Make Your Own Homemade Pesticides and Repellants

Bugs on Plant
Photo by houseoftext.

Many pesticides and insecticides are some of the most dangerous items you have in your household. Advertisers for popular brands of these products would like to make you think that the only way to repel bugs from your garden/plants, your home and your body are their harmful chemicals. Not only are they harmful for you, but they also are geared towards killing insects instead of simply repelling them. You can make homemade cleaning products, why not make your own insect repellents?

Why should I use them?

The typical pesticide and insect label always contains a huge CAUTION, HAZARD, or DANGER on the back of the labels. There is a reason that these products contain these labels as they are in fact hazardous to humans as well as animals. Who knows what reactions your body could have to these horrendous chemicals that most of the times you have never heard of or don’t even know how to pronounce. It just makes sense to use homemade pesticides that are made from natural ingredients. You can also insure that the ingredients will not harm the pests intentionally, just repel them naturally. You also won’t have sticky and smelly substances on your food or your body.

Besides being safe for your family and the environment, you can save tons of money. The store bought products are usually pretty pricey. Have you seen how much a mosquito repellent can cost you? The ingredients in homeade products are usually far cheaper and only require a few ingredients to make.

Pesticide Recipes

The key to repelling pests from your garden or plants is make them have an appalling taste or something to kill the pests with harming the plants. A key ingredient to many homemade pesticides I found was soap and strong tasting products like garlic and peppers. The following recipes will keep most pests off of your plants:

Oil Mixture

  • 1 cup cooking oil ( i.e. canola or vegetable )
  • 1 tablespoon liquid dishwashing soap
  • Use 2 ½ teaspoons of this mixture in 1 cup of water

Spray on the surface and underside of leaves to coat insects in various stages of development.

This mixture is especially good with eggs and immature bugs. Be careful on the type of liquid soap you choose. I had good luck with dishwashing soap with no additional additives like anti-bacterial ingredients. I accidentally used it with on that had them in it and it almost killed a plant of mine.

Soap Mixture

  • A few teaspoons of liquid dishwashing soap
  • 1 gallon of water

Spray on the surface and underside of infested foliage. The soap acts to paralyze insects, which prevents them from feeding. The pests eventually die of starvation. For heavy infestations spray every 2 to 3 days for 2 weeks.

This is a very generic mixture that can fight off most any insects. Make sure to use a light liquid soap here as well to ensure not to kill your plants.

Garlic/Pepper Mixture

  • 1/2 cup hot peppers of your choice
  • 1/2 cup garlic cloves ( onions will also do )
  • 2 cups water

Steep this mixture for 24 hours. An easy method for steeping the tea is to combine the ingredients in a clear glass jar, seal, and set in a sunny location. Strain and spray onto foliage.

This is another good general mixture that will fight off most bugs.

To find additional natural homemade pesticides, please visit Garden Volunteers.

Repellent Recipes

Repellents seem to use the sense of smell and vision to detract pests away.


They are one of the most annoying pests that always seem to find a way to bite you when you are out side during a nice day. Some simple ingredients you can put on exposed skin to detract them from biting you

  • citronella oil
  • vinegar

You could also try wearing pastel colors that will distract the mosquitos from wanting to even look at you. Another way to try to lower the population is to attract more birds and dragonflies.

Fleas and Ticks

This is more for your pets, but one method is try to rub talc on your pet or supplementing their diets with garlic or Vitamin B to distract them from getting on your pet’s skin.


To prevent those pesky ants from entering you house, make a line of either cream of tartar, red chili pepper or paprika to stop them in their tracks.

To keep most pests out of your home, just make sure you keep all crumbs cleaned up and do not leave any open food containers laying around the house. Also, make sure to take the trash out often and be sure to clean on a regular basis. To find additional repellent ideas, the EPA has a great guide to keeping those pests away from you and your house.

What if you don’t want to make homemade products?

If you currently have chemical products or prefer them, just be careful to read the label properly to make sure that you don’t harm your family, animals or the environment by using them. Also make sure to properly store dispose of them as it could have damaging effects if they are exposed to the environment improperly.

If you enjoyed this post, keep yourself updated with all my latest posts:
Subscribe to my RSS Feed

RSS Icon
Sign Up for Daily Morning Emails


  1. Great recipes you’ve listed here. I’ve always been one to use homemade recipes in the garden. If you can take em out without chemicals, than thats the way to go!

  2. Those recipes are surprisingly simple and harmless! I really like the idea, so I’ll write an article about it and link back to your recipes.

    • Pays to Live Green
    • February 6th, 2009

    Thanks Dan. With Spring and summer coming up, these recipes are going to become more and more important. They are also much cheaper than the expensive pesticides you would normally buy.

  3. Your information is very useful but I was wondering regular dish soap also has chemicals in it, do you think instead of using dish soap, that Basic H2 from Shaklee or their dish wash concentrate might work? If you are not sure, that’s ok I will try it and let you know. :)

  4. I hope this works for spiders. This year the spiders seem to have gone into overdrive.

    • karen
    • April 12th, 2011

    how often can i spray the plants?

    • ernesto hill
    • April 29th, 2011

    My 9 year old daughter brought home a small cabbage plant from school with the objective to grow it to harvest.After transplanting it into our garden,it did quite well;until 3 small caterpillars began to ravage it.I concocted a home-made pesticide(with the intent of a repellent)to stop the invading aliens.I mixed 3 tablespoons of canola oil,2 tablespoons of dishsoap and 1 teaspoon of hotsauce.I coated the plant thoroughly.The little green pests were dead in just moments.Wow! It was amazing.

  1. December 5th, 2008
  2. December 5th, 2008
  3. December 5th, 2008
  4. December 5th, 2008
  5. December 5th, 2008
  6. December 5th, 2008
  7. December 5th, 2008
  8. December 5th, 2008

Best Green Blogs Eco Friendly, Environment & Green Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory Environment Blogs Green Top Sites - Ranking the Best Green Sites on the Internet Renewable Energy Topsites Promote Your Blog