Ask a Question forum: Hardy White leaf damage from dish soap

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Western Australia
Kawaiian17
Apr 2, 2018 8:57 PM CST
This Hardy White has a mealy bug infestation. I mixed some nail polish remover, liquid dish soap and water and sprayed it until it was soaked. However today I noticed that the leaves had been damaged from the liquid dish soap (not the nail polish remover, as I have used it before with no damage).

I want to get rid of the mealy bugs, what should I do? Should I wait a few days for the leaves to heal? I will definitely only use the nail polish remover next time.
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Name: Daisy I
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DaisyI
Apr 2, 2018 9:14 PM CST
Hmmm...if your nail polish remover is like our nail polish remover, you are treating your plants with acetone (paint remover), that can't be a good thing.

Also, I don't see any mealy bugs in any of your photos. Are you sure you are still dealing with mealy bugs and not the aftermath of acetone?

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Western Australia
Kawaiian17
Apr 2, 2018 11:38 PM CST
Thank you for your reply Daisy, here are some photos which show the mealy bugs and the damage. In the second photo there are some white smudges on the stem where I manually removed the fuzzy things the bugs make.

I have checked the nail polish remover and it says that it is acetone-free.
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Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Apr 3, 2018 12:50 AM CST
I agree with Daisyl.
It certainly isn't the water that is causing the damage.
It more then likely is not the dish soap unless it isn't plain old soap without some frilly thing added for fragrance. If you used almost pure dish soap and very little water and it some how smothered the plant, that is possible.
The nail polish remover, whether or not it has acetone is the likely suspect agent. Whatever is in it that allows it to be effective in removing nail polish can not be good for a plant.
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[Last edited by BigBill - Apr 3, 2018 12:53 AM (+)]
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Western Australia
Kawaiian17
Apr 3, 2018 1:16 AM CST
Thank you Bill. I will not be using the nail polish remover again. I'll try using canola oil next, on a small part of the plant first to see what happens. Is it safe to spray the plant so soon after the leaf damage or should I wait a few days?
Name: Suzanne/Sue
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Calif_Sue
Apr 3, 2018 1:26 AM CST

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Best way to remove them is with 70% isopropyl alcohol. Many people use q-tips to dab on the alcohol, and I've read that a spray bottle works quite well. Check often and respray in a day or two if you don't get them all. https://www.succulentsandsunsh...
I would think oil would smother the plant.
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Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Apr 3, 2018 4:45 AM CST
You can spray anytime using that mixture. Good luck and good growing! I tip my hat to you.
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Apr 3, 2018 6:40 AM CST
Most non-acetone nail polish remover contains ethyl acetate which does not seem like a good thing to spray on plants.

A small amount of 70% isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swap is what most people use to remove the insects.

It might be wise to allow your plant some time to recover before trying anything else.
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