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Homemade White Oil Recipe for Plant Pest Control

Even the most tenured gardeners sometimes find aphids on their rose bushes, scale on their citrus, and pests on their perennials. But luckily, it’s easy to get rid of these little sap-suckers with the help of a few household ingredients. Keep reading to learn more about white oil, its uses, and how to easily make your own at home.

How Does White Oil Work?

White oil is used by horticulturalists to combat a range of sucking and chewing plant pests, including aphids, mites, scale, mealy bugs, and some caterpillars. White oil works by blocking the pest’s ‘spiracles’, which are essentially the openings these pests use to breathe. So, when their spiracles are blocked by oil, the pests quickly suffocate, and cease munching on your beloved plants. Oily substances also wreak havoc on the eggs of some pests, so pest oils (like white oil) generally offer two-for-one protection.

White Oil Recipe

Cool, so now that you know how white oil works, it’s time to get started.

What you’ll need:

  • A bottle of cheap cooking oil (vegetable or sunflower oil works well).
  • A bottle of cheap dishwashing liquid (any kind that’s not concentrated).


Grab an old glass jar or an empty bottle—make sure it’s clean. Add two cups of cooking oil and follow with around ¾ cup of dishwashing liquid. Shake vigorously. With any luck, the mixture should turn white—surprise, that’s why it’s called white oil!

How to Apply White Oil

Now, what you’ve just made is white oil concentrate. Do not—I repeat, do not apply this solution directly to your plants unless you want to damage the foliage. To start using your white oil, dilute it with water at a rate of one tablespoon of concentrate to every one litre of water.

To apply your white oil, pour the diluted mixture into either a spray bottle or a large plastic bucket. If you’re using a spray bottle, simply spray both sides of every leaf, and the stems of your plants, and the oil will work its magic. If you’ve opted for the bucket method, grab a disposable cloth and dip it in the mixture. Wipe every inch of your plant until an even coating has been achieved. The wiping method works well for tackling heavy infestations, as a wiping motion will physically remove the pests, while suffocating the ones left behind.

Reapply as necessary—likely every week or two. And in no time at all, your plants will be pest-free. How easy is that?

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