Soapy water helps you get rid of grubs of all kinds. While earthworms are a must for your garden soil, there are some instances where they are not desired. Since they come above the ground when it becomes saturated with water, does adding soap help to get rid of them?

In this article, we will discuss to what extent dish soap is harmful to earthworms and different ways to keep your lawn and garden free of unwanted grub infestations. Let’s get started!

Does Dish Soap Kill Earthworms?

Yes, dish soap kills earthworms by disrupting their cell membrane. Earthworms have soft bodies, and upon direct contact with dish soap, their intracellular membrane ruptures, leading to sudden death.

Other theories suggest that dish soap bonds to the oils or protective waxes, removing them from earthworm bodies. Moreover, it may form a film over the breathing pores of the body, leaving the earthworm suffocated.

Earthworms are important for your soil as they increase the number of good bacteria while reducing the number of harmful bacteria that could be dangerous to your plants.

Spraying dish soap is known to be effective against many different species of insects. However, you must make sure that this method does not harm non-invasive or healthy earthworms.

Since dish soap contains Borax as a key ingredient, this compound has the potential to kill pests, and earthworms and even harm plants. So to prevent this unwanted damage, you can minimize the frequency of spraying dish soap on your lawn.

dead earthworms in the garden

How To Use Dish Soap Water On The Lawn?

Picking quality dish soap is paramount to getting rid of pests. Do proper research before purchasing a dish soap because the market is filled with many products by the name of soaps, which are not actually soaps. Dawn is our go-to as it is cheap and widely available.

You can purchase a ready-made spray or prepare a homemade one by yourself by adding a couple of teaspoons of mild dish soap to water.

Here are some tips and tricks to spray plants without hurting earthworms.

Overspraying or saturating the soil with dish soap will do more harm than good. Likewise, some plants should not be sprayed with dish soap to ensure healthy growth. These plants are: 

  • Crowns of Thorns
  • Delicate Ferns
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Waxy Succulents
  • Lilies
  • Fuchsia
  • Sweetpeas
  • Plants with hairy leaves

You will need to find an alternative remedy to eliminate pests for these plants.

Dish soap does not work effectively with alkaline water. So, if you have a hard water supply in your area, it is recommended to use one or two teaspoons of neem oil to bring the pH down.

Not only does the neem oil kill aphids, but the bitter smell keeps the pests from eating the leaves.

Add dish soap and neem oil to the water and pour this solution into a spray bottle. Start by spraying a few leaves of each plant to see if it causes any harm to the plant. This solution should not hurt your plants; spray each plant thoroughly once satisfied.

If any soft-bodied pest, like earthworms, comes in contact with this spray, it will die.

Keep in mind to never spray dish soap on flower and vegetable plants. Also, a little goes a long way, so it should be used sparingly. Once the spray is dried completely, there will be no harmful remains.

Earth worm in the lawn

Bottom Line On Using Dish Soap In Your Yard

Your lawn needs all the extra care to keep its beauty intact. People who are worried about their lawn and want to protect it from harm must take some action.

Most of the damage to the plants is done by pests and grubs. While these pests must be removed, you wouldn’t want to lose the useful earthworms that keep the soil nutrient rich.

Dish soap is an excellent remedy that works against pests but is gentle to the plants. However, if you want to keep your worms alive, you should be careful where and how you are using it. Good luck!