How to Get Rid of Bugs on House Plants


Houseplants can add color and life to any room and bring the beauty of nature indoors. The potted plants need special care and attention due to the enclosed environment in which they live, which may make them more susceptible to insect pests. Indoor gardeners can treat their houseplants with various methods of natural pest control to remove and kill bugs without using chemical-based insecticides.

Step 1

Kill bugs individually. This technique is ideal for small-scale infestations and the occasional bug that finds its way indoors. Brush the bugs into your palm and wash down a kitchen or bathroom drain. Alternatively, dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and dab it on the bugs to kill them instantly.

Step 2

Rinse or suck-off the bugs if you find manual removal too tedious. Place the potted plats outside and shoot them down with a strong jet of water. Bring them back inside promptly to prevent new bugs from landing on them. Alternatively, use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to suck away any insect problems.

Step 3

Mix your own insecticide soap. This method is best for larger bug infestations. Pour a quart of water into a plastic spray bottle and add two tablespoons of liquid dish soap. Close the bottle and shake it to mix the contents. Spray onto your plants. The soapy water suffocates bugs and kills them while coating your houseplants with a thin film that deters feature bug infestations.

Step 4

Setup a homemade trap to control recurring insect pests. Coat yellow and blue pieces of paper with petroleum jelly and place them near your houseplants. These colors attract aphids and thrips, respectively--two common types of houseplant pests.

Step 5

Place the houseplants outside and release a predatory bug, such as lacewings or ladybugs, among the plants. These predators are sold at many nurseries and feed on common plant pests, naturally eliminating the problem.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton swabs
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Water hose
  • Vacuum cleaner with hose attachment
  • Plastic spray bottle
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Yellow and blue paper
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Predatory bugs


  • "The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual;" Barbara Pleasant; 2005
  • Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides: Growing Houseplants Without Using Pesticides

Who Can Help

  • Care2: Tips on Making Homemade Insecticidal Sprays
Keywords: kill bugs, remove bugs, houseplants

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.