15 Effective Homemade Organic Sprays for Gardening

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Green Living

If you’re facing any issues in your garden, you can easily make sprays and concoctions at home to take care of them. AzmanJaka/Getty Images

When I began gardening for the first time, a popular gardening expert and his books on gardening concoctions were in high demand. During fundraising times on our local PBS station, he would tell us to use items such as baby shampoo, instant tea, and whiskey to grow the best garden. Back then, those claims seemed doubtful, and now that I have more knowledge, I know that several of those concoctions were either bad ideas or that one item in the recipe did all the work while the rest were either pointless or harmful to plants, insects, and other organisms living in the soil.

Therefore, when it comes to homemade gardening sprays, I am cautious. However, I have compiled a list of 15 homemade, organic solutions for garden issues that I have personally used and found to be effective. The best part? None of them require you to pour whiskey on your plants.

Pest Control Sprays and Concoctions

1. Tomato leaf spray is highly effective in killing aphids and mites. This is due to the alkaloids in the tomato leaves, which are lethal to many insects. Simply soak 2 cups (473 milliliters) of chopped tomato leaves in 2 cups of water overnight. Strain the liquid the next day and discard the leaves. Add 2 more cups of water to the mixture and spray it on your plants.

2. Garlic oil spray is an excellent and safe insect repellent. Chop three to four cloves of garlic and mix them with 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) of mineral oil, then let it sit overnight. Strain the garlic out of the oil the next day and add the oil to 1 pint (473 milliliters) of water. Add 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) of biodegradable dish soap and store the mixture in a bottle or jar. Dilute the mixture by adding 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) of the garlic oil mixture to one pint of water when using it.

The compounds in garlic, such as diallyl disulfide and diallyl trisulfide, are irritating or toxic to many insects, making this mixture effective. The oil and soap help the mixture adhere to plant leaves. This spray repels whiteflies, aphids, and most beetles. However, do not apply this spray on a sunny day as the oils can burn foliage.

3. Hot pepper spray is an excellent solution if you have a problem with mites. Mix 2 tablespoons of hot pepper sauce, a few drops of biodegradable dish soap, and 1 quart (0.94 liters) of water and let the mixture sit overnight. Use a spray bottle to apply the spray to infested plants.

The compound capsaicin found in hot peppers is just as irritating to insects as it is to humans. This mixture also repels whiteflies, but it may need to be reapplied if you see the mites or whiteflies returning.

Natural Pest Control

Using simple household items like soap, beer, citrus rinds, and cinnamon or cayenne pepper can effectively get rid of unwanted garden pests. Soap spray dissolves the insects’ outer coating, while beer attracts slugs and citrus rinds trap them. Newspaper rolls soaked in water work as earwig traps, and cinnamon or cayenne pepper repels ants without harming them. For mammal and bird pests, a mixture of Tabasco sauce, water, and dish soap sprayed weekly on plants can make them less appetizing.

Fungal Disease Solutions

For powdery mildew, milk and baking soda are both effective remedies that need to be applied regularly. A spray of 40% milk and 60% water on the leaves of affected plants works like fungicides, while a mixture of baking soda, vegetable oil, dish soap, and water disrupts fungal spores’ growth.

Weed Control

Vinegar can be used to get rid of weeds in the garden, but it may harm other plants. A foam paintbrush can be used to apply vinegar directly to the leaves of weeds, preventing it from spreading to other plants.

13. Eliminating sidewalk weeds with boiling water. Boil water and pour it over the weeds that grow in the cracks of your sidewalks or driveways. This treatment is too much for most weeds to handle and will solve your problem. But be cautious when pouring!

14. Using vinegar and salt to remove sidewalk weeds. Personally, I prefer to pour boiling water on sidewalk weeds or pull them out. But if you have some stubborn weeds, you can try mixing 1 gallon (3.78 liters) of white vinegar with 1 cup (236 milliliters) of salt. Also, add 1 tablespoon (14.7 milliliters) of dishwasher soap to the solution, as it won’t stick to the surface of the weeds without it. Please note that this mixture will kill nearly any plant it comes in contact with, so keep it away from other plants and your lawn.

The Best Homemade Garden Mixture of All

15. Compost. Seriously, whether you live in an apartment with a fire escape garden or in a rural area, you should make and use it. It adds nutrients, improves soil structure, retains moisture and increases the number of beneficial microbes in your soil. Besides, it prevents organic matter from ending up in landfills.

I hope these ideas for safe, homemade organic garden mixes are helpful. With just a few inexpensive items, you can handle most common gardening problems in your own eco-friendly way.

Now That’s Fabulous

During the Covid pandemic, 18.3 million new gardeners were created in the U.S., most of them millennials.

Originally Published: Jan 11, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions About Organic Gardening Sprays

What is the best insect spray for tomato plants?
To make an insect spray at home for tomato plants, mix 10 ounces of hydrogen peroxide, 1 gallon of water, and 10 ounces of sugar together. Mix it well and spray it on and around the tomato plant and leaves. But remember to wash it off after a day or two.
What can I spray on my vegetable garden to kill bugs?
The simplest insecticide spray you can make requires 8 ounces of vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of dish soap. Mix them well and add 2 teaspoons of any fragrant oil. You can also use cottonseed oil for long-lasting effects.
Does vinegar kill insects on plants?
No, vinegar doesn’t kill insects, but it repels them. For an effective mixture, make a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. It should keep regular insects such as flies, mealybugs, centipedes, and millipedes away from your plants. Do not spray it directly on plants.
Can you spray soapy water on tomato plants?
Yes, you can spray soapy water on tomato plants to prevent bug attacks. However, we recommend spraying it in the evening when the sun is about to set and washing it away before noon since the UV rays and soapy water can burn plant leaves.


1. What are homemade organic gardening sprays?

Homemade organic gardening sprays are natural mixtures that can be used to control pests and diseases in your garden. These sprays are made from organic ingredients that are safe for the environment and your plants.

2. Why use homemade organic gardening sprays?

Homemade organic gardening sprays are a great alternative to chemical pesticides because they are safer for the environment and your health. They are also cheaper and easier to make than buying commercial pesticides.

3. What are some common ingredients in homemade organic gardening sprays?

Common ingredients in homemade organic gardening sprays include garlic, hot peppers, neem oil, soap, and vinegar. These ingredients are all natural and have insecticidal or fungicidal properties.

4. How do I make a homemade organic gardening spray?

There are many recipes for homemade organic gardening sprays, but most involve combining ingredients like garlic, hot peppers, and soap with water and spraying the mixture on your plants. You can find specific recipes online or experiment with your own ingredients.

5. Can homemade organic gardening sprays be harmful to plants?

Homemade organic gardening sprays can be harmful to plants if they are not used correctly. It is important to follow the recipe and instructions carefully, as some ingredients can burn or damage plants if used in high concentrations.

6. How often should I use homemade organic gardening sprays?

The frequency of use will depend on the specific recipe and the severity of the pest or disease problem. In general, it is recommended to use homemade organic gardening sprays every 7-14 days to keep pests and diseases under control.

7. Can homemade organic gardening sprays be stored?

Homemade organic gardening sprays can be stored for a short period of time in a sealed container in the refrigerator. However, it is best to make small batches and use them up quickly to ensure freshness and effectiveness.

8. Are homemade organic gardening sprays effective?

Yes, homemade organic gardening sprays can be very effective in controlling pests and diseases in your garden. However, it is important to remember that they are not a cure-all and may need to be combined with other pest and disease control methods for best results.

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