Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Get Rid of Bugs on House Plants

By Joshua Duvauchelle ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Will 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


  • Prevent bug infestations by inspecting new plants carefully, as this is a common method of accidentally introducing insect pests onto your existing houseplants.

About the Author


Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.