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Can I use this soap in my organic pesticide?

Posted by MrChris123 none (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 26, 14 at 22:18

Hi All,
My garden (specifically my eggplant) has recently come under attack by flea beetles. I decided that I would try this organic pesticide "recipe" that I found to control them:
"mix together 1 bulb of minced garlic, 1 minced onion, 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper, one tablespoon of soap, and steep for 20 mins in 1 quart of water."

However, I'm kind of confused on what type of "soap" the recipe is calling for. I did some more research, and some people recommend castile soap and others said any biodegradable dish soap will work. However, the two grocery stores I went to didn't have castile soap, so I instead bought something called "Seventh Generation natural dish liquid - free & clear variety." Its says that it's
biodegradable and it's 95% naturally derived. So, anyway, do you think this soap will be alright to use on my plants?
Also, would anyone be able to comment on the above recipe? Do you think I should add more soap to the mixture? Some websites were saying to use 2 tbs, while others said to only use 1 tbs. Thank you for any advice! Sorry about the long post


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Can I use this soap in my organic pesticide?

The manufacturer uses the term detergent for its products so it is not soap, and should not be used to make Insecticidal Soap.


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RE: Can I use this soap in my organic pesticide?

LOL!! Just because they use the term 'detergent' does not mean it is not soap (that IS one of the definitions, btw) or somehow not suitable to be used in an organic context. It all depends on the manufacturer and the ingredients.

MrChris, your soap is fine for what you intend. Doesn't appear that there is much that's NOT natural in it.....just a small amount of magnesium chloride and sodium chloride used as viscosity modifiers. It would appear that the primary feature of your pesticide are the plant extracts (garlic, onion, cayenne) and the soap used mostly as a surfactant. As a contact insecticide, insecticidal soap doesn't have much effect on flea beetles, which are not soft-bodied, sucking insects easily smothered by an oily or glaucous liquid.


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RE: Can I use this soap in my organic pesticide?

This product is indeed a synthetic detergent and not a soap. It isn't organic, either. It's main ingredients are Sodium Laurel Sulfate and another surfactant, depending upon variety. These are synthetic surfactants, derived from coconut oil, yes, but done in a lab. These surfactants mimic soap's surfactant properties, but are not soap. I formulate soap and body products so I have experience in this area.

I've seen many gardeners, even organic gardeners, recommend using any dishwashing liquid, so you would be in good company by using it. I will only use real soap, myself, knowing the difference.

To find real soap locally, you'd need to find a soap maker or purchase a liquid soap from your local health food store or a local grocery store with a natural products section.


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RE: Can I use this soap in my organic pesticide?

Even though some people use the terms soap and detergent interchangeably that does not mean they really are. Even though that great consumer protection agency, the Food and Drug Administration, has dropped the definition of each most manufacturers still will not label the detergents they make as soap.
If the manufacturer of a product, such as this, calls it a detergent that is what it is and it is not a soap. Some people may be too young to remember when soap was soap and detergents were not. Kind of like butter and butter substitutes.


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