Introduction: Make an All Purpose Organic Pesticide From Vegetables

Picture of Make an All Purpose Organic Pesticide From Vegetables

This instructable will show how I made a cheap, all-purpose organic pesticide for my herb & vegetable garden. It can be used on a variety of insects that live in the dirt or on the plants including worms, mites and other parasites.

This entire pesticide will eventually break down and be reduced to nothing, so it is OK to eat any herbs or vegetables that are growing. This is mainly intended for indoor use, but I see no reason why it wouldn't work outdoors as well.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
The materials used to make the pesticide should be easy to obtain.

You will need:

  • an empty & clean gallon jug (such as a milk jug)
  • a spray bottle with spray nozzle
  • a funnel
  • a piece of cloth such as a shirt or bandanna
  • a pot that can hold 1 gallon
  • 2 small onions
  • a jalapeño pepper
  • a clove of garlic
  • some dish soap

Take 1 gallon of warm water, dump it in a pot and you're ready to begin making the pesticide.

Step 2: Killer Salad

Picture of Killer Salad

Take the vegetables and begin cutting them up. It doesn't have to be pretty, since nobody's going to eat it!

Chop up the 2 onions, the garlic and half or 3/4 of the jalapeño pepper. The seeds can be left in, since they're hot too.

Blend all the veggies together until pasty in a blender. The killer salad is now a killer paste.

***Take care not to rub your eyes or face after handling the liquid or the vegetables. The pepper especially can really burn if it gets in the eye!***

Step 3: Making the Killer Soup

Picture of Making the Killer Soup

After everything has been blended, dump the paste into the pot of warm water and let it sit for 20 minutes.

The ground up vegetables and water will make the killer soup or tea. It's going to be mighty fragrant at this point. Just let all those offensive tastes and odors seep out into the water.

Step 4: Straining Out the Veggies

Picture of Straining Out the Veggies

Once the soup has been allowed to sit and a lot of the flavor and odor has mixed with the water, the liquid needs to be strained.

I used a funnel and bandanna to catch the vegetable particles as I strained the liquid into the gallon jug.

I tried using a coffee filter at first to strain the liquid, but it clogged easily. Cloth seems to work best.

The mush that collects in the cloth can be squeezed out into the jug and the leftover can simply be thrown out or put into a compost bin.

Step 5: Add Some Dish Soap

Picture of Add Some Dish Soap

After all the straining is complete, I added 2 tablespoons of dish soap to the liquid.

Keeping with the spirit of this being an organic, plant-friendly pesticide, I used a vegetable-based dish soap. It is free of petroleum-based chemicals, dyes and perfumes and biodegrades naturally.

If you are using a soap that is petroleum-based or has dyes or perfumes, try adding half of what I used.

The soap makes the already bad-tasting, stinky liquid soapy and even less palatable to the insects that inhabit the plants.

Step 6: Using the Pesticide

Picture of Using the Pesticide

Using the funnel, fill the spray bottle up and set the nozzle to a light mist.

At this point, the rest of the liquid can be capped and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Simply shake it up before it is used.

Take the spray bottle and spray the plants first. Try to get all over the plant including the stem and under the leaves. Spray the soil as well so that the top of it is wet.

What this liquid does is make every part of the plant that it touches unpalatable to the insect. The water evaporates and leaves behind the odor and flavor. It smells and tastes gross and they won't eat it. When they won't eat anymore, they eventually starve. The liquid will not kill the insects on contact, so do not get upset if you see increased activity after the application. They're simply struggling to find something to eat.

Treat every 4 or 5 days to kill off the pests and prevent newly-hatched babies from feeding. It may take 3 or 4 treatments, but the numbers should gradually decrease.


isaacacheampong (author)2016-08-01

will this work on slugs?

I'd hope that you would use the D.E. (or something else like it that just makes the slugs go away) instead of putting salt on them. They are mostly made of liquid, and the salt literally pulls the liquid out of their bodies and kills them. They foam to try to save their lives and get you to stop. It's a horrible, horrible, way to die. (The same goes for Snails.) Even though they are just slugs - they're still living creatures - and I would just hope you'd find something more humane to deal with them. Just my opinion. :) Have a great day!

Bury a disposable container so top edge is just above the soil. Fill container with beer 1-2" deep. Slugs LOVE beer...they dive in and drown. A better way to go, no?

