White oil is an all natural pest-fighting concoction and popular insecticide spray in Australia.
It is a simple recipe used to control a wide range of insect pests made up of:
- One part dishwashing soap
- Two parts vegetable cooking oil or white mineral oil
Organic gardeners have used horticultural oils and for pest control for decades so white oil is nothing new.
Many claim the oil sprays (horticultural) are very effective when used against chewing and sucking insects such as citrus leaf miners, mealybugs, scale insects and the control of aphids.
In this article, we share a simple recipe for making your own white oil insecticide at home, along with an even simpler alternative.
We also provide instructions on how to use the white oil effectively. Read on to learn more.
How Do You Make White Oil?
What You Need:
Making the white oil pesticide couldn’t be easier or more economical.
It is a simple combination of vegetable cooking oil and dishwashing detergent.
While some recipes call for specific types of oil such as sunflower seed oil, the fact is you can use any (non-mineral oil type) vegetable oil.
Canola oil is the least expensive white oil and the most widely available, and it works just fine.
Many people who use soap to make insecticidal sprays highly recommend Dawn dishwashing liquid.
However, any dishwashing liquid will do.
What You Do
To make your own white oil concentrate, combine dishwashing detergent and cooking oil (non-mineral oil type) at a dilution rate of 1 to 2.
Adjust the amounts to suit your needs.
- To combine the ingredients, choose a jar or a bottle with a tightly fitting lid.
- Be sure to put a label on it identifying it as a pesticide.
- You don’t want someone to accidentally use the dishwashing liquid and oil combo as a dinner ingredient!
- Place the ingredients in the container, secure the lid and shake vigorously.
- Before you know it, the oil and dishwashing soap will have combined to become a white, creamy mixture.
This is concentrated white oil insecticide.
Remember white oil is a highly concentrated soap spray mixture, so 3 cups will last a very long time.
To use the concentrate, you must dilute the mixture and combine a tablespoon of white oil with 2 quarts of water.
Apply this mixture as a spray using either a small, hand pump spray bottle or a garden sprayer.
How Do You Use White Oil?
When you apply the spray, be sure to saturate every surface of the plant.
Make sure to spray the undersides of leaves, the tops of leaves, the stems, the trunk and any cracks and crevices where stems split off from the central plant.
Take care when applying this mixture.
DO NOT apply white oil sprays during very cold or warm days (below 40° or above 85° degrees Fahrenheit).
Avoid applying white oil on very sunny days. Application during these times can cause burn marks on plants.
Also, do not apply the spray when it’s windy as this will cause an overspray problem and waste the product.
Like all organic pest control solutions, you’ll need to use this spray a little more often than a chemical poison.
Apply it every day until you have eradicated pests from your plants. Reapply as needed and after heavy rains.
How Does A White Oil Pesticide Work?
It’s really very simple. The spray blocks the breathing pores of insects and the dish soap eats their exoskeleton away.
If you don’t want to use dishwashing soap, you can create an even simpler solution.
Mixing plain canola white oil with water will smother pests.
It may take a little bit longer for this simpler solution to work, but it is very effective as demonstrated in this video.
Homemade Pesticidal oil works on aphids, spider mites, stink bugs, whiteflies and powdery mildew & more
What Oils Can Be Used for Pest Control?
Any oil will work to smother pests like mealybug, citrus leaf miner, scale and aphids.
If you are dedicated to organic gardening, you’ll want to use higher quality, organically produced oils.
If you just want a natural pest control solution, use the least expensive vegetable cooking oil on your grocery shelves.
As a resource, here are two documents produced by the EPA and by Texas A&M explaining the use of all sorts of oils as pesticides.
NOTE: Before applying and spraying your plants with ANY TYPE of spray ALWAYS test the spray in a small area on the plant.