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Will Dish Soap Repel Potato Bugs? (Quick Answers)

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Bugs are always a nuisance. Potatoes are one of the main sources of carbohydrates and are considered a staple food in many places.

The harvesting season of potatoes is from September to October, it is an important time for farmers and harvesters, but bugs can always be problematic. Keeping a close eye and getting rid of them is crucial, and we will mention how you can use dish soap to repel potato bugs.

Ways and how you can get rid of them, and if you can spray dish soap in plants!

Will dish soap terminate potato bugs?

Dish soap will terminate potato bugs, especially beetle potato bugs. Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of dish soap into about 1 gallon or 4.5 liters of water and spray them directly on the eggs and larvae of the bugs. It works best if it is directly sprayed on the bugs than just on the leaves or the potatoes.

The potato beetle bug, also widely known as the Colorado potato beetle bug (Leptinotarsadecemlineata), is a ten black and white striped pest that affects the potatoes mostly. You might find these species of bugs in your potatoes.

They can also be found in yellow stripes.

Both black-striped and red larvae feed on potatoes. It can also cause severe damage to eggplant, tomato, and pepper plant. Each female bugs lay 500 or even more eggs over a five-week period.

Eggs hatch in four to nine days, and the larvae feed on the potatoes resulting in significant damage for the harvesters.

Dish soap is available in almost all homes and is a very effective insecticide and potato bug repeller. Using about 1 to 2 tablespoons of dish soap in water and making it into a spray can really help to see a drastic decrease in the bugs’ rate. 

How do you keep potato beetle bugs away using dish soap?

Nuisances like potato beetle bugs can be easily kept away using some dish soaps. We will mention a step by step guide for your better understanding and more effective measures against these bugs below:


Take some mild dish soap; you can also use dawn dish soap as well. You will need some glass jars, measuring spoons and a spray bottle, and some water.

Mix the ingredients:

Take one or two tablespoons of dish soap and about one gallon of water/ 4.5 liters of water with the measuring spoons and mix them well in the glass jars. 

Pour it in the spray bottle:

Remind yourself to take a new or clean spray bottle first. Pour the solution into the spray bottle and now spray on the plants that are affected. 

Supplementary Ingredients:

You can also mix some Tobasco sauce and vegetable oil with the dish soap and water mixture for better results.


Spray on one plant first to check if it is really toxic for the plants to survive. If it is harmful then mild the ingredients in amount, try to avoid spraying on blooming plants or more prone to drought plants.

Spray directly on the bugs:

It works the best if it is directly sprayed on the bugs instead of the leaves of the plants. 

Do keep in mind that the toxicity might be too much for the plants, try using milder dish soaps and only spray the plants that need it. Repeat the process for better outcomes and clean the plants regularly.

Can‌ ‌you‌ ‌use‌ ‌Dawn‌ ‌dish‌ ‌soap‌ ‌for‌ ‌insecticides?‌

Yes, you can use Dawn dish soap for insecticides. It is one of the most widely used and known dish soaps to be used for potato beetle bugs in potato plants. It has powerful surfactants or chemical compounds that reduce the surface tension of a liquid when it’s dissolved.

It is the element that cuts the grease off. It has a two percent concentration that can supplement any bug-repelling insecticides available in the market and repel insects like aphids, mites, and also potato bugs.

A spray mixture of dish dawn soap, tabasco sauce, and vegetable oil could do wonders for your potato plants.

 The process through dawn works is called desiccation, and it works by drying out the insects and cracking them right open. You can also use dawn dish soap and water to simply spray and get an amazing result. 

Why does dish soap terminate bugs?

Dish soap repels the bugs by drying and cracking up their skin. Dish soap is an alkaline element, and its concentration becomes toxic for the bugs to bear. Depending on these ingredients, the dish soap works for the bugs.

Degreasers and anti-bacterial agents that come with some dish soap might not work as efficiently as pure soap. We are providing some of the reasons and factors about why dish soap repels the bugs in the pants below:


Dish soaps repel insects or pests by a process called desiccation.

In this process, the water and dish soap spray molecules break down on the bugs and the larvae (they have to be directly in contact with the bugs), making them dry and dehydrated to crack open their soft-body skins. 


Dish soaps have a chemical component called surfactants that reduce the surface tension of a liquid when it dissolves in the water, making it a grease-free agent. These agents cut on the bugs damaging the plant by repelling them. 

Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids:

Other ingredients that repel bugs are pyrethrins and pyrethroids. They are among the most common compounds to control pests around households or gardens.

Pyrethrins are a form of botanical pesticide derived from a special kind of flower called chrysanthemum. Pyrethroids are a source of synthetic chemical bug repellers that also act like pyrethrins.

These are some of the reasons your household dish soap repels the bugs around your garden. It also depends on the concentration of the dish soap and also on its ingredients like degreasers, smells, and bacterial agents. 

How do I get rid of potato bugs in my soil?

Potato bugs can be a really big danger for your harvested crops. Their eggs and larvae feed on the potatoes, especially the red and black striped ones. These can cause severe damage to your crops, leading to a bad harvest.

 Thus, getting rid of them is very important. We are mentioning some ways below about how to get rid of these potato bugs from the soil below:

Picking by Hand:

The best and the least harmful way for the plants and the harvest is handpicking the bugs out. This is a possible and best option for small or medium-size gardens. Every pesticide has some toxic materials that might harm the plants.

Otherwise, it would not terminate the bugs. Every insecticide would cause some sort of damage to the plants, leading to more concerns and cautions to maintain. So it is better to pick the bugs by hand. Thus it is the most effective way.

Dish Soap:

Dish soap mixed with water is a great candidate also to get rid of potato beetle bugs. Mix water and dish soap to create a solution and spray it directly over the bugs where you see them. This will result in the most effective way possible. 

Natural Bacteria:

BTK (Bacillus Thuringiensis) is a natural bacteria found in the soil that is also considered really toxic. Spray that over the plants, and it will work as an excellent bug repellent.

Any eggs and larvae that start to hatch, the bacteria will terminate them before feeding on the potatoes. 

Can you spray dawn dish soap on plants?

Yes, you can spray dish soap on plants. But you have to be careful about the toxicity of the mixture of the dish soap and water. Try and experiment in one plant first and see if a bad reaction is happening to the plant.

Try changing to milder dish soaps. Also, don’t use dish soaps with degreasers and anti-bacterial agents. They harm the plants. Try avoiding using on plants that are easily degraded or more prone to drought.

They could dry out the roots quickly. Also, it is best not to use dish soap spray on plants or flowers that are blooming. It could stop and rot the blooming plants.  But mild dish soaps mostly don’t harm the plants.

Try to spray them over the bugs directly and repeat this process weekly but don’t use too much. It would harm the plants also with the potato beetle bugs.

Final Thoughts 

Dish soap and water spray is an effective way to terminate potato beetle bugs. Adding some other supplements like tabasco sauce, vegetable oil and vinegar could also help maximize the effect. But, the spray should be used in moderation and directly on the bugs not to cause any damage to the harvest.

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