Uses for detergent on lawns

Updated February 21, 2017

Detergent may be used to treat your lawn. Detergent breaks down in a healthier way, leaves less build up on your grass and is a source of phosphates that benefit your lawn. Detergent may be used as a substitute for chemical pesticides and as a diagnostic tool for lawn pests, a surfactant, a fungicide, a deterrent to deer and a medium that will break the surface tension of the soil.

Pesticide Substitute

Use original, unscented Tide washing powder in powdered form to kill Chinch bugs and other parasites. The borax and potassium in this product will bring the bugs to the surface and kill them. The potassium in Tide acts as a fertiliser to help keep your lawn green.

Diagnostic Tool

To find and eliminate webworms and cutworms, create a solution using 2 tablespoons of liquid washing powder to 2 gallons of water. Pour the solution on 1 square yard of your lawn. The worms do not like this and will come to the surface to avoid it. If more than six worms come to the surface, you must use pesticide to eliminate them.


Mix a few drops of liquid laundry or dish detergent to a spray fertiliser. This helps the chemicals to spread evenly over your lawn. You use less chemicals and save money.


Use liquid washing powder to control fungal diseases. One of the least toxic inhibitors of this disease is phosphates. Add 1 tablespoon of phosphate salt to a gallon of water containing about ¼ to ½ teaspoon liquid washing powder. This works to control powdery mildew. Apply every 12 to 15 days. Be sure to first check a small spot on your lawn, wait 48 hours and then treat the rest of your yard if all is well.

Deer Deterrent

One deer can consume up to five pounds of grass per day. Stop them from grazing on your grass by mixing 1 tablespoon of dishwasher detergent with 1/8 cup of Tabasco sauce and add this solution to one litre of water. Pour this mix into a spray bottle and spray on your lawn. Adding a beaten egg to this solution will help it stick to the grass blades.

Mushroom Control

Eradicate rings or clumps of mushrooms in your lawn. Mushrooms are the “fruit” of an underground fungus infestation. First, remove the mushroom by hand or with a rake. Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid washing powder in 3 gallons of water and use 1 to 2 quarts of this solution per square foot. Poke holes 6 inches deep and one foot apart in the diseased spot. Drench the affected area with a mixture of washing powder and water. Repeat daily for one month.

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About the Author

Based in eastern Virginia, Cathy Welch began writing nonfiction articles and novels in 1996. She wrote a short story that appears in John Maxwell’s “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect.” She writes reviews and nonfiction for Longridge Writer’s Group. Welch holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Christopher Newport University with a concentration in management.