Updated: January 22, 2023

Earwigs are a common garden pest that can damage plants and vegetables. They are nocturnal insects that are attracted to moist and dark environments. There are several methods to repel earwigs, including natural remedies and chemical pesticides. In recent years, dish soap has gained popularity as an effective and affordable solution for repelling earwigs. In this article, we will explore whether dish soap truly repels earwigs, and how it works.

What is Dish Soap?

Dish soap, also known as dishwashing liquid, is a cleaning agent used for washing dishes. It contains a mixture of surfactants, which are compounds that lower the surface tension between liquids and solids. This makes it easier to remove dirt and grease from dishes. Dish soap is also commonly used for cleaning other household items such as floors, walls, and appliances.

The Science behind Dish Soap Repelling Earwigs

Dish soap is an effective insecticide due to its surfactant properties. When mixed with water, it creates a soapy solution that can penetrate the exoskeleton of insects. The soap molecules break down the protective waxy layer on the insect’s body, causing it to dehydrate and die.

Several scientific studies have shown that dish soap can be an effective solution for repelling earwigs. A study published in the Journal of Economic Entomology found that a solution of water and dish soap was highly effective at killing earwigs in laboratory experiments. Another study conducted by the University of Kentucky Extension Service found that spraying a mixture of dish soap and water around the perimeter of a garden can help repel earwigs.

How to Use Dish Soap to Repel Earwigs

To use dish soap as an earwig repellent, you will need to create a soapy solution. Here’s how:

  • Fill a spray bottle with water
  • Add a few drops of dish soap
  • Shake the bottle well to mix the solution

Next, spray the solution around the areas where you’ve seen earwigs or where they may be hiding, such as under pots or in damp soil. You can also spray it directly on the earwigs if you see them.

It’s important to note that while dish soap is effective at repelling and killing earwigs, it can also harm beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies. Therefore, it’s important to use this method sparingly and only when necessary.

Other Natural Methods to Repel Earwigs

If you prefer to use natural remedies to repel earwigs, there are several options available:

  • Diatomaceous earth: This is a powder made from fossilized diatoms that can be sprinkled around the perimeter of your garden. The sharp edges of the powder cut into the exoskeletons of insects, causing them to dehydrate and die.
  • Cedar oil: This natural oil has insect-repelling properties and can be sprayed around your garden or applied to plant leaves.
  • Beer traps: Earwigs are attracted to beer, so placing shallow dishes filled with beer around your plants can help trap them.


In conclusion, dish soap can be an effective and affordable solution for repelling earwigs. Its surfactant properties make it an excellent insecticide that can penetrate the exoskeletons of insects and cause them to dehydrate and die. However, it’s important to use this method sparingly and only when necessary, as it can harm beneficial insects. Other natural remedies such as diatomaceous earth and cedar oil are also effective options for repelling earwigs.