If you’re reading this post, chances are high that you are someone who likes gardening. It’s a really cool to hobby to have; you get out of the house and you partake in something that has visible, tangible benefits. If you just like maintaining a beautiful yard, you’ll have something nice to look at for people driving by or for yourself whenever you glance out the window. And if you like to grow your own food, you’ll have quality produce at the ready. But will you?
Oh No! Your Garden Has an Infestation!
Imagine this. You wake up one fine Saturday morning looking forward to watering your garden. You have a delicious breakfast, and after watching the morning news, you head out to your shed. But when you get to your plants with your watering can in hand, you realize something is very wrong.
Your plants are covered in bugs. Tiny, infuriating creatures are eating away at your beloved crops and hedges. The leaves have huge chunks missing, the stems are covered in nasty little buggers, and you can see the vile things crawling around on the ground looking for the next plant to destroy. Now obviously you can’t allow this to continue. This is war, and we’re going to help you win it.
Why Use Soap?
There can be multiple reasons for you wanting to use soap to get rid of these vermin. If you’re reading this, you probably have a reason already. Nevertheless, let us go over some justifications for using soap as a pesticide.
For starters, this is an easy and quick way to get a pesticide ready. You might not want to go to the store, and that is perfectly reasonable. Another reason might be that you just don’t want to douse your plants in chemicals. Sure, most pesticides are completely harmless, but you wouldn’t be growing your own food if you didn’t believe some kind of tiny changes are possible due to commercial pesticides. And finally, maybe you’re just a Do-It-Yourself kind of guy. Perhaps you like to give everything a personal touch, and going the extra mile to protect your garden with a pesticide you yourself created is something that appeals to you. Whatever your reasoning might be, you won’t hear any criticism from us.
So, Which Soap Should You Choose?
Not any soap can be used to exterminate or drive away pests from your garden. What you need is proper soap; no detergents, no beauty soaps, no antibacterial soaps. Only a bar of soap in its purest essence will do the trick here. There are some types that you can go for, like ivory soap or castile soaps. The brand we’d recommend for best results due to its proven effectiveness in being used as a pesticide is the Fels Naptha laundry soaps.
Why won’t any soap work? Simple; soaps have been severely watered down in recent years. And though they may do the job for washing hands, they simply do not pack the punch you need to boot those unwanted guests off your lawn. The reason we recommend Fels Naptha soap is because it is so effective as a pesticide, you’ll find multiple other recipes all using this particular soap to get rid of pesticides. In fact, studies in to this use of FelsNaptha soap reveal that it is the salt present in the high concentrations of fatty acids in its composition that kill the insects at a molecular level.
How to Prepare Your Soapy Pesticide
The method of actually preparing your pesticide with any of the soaps mentioned above is remarkably simple. The only thing you need to be aware of is that you don’t overdo the concentrate and end up harming your plants as well. For the purposes of preparing a perfect solution however, we are going to assume you are using FelsNaptha laundry soap. To start, you need to take 1 quart of warm water, and then you need to grate about one inch of FelsNaptha soap into the water. Once done grating, mix the solution until the soap gratings have perfectly dissolved in the water.
You can now either store the solution for later use, or use it immediately. For storage purposes we highly recommend keeping the concentrate in an air tight container to retain effectiveness. When you’re ready to use the mixture, add a quart of regular water to your spray bottle and follow it up by adding just a teaspoon of the concentrate you made in to the spray bottle. And there you have it! You have successfully concocted a super effective homemade pesticide spray that is harmless to your health and, provided you kept the quantities of the ingredients as specified, harmless to your plants as well.
How Do You Use the Pesticide?
If you’re super protective of your plants and want to be extra careful, you probably want to know if there’s anything you should be aware of before you spray your plants. Good thinking! Because there are definitely a few things you should take into consideration before applying the pesticide on your plants.
For starters, do not spray the entirety of your infected plants immediately. Yes, a pest infestation is bad and yes, you should treat it immediately for fear of it spreading and destroying your whole crop. However, you do not want to end up destroying your whole yard yourself. To start off safe, spray just one leaf and leave it for a day. Be sure to spray both sides, as the pesticide has to come in contact with the pests themselves to properly take effect. If, on the following day, the leaf is still fine, you’re good to go. If, however the leaf is “burnt”, you need to dilute your solution with additional water.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should never spray your plants under direct sunlight. Exposure to sunlight does weird things to soap, and it can end up destroying your plants rather than helping them. Also, you need to regularly spray your plants until the infestation is over but not too often that you end up hurting your crop. One-week intervals are a safe bet.
Now that wasn’t hard at all was it? Easy to cook up and simple to use. If you had qualms about using store-bought pesticides and an itch to do something yourself, this hopefully scratches that itch and puts you at ease. Of course, hopefully you’re only here for educational purposes and don’t actually have a garden infestation. If you do, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get close and personal with your crops. Yes, even more so than usual. Good luck!