Soap is a household cleaning material sometimes used as a remedy for insects. Harmful pests can infest plants, sometimes killing them. While soap is usually readily available, there are consequences to using soap on insects, such as the potential harm to plants.
Soap flush can be used to reveal that insects are on the lawn. The soap flush is placed on the lawn and seeps into the soil. The small insects emerge from beneath the ground in an effort to escape the soap. Soap flush is made out of 4 tbsp. of dish detergent and water. When a large number of insects are found in the lawn, the lawn will likely need insecticide to remove them. Sometimes a cloth can be placed over the soapy area, which the insects will cling to. The cloth can then be lifted off, removing the insects.
Soapy water and detergents can kill insects as effectively as insecticides, according to Texas A&M University. However, the soapy water can be harmful to plants and can lead to toxicity. Frequent applications of soapy water can cause damage to the plant foliage.
Using some household cleaners to kill insects on the lawn can be illegal, according to Texas A&M University. Also, some kinds of soap products are not effective against insects.
Commercial Insecticide Soaps
Many stores carry insecticidal soaps that are safe to use on the lawn. These products are biodegradable and are usually designed to kill specific types of insects.
When soaps are used on pests such as leafminers, they should only be used once a week to avoid drying out leaves and damaging the plant.
Insecticidal soap recipes usually ask the customer to mix 3 tbsp. of soap powder with 1 gallon of warm water. Placing too much soap detergent in the water can harm plants. Using too little soap will be ineffective.