Does Dish Soap Kill Mosquitoes?

The beautiful summer weather makes us want to spend our evenings outdoors. Sitting on a terrace or BBQing in the backyard, these joyous times can be instantly interrupted by a swarm of mosquitoes.

Quick Answer:

Dish soap can kill mosquitoes by damaging their exoskeleton and causing dehydration. For small-scale use, mix dish soap with water and spray directly on mosquitoes. However, it’s not a solution for major infestations, which may need professional pest control.

Standing water in your yard can become a breeding ground for mosquito eggs. Even if the water isn’t on your property, nearby bodies of water might bring mosquitoes to your party.

Fortunately, there are some simple solutions that can keep you and your blood safe from female mosquitos.

Can Dish Soap Kill Mosquitoes?

Dish soap does kill mosquito larvae and adult mosquitoes. Dawn dish soap can be used to prevent mosquitos from being able to lay eggs and causes them to drown instead. This simple, non-toxic, and effective trick can help keep your dinner parties itch-free.

Often repellents like lemon, vinegar, and citronella are recommended to help keep mosquitoes away from your party. But having stagnant water that is coated with dish soap is a great trap to kill these pesky insects.

Where Are Mosquitoes Likely to Breed?

Not every yard is going to have to deal with mosquitoes, and often it won’t be an all-year ordeal if you do. Mosquito larvae can only survive to adulthood under pretty specific circumstances. If these conditions are met, then mosquitos breed in the millions and can quickly ruin your day.

Mosquito larvae are most common in small water puddles or along water routes where the flow of water slows. Standing water that pools and has no ripples or waves make an excellent breeding ground for mosquitoes.

How to Use Dish Soap to Stop Mosquitoes?

There are a few reasons why dish soap kills mosquitoes. It creates a barrier that prevents mosquito larvae from escaping from below the water. It also drowns adult mosquitos that land on the water to lay eggs. The dish soap changes the water’s tension on the surface. When the mosquitoes attempt to land to lay eggs, they plummet under the surface and drown.

You can use carbon dioxide to attract mosquitos to water traps with soap. The mosquitoes mistake the carbon dioxide for the breath of a warm-blooded mammal and get trapped by the soapy water. It is as effective as citronella to keep your yard pest free.

What Mosquito Life Stages Does Dish Soap Kill?

How quickly dish soap kills mosquito larvae, adults, and eggs depends on the application method and how the mosquitos come into contact with it. There are different methods that can be used to target mosquitoes at different life cycles using dish soap. An effective combination and keep mosquitoes completely at bay.


Dish soap can be used to kill adult mosquitoes and stop them from breeding. Placing dish soap in standing water that will attract mosquitoes is all that it takes to lure them to their deaths. Female mosquitoes, after drinking blood, go and drop their eggs under the surface of standing water.

In order to lay their eggs, adult female mosquitos must land on still water and then lay their eggs under the surface. Dish soap changes the surface tension of water, making it unstable when a mosquito lands on it. Instead of gracefully standing on top of the water, a mosquito falls below the surface and, much like in a river covered in ice, cannot break the surface again and drown.


If eggs have already lain and mosquito larvae are present liquid soap can still be used. The larvae need to breathe and come to the surface to exchange gases. They need to do this frequently throughout the day to survive.

Dish soap creates a film, similar to oil, on the surface of the water, and when the larvae try to breathe, they are suffocated by the soap. Dish soap on its own is already an effective insecticide, but combined with a constrained oxygen environment, it becomes extra useful. Most mosquito larvae die off in as little as 24 hours when exposed to liquid soap.


If there are already eggs in the water, then you will still want to add dish soap. While it will not prevent the eggs from hatching, it will kill the newly born larvae. It will also prevent adult mosquitos from laying more eggs and kill a fair amount of females in the area. Mosquitos cannot lay eggs in soapy water.

If you are able to kill the larvae and prevent adults from laying new eggs, you can rid your standing water of mosquito eggs in just a few weeks. Once you have dealt with the pesky bugs, you can enjoy your summer bite-free.

Effective Dish Soap Solutions to Kill Mosquitoes

Dawn Dish Soap

Making a dish soap solution that can ward off all kinds of mosquitos can come in handy. Dish soap is so effective that only one milliliter is needed to treat a gallon of water. If you have standing water outside, a squirt of liquid soap will keep it mosquito-free until it evaporates.

It is a good idea to always use environmental-friendly dish soaps like Dawn. This ensures that you aren’t adding petrochemicals to already stressed waterways. You can use dish soap in a few different ways. Adding it directly to the water is one way, but you can also make sprays that can be applied to puddles and hard-to-reach areas of your lawn.

A higher concentration of dish soap can knock mosquitoes right out of the sky.

Dish Soap AmountWater VolumeApplication MethodEffective For
1 milliliter1 gallonDirectly in waterStanding water in your yard
10%500 mlAdd to Spray BottleKilling airborne mosquitoes
10%10 galAdd to a pump sprayerSpray post-rain grass and slow to evaporate puddles

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