Every gardener despises weeds, and the prospect of hand-pulling one by one is enough to make you want to move into an apartment. Depending on the size of your vegetable garden and lawn, this hand pulling weeds is exhausting work.
Is it good to make your own DIY weed killer at home? Weeds grow at a considerable rate, and to keep purchasing weed killers from the store is costly and not good for the environment.
Luckily, you can go all Lone Wolf and make weed killers at home from regular household products that are as effective as professional weed killers; gardeners have been using homemade weed killers for hundreds of years, and they still work. (Learn What Kills Weeds But Not Clover)
The advantage of making home made weed killer is that you know exactly what’s in them because you made them.
In our guide, you can learn more about the natural ways you can kill all the pesky weeds around your garden. By the end, you’ll what you can use that’s as effective as Round Up, and where you need to be careful killing undesirable grasses and other weeds.
What You Need For Homemade Weed Killers?
When you are fed up with pulling weeds and want something that will deal with all the weeds growing in your garden, you can take a handful of products from around the home.
Here are the basics of what you need to kill weeds without purchasing commercial products and what you would use in specific scenarios for killing weeds.
Ordinary distilled white vinegar with a pH of 5% is inexpensive and effective.
For more effective weed control, you can find agricultural vinegar with acetic acid contents that are far higher. However, these may be harder to find, and you need more care when using them.
Use the cheapest kind of salt you can find in the supermarket. You will see many types of salt in the supermarket, such as rock salt, Epsom salts, and more.
Epsom salt may appear the same, yet it is vastly different on a chemical level. Epsom salts can be used as fertilizer for your desired plants and grass, so don’t add these to your weed killer mixes.
Cheap iodized or un-iodized salt works, and you may find it labeled as sodium chloride if you purchase it in bulk.
Because you’ll only be using a few drops, the brand doesn’t matter. The soap breaks the surface tension of the vinegar, causing it to adhere to the weeds and force them to absorb it more quickly. (Find the Top Rated Weed Trimmers)
Weed Killer for Areas You’ll Replant
If you want to replant an area with weeds, follow these steps:
- Fill a garden sprayer halfway with white vinegar and one teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap, such as blue Dawn or a cheap dish detergent.
- To prepare the sprayer for spraying, apply the sprayer top and follow the directions on the sprayer.
- On a hot, dry day with no wind, spray weeds until saturated, and they will wilt and shrivel up within hours, so be careful not to spray anything you wish to live.
- However, there’s no need to worry about the vinegar killing anything beneath the soil.
- You can safely replant the area after the weeds have perished because vinegar does not harm the soil.
Weed Killer On Areas You Won’t Plant
- Mix two cups of ordinary table salt with one gallon of white vinegar to kill all vegetation on walkways, roads, and other areas where no living thing should grow again.
- Do this in a container with a capacity greater than one gallon to allow for the salt.
- Shake the container to dissolve the salt.
- Salt dissolves faster in vinegar than in water, although it takes some effort, and you may find some don’t totally dissolve.
- Add one teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap (weakens surface tension).
- Fill an ordinary garden sprayer halfway with your weed-killing solution.
- On a dry, sunny day with little or no wind, spray weeds or grass in areas where you don’t want to see any vegetation in the future.
- The presence of salt in this recipe will ensure that your weed killing is permanent as the salt leaches into the soil.
- It may take multiple applications, but salt in the soil in this location will eventually “sterilize” the soil, preventing anything from growing there.
Before using, ensure you want nothing to grow in that area.
These homemade weed killer recipes are not only a practical method but also non-toxic to humans and animals.
When using them, you must still take caution and use eye protection and gloves. Also, using stronger than 5% vinegar (acetic acid) will burn the skin.
How to Make a Homemade Weed Killer
Many customers search for alternatives to commercial herbicides that allow them to preserve and foster a healthy environment.
Thus, you can see why DIY weed killers are among the safest and most effective weed control methods.
Of course, hand weeding is the safest for small weed infestations, yet it is just too much labor for large amounts.
Here is one of the best recipes to kill grass weeds and other undesirables. (Learn How To String A Weed Eater With One Hole)
DIY Weed Killer Recipe
Fill a bucket halfway with white vinegar. You can use 5% household white vinegar for this recipe. It may take two to three days longer for the lower concentration to work, yet it is still effective.
- Add one tablespoon of table salt, and using a long-handled spoon, stir the solution until all the salt has dissolved.
- Mix in 1 tablespoon liquid dishwashing soap. The liquid soap helps the salt and vinegar solution stick to the entire plant surface.
- Mix, and add the natural ingredients to a plastic spray bottle.
Why It Works?
Here you can see why the weed killer is so effective.
Acetic acid is the active ingredient in vinegar, and you’ll find the acetic acid content of household vinegar is nearly always approximately 5%.
Acetic acid is a desiccant, which means it drains moisture from the leaves and kills the top growth when sprayed on the surface of a plant. Therefore, it is most effective on young weeds.
Dandelions and other deep taprooted plants can survive vinegar treatment as you’ll find such small amounts of acetic acid degrade quickly in the soil, and adverse soil effects are temporary.
