Chemical weed killers are toxic and harmful to the environment, as well as posing a risk to bees, other beneficial insects, wildlife and even your pets and children if they play in the areas you are treating. An alternative is to make your own natural weed killer using common household remedies. Try different combinations of ingredients to make the weed killer that works best to kill the weeds in your garden.
Method 1 of 2: Making a natural vinegar spray
Step 1. Start with 400 ml of distilled white vinegar
Vinegar contains acetic acid, which works well to kill weeds. Keep in mind that vinegar is non-selective and thus kills not only weeds, but all living plants that come into contact with it. You can use white vinegar alone, or you can add other ingredients to the vinegar to make it even stronger.
- Do not use vinegar on or near your lawn, as it will kill your grass.
- Vinegar makes the soil in your garden more acidic. Before planting, test your soil's pH and make adjustments if necessary.
- Use an acetic acid solution with 20% acetic acid for even better removal of weeds between paving stones and on terraces. The higher acidity will affect the pH balance of your soil and other plants.
Step 2. If desired, add 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) of concentrated lemon juice
Lemon juice is high in citric acid and can work well with white vinegar to get rid of weeds. If you want to try it, just mix the lemon juice with the 400ml distilled white vinegar.
Step 3. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons (10 to 15 ml) of dish soap to kill certain plants
Dish soap can be a useful addition to vinegar if you want to kill weeds with a waxy coating or a "hairy" surface, such as dandelions and finger grass. The fuzzy exterior of the weeds won't absorb the vinegar, but dishwashing liquid will soak into the protective coating on the outside of the plant and cause the mixture to stick to the leaves.
- You can use liquid or powder detergent or dishwasher detergent.
- You can use dish soap in combination with a mixture of lemon juice and vinegar, but a mixture of dish soap and vinegar also works very well.
Step 4. Mix 30 ml of rubbing alcohol with the white vinegar
Isopropyl alcohol mixed with white vinegar can work very well to kill weeds. Even alcohol alone works well to get rid of weeds. With cheap gin you can get a similar result. Simply add the alcohol of your choice to the white vinegar and stir thoroughly.
You can use a mixture of alcohol, vinegar and lemon juice, but a mixture that strong can cause soil damage
Step 5. Dilute the vinegar mixture with an equal amount of water
You can use an undiluted, strong mixture if you have stubborn weeds, but this is usually too strong. A mixture diluted with an equal amount of water can work very well to kill weeds without harming the area where you use the mixture.
An undiluted mixture can soak into the soil and kill the roots of plants that are not weeds. It can also disrupt and harm important microorganisms in the soil
Step 6. Pour the mixture into a sprayer and spray it on your weeds
Use a funnel to pour the mixture into an atomizer, then screw the nozzle on tightly. Apply the mixture to the weeds and monitor the treated areas for 24 hours. You can apply more of the mixture if needed, but it probably isn't necessary.
- If the weeds are near plants you don't want to kill, adjust the nozzle to spray instead of spraying.
- Remember that weed killer does not distinguish between the different plants in your garden. It will kill any plants that come into contact with it, so be careful when using the mixture.
Method 2 of 2: Kill weeds with other household remedies
Step 1. Use rock salt or table salt as a weed killer
Only try this method if you want to kill weeds in an area where you don't plan to plant or grow anything for several years. For example, you can apply this product in the cracks between pavement and in cracks in the sidewalk. Salt kills the weeds by drying them out and then soaks into the soil, preventing plants from growing in the treated areas. You can use salt in two ways:
- Dissolve 120 grams of salt in enough warm or hot water to fill your atomizer.
- Apply the salt dry. Just sprinkle the salt on the weeds you want to kill. This works particularly well on garden paths and along the edges of lawns.
Step 2. Kill the weeds with boiling water
Throw a large pot of boiling water on the weeds if there are no other plants nearby. Boiling water kills the weeds by burning them, so don't use it near your other plants. Boiling water can work very well, especially on young weeds. You will usually see immediate results.
- You may need to repeat this several times over a period of several days to kill all the weeds.
- Add 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of table salt to the boiling water to make an even stronger mixture.
Step 3. Spray a mixture of borax and water on the weeds
Add 300 grams of borax to 10 liters of water and mix the ingredients thoroughly. Use a sprayer to apply the mixture to the weeds. Be careful not to soak the soil with it, or it could damage the plants you want to keep.
- Wear gloves and safety glasses when using this mixture as it can cause skin irritation.
- Never use this mixture to kill weeds in a vegetable or flower garden. It will damage the vegetables and flowers.
- After killing the weeds, use mulch, rocks, stones, and other physical barriers to keep the weeds from coming back.
- Treat the weeds before they flower early in the summer, while they are still young and delicate.
- Making your own weed killer is a great way to avoid using store-bought herbicides that can contain harmful ingredients like glyphosate.