Whether your garden is big or small, you are bound to encounter problems with garden pests from time to time.
These days, we are more aware than ever of the dangers of using powerful chemicals in the home and garden.
Luckily, many natural alternatives are safe and effective for repelling and eliminating insect pests and more.
In this article, we answer ten of the most frequently asked questions about using baking soda (Sodium bicarbonate) to deal with garden pests.
Read on to learn more.
Can You Use Baking Soda To Repel Pests?
Yes, a sprinkling of baking soda over your garden soil will repel slugs, snails, roaches, and ants.
Just put the baking soda in a flour sifter and sift it lightly over the soil.
Avoid getting the dry powder on the plants’ leaves.
Learn more in our article: 30 Ways To Use Natural Baking Soda In The Garden
Does Baking Soda Hurt Plants?
Pure baking soda can burn them, but when mixed correctly with other ingredients, baking soda is beneficial to plants.
It kills pests and can help resolve fungal infections.
Use the plant spray recipe below to make a beneficial foliar treatment for your garden plants.
Can Baking Soda Be Used On Plants?
Yes, a spray safe for plants is possible.
Here’s what you need:
- 2 tbsp oil soap
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 3 tbsp baking soda
- 2 gallons of water
- 2 tbsp vinegar
Note if you cannot use this much at once, half or quarter the recipe.
It’s best not to store this mixture.
Here’s what you do:
Combine the first three ingredients and then stir the mixture into the two gallons of water.
When everything is thoroughly combined, add the two tablespoons of vinegar.
Be sure to do this last because the chemical reaction between straight baking soda and vinegar is quite dramatic and not what you’re after.
Put the mixture into a spray bottle or handheld sprayer.
Immediately use the mixture to mist plant leaves (tops and bottoms) as well as stems.
This mixture kills sap-sucking insects and some other small, soft-bodied bugs on contact, but it does not have a residual effect.
It’s best to apply this spray on a dry, overcast day to avoid leaf burn.
Don’t apply it when rain is predicted, as it will just be washed off.
Use it late in the afternoon because this will help prevent having it come in contact with beneficial pollinators, such as bees and butterflies.
How Does Baking Soda Affect Garden Soil?
Baking soda is an alkaline product and can lower acidity in the soil somewhat.
Lime is actually a better product to use for this purpose in a large setting (e.g., a lawn or entire garden), but baking soda is used to adjust acidity in container plants and houseplants.
Just sprinkle a pinch over the surface of the soil and water it in.
Incorporate baking soda into the soil around your tomato plants to sweeten your tomatoes.
This is also a beneficial treatment for alkaline loving plants such as hydrangeas and begonias.
How Do You Kill Cockroaches Using Baking Soda?
Mix up a 50-50 mixture of baking soda and plain white sugar.
Mix this up in bulk as it stores well in a jar or other container with a tightly fitting lid.
Pour the mixture into small, shallow dishes.
Jar lids work well.
Place the dishes in areas where cockroaches are known to congregate and travel.
Be sure to place them in such a way as to be inaccessible to kids and pets.
The roaches will be attracted to the sugar and will eat the mixture.
The baking soda will kill them.
Check your traps and refresh them as needed.
Can You Kill Centipedes With Baking Soda?
Baking soda is not especially effective against centipedes, but sprinkling it on the earth and using your baking soda plant spray may have some negative impact on them.
The best way to get rid of them is to deny them hiding places.
Be sure all leaves, brush, and other debris are cleaned up around your yard.
Dust the soil with diatomaceous earth, and plant strong-smelling herbs to help repel centipedes.
Can You Kill Cabbage Worms With Baking Soda?
Yes, it’s possible to make a dust for your cabbage and other cruciferous veggies (broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, etc.) using plain, white flour and baking soda.
Just mix it up 50-50 and put it in a shaker applicator (e.g., an old Parmesan cheese canister).
Mix this up in bulk as it stores well in a sealed container.
Dust it over your cruciferous veggies in advance to kill off cabbage worms when they hatch.
Dust it onto plants infested with cabbage worms.
The worms will eat the mixture as they eat your plants, and they will die.
This is not instant, though. It takes a few days.
It’s best to examine your plants thoroughly and remove any cabbage worms you see by hand before applying the dust.
Drop the worms in a bucket of soapy water, then dust your plants to deal with any pests you may have missed.
Can You Kill Snails And Slugs With Baking Soda?
Yes, baking soda sprinkled on the soil repels slugs and snails.
Baking soda sprinkled directly on the pests will kill them on contact.
More on Slug Repellent and Control
How Do You Use Baking Soda To Prevent Fungal Infections On Plants?
Make a very simple foliar spray to use on your plants regularly to help prevent the development of fungal infections.
Just combine these ingredients in a spray bottle:
- 5-6 drops of dish soap
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 quart of water
Shake it up and spray this mixture liberally on your plants on a dry, overcast day.
If you don’t use it all up at once, it can keep for a week or so.
You’ll want to apply it weekly.
Also, remember to trim away any dead or damaged leaves and stems; keep the area around your plants well ventilated and don’t overcrowd or overwater your plants.
All of these factors contribute to good control of fungal infections.
Is Baking Soda Toxic To Pets, Kids or Adults?
Baking soda is a folk remedy for many different ailments, and it is not toxic when ingested or applied topically in a responsible, knowledgeable manner.
Even so, kids and pets should not be allowed free access to it.
Too much can cause problems.
If your child or pet ingests a large amount of baking soda, contact your doctor, vet, or poison control.
If you, your child, or your pet get baking soda in the eyes, flush with clean, lukewarm water for 15 minutes.