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Green Gardening: Natural Pesticide Sprays You Can Make Yourself

Updated on July 26, 2017

You Can Protect Your Garden Without Harsh Chemicals

Let's face it . . . a few bugs can ruin a great garden. Of course, not all bugs are bad but between a swarm of plant lice, slugs and other destructive pests, you can barely reap what you've sown.

Great news . . . there's no reason to let your garden go to the bugs just because you don't want to use chemical pesticides. One of the ways you can practice green gardening and control garden pests, is by making your own natural pesticide sprays.

Chances are, you already have the makings for an effective bug spray in your home right now. Here are a few natural pesticide "recipes" you can make yourself.

Oh, No!!! - What's A Green Gardener To Do?

Photo used under Creative Commons from: stevendepolo, on Flickr

Horseradish Natural Pesticide Spray

This Spicy Spray Packs A One-Two Punch!

To get rid of aphids as well as blister beetles, Colorado beetles and whiteflies.

Add a one-inch piece of chopped fresh horseradish, two cups of diced cayenne peppers and two cups of geranium leaves to three quarts of boiling water. Remove from the burner and let steep for one hour. Strain and add the cooled mixture to spray bottles.

Liquid Dish Soap Natural Pesticide Spray

Clean Up Your Bug Problem With This Solution

This natural pesticide works quite well on mites for both indoor and outdoor plants.

Use a mild, bio-degradable liquid dishwashing soap or something like Murphy's Oil soap. Mix one cup** of soap with one gallon of water. Pour into a spray bottle and mist the leaves of plants. Be careful not to overuse because it can slow the growth of flowering fruit or vegetable plants. However, this solution is ideal for indoor household plants.

** Note: some recipes will only use only 1 to 3 tablespoons of mild dish soap per gallon

Rules For Using Any Natural Pesticide "Recipe"

5 Pesticide Spraying Basics


1. . . It is best to use any type of spray in the early morning or the cool of evening. Do not spray when temps are above 80 degrees Fahrenheit! Your plants may "burn" or have a reaction to what you are using in excessive heat. This is known as "phytotoxicity"

2. . . Always perform a test on a small portion of the plant material first. Wait 24 hours to observe any negative reaction. Proceed if there is no damage.

3. . . Really and truly...more is not better. If you are not getting good results don't increase the strength of these remedies without testing first.

4. . . Target just the area you need to treat. Be careful... try not to harm the good guys! You don't want to run off your allies.

5. . . When working with sprays or dusts always protect your exposed skin and face. Some of these ingredients can be very irritating to your skin, eyes and mucous membranes, especially any hot pepper sprays.

Spraying Basics Courtesy of: GHOrganics

Tobacco Natural Pesticide Spray

A Smokin' Way To Combat Bad Bugs

Use this solution to combat aphids, caterpillars and several types of worms.

Place approximately a half cup of chewing tobacco into a piece of cheesecloth or an old nylon stocking, and tie it. Soak in a gallon of hot water until it resembles brownish tea. Add a little bio-degradable dish soap and pour this mixture into a spray bottle. When using on your garden vegetables, avoid spraying your peppers,tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes or any other member of the nightshade family, as the tobacco spray can kill them.

Chewing tobaccos is a safer, more natural form of tobacco to use than cigarette or pipe tobacco.


How Do You Tell The Good Bugs From The Bad Ones? - This Handy Reference Tells You How

Good Bug Bad Bug: Who's Who, What They Do, and How to Manage Them Organically (All You Need to Know about the Insects in Your Garden)
Good Bug Bad Bug: Who's Who, What They Do, and How to Manage Them Organically (All You Need to Know about the Insects in Your Garden)

Good Bug, Bad Bug lets you quickly identify the most common invasive and beneficial insects (and other tiny critters) in your garden, and gives the best organic advice on how to attract the good guys and manage the bad guys without reaching for the toxic chemicals . . . full color on laminated stock, with concealed wire binding. Sturdy enough to take into the garden for easy reference.


Oh Nooo-ooo . . . Not Again! - The S&S Gangs (Slugs & Squirrels) Have Struck Again

Photo used under Creative Commons from: EraPhernalia Vintage (catching up), on Flickr

Helpful Tips . . .

Here one of my favorite sites that offer a wealth of "green" gardening tips.

Garlic Natural Pesticide Spray

This Classic Solution Does Double Duty

It is said that alliums are great for combatting soft body insects and also makes a great fungicide.

Liquify in a blender, several cloves of garlic in 1 cup of vegetable oil. Then combine with one gallon of water. Hint: If there's still too much pulp in this liquid combo, you may need to strain to avoid clogging the sprayer.

Yarrow Natural Pesticide Spray

This Brew Repel Pests . . . and Gives Your Vegetable Garden A Lift

For amphids and several other pests, yarrow works quite well as a deterrent when applied every week or so to your garden vegetables. This solution is also a great plant tonic.

Soak 1 cup of yarrow plant pieces in 16 ounces of water for 24 hours or more. Brew it in the sun like tea. Strain and mix with 1 gallon of water. Mix in strongly brewed coffee and 1/4 teaspoon castile soap. Spray on aphids and other soft bodied pests every 1-2 weeks. Or use as a preventative.

