Is Dawn Dish Soap Safe For Plants? (Which Variety To Use)
We know that soap can effectively get rid of some plant pests or even clean the leaves. But what about Dawn dish soap you have at home. Can you use it on your plants?
Dawn dish soap is harmful to plants in large amounts. But if you use it in small amounts diluted with water it won’t cause issues. You should use a Dawn dish soap variety that does not have chemical additives or scent. This will ensure it does not harm your plants.
In this post, I’ll help you understand why Dawn and other dish soaps are useful for plants. I’ll also give you instructions on creating this functional solution and spray it on your plants to be effective.
So keep reading.
Make sure to dilute the dish soap and test it on a couple of leaves for a day. Use it on the plant only if there is no reaction. It’s even better if you can use safe, horticultural soap on the plant. Check out the best horticultural soap on Amazon.com.
Dawn dish soap is safe for plants if you use a small amount diluted with water. It does contain chemicals that can be abrasive and harm plants if used in large amounts. I would also recommend using a Dawn variety that has minimal additives used for scent or cleaning. You want as pure soap as possible.
You can use Dawn dish soap to kill pests plaguing your plants, but you need to be careful using it. If you use too much, it can be toxic to the plant and disintegrate the leaf’s waxy coating known as the cuticle.
Without the cuticle, the plant can’t hold moisture, making it dehydrated and vulnerable to pests and disease due to the loss of the protective layer. Additionally, the soap may remain in the soil, making it toxic and deadly to any other plant.
Pro Tip: It’s much safer to use insecticidal soaps that are specifically manufactured for plants as they are safe. These soaps are designed to get rid of pests without affecting the leaves of the plant. Read more:Insecticidal Soap vs Dish Soap for Pest Control
Below I have added a list of Dawn dish soap varieties and which ones are suitable to use for your plants.
You can use Dawn dish soap to clean plant leaves. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of the soap in one quart of lukewarm water. Spray this mixture on the plant leaves and wait a few seconds.
Then wipe it down gently with a damp cloth making sure you have removed all of the soap from the leaves. Only use this on smooth, hairless leaves and not on fuzzy leaves as it will cause spotting due to leftover water and soap.
What bugs does Dawn dish soap kill?
You can use a diluted Dawn dish soap and water solution to kill bugs such as mites, aphids, thrips, whiteflies, scales, and leafhoppers. Furthermore, this solution will not harm most beneficial insects, like ladybugs and bees.
You must find out what bugs are affecting your plant before using Dawn dish soap. It’s not effective against all types of bugs but soft-bodied ones that are mentioned above.
You can tell what type of infestation you have from the kind of damage done to your plants.
Chewing Mouthparts – These insects cause holes in foliage and other plant parts, extensive leaf damage, cutting off plants at the soil’s surface, and consumption of the roots. Some tunnel into plants, causing internal stem and leaf damage.
Sucking Mouthparts – These insects suck sap from the plant tissue, causing spotting or stippling foliage, leaf curling, and stunted or misshapen fruits.
Rasping Mouthparts – These insects scrape the surface of foliage or flowers and suck up the spilled contents from the damaged cells.
However, insects will lay eggs – oviposit – in the plant tissue. Soaps and insecticides only kill soft-bodied insects, causing no harm to their hard-covered eggs and larva.
Oviposition can cause a range of problems depending on where the eggs are laid. From causing death or dieback in stems to misshapen or dead fruits, killing pests can take longer than expected due to hidden eggs.
How do you make insecticidal soap with Dawn?
You want to use a solution that is low risk to the plant. So keep the strength at 2% for the Dawn dish soap in water. I would also suggest avoiding any soap with lemon or other ingredients that contain citric acid.
Mix 2 ½ tablespoons of Dawn dish soap in 1 gallon of water for a 1% solution of Dawn. Add an additional 2 ½ tablespoons for each 1% you want to strengthen the solution.
In a smaller batch of soapy water, use ¼ of the above amount of soap in 1 quart of water.
An alternative formula includes mixing one tablespoon of Dawn with one cup of cooking oil and combining these into one pint of water.
Diluting the soap before spraying plants with dish soap as it may minimize but not counteract its damaging properties. If you use less soap, there may be less damage to the plant, but that doesn’t mean it won’t harm your plant.
Even using too much plant-safe soap can put your plant at risk. Using the correct soap in the proper concentration is an essential factor in spraying your plants safely.
Dilute the Soap – Dilute the insecticidal soaps per the instructions on the label. This will further ensure that your plant is safe when you use the soap.
Test it First – Especially since Dawn is not made to be used on plants, first spray a small area of a plant and wait to see if it has an adverse reaction – such as discoloration or burn-and-scorch-like marks. Once you’re confident it’s safe, spray it on the affected plants.
When to Spray – It is essential to spray the plant at cooler times during the day. Soapy water is dehydrating, and plants are more likely to be harmed by dehydration in warm weather than in cooler weather.
How Often – Spray the plant as soon as you see a possible infestation. Spray the plant once a week – or every four days if the infestation is severe – for a month until improvement. Doing it for longer runs the risk of injuring the plant since the soap removes natural protective oils and wax on the leaf.
Be Thorough – Spraying the plant thoroughly, covering every leaf carefully, including the undersides of the leaves, increases your chances of killing all the pests faster.
Can you use Dawn dish soap to kill aphids or whiteflies?
You can use Dawn dish soap to kill aphids or whiteflies because the fatty acid in the soap dissolves the exoskeleton of these soft-bodied insects. This causes them to dehydrate and die. Dissolve a small quantity of Dawn dish soap in water to create a 2% solution and spray it on these pests.
Is Dawn dish soap good for powdery mildew?
Dawn dish soap is good for powdery mildew when you mix it with baking soda and vegetable oil. Use 1 tablespoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, and 1 teaspoon Dawn dish soap in a gallon of water. Mix it well and spray the solution on all the affected leaves until the powdery mildew is gone.
Is Palmolive dish soap safe for plants?
Palmolive dish soap is safe for plants if you use it in a small amount mixed with water. You should select a variety that has as minimal additives as possible so they don’t damage the plant. The best one is that which does not have any scent or additives just plain soap.
Will dish soap kill plants?
Dish soap will kill plants if it contains harmful chemicals or you use concentrated amounts. You can use dish soap that is organic, free of chemicals, that won’t affect plants. Dilute the dish soap with water before using on your plants. Dish soap and water for plants can be an effective pesticide against some insects.
Fact Checked, Written, and Published by Kevin Rodrigues
Kevin is the founder of Gardening Mentor, a website that aims to teach people to grow their own food in a limited space. As a self-taught gardener, Kevin has spent several years growing plants and creating gardening content on the website. He is certified in Home Horticulture and Organic Gardening from Oregon State University. He has a Post Graduate Diploma in Horticulture and Landscape Gardening from Mumbai University. Read more