Can You Spray Rubbing Alcohol on Plants?

Can You Spray Rubbing Alcohol on Plants

If you have ever mixed up your water spray bottle for your plants with your hand sanitizer spray bottle of isopropyl alcohol — don’t worry, you aren’t alone! This houseplant care faux pas is increasingly common as we have become more aware of germs. Plus, there might be some good news if you make this mistake.


So, does rubbing alcohol kill plants? How do you use rubbing alcohol on plants so it won’t damage them? How do you know what plants can handle rubbing alcohol?


Keep reading to learn how and when to safely and effectively use rubbing alcohol on your indoor plants to fight off bugs.


Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Plants?

The main thing to be careful about when using rubbing alcohol on plants is burning them. For example, if you spray your plant with rubbing alcohol and don’t clean that off, the sunlight can cause burns to the plant leaves. The burns to the plant leaves can then cause stress to the plant, which can then in turn kill it.


So, when it comes to “can I spray rubbing alcohol on plants”, you can, you just need to wipe them down to limit burns.


How to Use Rubbing Alcohol on Plants

how to use rubbing alcohol on plants

If you are eliminating a mealybug infestation, it is best not to spray the alcohol on the leaves. Instead, use a cotton swab soaked in alcohol and use the tip to dab it directly onto any mealybugs or larvae that you can see. The eggs will look like white, cottony balls or webbing.


If you prefer to spray your entire plant, you can make a rubbing alcohol solution by combining 1-part isopropyl alcohol with seven parts water. You can add one tablespoon of insecticidal soap into your rubbing alcohol solution for an added insecticidal effect.


Rubbing alcohol can also be used to slow plant growth if you need to control the size of your indoor plant. Spray your plant with a 5% isopropyl alcohol solution if you want to slow new growth.


Does Rubbing Alcohol Kill Plant Bugs?

does rubbing alcohol kill plant bugs

Outdoors bug infestations on plants are often kept under control by natural predators like birds, lizards, bats, spiders, and other animals that eat them. However, there are no natural predators inside our homes to protect our indoor plants from bug infestations. If left untreated, bugs can cover an entire plant indoors. To fight off an infestation, you may have to treat your houseplants with an insecticide like rubbing alcohol.


Alcohol spray can be used as a human-safe and pet-safe insecticide on indoor plants. Alcohol is often recommended to eliminate mealybugs because they can survive against other insecticidal treatments like insecticidal soaps. Rubbing alcohol can also be used as an insecticide on pests like scales, spider mites, aphids, fungus gnats, slugs, snails, and whiteflies.


Can Too Much Rubbing Alcohol Hurt the Plant?

can too much rubbing alcohol hurt the plant

Yes, too much rubbing alcohol can hurt or kill a plant. It is best to apply rubbing alcohol as a spot treatment using a cotton swab or dilute the alcohol with water before applying it to the plant.


How to Know if Your Plant Can Handle Alcohol?

how to know if your plant can handle alcohol

Different plant species are more sensitive to alcohol than others, so it is best to be cautious when applying any alcohol. Plants with hearty, waxy leaves like peace lilies, succulents, and monsteras tend to be more resilient.


If you aren’t sure if you have a sensitive plant, you can spot test by spraying one leaf first. Wait at least a day to see how the leaf responds to the alcohol treatment. If the leaf looks healthy, you can confidently spray on the entire plant. If the leaf becomes burnt, discolored, or otherwise unhealthy, try another gentle insecticide like insecticidal soap, dish soap, or neem oil.


Keep in mind that too much alcohol can make it difficult for plants to absorb water. If too much alcohol gets onto the plant or into the soil, your plant may begin to shrivel, experience stress, and eventually die. Therefore, you should always use a spray bottle to apply alcohol and should never directly water the plant with it.


How Often Can I Use Rubbing Alcohol on Plants?

How Often Can I Use Rubbing Alcohol on Plants

If you have an active pest infestation, you can apply rubbing alcohol once per week for up to four weeks until the infestation goes away. Using alcohol more often or for extended periods may cause too much stress to your plant. You might consider trying other insecticide methods if you still have an infestation after this time.


Rubbing alcohol should only treat pest infestations and should not become a regular part of your houseplant care routine.


What Happens if I Put too Much Rubbing Alcohol on the Plant?

Too much rubbing alcohol can cause the plant’s leaves to burn. It can also poison the soil and make it difficult for the plant to absorb water.


If you accidentally put too much rubbing alcohol on a plant, thoroughly wash the leaves right away and gently dry them off with a paper towel or soft cloth. If too much alcohol gets into the soil, you may need to repot the plant entirely.


Conclusion: Can You Spray Rubbing Alcohol on Plants?

In summary, you can spray rubbing alcohol on houseplants to help eliminate pests. However, you should always be careful not to use too much rubbing alcohol on your houseplants and always spot test your plants before use.


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