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How to make an eco-friendly and sustainable pesticide using only 3 ingredients

This pesticide is quick to make, easy on the environment, and very effective at getting rid of unwanted critters

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By Edwain Steenkamp  | June 26, 2023 | Gardens

In today’s world, it’s understandable that you might want to go the sustainable, eco-friendly route in all areas of your life, including your gardening. After all, hard industrial chemicals can be damaging to your health and to the planet. If you’ve been thinking about making changes that are lighter on the planet you’ve probably also thought about pesticides. Just how do you get your plants to be pest-free and thriving without using harsh products? The solution can be found in an easy-to-make, eco-friendly pesticide that you can concoct in the comfort of your home. Here’s how to do it.

1. Get your ingredients together

To make this effective pesticide is very simple. You’ll need the following:

Neem oil (which can be found at many health stores and also online)

Liquid soap (this will act as a surfactant and help the oil stick to the plant. As such, a mild, sustainable liquid option is best)


Spray bottle for application

Neem oil is a yellow-to-brown oil that is a natural pesticide. It smells a little like sulfur and garlic and has a bitter taste. Image: by Fulvio Ciccolo via Unsplash

2. Mix everything together

In a clean spray bottle, add two tablespoons of neem oil

Add 1 teaspoon of liquid soap

Fill up the rest of the bottle with water, with just a little room to allow you to shake thoroughly

3. Apply to your plants

Before each use, shake the bottle to make sure that the neem oil is properly mixed into the solution. It’s best to apply the mixture early in the morning or at night, as you’ll want to avoid direct sunlight falling on the mixture as soon as it settles on the plant. Be sure to cover both sides of the leaves with a few sprays as well as spots where you know critters are likely to nest. Repeat this once every week to two weeks depending on the severity of the pests.

This mixture can be used on just about any plants, especially those you interact with and consume. Image: by Pedro Ramos via Unsplash

4. Use sparingly

A little goes a long way when it comes to neem oil. You’ll want to use this mixture sparingly to deter pests, but still allow friendly and beneficial insects from visiting your plants. Also, be sure to target areas where pests nest rather than spots where friendly insects ­– like bees on flowers – are likely to visit.

5. Always be cautious

While neem oil can work wonders, it’s also true that it can damage plants in certain situations, too. Avoid using it if your plant has recently been transplanted, or is showing any signs of stress. If you’re worried that neem oil might do more damage than good, it might be a good idea to do a small patch test first to see how your plant will handle it.

Before you go!

If you’re looking for more useful gardening tips, be sure to have a look at more stories by clicking here.

Related Tags

Gardening, DIY