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Dish Soap for Aphids


I have aphids on my roses and want to know the soap to water ratio for mix.

Hardiness Zone: 6a

By herblady2 from IN


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By Seamus R. 1 07/22/2012 Flag

According to Colorado State University you want a 2% solution of dish soap to water, for example add 4 teaspoons of dish soap to a quart of water. See documentation at for complete article and a chart of dilutions.

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Here are questions related to Dish Soap for Aphids.

Question: Dish Soap for Aphids

I am looking for a recipe for killing aphids with dish soap and water.

By Mary from Butler, PA

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By Donna Lusk 5 3 02/24/2012 Flag

get a large spray bottle big enough to hold the followig ingredients:

1 cup vegetable oil or white mineral oil
2 cups water
2 teaspoons bleach free dish soap

Add all ingredients to spray bottle and shake well before each use because the oil separates from the soap mixture once it sits for a bit. When spraying your plants, bushes etc... be sure you spray under the leaves and on any new growth as that is where the aphids love to hide and eat. This works excellent for us and I hope it will do the same for you. Be sure not to add more soap than required as it can kill your plants.

Donna L. Watauga, TX

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Question: Using Hand Soap for Getting Rid of Aphids

Will liquid a hand soap dissolved in water kill aphids?


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By RickJ 10 09/19/2011 Flag

I used dish soap and water on my garden all last summer with great success. The inexpensive store brand worked the best. Start with a few drops per 32 oz spray bottle, every other day for a few days. Then keep increasing the soap ratio as the plants get used to it. The bugs and slugs hate it but the bees seem to still work around it. Make sure you get the soil too because that's where they lay their eggs. Dish soap acts like a fertilizer for the soil too. I sprayed before dark and it worked great. Good luck!

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Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.

Archive: Soap for Aphids - How Much to Use?

We have aphids on some of our plants. I have heard that dish soap in water will control them. Does anyone know the amount of dish soap to use?



RE: Soap for Aphids - How Much to Use?

two tbls dishsoap (Dawn or good quality)
one tbl white vinegar
one tbl vegetable oil
one tbl baking soda
Mix into one gallon water...then put in spray bottle.
This is really great for roses...apply every seven days. (05/02/2005)

By lparker

RE: Soap for Aphids - How Much to Use?

They seem to be early here this year. I took some my foaming soft soap dispenser out and squirted them and let the foam sit. It seemed to do the trick. This wouldn't be practical for anything but a small infestation.
Susan from ThriftyFun (05/03/2005)

By ThriftyFun

RE: Soap for Aphids - How Much to Use?

Put enough Palmolive Green Liquid Soap in some tepid water to get good bubbles. Then pour it on the plant and be sure to pour bubbles and all on the dirt the plant is in. You want it sudsy enough to wash a butter-coated pan. (05/03/2005)

By Lucy330

Archive: Dish Soap for Aphids


I was told that mixing Dawn Dish Soap in water will kill aphids on your plants. Is this true?

Hardiness Zone: 6a

Edie from Spokane, WA



It's true. When sprayed on aphids, a solution consisting of liquid dish soap and water will kill aphids and many other soft-bodied insects such as caterpillars, thrips, mealybugs, spidermites, leafhopper, lace bugs, and whiteflys. Most of these soaps are made from the potassium salts of fatty acids. When sprayed on soft-bodied insects, these fatty acids disrupt the structure and permeability of the insects' cells, causing the contents to leak out, which quickly kills them. Most any type of liquid dish soap will work, but DAWN is biodegradable and contains no phosphates, which is better for the environment.

Insecticidal soaps only work on contact and not as a preventative measure. In other words, the soap needs to completely cover the body of the pest you're trying to control. Dried soap residue on the plants will not harm the insects. The disadvantage to using insecticidal soaps is that it causes phytotoxicity (damage from chemicals) in some plants. Here are some tips for using insecticidal soaps effectively:

  • Apply insecticidal soaps in conditions that favor slow drying, such as early morning or early evening. Avoid applying during the warmest parts of the day and in temperatures over 90ºF.

  • Spot test plants 48 hours before full application to test chemical sensitivity. Signs of chemical damage include yellow or brown spotting on the leaves, burned tips or leaf scorch. Plants with waxy leaves are less likely to suffer damage than those with dull or hairy leaves.

  • Plants exhibiting chemical damage within a few hours after treatment should be rinsed thoroughly with water.

  • Always wait for new growth to harden off before treating.

  • Never spray fruit trees while in bloom.

  • Do not apply insecticidal soaps to young transplants or to plants under stress from heat or water.

  • Trees and herbaceous plants with known sensitivities to insecticidal soaps include horse chestnut, mountain ash, Japanese maple, sweet gum, jade plant, lantana, gardenia, bleeding heart, crops of thorns, and certain cultivars of azalea, poinsettia, begonia, impatiens, fuchsia, geranium, ferns, Easter lilies, palms and some succulents.

  • Soap mixed with hard water may be less effective and may leave a precipitate behind from the metal ions in the hard water.

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