise but nothing seemed to work after a few weeks.

It was then that I heard about how Ivory soap is used by some gardeners as a simple and economical alternative to other solutions for keeping rabbits out of your yard and garden. After a little research, I decided it was worth a try.

Here’s what I did and what happened when I started using Ivory Soap to deter rabbits from my plants!

How to Keep Rabbits Away with Ivory Soap

It sounds strange, but a common item found in a lot of gardens is Ivory soap.

It’s not just good for your skin. It also does a great job at keeping pesky bunnies from chewing up your flowers and digging in your garden. Here is what you need to know to try Ivory soap as a rabbit deterrent.

What Do You Need to Keep Rabbits Away with Soap

You don’t need a lot of supplies to make this work. One of the greatest benefits of using Ivory soap as a rabbit deterrent is how affordable it is.

Grab these supplies and let’s get started. There is only one ingredient that is a must – a bar of soap.

  • Ivory Soap Bars (Required) – In this case, you want to use bar soap instead of liquid soap that you might have in your kitchen or bathroom.
  • Grater (Optional) – Any old or cheap grater will work. I recommend having a dedicated grater just for this task so you don’t get soap in your food.
  • Air Tight Container (Optional) – Use an air-tight container to store unused soap so it retains its freshness.
  • Tiny Burlap Bags (Optional) – One option is to put soap in these bags as described in detail below.

How Long Does a Bar of Soap Last

How long a bar of soap lasts depends on the weather in your area. Rainy weather will drastically shorten the life of the soap. If you live in an area with constant rain then you will likely have to replenish the soap every couple of weeks.

If the weather isn’t too rainy then you might be able to go a couple of months before putting out more soap. Just remember that once the soap disappears it is still effective for a while as the smell is still in the ground.

How Much Area Does a Bar of Soap Cover

I was able to cover one landscaped kidney area in my yard with a single bar of soap. This area is about 40 square feet and I had plenty to spread around all the plants.

If you prefer to use bagged soap then I would use two bags with half a bar in each bag in the same area.

Storing Excess Soap

If you are grating your soap then you might want to make a bunch all at once. Make sure you store any unused grated soap in an air-tight container so it doesn’t dry out and it retains in freshness.

You want fresh soap with the most potent smell so storing it properly is important.

How to Prepare Soap to Deter Rabbits

There are two common ways to keep rabbits out of your garden with Ivory soap. The first is to spread flakes or grated Ivory soap around your flowers and plants. The second is to put chucks of Ivory soap in small burlap bags around your garden or landscaping.

Grated Ivory Soap or Soap Flakes

grated ivory soap to deter rabbits
Grated Ivory Soap to Deter Rabbits

The first method is using grated soap. Grated Ivory Soap is as simple as it sounds. Get a few bars of soap and use a grater to turn it into spreadable bits.

The easiest method to grate soap is using a rotary cheese grater with a handle. You can put the soap in the cheese box, turn the handle, and the rotary drum with grate your soap in no time.

Grate the soap into a bag or container and spread the bits around the plants and flowers in your landscaping or garden. You can put grated soap around edible or flowering plants.

Ivory Soap Burlap Bags

cubed ivory soap in burlap to deter rabbits
Cubed Ivory Soap to Deter Rabbits

The second method is using soap chucks in burlap bags. First, cut your soap into small chunks (4-8 chunks per bar). Next, put the chunks of Ivory soap in a small burlap bag that is 2-3 inches in size.

You can put the burlap bags directly on the ground or you can hang them on stakes in your landscaping or garden. You need to put one bag of soap about every 5-10 feet to effectively deter rabbits.

This method seems to make the soap last longer than using grated soap.

Why do Rabbits Dislike Ivory Soap

Using Ivory soap to scare away rabbits is a simple solution, but why does this work?  Rabbits do not like the smell of Ivory soap, which is the primary reason they are deterred by it.

