How to Mix Rubbing Alcohol and Dish Soap Together to Kill Mealybugs

It may take weeks to get rid of mealybugs; be persistent.
It may take weeks to get rid of mealybugs; be persistent. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Mealybugs can kill your houseplants. They attach to the plant using pipe-like mouths, and they suck out the juices from the plant. You’ll know you have mealybugs if your plant has a sticky cotton-like substance on the foliage or on the stem. This substance is called honeydew, and mealybugs use it to protect their eggs. Despite the damage they can do, there are some household items that can be used to kill mealybugs. All you’ll need is rubbing alcohol and dish soap.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton balls
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Dish detergent

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Examine all of your plants. The plants infested with mealybugs will be easy to spot because they will be covered with honeydew.

Remove all dry, dead leaves to eliminate any hiding places for the mealybugs. Cleaning the plant will be easier if you have access to the entire stem.

Soak a cotton ball or cotton swab in a mixture of rubbing alcohol and a few drops of detergent.

Apply the mixture to the entire plant, rubbing it on the leaves and the stems. Focus on dislodging all the sticky honeydew. The mixture will dissolve the wax that the mealybugs use for protection.

Apply the mixture weekly until your plants are mealybug-free.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the soil and roots are infested with mealybugs, throw the plant away.
  • After you treat the plant, you should isolate it from other plants to ensure that all mealybugs have been eliminated.


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