Does Alcohol Kill Thrips?

Thrips are pests that you may find hiding on your plants, and an infestation can pose quite a few problems. To ensure that your plants do not get affected by thrips, you need to take measures against them. Alcohol is often touted as a cure for pests but does alcohol kill thrips?

Yes, alcohol can be an effective solution against a thrip infestation. Alcohol does kill thrips, generally.

With so many ways to kill insects, it can become confusing as a gardener to pick just one. Many people recommend using alcohol to kill insects, such as thrips. However, while alcohol may work well against adult insects and larvae, it may not be effective for thrip eggs.

But, by using alcohol, you can still tackle most of the adult thrip population in your garden. This way, you can ensure that no more eggs are being laid in gardens and the infestation is relatively in control. 

Does Alcohol Harm Plants?

Alcohol can stunt the growth of plants and can even kill them, depending on the strength of the alcohol. A full study was completed outlining what percentage of alcohol will stunt growth and kill plants here.

Does Alcohol Harm Other Wildlife?

Unfortunately, alcohol will not target only pests and could lead to the death of beneficial bugs too. This is why you need to use it sparingly and only target thrips directly with it.

Can You Spray Rubbing Alcohol on Plants?

Many people may be unaware, but rubbing alcohol can pass off as a great pesticide for your plants. In addition to thrips, rubbing alcohol can also help against other insects like mealybugs and aphids. 

While people may rave about using rubbing alcohol on plants, it is important to remember that some plants are more sensitive than others and may have a reaction from the use of alcohol.

You must never use rubbing alcohol in its pure state. You should dilute it in water. To still be safe, we would always recommend doing a patch test on a small part of the plant before using it on the whole plant. Just spray a little on one leaf, wait 24 to 48 hours to see if it shrivels or curls.

Does Soap and Alcohol Kill Thrips?

We have already talked about the benefits alcohol entails when dealing with insects. There is another form of pesticide you can use on your plants: Soap.

Dish soap has been known to work excellently as a pesticide to fight off insects like thrips. Since both soap and alcohol are great contenders for pesticides, you can use them together to make a strong solution.

The only thing you require to make a homemade pesticide is your regular dish soap and some rubbing alcohol. 

You can dilute the alcohol in water and add a few drops of dish soap to the solution to make it more effective. Next, put the solution in a spray bottle, and spray the affected plants to kill the thrips.

How to Use Alcohol to Kill Thrips

Alcohol is an active way to counter thrips and other pests in your garden. As with all treatments, it will be helpful to understand the different ways you can utilise alcohol in your garden.

Below are the steps you need to take to ensure that your garden is free from thrips and harmful pests:

Create the Solution

The first thing you will do is create the solution with nine parts water and one part rubbing alcohol. It is important to dilute the solution rather than use alcohol directly on plants. After mixing and creating the solution, you can place it in a spray bottle. 

Spray Plants 

Before moving on to the actual spraying, it is important to do a patch test. You can spray a part of the infected plant, not the whole thing, with the alcohol solution.

Next, you must wait a day or two to see if the plant is experiencing any signs of burn from the alcohol. If you spot any signs, you must refrain from spraying the entire plant. Some plants are more sensitive than others, and you should be careful about spraying them directly. 

It’s a good idea to do a patch test on each type of plant you plan on spraying with your homemade pesticide.

Spray Thrips

By spraying the affected plant, you will ensure that any insect that lands on it will contact the rubbing alcohol solution and die. If you spot any thrips, you can spray them directly too. 

Cotton Swab

This method can be helpful if you are dealing with a few thrips in your garden. Instead of spraying the thrips, you can use a cotton swab. You can simply dip the swab in rubbing alcohol directly and then swab every thrip you spot. 

The swab needs to be wet enough to coat the thrips. Moreover, it would be best to use multiple swabs instead of the same one. 

Rinse Plants

After applying the rubbing alcohol mixture to your plants, you must wait for a few hours. You can do this process in the evening and then wash your plant the next morning. Whether you have sprayed the plants or used the cotton swab technique, it is important to rinse the plants.

Be Consistent

Using rubbing alcohol as a pesticide once will not solve all your insect problems. You need to repeat the process at least once a week for a few weeks to see visible results. 


It can be surprising to know that alcohol too can be a pesticide and work effectively against insects like thrips. You can use rubbing alcohol in your garden to create a solution and use it as a spray on your plants.

In addition, you can spray directly at any thrips you spot in your garden. Moreover, if you do not wish to use the solution in spray form, you can dip cotton swabs and swab any thrips you see. 

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