The 3 Best DIY Garden Pest Sprays

With these safe, effective and organic DIY formulas, you can keep pests our of your garden without using toxic chemicals.

Photo Credit: PEPPERSMINT/Shutterstock

Do you want to keep your garden free of pests, but don't want to use toxic chemicals that could harm your health and the environment?

Think garlic, onions, strong-smelling roots and spices for repelling garden pests instead of store-bought pesticides made in laboratories by chemical companies. Nature provides all the safe, organic ingredients to make your own formulas of non-toxic garden pest sprays that you could need.

Keep in mind that a few bugs won’t hurt most plants. In fact, there are a host of insects — ladybugs, lacewings, aphid midges, braconid wasps, damsel bugs and tachinid flies, to name a few — that are beneficial for your garden by eating unwanted pests.

Sometimes simple solutions for less toxic living are there if you just learn the simple know-how and use your common sense. Hosing bugs off a plant with water is often all that is needed.

Here are the three best DIY nontoxic garden pest sprays. These ingredients have been used as repellents successfully for years.

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Garlic Spray

The smell of garlic is very repellent for garden pests.


1 head garlic
2 cups boiling water

Peel and mash the garlic. Place it in a pint mason jar and cover with boiling water. Screw on the lid and let set overnight. Strain. Place 1cup in a spray bottle with 1 additional cup of water. Spray on infested areas. Freeze the rest for another time.

Makes 4 cups spray

Soap Spray

Soap is used here as an insecticide. It kills pests by dehydrating them.


1 to 2 tablespoons liquid soap (real soap, not detergent)
1 gallon water

Be sure not to use more than 2 tablespoons soap; too much can kill the leaves. Combine the ingredients in a pail. Transfer 2 cups to a spray bottle. Spray infested areas.

Makes 1 gallon

Peppermint Soapy Spray Variation: Use liquid Castile soap with peppermint. Peppermint is a pest repellent in its own right.

Neem Oil

Neem oil, a gum extracted from an evergreen tree, is an excellent all-purpose pesticide.


2 teaspoons essential oil of neem
2 cups water

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray on infested areas.

Makes 2 cups


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Annie B. Bond is the author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999). She is the co-author of True Food: Eight Simple Steps to a Healthier You, winner of the Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World.