If you apply on a windy day or accidentally spill a drop on a nearby plant, small drops may brown, yet they won’t kill them.
Desiccants include sodium chloride, widely known as table salt. Salt is used in weed killer recipes because it is more powerful and can kill plants that vinegar cannot.
In addition, the salt content has a lengthier influence on the soil than vinegar, and if you add too much, it can harm the roots of other surrounding desirable plants.
Soap functions as a “surfactant,” allowing the vinegar and salt to distribute and adhere to the entire plant’s leaves.
It does this because it breaks down the protective waxy coating on some leaves and breaks surface tension that would cause liquids to form droplets rather than spread.
Application and Use
- This nonselective homemade weed killer recipe will kill whatever plant it comes into contact with.
- On a dry, sunny day, thoroughly spray cover all weed surfaces with the solution.
- Plants you drench with the solution will perish in a week.
It’s crucial to remember that even this mixture can be toxic to organisms besides the weeds. For example, the vinegar solution is toxic to small creatures and harms soil microbes.
When repeatedly spraying a large patch of weeds, you may need a soil-building and watering strategy to restore the soil to its natural state once the weeds are gone.
Alternative DIY Homemade Weed Killers
Vinegar Weed Killer
Because it includes acetic acid, vinegar is an effective DIY homemade weed killer. Using 5% acetic acid white vinegar, you can obtain 10%, 20%, or even 30% acetic acid white vinegar, but these are much more expensive.
Simply pour the vinegar directly onto the weed or into a spray bottle and spray the desired weeds.
Depending on the weeds you’re attempting to remove, you may notice die-off right away, while others may take 14 days. Reapplying this weed killer after 21 days is recommended.
You can use a mixture of half vinegar and half water as a general-purpose cleanser to eliminate typical household ants.
It works on odorous ants because they communicate through pheromones and leave trails of various aromas; by disrupting these trails with this vinegar mixture, the ants will not march inside your home. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Clover In Lawn)
CAUTION: White vinegar with 20% or more acetic acid is an industrial pesticide that can cause chemical burns and possibly blindness if it goes into your eyes.
Salt Weed Killer
For this weed killer, you need
- 2 parts salt
- 1 part water
- Spray bottle
You can make it stronger if you desire and are sure you want nothing to grow.
Simply combine the salt and water in the spray canister until fully desired, then spray the weeds or area of concern.
Then you can sit back and watch the weeds finally die.
Caution: Salt can quickly sink into the soil, preventing future growth in that area for an extended period. Therefore, dilute it with water if you’re not using it on your patio, road, or garden path.
There is a big difference between table salt and epsom salt.
Magnesium sulfate, also known as Epsom salt, is an ingredient found in plant fertilizers.
Baking Soda Weed Killer
This one is fantastic method to keep a driveway, patio or path clear of weeds and grasses
What you need:
- Baking Soda
Simply stroll around and sprinkle baking soda anywhere you want to get rid of weeds.
Even the crevices between pavement slabs can be swept with it, and weeds can’t grow in these areas because of the baking soda.
Boiling Water Weed Killer
This homemade weed killer kills anything it touches, such as weeds or insects.
What you need:
- Boiling Water
- Simply boil some water in a kettle, then pour the hot water on the unwanted weeds.
- It may take multiple sprays to kill the desired weeds, and they may not stay dead for long; small weeds and seedlings are more effective.
This natural weed killer is also completely pet-safe.
News Paper Weed Killer
All plants require photosynthesis to grow, and if this process is disrupted, the plants will eventually kill. This is accomplished in this case by obstructing sunlight.
What you need:
- Cardboard – optional
- Newspaper – optional
You can use either of the above or both of them, depending on what you have spare
- Place cardboard over the weed or four sheets of thick newspaper over the area to be treated.
- This method is like mulching in that the cardboard and newspaper will ultimately decompose and supply nutrients to the ground.
- Once the first layer of cardboard or newspaper has broken down, you’ll need to apply another layer.
The lack of light will kill the weeds, yet you will have areas of paper and cardboard around your garden.
Bleach Homemade Weed Killer
Bleach can make a fantastic weed killer that swiftly kills weeds when appropriately used.
What You Need
- Spray Bottle
- Fill a spray bottle with bleach and spray it onto the plant you want to get rid of.
- Although bleach is an effective weed killer, it is not a natural product, and it can kill anything it comes into contact with.
- Because of this, and the way it can change soil structure and will prevent future growth. Use it in areas away from grass and plant beds. Driveways and cracks in pavers are suited to such treatments.
CAUTION: Bleach is a chemical cleaning agent and is not a natural product; thus, ensure you take precautions and wear rubber gloves and eye protection.
Stop Weeds Sprouting
Weeds are difficult to eradicate, so the most effective method is to prevent them from growing.
You can do the same using natural, homemade treatments rather than paying for pre-emergent weed killers.
Corn gluten is a natural product from corn milling and is available in pellets or powder form.
It isn’t effective at killing established weeds, yet an application can stop weeds and undesirable plants from growing.