I haven't and wouldn't use cruel methods. No poisons etc. I've tried copper, but that hasn't worked. I think a combination of approaches is best; water plants in the morning rather than at night/evening, pine leaves seem to have worked a bit in the past, my favourite method so far is a 9v electric fence surrounding a raised bed to prevent them getting to plants;

I'm always looking for humane ways to stop me working my a***e off on my allotment garden just to feed slugs and lose all my crops!


You've absolutely made my day - in saying you won't be using cruel methods to kill the Snails and Slugs. You're a very kind and compassionate person to care enough to not be cruel in dealing with getting rid of them, even though they're hurting something you care deeply about as well. I believe all creatures have a reason and right to be here with us, but I'm also a little biased when it comes to Snails and Slugs, as I have 4 Snails for pets. :P Okay, SO - after reading your reply, I went online and did a little research for you - and sadly, it's a horrible problem to find just *one* thing that will work for everyone, everywhere. But I found some articles you may be interested in reading. One link, about garlic, is very good news! I hope you'll try it, and that it works for you. :) Here they are:

*This article lists a bunch of options, even sad ones, but it's worth reading what they've tried, how to use them, and what success they've had at using each item (also read the comments):

*This one is the good news - Garlic Extract Oil:

***These ones tell you how to make Garlic Extract Oil & Garlic Spray::

*(This one also has great reference links at the bottom to the studies):

*This one also has a Red Pepper Spray, and is a great site for gardening!:

*This one is a link to a Google Book Excerpt Result - the link is ridiculously long, so I used to shorten it. It tells you how to make and use Garlic Extract Oil to repel slugs:

I really appreciate your writing back and letting me know that no Slugs/Snails will be suffering in your garden - at least by your hands. I know you can't control what others do in their parts of the garden. I also hope that you'll report back and let us know what you've tried, and whether it was successful or not. It would be interesting to know, esp. considering the topic of your Instructable. What all are you growing, if you don't mind my asking? That's fantastic that you're taking the time to grow your own - it's hard work, but very rewarding, and tastes so much better! Well, I've yapped up your entire page - I apologize, but hope the links were helpful! :P You have a super day!

Two things I know that work on slugs is:

1: Salt sprinkled on the little buggers. It works like acid and they foam up and die.

2. Diatomaceous Earth put in a continuous circle on the ground around the plant(s) will keep slugs away. The sharp edges of the D.E. cut into the soft body of the slug and they avoid it.


DJ4258 (author)Robyn1850.2016-08-02

Don't forget to reapply the D. E. after it rains.

DJ4258 (author)Robyn1850.2016-08-02

Don't forget to reapply the D. E. after it rains.

DJ4258 (author)Robyn1850.2016-08-02

Don't forget to reapply the D. E. after it rains.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-09

Unforunely it must be ingested to break down into cyandie i tested a mini lethal dose on ants and the sucrose cyandie molecule did nothing for ants for contact exposure. Yes I know that this is not very enviromentally friendly.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-09

I did an experement at home where I used natural chemicals to control ants. One was sucrose cyanide at levels at 30 mg cyanide. However I would only use 10 mg of the solution. I got the natural cyanide from black walnut trees.

leseagle (author)2016-09-12

Neem oil is made from the Neem tree located in South Sudan, Ethiopia and possibly other parts of East Africa. The native peoples just grab a handful and rub and crush the leaves and apply them to their skin as insecticide for mosquitos. In addition, it actually used in over 400 different medical compounds and especially for bowel cleansing by the people of India. It grows among the Gum Arabic trees which secreet a thick red resin in powder form is what is used in all Soda Pop as a preservative. I believe it is also used by string players to rosin their bows. It is used heavily in most cosmetics for the same purpose. The native people use it to make glasses and eating utensils and it is a very good cash crop for them. I am not aware if they use it on their gardens, but probably should. It also was the main money maker for Osama bin Laden who owned the entire business in Sudan. I have spent time in South Sudan in the Upper Nile city of Malakal which was the starting place of Osama bin Laden.

shermanduke (author)2016-08-01

The dish washing liquid in water is all you need. My dog's vet says a few drops is all it takes.

almerkel (author)2016-08-01

I wonder how the Rabbit's like this stuff? Does it repel them too?

fredellarby (author)2016-08-01

Perhaps after eading all the concerns, you should label the product appropriately; "Do Not Drink","Do not feed to animals", "Do not use to, season eggs", "Do not dip with sharp stick then poke in eye", "Do Not Run With Scissors While Spraying".

yellowcatt (author)2016-07-31

In the UK you would be breaking the law if you were to use this. Only products approved by the government can be used as pesticides in the garden. That means home-made solutions, made from substances such as soaps are technically illegal.