What Ingredients are in Ivory Soap

The main ingredients in original Ivory soap bars are:

  • Sodium Tallowate
  • Sodium Palmate
  • Sodium Cocoate
  • Sodium Palm Kernelate
  • Water

Sodium Tallowate is the main ingredient in soap that rabbits do not like. Sodium Tallowate (Tallow) is made from the fat of animals such as cows and sheep. Rabbits don’t like the smell of this for the same reason they don’t like blood meal or bone meal.

My Experience Using Soap to Deter Rabbits

I tried the Ivory Soap technique in my backyard landscaping and it has worked for a year or so. If I see rabbits in a specific area then I just add a little more soap and they stop coming around.

ivory soap burlap bag in landscape to deter rabbits
Burlap Bag of Ivory Soap in Landscaping

I can’t guarantee that Ivory Soap is the sole reason that rabbits are leaving my plants alone. I like to combine techniques to keep rabbits out of my backyard.

I think the best solution is to try multiple approaches and make changes when the rabbits get used to one deterrent.

Common Questions Answered

Here are the answers to a few common questions about using Ivory soap to keep rabbits out of your yard.

Is Ivory Soap safe for rabbits?

Ivory soap is safe for rabbits, but it will deter them from entering an area where the soap has been placed. The ingredients in Ivory soap are not harmful to rabbits, but the soap does have a strong smell that can be irritating to their delicate noses.

Should I use bar soap or liquid soap to deter rabbits?

When using soap to deter rabbits you should use bar soap. Liquid soaps are usually not as effective and may just wash away with rain or other water sources.

Does Irish Spring soap deter rabbits from a Garden?

Irish Spring soap can be used to deter rabbits from your garden. It has a strong smell that is not appealing to them. Just make sure the bar of soap contains Tallow or Sodium Tallowate which is the ingredient rabbits hate.
Some people believe Irish Spring soap tends to be more effective than Ivory soap in regards of deterring the rabbits out of an area. For this reason, it may be worth trying Irish Spring instead if you aren’t getting the effects you want.

Does Irish Spring soap harm plants?

Irish Spring soap is not harmful to plants. If you are trying to keep rabbits out of your garden, it may be effective to use soap since they don’t like the smell and will avoid coming near it.

Will Irish Spring soap hurt my soil?

Irish Spring soap does not hurt soil. It’s a gentle cleaner that is safe to use around plants and animals. Over time, the rain will wash away the scent of Irish Spring soap in your garden and landscaping.

Answer – Does Ivory Soap Keep Rabbits Away?

In my experience, Ivory or Irish Spring soap will help deter rabbits because they don’t like the smell and they avoid plants close to it. Just make sure the soap contains Tallow.

The Ivory or Irish Spring soap does not pose any problems for your soil or landscaping. However, the rain will eventually wash away the scent of soap so you have to refresh it often.

Give it a shot! For just a couple of dollars, you might save hundreds of dollars in plants.

I hope this information was helpful. Share your thoughts below if you have any questions or comments.

Does Ivory soap keep rabbits away from your garden or landscaping? 

2 thoughts on “Does Ivory Soap Keep Rabbits Away”

  1. Hi Jason,

    Good article. Seems like there are allot of remedies out there. I have tried pure ammonia…to little effect. The areas I sprayed last night, had rabbits sitting on them this morning.

    Pure Vinegar seems to have worked, but it’s hard to say. They may have just decided to go adjoining yards, when I was using the vinegar.

    I am down to trying the soap. I have yet to see “methodical” report from those who have used this technique. I plan to set out a few vegetable items for the rabbits and sprinkle the soap shaving on and around them. While not scientific, I think it will provide some “proof” of concept, for soap as a repellent.

    If soap doesn’t work then traps and an air rifle are next.

    Thanks for the info in the article.

    1. Hi JMH,

      Like you, I have tried ammonia & Vinegar with poor results and I am hoping that soap will do the trick. I was intrigued by your experiment of putting the soap on the “Bunny Buffet”. Since your post was in June, I can only hope it was a success. Would you please share your results with me? I would appreciate it!

      Thank you & Happy New Year!

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