Aphids are the most common garden pests. Fortunately, they are fairly easy to combat with a number of home remedies. We clarify here whether you can also get rid of aphids with washing-up liquid.

Detect aphid infestation

Usually an aphid infestation is easy to spot.

characteristics of animals

  • white, brown, black or green
  • a few millimeters in size
  • some species specialize on certain plants
  • sometimes winged specimens
  • form dense colonies on shoots or leaves
  • excrete sticky honeydew

symptoms on plant

  • stunted shoots or buds
  • curled leaves
  • lack of growth
  • Leaf spots caused by fungi that colonize honeydew

Other animals often settle on aphid colonies. In addition to ants, there are also various beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and their larvae or lacewings. They all eat aphids. If beneficial insects are sitting on the plant to be treated, it is better to wait before using the detergent. It cannot be ruled out that the beneficial insects will also be damaged.

This is how dish soap works against aphids

Dish soap works against aphids in several ways. The lye kills the pests and also loosens the sticky residue, the honeydew, from the leaves. Although this is not dangerous in principle, it can promote fungal diseases. It also attracts the ants, which then care for the lice and protect them from beneficial insects.

Ants defend aphids against their predators in order to secure the honeydew for themselves.

Prepare a detergent-water mixture

Getting the right ratio of dish soap to water is very important when fighting aphids. The solution will not work if there is not enough rinsing liquid. The lice remain unimpressed. If the lye is too concentrated, the plant will be affected. This is especially true when the solution gets to the roots.

Note: A lye solution should not be used on very sensitive plants or only if it is impossible for the solution to get into the soil.

Required material

  • commercial detergent, preferably without additives
  • spray bottle
  • water
  • possibly a liter measure or a tablespoon

Mixing instructions

  1. Fill the spray bottle with one liter of water. The washing-up liquid dissolves more easily with warm water.
  2. Add a tablespoon or 10 milliliters of dish soap.
  3. Shake spray bottle well.
  4. Wait for the foam to settle.


  1. Separate plants affected by aphids. If the infestation is severe, cover the soil with foil so that not so much of the solution can get to the roots. This not only applies to sensitive plants, but also to those that only tolerate little moisture.
  2. Thoroughly spray the plant from all sides with the soap solution, paying particular attention to the aphid colonies on the underside of the leaves and the shoots.
  3. It may take some time for the effect to kick in. Therefore observe the plant for a few days. However, if you are impatient, do not use the dishwashing solution too often!
  4. Once the aphids are gone, the leaves can be wiped with the dish soap solution to get rid of the rest of the honeydew as well.
  5. Then shower the plant with clear water to neutralize the lye.
Note: If necessary, the application can be repeated. However, always ensure that the plants have enough breaks to recover.

frequently asked Questions

Yes, both cheap private labels and expensive branded products are suitable for this. It should only contain as few additional substances as possible. It is usually sufficient to use the agent that is already in the household anyway.

Since these are usually in tab form, they are unsuitable. They also contain a lot of additives. Detergents, whether powder or liquid detergents, are also not suitable.

Pure water is sometimes effective. This makes it easy to rinse off the aphids, while protecting the beneficial insects. Curd soap also works and can be used in a similar way to dish soap. Various plant broths, teas or manure are also effective.

It depends on the severity of the infestation and the affected plant. Some plants tolerate an aphid infestation more easily than others. Basically, especially in the garden, the pests disappear by themselves over time because they are decimated by beneficial insects. Fighting makes more sense indoors, as beneficial insects appear far too seldom there.

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