How to Make White Oil Spray for Your Plants (DIY White Oil Recipe) 

For this simple recipe, you’ll need one cup of dishwashing liquid and two cups of sunflower oil.

White oil is a common spray that gardeners use to control sap-sucking pests such as aphids, mealy bugs and scale. The oil clings to the insects and suffocates them. 

The best thing about homemade white oil is that it’s totally organic and not a poison as it’s vegetable based and not petroleum-based like many commercial pesticides.

This means that pests can never develop a resistance to the product and it will work effectively every time you use it.

Proprietary white oil is available from most hardware stores and garden centres but it is normally petroleum-based. However, you can also make your own organic white oil using a very simple recipe. Here’s how.

Simple DIY white oil recipe

For this simple recipe, you’ll need one cup of dishwashing liquid and two cups of sunflower oil.

Put these into a glass jar and close the lid tightly. Give the jar a really good shake. You can stop shaking once the contents in the jar turn white. 

You now have homemade concentrated white oil that you can mix with water to spray on your plants. Remember to label the jar or bottle so that you know that it contains white oil.

You can make a smaller portion of the white oil mixture by halving the two ingredients. This is ideal if you only have a small pest problem as the oil mix will only store for around three months.

If you don’t have any sunflower oil handy, you can use another type of oil like canola or olive oil.

How to apply white oil to your plants

Mix one tablespoon of the concentrated white oil in a spray bottle with one litre of water and give it a good shake. Don’t be tempted to add more white oil to the mix because it is possible that too much oil could clog up the pores or stomata on the leaves.

So, make sure that you don’t add more than 20ml of the white oil concentrate into one litre of water.

Spray this all over your plants where pests are present, making sure to spray both the tops and the undersides of the leaves.

Azalea spraying | Plant care

Ensure that you only spray your plants on an overcast day and avoid spraying when the temperature is over 30 degrees Celsius. This is because, on a hot and sunny day, the white oil could burn the leaves on your plants.

As white oil is a contact-based organic pesticide, it needs to be applied when pests are active and you can see them. In other words, it needs to make contact with the pests in order to coat and suffocate them.

So, there’s no sense in using this product until you see some evidence of sap-sucking pests on your plants.

This also means that you’ll have to be vigilant for a few days and reapply the white oil until all the pests are gone.

Eco oil vs white oil

Eco oil is a commercially available oil-based pesticide that is totally organic. Unlike commercially available white oils that are petroleum-based, eco oil is made using Australian-grown botanical oils. 

Made by Eco-Organic Garden, this oil is perfectly safe to use on all of your plants as long as you follow the directions. It does not harm beneficial insects such as bees and ladybirds. 

What’s more eco oil has been formulated to attract beneficial insects to your garden. When plants are attacked by sap-sucking pests, they produce certain compounds that attract predatory pests such as ladybirds, hoverflies and lacewings.

A research project carried out by Charles Sturt University was able to identify these organic compounds and add them to the formulation used to make eco oil. 

After creating the perfect formula, researchers then tested the eco oil spray and found positive results in the oil’s ability to attract beneficial insects to your garden.

On the other hand, commercially available white oil is normally petroleum-based and has to be applied carefully so as not to burn plants. 

However, homemade white oil is vegetable-based and is much safer to use as long as you avoid spraying on a hot day.


How long does homemade white oil last?

Homemade white oil should last for around three months if stored in an airtight container in a cool and dry spot.

Can you make white oil out of canola oil?

Yes, you can use canola oil to make white oil. Other oils that will also work include sunflower oil and olive oil.

Is white oil harmful to bees?

As white oil is a contact spray, it is not harmful to bees or other natural predators such as ladybirds, as long as you avoid spraying these beneficial insects with the oil. It may, however, prove harmful to ladybird larvae if they are sprayed with the oil mixture inadvertently.

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Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.


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