Tag: pest spray

What Type of Dishwashing Soap for Homemade Pest Spray?

I use dish washing soap diluted with water to spray my flowers and bushes for insects and have good results. My daughter used an anti-bacterial dish washing liquid and killed everything in her garden. What went wrong?

Homemade soap sprays can be a good, easy way to control soft-bodied insects such as aphids and spider mites in the garden. After all, everyone has some dish washing liquid on hand, right? But there are some things to be aware of when applying them.

The soap kills soft-bodied insects by breaking down its protective cuticle or skin. You must make sure that the soapy water comes into contact with the bug for this to happen. You are also spraying your plants so they are affected by the ingredients in the soap spray as well. Depending on what those ingredients are, they can break down the cuticle on your plants as well as the bugs. The best thing to do is to test the spray you have made on a few leaves and wait for 24 hours to see if there is any damage. And make sure the dish washing liquid is pure soap. Nowadays many soaps have extra ingredients in them. Avoid products with degreasers and anti-bacterial agents as these could harm your plants.

Other considerations are not to spray in the full sun, when the temperature is above 90 degrees or the humidity is very high. Make sure your plants are not drought stressed and do not repeat the spray too often. If you’re not sure about conditions, you can always ‘wash’ your plants a couple of hours after by giving them a good rinse with clear water.

One recipe I like to use is to mix 2 teaspoons of dish washing soap with 1 quart of water. Or you can try 1 part rubbing alcohol with 3 parts of water. And remember to spot test!

Hot Pepper Spray

I sometimes need to spray my herbs and vegetables to combat pests, but I’m not comfortable using a pesticide on plants that my family and I eat. What is a safe alternative?

I can understand your concern and one product I like to use is hot-pepper spray. This product combines paraffin wax and other ingredients with capsaicin, a chemical naturally found in peppers that makes them hot. When sprayed directly on plants and foliage, the wax lightly coats it and holds the hot spray in place. I find this to be an effective and organic way of dealing with certain pests in the garden, like leafhoppers, spider mites, and whiteflies, just to name a few.

When you use this product, you certainly want to keep it away from children, and you don’t want to get any of it in your eyes because it can really burn. But don’t be afraid to spray it directly on the produce in your garden. You see, it washes off with just a little warm water.

Hot pepper spray is available from many organic garden supply companies such as Gardeners Supply Company and Gardens Alive or you can mix your own at home. To make the homemade version, simply puree two large cayenne peppers in a blender or food processor. Strain the puree to remove any seeds or solids. Add the strained puree to 1 gallon of water. When you are ready to spray, dilute 1/4 cup of the hot pepper concentrate with 1 gallon of water. Instead of paraffin, to help the spray adhere to the leaves add about 1/4 tablespoon of dishwashing soap. When working with hot peppers it is important to wear gloves and keep your hands away from your face and eyes.