AdrianJ3 (author)yellowcatt2016-08-01

I think now the UK has voted Brexit, you will be free of these neo-fascist European Union laws.

andrej (author)2016-08-01

Well, the title is not accurate since this recipe isn't for pesticide but insecticide. It seems it does not harm herbs. Rename it please.

Crazysparkie (author)2016-08-01

I worked in Africa for a number of years and the big organic growers used a solution as follows: Nicotine, Chilli pepper, Neem. I adapted the recipe as follows.

Three cigarettes in a pint of water over night, Mince three chillipeppers and soak in a pint of water over night. Strain the liquids into a container and add a tablespoon of neem oil and a drop of detergent (lets the oil emulsify) add water to double the volume and stir. Use as a spray. This works so well if used once every three weeks, do not use after two weeks before harvest. This solution acts as a preventative rather than a killer.

LisaKali (author)2016-07-31

Thanks for the great post!

I have successfully used the 19th century method of marigold borders around my vegetable garden to block pest, but this will work well with the other that get in from below or the air...

topkat29 (author)LisaKali2016-07-31

Don't use it!!! You don't want to kill everything in you soil. Basically you don't want to kill anything in you soil. Most pests are above ground feasting on your tender plants. If you do not have a problem with nematodes in your soil I would do nothing but cultivate it and add compost.

KathrynP22 (author)topkat292016-08-01

Like I said before this poor person has stated that this is for indoor purposes

joseph-pest-controller (author)2016-03-28

Interesting recipe. Haven't seen it before and would like to know how efficient it is.

If you have gardened at all you know you don't want to kill everything in your soil which per the intro to this instructable states this concoction with do. I honor my worms I don't want them dead so I would never even attempt to use this. My go to spray is dish soap, water and cayenne pepper in a spray bottle. This is tried and true by millions of gardeners for decades if not longer. This you control where it get sprayed and what gets sprayed.

KathrynP22 (author)topkat292016-07-31

I believe this poor person has stated about 50 times this is for indoor use and they most likely do not have earthworms in their house.

slese (author)2016-07-31

Please remove the milk label and replace it with an appropriate label!

Jerry Tremble (author)slese2016-07-31

I would (almost) immediately recognize it as "NOT" milk; perhaps because it's not in the fridge, pehaps because it doesn't look like milk? Some people, though, aren't as bright as me. I agree, though, that the label should be removed. After all, someone, somewhere, used a hair dryer in a bathtub.

KathrynP22 (author)Jerry Tremble2016-07-31

I think that you're awesome! This made me laugh, looking at other comments left I just can't get over it. I appreciate your comments and your common sense.

TalulahBancroft (author)slese2016-07-31

If it's not completely obvious that this is not milk, then it will only take one whiff or possibly one mouthful pre-swallow to find out in a hurry.

pete.hohensee (author)slese2016-07-31


KathrynP22 (author)2016-07-31

I know cockroaches hate mint, the kind you could grow in your garden. Coconut oil and mint in a spray bottle with wate,r spiders cockroaches hate it. My problem this year in my garden has been snails aphids and hornets. I actually got stung by like 6 of them last week it was awful. My boyfriend does not like pesticides and garden he's totally organic but it's out of hand this year it's awful so any suggestions would be great. We mostly have tomatoes hot peppers sweet peppers and squash the snails annihilated the brussel sprouts.

craftyv (author)2016-07-31

I havn't stopped to look at this but URGENT WARNING: Take the Milk label off the bottle straight away. This is how accidents happen. Thank you.

topkat29 (author)2016-07-31

You want your worms, your ladybugs, your lacewings etc. So this is not a great solution if it kills all garden life that comes in contact with it. And it does say in you intro that it will kill anything that lives in your soil. You must be a novice gardener or you would have heard that all you need to do is mix dish soap, water and cayenne pepper together in a spray bottle. This will kill what we want dead and our worms will be left to continue to eat and defecate in our soil forever and always. Thanks anyway. Now if you can come up with a concoction to eliminate cockroaches I would love to give that a try. I have tried everything.

