Reasons Your Neem Oil Might Not Be Working

If you’ve heard about neem oil and its benefits, you know there are plenty. It is good for the plant leaves and drives away all the pests from your garden. This natural oil also kills fungal diseases such as scabs, mildew, and leaf spots.

If you have been using neem oil for a while but have not seen any results, chances are you have an ineffectiveneem oil. There are several reasons for neem oil not working as effectively as expected.

Let’s dive deeper into why your neem oil might not work.

Reasons Your Neem Oil Might Not Be Working

However, the general practice is to spray the mixture of neem oil, water, and dish soap on your plants and reapply every week to see the results. While some bottles of neem oil might take a few days before they start working their magic, some might not work at all.

Here are the common reasons for neem oil not working:

Improper dilution

The trick for your neem oil to work is proper dilution. Neem oil should be diluted with one ounce of water and soap before it’s applied to the plants. If too much oil is used, it might not be as effective as you hoped. It will end up making the plant greasy and clogging it.

Old oil

It might come off as a shock, but just like other oils, neem oil has a shelf life of three years. After this period, the oil might not be as effective. The oil’s usable life depends on the storage conditions. You are to store the oil in a dry and even temperature room away from direct sunlight.


Believe it or not, a certain category of pests can develop resistance to neem oil over time, making it less effective. So, no matter what you do, you’ll have to use a strong pesticide for them to die.

Incorrect timing

Timing is important in ensuring your plants stay healthy and clean. Neem oil should be applied to the plants when the pests are in their active stage. If the oil is applied when the pests are absent, it will not be as effective. It is best to avoid use in direct sunlight as it might burn the plant.

Weather conditions

Neem oil is most effective when applied in mild weather conditions. High heat or cold can cause the oil to evaporate too quickly or become too thick to properly absorb by the plant. Extreme weather conditions don’t work well for the oil.

Improper storage

Neem oil should be stored in an area with dim light and moderate temperatures. It may degrade more quickly and lose effectiveness if exposed to high temperatures or light.

Not using a surfactant

Like other oils, neem oil is not water-soluble and needs to be mixed thoroughly with a surfactant to help it spread evenly on the plant’s surface. Once you make the mixture, you can spray evenly to achieve accurate results.

Expired or contaminated oil

If the neem oil has expired or been contaminated, it may not be as effective. Check the expiration date and storage conditions before using the oil, and discard it if it has spoiled or become contaminated.

Application method

Neem oil can be applied in different ways, such as through foliar sprays, soil drenches, or dormant sprays. Using the wrong method for your problem can affect the oil’s effectiveness.

Pest or disease resistance

Some pests and diseases can develop resistance to neem oil over time, making it less effective. Rotating between different types of pesticides or fungicides can help prevent this.

It’s important to follow the label’s instructions and use the neem oil properly. If the neem oil is not working, it might be a good idea to try other pest control methods.

Effectiveness of Neem Oil

If you consider the reasons mentioned above, you might be able to get your neem oil to work. Neem oil usually takes five days to work and kills off all pests. You will not be able to tell much in the first week, and you must be consistent to show accurate results.

Reapplying neem oil every week will help you better judge whether or not the infestation is under control. You need to keep a close eye on your plants and do a weekly spray to see if it is working for your plants or not. If you spot lesser bugs around your plant area, know that the oil is working effectively.

However, if two weeks have passed and it is still the same or has worsened, it’s best to check your oil or consult an expert. Based on the results, you can gauge what you need to do. However, it is important to remember that neem oil will only work on some pests and not all.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know why your neem oil might not work, you are in a better position to take appropriate action. However, if you have been using neem oil for months and see no results, talk to an expert or get the right pesticide for your plants.