Weeds are a part of gardening none of us love. To save yourself some headache (and money), here are 10 pet- and kid-friendly, homemade weed killer solutions to help you avoid chemicals.
Since each of these is a hearty green killer, it also means most will kill grass and other plants, so avoid using them where they’ll damage your lawn. And for best results, use each during the sunniest part of the day.
1. Spray unwanted broadleaf weeds with vodka.
Broadleaf weeds like dandelions, wild onions, chickweeds and plantain weeds can be a pain. To kill them effectively, funnel vodka into a squirt bottle and spray the entire weed body when it’s exposed to extreme sun on a warm day. The vodka will remove the waxy coating on the leaves, and the hot sun will dry them up.
Once the weeds are dead, pull them out and dispose of them. Avoid using vodka on grass.
2. Sprinkle Borax on unwanted weeds or plants for a natural herbicide.
Use the natural powder for more than cleaning your clothes. Be careful not to use it near flowers or vegetable as it will damage growth of those too.
3. Douse weeds between concrete or bricks with lemon juice.
A true eco-friendly solution, lemon juice will kill unwanted weeds in just a day or two, thanks to lemons’ acidity. As with vodka, this treatment is most effective when the weeds are doused on a hot, sunny day.
4. Use vinegar as a weed killer.
Studies have proven vinegar is a natural remedy for killing weeds. Vinegar is “non-selective,” meaning it will kill anything green, but a spray bottle filled with vinegar is a great solution for killing leafy weeds.
Note: Because of its acidity, it runs the risk of lowering the pH of the soil. Make sure to wear protective clothing and eye protection while using any of the solutions.
5. Scald your weeds with boiling water.
Boiling water is great for unruly weeds growing between pavers and pathways. Carefully pour the water close to the ground to avoid splashing yourself and harming any plants you want to keep. It will kill any plant it comes in contact with.
6. Follow up boiling water with salt to kill weeds.
Salt is a known weed killer. After scalding your weeds with boiling water, sprinkle a little rock or table salt on them. This will ensure that all unwanted weeds die. Apply it carefully: it will kill grass and plants and in cold climates can contribute to concrete erosion.
7. Add clove and peppermint oil to naturally kill weeds and keep away bugs.
Clove oil helps kill weeds by damaging the cellular membranes of plants while it, along with peppermint oil, helps to keep away unwanted pests like ants.
Combine the essential oils, pure white vinegar, and dish soap, stirring the mixture well. Add the solution to a spray bottle, and get to work saturating your weeds. Avoid spraying on plants and grass you want to keep alive.
2 liters pure white vinegar
1 Tbsp dish soap
15 drops clove oil
15 drops peppermint oil
8. Kill dandelions with rubbing alcohol.
9. Use baking soda and vinegar to kill weeds in driveway and sidewalk cracks.
Baking soda is great for killing weeds in driveway or sidewalk cracks.
Sprinkle a bit of baking soda directly on the weeds then spray on vinegar. A chemical reaction will occur, and the weeds will begin to shrivel and die. This solution works best when weeds are growing fast in the spring and fall.
10. Make your own all-natural weed killer with vinegar, salt and dish soap.
For a very potent but all-natural solution, combine pure white vinegar, salt and liquid dish soap. Funnel the mixture into a spray bottle. For best results treat weeds with the mixture at the sunniest time of day.
1 gallon pure white vinegar
1 cup salt
1 Tbsp liquid dish soap
10-15 drops orange essential oil (optional)
If you only have time to spray your weeds on a cloudy day, add 10 to 15 drops of orange essential oil. The orange and vinegar combined will give the solution an added punch. Think of it as the weed-killing boost you’d normally get from the sunlight.