How to Organically Get Rid of Bugs in a Houseplant's Soil

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean potting containers

  • Sterile potting soil

  • Spray bottles

  • Water

  • Organic insecticidal soap

  • Sticky paper

  • Cider vinegar

  • Garlic

  • Isopropyl alcohol

  • Dishwashing soap

Image Credit: Hemera Technologies/ Images
See More Photos

Houseplants may eventually experience an insect infestation, especially if they are placed outdoors during the summer months. Preventing an infestation involves regular monitoring of the plants and immediately isolating any that show signs of bugs. Soil insects insects burrow beneath the surface to reproduce or damage the plant's root structure. Organic elimination of insects is an easy process that prevents exposing your home to dangerous chemicals.


Video of the Day

Step 1

Plant all houseplants in clean containers or pots using sterile potting soil. Never use garden soil for houseplants as it may transport outdoor bugs and start an infestation.

Step 2

Isolate plants that show signs of a bug infestation to prevent the spread to other plants. Destroy plants that are heavily infested and show signs of irreversible plant death.


Step 3

Drench the soil with insecticidal soap upon the appearance of soil insects. Aphids and mealybugs will burrow into the soil and become apparent at watering when they crawl to the surface. Large numbers of soil insects cause wilting in the plant.

Step 4

Trap and identify soil fungus gnats by placing a sticky-paper traps next to plant. Add a small container with cider vinegar near the plant to attract the gnats as they will dive into the vinegar and drown. Strain the vinegar periodically to determine when the problem has been controlled.


Step 5

Apply garlic juice to the soil of plants that are infested with mites or aphids. Make a solution from the juice of two garlic cloves, one teaspoon isopropyl alcohol and 3 quarts water. Spray the solution directly on the soil surface several times a day until the pests are controlled.


Provide the proper fertilizer, air and water conditions to keep plants healthy and prevent insect infestation. Monitor plants regularly to catch insect infestations early. Make a homemade version of insecticidal soap by mixing 1/2 teaspoon dishwashing soap per gallon of water. Always spray a test area on the plant first before using as this soap may be harsher than a purchased organic insecticidal soap.