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Homemade Insecticidal Soap Spray

Homemade Insecticidal Soap Spray

Soap has been used for centuries as an all-purpose pesticide. It disrupts insects’ cell membranes, and kills pests by dehydration. The key is not to use too much soap, or you’ll also kill the vegetation near the pests. If you follow the proportion of soap to water in the Soap Spray recipe, below, the vegetation should be fine.

Doug Harp, a graphic designer friend, first alerted me to soap as an effective all-purpose pesticide when he used Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Peppermint Pure-Castile Soap diluted with water to kill the gypsy moths that had infested his apple trees. We were working on a project together, and I’d get faxes updating me on his kill rate (this was back before e-mail!), which, much to his delight, was excellent.

Note: Buy a liquid soap and not a detergent. Health food stores have liquid soaps, such as Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps.

 

Insecticidal Soap Spray
1 to 2 tablespoons liquid soap
1 quart water

Combine ingredients in a bucket, mix, then transfer to a spray bottle as needed.

 

All-Purpose Pesticide Soap Spray
Strong smelling roots and spices such as garlic, onions, horseradish, ginger, rhubarb leaves, cayenne and other hot peppers, are all known to repel insects.

INGREDIENTS
A handful of roots and spices
Enough boiling water to cover
Soap Spray (recipe, above)

Add the roots and spices to the bottom of a mason jar. Cover with the boiling water, screw on the top, and let set overnight. Strain, and add to the Soap Spray. Note that this will rot, so use it all up or freeze leftovers for another time.

 

Variation: Garlic Spray
Use 1 to 2 heads garlic. Deer and rabbits hate the smell
of garlic.

Read more: Nature, Natural Pest Control

By Annie B. Bond

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on anniebbond.com, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

38 comments

+ add your own
7:48AM PDT on Jun 30, 2014

thanks

3:54AM PDT on Jun 4, 2014

Be nice and responsible to our health and our environment

7:55AM PDT on Mar 24, 2014

@cora you're right you can get insecticidal soaps in a variety of stores now. Safer Brand has one in particular that is organic which I personally recommend: http://www.saferbrand.com/store/garden-care/5118

12:36PM PDT on Jun 17, 2013

Sounds great-thanks!

6:55AM PST on Feb 18, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

2:36PM PST on Jan 16, 2013

Very interesting ideas!

6:45PM PST on Jan 14, 2013

thanks

11:32AM PDT on Oct 17, 2012

Thanks

9:13AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

Very interesting article, thank you!!!!

12:38PM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

i tend to agree with Josh K., too much soap isn't good, nor is too much garlic, which has corrosive molecules - the recipe i learned back in the 70's was one tsp Dr Bronner's for one quart water...
The spice ingredients need to be ground very finely, and even filtered before putting it in spray bottle, or it WILL stop-up the nozzle

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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I'll have another look at our range of squash - we may not have it in local stores. It's importa…

Thank you for the article.

Thanks! Stay natural!

Very interesting and informative. Thank you.

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