Does Irish Spring Soap Repel Insects? (And Why?)

By Marsha Harrison

Fact-checked by Kia Lowe

does irish spring soap repel insects

There have been many claims all over the internet saying that Irish Spring soap repels insects. Especially when using Irish Spring soap in the garden, many gardeners have been shocked and impressed by the effectiveness of this soap brand in deterring insect pests from their plants.

With all this rave, you must be wondering – does Irish Spring soap repel insects? The quick and easy answer is yes!

This article will see the hard facts to know how and why this green-colored soap magically repels insects. Read on!

Reasons Why Irish Spring Soap Repels Insects

If you’re unfamiliar with the history of Irish Spring, it is a brand developed by Colgate-Palmolive company. This brand is mainly associated with its soap formulated with the sole purpose of keeping our body odors away.

But, due to curiosity about the effects of this soap’s distinct smell, consumers of this soap decided to test out whether it can keep insects away. To their surprise, they realized that Irish Spring was more than just a body soap.

They discovered that Irish Spring soap repels insects and pests from their bodies, homes, and gardens. Many Reddit users suggest and vouch for this use of the soap.

For example, when you put together Irish Spring soap and ants, it is effective in warding the ants away from your dinner table.

But with all the rave, you must be wondering how and why? Well, there are a couple of facts to back up these claims.

Fact #1: Sodium Chloride as an Insecticide in Irish Spring Soaps


Sodium chloride, or salt, is an ingredient in Irish Spring soaps. For many years now, sodium chloride has been used to help keep bugs away.

Specifically, certain insects are repelled to salt and even see salt as poisonous to them. So, does Irish Spring repel roaches and help repel spiders which are commonly found in our households?

Yes! Irish Spring soaps repel one of the most common insect pests in our homes like cockroaches, spiders, termites, and fleas.

However, you must know that salt does not repel all kinds of bugs, just like how there is no 100% effective insect repellent spray. Scientifically speaking, salt is sometimes used as an energy source for some insects, and that’s why insects like ants are not affected by it.

Fact #2: Acids in Irish Spring Soap Repel Insects


There are two crucial acids in Irish Spring soap repellent.

  • The first acid is citric acid which gives this soap a zesty scent.

Irish Spring soap is famously known for its signature strong citrus scent with underlying wood tones. Many say it is the strong scent that repels insects, but little do they know that citric acid creates the citrus scent.

In addition, many consumers claim Irish Spring soap repel mosquitos when used as a body soap. Citric acid in Irish Spring soap can also be found in insect repellents like OFF Lotion.

There are many sub-compounds to citric acid, and the insect repellants commercially sold have D-Limonene, specifically targeting mosquitos and ticks.

  • The second acid in Irish Spring soap that repels insects is coconut acid.

According to multiple studies, coconut oil used in insect repellents also contains coconut acids that are now used for disease prevention.

This is because coconut acid is known to repel disease-transmitting insects like mosquitoes, ticks, and flies. Research shows that it is more effective than DEET, a common chemical found in almost all insect repellents.

Most importantly, the coconut acid is not why Irish Spring soaps can repel insects. Rather, the sub-acids in coconut acids like lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid are what repels insects like bed bugs.

Fact #3: Glycerin Extends the Effectiveness of Repelling Insects


Glycerin is considered one of the most critical ingredients in Irish Spring soaps. Even though glycerin does not repel insects, it helps make active ingredients like sodium chloride last longer.

Glycerin helps prolong the insect repellent ingredients in Irish Spring soaps because it is an organic fat or oil component.

As you may already know, fats and oils are sticky by nature, which helps make Irish Spring soap “stick” to the skin.

Many insect repellents contain glycerin in their chemical list, which is no wonder why glycerin in Irish Spring soap also helps repel insects. Many users of Irish Spring soap claim that this soap has a long-lasting scent that can be used for flies to ward them away.


The hot question is, does Irish Spring soap repel insects?

Well, overall, there are so many uses for Irish Spring soap. It can be used as a body deodorant like it is commercially sold for or as an insect repellent.

Also, the strong scent is not why Irish Spring soap can repel insects. There is more to the smell, such as the chemicals used to formulate this soap like sodium chloride, acids, and glycerin.

For the Colgate-Palmolive company, it was unintentional that Irish Spring soap also repels insects. It just so happens that these chemicals are also found in insect repellents.

4/5 - (12 votes)

Recommended for you