Sparkle & Smile

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Green Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Eco-Friendly Ways to Get Rid of Garden Pests

Pests are a problem in many gardens and can ruin flower bed and vegetables. When dealing with pests, choose methods that are safe for both plants and humans. Avoid using harsh chemicals as much as possible.

Here are some eco-friendly tips to help get rid of pesky garden pests.  

To eliminate insects around the garden, take an empty 2 liter soda bottle with 1 cup apple cider vinegar and 1 cup sugar. Slice up a banana peel into small pieces, put into the bottle, add 1 cup cold water, shake. Tie a piece of string on a low tree branch or place it on the ground to kill pests.

Get rid of mealy bugs, one of the most insidious and common pests, by soaking q-tips in white vinegar. Nip them in the bud by dabbing insects with full strength white vinegar.

Keeping hungry insects away from vegetables by shredding aluminum foil into strips and mixing them in the garden mulch.  The foil will reflect light back up onto your plants. Try mixing old tinsel from your Christmas tree into your mulch.  It will serve the same purpose as shredding aluminum foil.

Planting companion plants in your garden will deter insect pests. Aromatic plants such as basil, tansy, marigolds and sage will send a signal to bugs to go elsewhere. Try planting some near your prized vegetables. Mint, dill, thyme and sage are great near cabbage family plants. Best of all the savory herbs are edible.

To foil those cutworms that destroy your seedlings stick a toothpick in the soil about ¼ inch from each stem. Cutworms kill seedlings by encircling the stem and severing it.

Make collars for the vegetables by using empty milk cartons to discourage grubs and cutworms from attacking your young tomato and pepper plants. Cut off top and bottom of container and when ground is soft, push them into the ground around the plants.

Get slugs and snails out of your garden. Take a container of salt and douse the offenders. They won’t last long. Since they are mostly water, salt acts like a drying agent.

Plagued by earwigs? Roll up a wet newspaper and put a rubber band around it to keep it from unraveling. Place it in the area where you have seen the insects and leave it overnight. In the morning it will be full of bugs. Carefully place the newspaper in a plastic grocery bag, tie in a knot and put in the trash. Repeat until they are all gone.

Do you have moles or gophers popping up in or near your garden? Try putting dirty used cat litter down the hole. They will leave to find a home somewhere else.

Deter deer from your garden by spraying your bushes with cayenne pepper and water mix.

If there are neighborhood cats that think you garden is their private cat box, foil them by putting orange peels and coffee grounds around your plants. Also acts as a great fertilizer.

Keep four-legged pests out of your garden by soaking several rags in white vinegar and place on stakes around your vegetables. Re-soak the rags every 7-10 days.

Repel birds, rabbits and squirrels with help from the shiny metallic balloons that we all receive on birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Simply cut them into vertical strips and hang them from poles around your vegetables and on fruit trees.

Repel flies by filling a zip-lock bag half-way with water and attach over entry-ways.

Here are some eco-friendly pesticide recipes:

  1. Fill one with undiluted white vinegar to kill weeds and grass poking out of the cracks in your concrete.  Vinegar can also help kill ants.  DO NOT spray vinegar directly on the plants, the high acidity could kill them.
  2. Try chopping up hot peppers and combine them with 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper and ½ gallon of water. Boil the mix for about 15 minutes and let cool. Strain through cheesecloth and add 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid. Put into a spray bottle and spray the plants every 5 days or so.
  3. For an effective insecticide that works on soft bodied pests, but won’t harm your plants: Mix several cloves of crushed garlic, ¼ cup canola oil, 3 tablespoons hot pepper sauce and ½ teaspoon liquid soap in 1 gallon of water, mix well. Put into spray bottle, shake well before using.
  4. Make a natural pesticide by using your blender. Puree 4 onions, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper and one quart of water. Set aside and dilute 2 tablespoons soap flakes in 2 gallons of water. Add contents from your blender; shake or stir well.
  5. Get bugs off your plants. Just when the plants are coming up, mix black pepper with flour and sprinkle it around the plants. Bugs will be gone!!

Maid Brigade House Cleaning Services cares about you and your family.  For more information on healthy green cleaning and green living, please log on to and  For more information on “Household Cleaning Products and Breast Cancer”, please watch our video at

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