Instructables
I CANNOT STAND TO HAVE A FLY buzzing around in my house.  The only thing nastier is a grotesque fly swatter.  Haven't had one in years.  All you need is some LIQUID SOAP, any kind.  Flies, roaches, and other pests have an oily coating on their exterior which, if compromised, causes them QUICK DEATH.  Start with a spray bottle of water with about a tablespoon of dish soap, and one good spritz will wet the fly's wings and he will go down.  Another spray and he'll be dead in a few seconds.  THIS WORKS ON EVERY BUG AND SPIDER THERE IS.  Something strong like Formula 409 will even knock WASPS right off their nest, just make your solution stronger.  My mom had a large Azalea bush that was DYING because it had thousands of mites chewing on it, so we put some soap in a garden sprayer and soaped it until it looked like a shaving brush, next day all the bugs were gone and the leaves were deep green and it was good as new.  As far as I can tell, soapy water will not harm any plants.  You can even used leftover dishwater that's still soapy, and you have FREE bug killer.  The best part is that you can take part of an old paper towel or something to wipe up the dead insect, and the surface is nice and clean.  Try it and see.  I have killed bugs for years using this method and never had to wonder how harsh the chemicals in my bug spray are.
Mikel9912 months ago
I heard trying to breathe through a bubble can kill them too. I have also used a few teaspoons of tabasco in water to kill the awful wasps we get here in Texas. It knocks them down more quickly than just soap.
denny2451 year ago
Farmers have been using detergent and water to control Aphids for years.
aliceaod1 year ago
I usually keep a spray bottle of Simple Green in my kitchen. So far, it seems to be working, plus the house smells nice.
rhizoo2 years ago
Soap water works well on many different plants, although some are susceptible to burning. The leaf edges will brown if the soap water is left on the plant for too long. It would be good to wash it off with plain water after a short period of time. I have also totally submerged potted plants in tubs of soap water, for tougher pests it may take several applications.
MrGreggan2 years ago

There are plenty of food-grade soaps available. How do you think the grocery stores and other distributors of fruit and vegetable keep them clean and bacteria-free?
aworkofbart (author)  MrGreggan2 years ago
That's a good question. I'm not sure that one can expect fruits and vegetables to be safe at the point of sale. Take a look at the recent outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes from cantaloupe - 146 cases and 30 deaths, and problems with spinach and salads in the news in the last few years. The famous food-illness lawyers already have suits filed, and they are wanting to find a way to make the RETAILERS partly to blame because the GROWER (Jensen Farms) doesn't have nearly enough insurance coverage to even take care of the medical bills for the victims.  One of the suits does in fact name Wal Mart as a defendant.  I follow these trends because I handle most of the product liability claims, including all the illness complaints, for one of the nation's largest food companies. Cooking meat to a safe temperature and avoiding cross contamination while preparing food is probably easier than finding a way to make sure that your bagged spinach doesn't contain E. coli 0157. As I replied to rimar2000, I have actually washed some fresh produce in hot soapy water, but you really don't get good results using that method on something like a bagged salad.  Do you know of a specific product that is available to consumers (like you and me) so that a person could make sure they aren't part of the next outbreak?  I remember seeing a product advertised some time back, but I actually haven't researched such products.
rimar20002 years ago
Thanks for sharing this. I have an apple tree, next spring (here is autumn) I will spray it with this to avoid wormy and rotten apples.
Would the detergent damage the coating on the apples? Just wondering as it might make them more susceptible to the elements...
OOPs, good point.
aworkofbart (author)  killerjackalope2 years ago
I've never actually studied the effects of spraying fruit trees with soapy water, so I can't say, but I have washed fruit like apples and pears in hot soapy water to lessen the possibility that there was some bacteria present, and it didn't seem to have any bad effect. You might want to spray a small area first and see, then let us know what you find out.
I just mentioned it in case, I no longer have any apple trees, or a garden for that matter...

But spraying a test set sounds like a good plan, also to see if the same thing will work just sitting on the apples, or if a different mixture might be needed...