Can You Eat Vegetables Sprayed with Neem Oil?

Can You Eat Vegetables Sprayed with Neem Oil?

With the concerns raised about disease-causing elements in some chemical insecticides, a lot of people are now looking for organic methods that are safe and environmentally friendly.

The search hasn’t been easy, but finally, we have a viable alternative, neem oil.

Can you eat vegetables sprayed with Neem oil

Before we go into details of its origin and its benefits, let’s answer one pressing question. Is it safe to eat vegetables sprayed with neem oil?

Yes, you can eat vegetables sprayed with neem oil, but make sure you wash the vegetables thoroughly before consuming them. However, it’s not advisable to spray neem oil on vegetables if you’re going to consume them the next day.

Please keep reading to find out more about neem oil and the best ways to handle it.


Is Neem Oil Safe for Humans and Pets?

According to the FDA, neem oil isn’t harmful to humans. It’s also not listed as toxic to dogs and cats, but it may be slightly toxic to aquatic life.

When ingested, neem oil may be harmful to human since it can cause kidney failure, seizures, and ischemia in children.

It may also lead to an allergic reaction or skin irritation when it comes into contact with your skin.

However, the amounts you’ll use on your vegetables may not amount to toxic levels, but you should wash all the vegetables with a lot of water before consuming them.

As mentioned earlier, better to apply neem oil long before you harvest the vegetables. This is to ensure that most of the Neem oil is removed from the vegetables.

As far as the environment is concerned, neem oil doesn’t cause any adverse effects. It is biodegradable, doesn’t leach harmful chemicals into the soil, and it’s not toxic to wildlife.

What are the Neem Oil Side Effects?

When ingested by humans, Neem oil causes vomiting and drowsiness.

NOTE:  Pregnant women, women trying to conceive, and children may be more sensitive to neem oil and are advised to avoid using it.

In cats, it causes sluggishness, salivation, trembling, convulsion and difficulty in movement.

Ingestion of Neem oil by dogs can cause salivation, gagging or retching, trouble walking or standing, difficulty breathing, tremors, skin irritation and eye irritations.

How to Wash off Neem Oil from Vegetables

The amounts of neem oil you’ll use on your vegetables may not amount to toxic levels, but you should wash all the vegetables with a lot of water before consuming them.

Neem oil is applied in two ways, either as a foliage spray, or as a soil drench. Most of the residue from the foliage spray is still left on the fruits, or leaves, making it easier to wash off. 

Does Neem Oil Change the Taste of Vegetables?

Generally, neem oil has an unpleasant smell and a taste that’s a bit similar to when you mix peanut butter and garlic.

You may feel this taste in some vegetables and fruits and it may take a couple of weeks before it disappears.

That’s why it’s best to apply neem oil several weeks before harvesting. If you are to use it up to the day of the harvest, apply only on the affected areas.


Neem oil is pretty much safe to be used on edible plants, including vegetables. It’s an excellent organic pesticide that’s environmentally friendly, economical, and doubles as a fertilizer. It also has a wide range of other industrial uses. It would be best if you handled it with care since it may cause skin irritations, allergic reactions, and severe health issues when ingested. Ensure you wear gloves when handling it, and wash the edible plants thoroughly before consumption.

Is it safe to eat vegetables sprayed with Neem oil


  1. Neem Oil General Fact Sheet
  2. Oregon State University, National Pesticide Information Center
  3. Oregon State University, Profiles of Organic Pesticides

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