This "recipe" courtesy of: GH Organics

Natural Insect and Disease Control - A Must-Have Organic Gardening Handbook

The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control: A Complete Problem-Solving Guide to Keeping Your Garden and Yard Healthy Without  Chemicals
The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control: A Complete Problem-Solving Guide to Keeping Your Garden and Yard Healthy Without Chemicals

Reviewer Comment: "Bravo! Finally a book that not only tells gardeners how to avoid getting diseases and undesirable insects in their gardens, but how to get rid of them safely." ~ Rebecca Green (Pomona NY)


© 2009 Dee Gallemore

Has This Info About Homemade Natural Pesticide Sprays Been Helpful? - Or, Just Let Me Know You Stopped By . . .

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    • sousababy profile image


      4 years ago

      Excellent suggestions - pinning this. Thank you.

    • GardenIdeasHub LM profile image

      GardenIdeasHub LM 

      6 years ago

      Your tips about natural pesticide sprays are really great!

    • LovelyMom77 profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you and great advice!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      GREAT, great recipes nDee!!! Right when I needed 'em. THANKS!!!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Absolutely this is a great article - always looking for natural ways to keep the bugs from snacking on the garden :)

    • ForestBear LM profile image

      ForestBear LM 

      6 years ago

      Great ideas, thank you for sharing

    • Teacher Adez7 profile image

      Teacher Adez7 

      6 years ago

      I love Organic gardening, but most of it really goes nowhere. When you factor in the bugs, everything you try is worthless unless you can deal with them. I have tried organic formula after formula, only to find out that the bugs just get more determined! You have put some new formulas out here that I will be sure to try out this summer. And if they work! I will be back to sound the trumpet! Thanks for this great lens, and blessings from me.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It's good to know there are more natural pesticides you can make yourself, thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Excellent presentation and important subject. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • BLemley profile image

      Beverly Lemley 

      6 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Love your lense! B : )

    • jballs6 profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens, I am an amateur gardener and I prefer to use natural pesticides. Thanks for sharing

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Excellent lens on a natural way to deal with bugs and avoid the dangers of chemical pestisides...well done! **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 

      8 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Great information. I prefer not to nuke my garden with toxic chemicals, so these hints are very helpful.

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 

      8 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      Fabulous lens! Being the green dog that I am I appreciate a healthier planet! Woofs!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      That is some good information about natural pesticides. I didn't realize tobacco and garlic would have that much of an impact as a pesticide. Here's a video of making some bug spray out of dish soap. Bug Spray I hope it is useful for you.

    • RosegardenAdvic1 profile image


      8 years ago

      I think your information is great. The less we use harsh chemicals in the garden (and in our homes) the better. We are making it safer for our families and ourselves and our pets who can ingest dangerous chemicals. I'm an organic rose gardener and buy organic vegetables and meat.Let's get back to living and eating the nature intended!

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image


      8 years ago

      Nicely done. Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love your ideals. Thanks for sharing!

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 

      8 years ago

      Very useful lens. I like the information on how and when to use these recipes also. good job.

    • TacTac profile image


      8 years ago

      Some really interesting ideas here, I am going to try some of these out. Always looking for environmentally friendly ways to do my gardening.

    • Dee Gallemore profile imageAUTHOR

      Dee Gallemore 

      8 years ago

      @anonymous: Joey, your comments are welcome . . . however, I wouldn't say the recipe is "wrong". I know folks who have used the stated "dish soap" mixture with good results and a search on the internet will yield recipes using anywhere from 1 teaspoon of mild dish soap per gallon to 1 cup or more.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      your recipe of 1 cup soap to one gallon is wrong that dose will kill almost any plant you spray it with. The recipe is 1 teaspoon soap to 1 gallon, the solution needs to be under 1% soap to be plant safe, yours is at 6% way too much! An improved recipe is 1 teaspoon soap to 1 cup canola oil, mix in a masson jar, use at a rate of 2 teaspoons per gallon.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 

      8 years ago from Vermont

      I need an organic-approved DIY pesticide for cucumber beetles ... I am using pyrethrin now, but would like to find an herbal or vegetable alternative.

    • DeboraR profile image


      9 years ago

      Great gardening lens! I see you have my lens "Garden Bugs and Slugs" listed that you like. I want to lensroll this lens onto mine. Very good job and full of helpful information for gardeners. We've been looking for ways to get rid of the insects in a more natural way apart from chemicals.

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image


      9 years ago from Canada

      Great idea for a lens. Up here in our town you can't buy any more pesticides. You can use your old pesticides though. I like the natural pesticide route though!

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 

      9 years ago

      I have NEVER seen these solutions! Well, I have seen the soap one, but the others are new! How wonderful of you to share them! Lensrolling to my veggie garden lenses!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 

      9 years ago from USA

      Great information!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great information, Dee!

    • Dee Gallemore profile imageAUTHOR

      Dee Gallemore 

      9 years ago

      [in reply to Sylvestermouse]

      Absolutely . . . I love your lens and as you can see I've featured it here as well.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      9 years ago from United States

      This is absolutely wonderful! I knew about the dish soap method and have been using it on my roses for years, but I will have to try the others. Great lens!

      ps: i am putting this under the featured lenses on my Christmas Tree lens. I think they are a nice fit don't you?

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      9 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Excellent information! Thank you for this lens.5*


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