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This $4 Bathroom Staple Can Help Keep Deer and Other Critters Out of Your Yard

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Deer may be adorable woodland creatures, but their doe-eyed beauty loses a lot of charm when we catch them treating our backyard as their personal buffet. It turns out, there’s a simple solution for deterring them that might already be sitting in your tub.

All you need are a few bars of soap! More specifically, Irish Spring soap (Buy at Walmart, $3.97), which seems to have an especially unappealing odor for deer. It’s also been shown to help ward off other sneaky critters, like rabbits and squirrels. 

Grant Higginson, co-owner of West Coast Gardens, recommends hanging bars of soap around your garden with some string or twine. You can also pop them on poles around the yard or put some soap shavings in mesh bags and place them around your flower beds. It might look silly, but it will help make sure the scent saturates the air around those areas you’re hoping to protect.

Other types of strong-smelling soap might work, too, but the University of Vermont Extension Department of Plant and Soil Science advises against choosing any that also contain coconut oil — it might actually attract deer rather than steer them away.

Other pungent aromas that critters seem to hate: Coffee and cayenne. You can sprinkle cayenne powder or used coffee grounds throughout the yard if you’re not a fan of the idea of bars of soap swinging around. (Psst: We also have a clever trick for keeping birds away from your berry bushes.)

Whatever DIY deer repellent you decide to use, just don’t forget to replenish them when you notice the smell starting to fade. Otherwise, hungry deer will be happy to waltz right back in and treat themself to a snack with no regard for all the hard work you’ve put into your blooms. We hope these tips make it so the only critters you see this summer are if you decide to watch Bambi for movie night.

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