chrysanthemum extract in soap and water, may be harmful to pets while still wet.

or neem oil in soap and water as a contact killer. not harmful to pets like cats and dogs.

strong soap and water, will also kill cockroaches on contact. though may take a little longer.

have not tried marigold extract, which also may work. but marigolds, do repel many insects which may indicate it is toxic to many of them but not all insects.

none of these, are harmful to humans.

would not recommend trying poinsettia extract, since it is poisonous to cats, dogs, humans besides insects.

extract from cucumber skins, will repel but not kill ants. though there are plants, with a high cyanide content that will kill ants and pert near everything else. which i, do not recommend unless you are highly experienced.

and also diatomaceous earth, will kill many pests but won't harm pets and humans. can even be taken internally, to even kill parasites in the digestive tracts of humans and animals - takes a little while to work though.

Jerry Tremble (author)topkat292016-07-31

I sure don't want worms, ladybugs, and especially lacewings in my indoor garden!

"This is mainly intended for indoor use, but I see no reason why it wouldn't work outdoors as well"

topkat29 (author)Jerry Tremble2016-07-31

Well sorry too hear you have so many different pest inside your home. You may want to seal some of the entry points with caulking and make sure everyone closes the doors when coming in or out. But using this in such confined quarters, well maybe you have more square footage then most, would be bad. The smell would not be good for me, but of course I'm not you. The capsaicin from the peppers would burn my eyes and nasal passages. Again I'm not you. I adore my plants both inside and out so I won't be poisoning them or myself anytime soon. This just has too many unnecessary ingredients in it. I've been a Certified Master Gardener since Spring 2001. I capitalized the CMG because that's the way it is on my certification and on my CMG badge. I'm just saying.

TalulahBancroft (author)2016-07-31

Is this safe for ladybugs, honeybees, earthworms, etc?

skylane (author)TalulahBancroft2016-07-31

Just don't spray it on those critters, they will be fine.

It's the soap in the water that does it.

topkat29 (author)TalulahBancroft2016-07-31

Not according to the introduction to the instructable. I believe the poster must be a gardening novice. Worms are our friends!!

faniefaze. (author)2016-07-31

My brother's recipe - cold lime glue, sunlight liquid and water. The sunlight reduces the water's viscosity so that the pests get skin-wet. When the water evaporates the bugs are glued and die. It works on kochenill, red spider, lice and more.

Something that seems to keep fungus on leaves down is if you mix molasses syrup and water and spray the fungus, when the water evaporates it seems to suffocate the fungus.

None of these seems to do any damage to the plants or worms.

bsroon (author)2016-07-31

How does it do on cucumber beetles? Any idea? We usually use neem oil and ECOS dish soap (or 7th generation - one of the not petrochemical types like Dawn or Joy or that toxic garbage) Since neem is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral we use it for black rot on the roses, some fungus on the hollyhocks, aphids, and more.

It is always nice to change up on the buggers though - because using ANY poison GUARANTEES they eventually develop resistance to it. GMOs, commercial pesticides, weed killers, etc - doesn't matter - bugs and weeds WILL develop resistance - which is why we use over 4,000 X more poison than at WWII and we have a 400X greater bug/weed/pest problem than at that time....

pete.hohensee (author)2016-07-31


BRB3 (author)2016-04-14

Very interesting blog.

href="">Herbal Pest
Control Products</a>

caiken (author)2015-08-31

Is this safe for animals? While I know that the Capsaicin from the jalapeños typically keeps small animals like rabbits away, what about the onions? I know that they can be deadly to cats and dogs.

EllenC8 (author)2015-06-16

Sirve el jabón hecho en casa? con base de aceite vegetal o sebo animal?

ildegiron (author)EllenC82015-08-30

Sería cuestión de probar si a los mosquitos le resulta atractivo, pero difícil de digerir.

dhwolfer (author)2015-08-29

Keep in mind it is the soap that actually works as the insecticide. It takes a very minute quantity to plug the breathing holes along the bugs abdomen. That is why there are things like Murphies insecticidal soap that has been around for over 100 years. Everything else in this appears to be something that makes it uncomfortable for the bug to stick around.

cjb84 (author)2010-12-11

im not sure you should be calling this "organic". Last i checked there are some pretty nasty chemicals in dish soap that arent organic. Otherwise it sounds like a great idea. i will try it without the soap.

About This Instructable




Bio: Just your average handyman.
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