When household plants become infested with bugs, don’t reach for expensive chemical-filled pesticides. Instead, create your own with Fels-Naptha. Fels-Naptha is a laundry bar soap that, for over 100 years, has been used to remove stains and grease from clothing. Fels-Naptha doesn’t contain bleach, degreasers or fragrances, which makes this affordable and versatile product ideal for homemade insecticidal soap. Insecticidal soaps control soft-bodied pests -- such as aphids and spider mites -- and won’t pollute your home with harsh toxins that could potentially harm your family.
1 Use a cheese grater to shave about 1-inch off the bar of Fels-Naptha soap.
2 Bring 1 quart of soft water to a boil on your stove. Hard water contains minerals that will interfere with the soap spray.
3 Remove from heat and dissolve the piece of soap you shaved off the bar while stirring with a wooden spoon.
4 Allow the solution to cool to room temperature. Transfer the cooled solution to a glass jar that has a lid. This is the concentrate mixture.
5 Pour 1 quart of soft water in a spray bottle when you are ready to treat the houseplants. Add 1 teaspoon of the concentrated soap solution and shake the spray bottle gently until the water and soap are well mixed.
6 Spray the top and underside of the leaves with the homemade soap spray to control the soft-bodied pests infesting the houseplant. Reapply the spray at weekly intervals until you have controlled the pests.
Items you will need
- Cheese grater
- Bar of Fels-Naptha soap
- Wooden spoon
- Glass jar with lid
- Spray bottle
- Test the homemade soap spray on a small area of the houseplant. If no damage appears after two or three days, treat the plant as planned.
- Never spray water-stressed plants with pesticides.
- Avoid applying the homemade soap spray to plants with hairy or waxy leaves.
- Iowa State University Cooperative Extension Service: Wash Away Houseplant Pests With Insecticidal Soap
- North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension: Homemade Insect Control
- Sustainable Communities AZ: Natural Pest Control
- Colorado State University Extension: Insect Control: Soaps and Detergents
- University of California: Soaps for Home Landscape Insect Control
- Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images