Dawn dish soap for bugs

ks_girlOctober 1, 2008

Somewhere I read about useing Dawn dish soap for bugs but can't seem to find it now.

Does anyone know anything about this like how much to mix with water or even if it works.

I was thinking that if this works it also would help clean the leaves.


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It can't hurt, but I didn't find that it helped to much. You can also use rubbing alcohol in a spritzer and add 1-2 drops of dish soap. Worth a try!


    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 1:28PM
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Ivory dish soap works much better!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 1:30PM
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Don't use Dawn, which is a detergent. You're right, Dawn will kill insects, but is may also damage your plant. As Going Green posted, Ivory dish soap works very well as does Dove dish soap. Ivory and Dove are soaps and not detergents and that makes all the difference in the world. By using either Ivory or Dove you are just making your own insecticidal soap.

I use 16 oz of water, 16 oz of 70% rubbing alcohol and 2 tsp of Ivory or Dove. This will kill any insect it touches, but remember my mixture or a water and soap only mixture is a contact poison and you must spray the insects to kill them. There is no residual effect with any of these sprays (which is good!)

    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 7:20PM
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You can also add garlic to the mix as it is great for killing and deterring bugs. I also add tobacco leaves because nicotine is a fantastic insecticide but you need to take more precautions than with a standard soap mixture. Insecticidal soap is a mixture of different soaps that were specifically chosen for their insect killing properties and I think it is the most effective of the the soap solutions.


    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 12:09AM
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Mike, thanks for the great tips, do you buy whole tobacco leaves from a cigarette shop (or whatever their called)?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2008 at 9:04PM
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I use regular dish soap, garlic and I grow Nicotina rustica so I just put in a little fresh leaf as well. Many of the tobacco species are very attractive plants and species like sylvestris, langsdorfii and alata look great in the garden. I use this mixture as a spray on aphid, whitefly and mites, it stinks like garlic but it works.


    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 12:32AM
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Mentha(9 CA)

A word of caution on the tobacco, do not use it around tomatoes or other nightshade family members. They can get Tobacco Mosaic Disease. I have a smoking husband and only this year have I had healthy tomatoes, because I planted the plants down the driveway, not close to the door as usual, now if I can keep my neighbors from picking them!

Soap is a detergent. Detergents are good plant foods, my grandmother has watered with grey water for years, her plants are the healthiest plants I've ever seen. Just be sure to let the leaves dry before putting them in the sun, as with any liquid you may put on foliarly. On smaller plants, I take them into the shower with me and let my shampoo drip onto the plant, this is a good way of cleaning the leaves, and killing bugs all in one fell swoop. I have never had problems with plants suffering from burn. Just be sure to rinse the leaves well.

On a side note, when I worked in a grooming shop, one way we would kill fleas on animals sensitive to dips was using Ivory dish soap on the animals. I couldn't stand the smell, but it worked. We also used Simple Green. My mother used to use Simple Green for everything from dog dip, to plant foliar spray, narry a problem with leaf burn.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 3:35AM
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Thanks for all the good ideas, now I wondering how much dish soap do I add to a spray bottle of water.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 9:07AM
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I just add 3-4 drops of plain Ivory dish soap to a spray bottle of distilled water.

I recently began to treat sick plants with hardwood floor cleaner.

A few months after I got my new floors, I noticed that the commercial laminate floor cleaners left a yucky film, so I did some research and found a recipe to make my own:

1/3 c rubbing alcohol
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup bottled water
2 drops Ivory dish soap

I was shocked at how well it cleaned my floors and did not leave a film at all.

On day I ran out of my usual plant spray (plain alcohol in a small spray bottle), so I grabbed the bottle of floor cleaner (knowing none of the ingredients would hurt a plant), and sprayed it on some spots of scale.

It worked very well, so now I use it for all of my plant troubles. I use it to clean combs and brushes too.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 1:21PM
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