Brewery Lane, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear

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How Do You Make Homemade Weed Killer?

You may not want to use a chemical weed killer in your garden; they may harm other plants and cause health issues, especially if you have children or pets. 

They are also dangerous for any aquatic life or wildlife; in fact, glyphosate, which is found in most commercial herbicides, is known to be particularly toxic to bees.

The solution – make your own instant weed killer to clear your patio or driveway! But just exactly how do you make homemade weed killer and how effective is it? 

We’ve seen plenty of issues with weeds over the years and whilst commercial cleaners are in the main pretty good a destroying pesky weeds, we’ve also encountered some excellent results using everyday items which don’t cost the earth. 

Homemade Weed Killer Recipe

You may be worried that avoiding commercial products to destroy weeds will involve you pulling them by hand and you can actually see if pulling weeds is a waste of time. Whilst this is probably the safest and most effective way of getting rid of weeds for good, there are some ingredients from your pantry that, when combined, get the job done. 

You will need 

  • 1 gallon of vinegar 
  • A bucket 
  • A cup of salt 
  • ¼ cup dishwashing liquid 

All you need to do is mix everything together in the bucket until the salt dissolves completely and fill up a clean spray bottle! 

How this homemade weed killer works

The acetic acid in the vinegar is a desiccant meaning it draws moisture from the plant, causing it to die. Most household vinegar is 5% acidity which, whilst it will do the job, may take a few days. We recommend a more potent concentration for best results. You can buy vinegar with 10 or even 20% acidity online.

Salt is stronger than vinegar and will destroy tap-rooted weeds such as dandelions. It is also a desiccant and negatively impacts the surrounding soil for longer than acetic acid, so be careful if using it near other plant life, but it will kill more persistent growth. 

Soap is a surfactant which means it increases the efficiency of the leaves in absorbing the desiccants above by breaking down the waxy coating. 

To apply, simply cover the weed with the solution; this is best done on a dry, sunny day. Although this recipe is much more environmentally friendly than a shop-bought product, a strong vinegar and salt solution will still kill other plants and may harm small animals, so use caution.

3 Ingredients That Work Well 

There are some other common everyday items which can also work as      

Bleach

Bleach can be a very effective weed killer because as it soaks into the soil, it kills the plant from the root upwards. However, it has one big drawback: it raises the soil’s alkalinity, preventing plants from absorbing the required nutrients, so it is best used for paths and driveways.

Baking Soda 

Baking soda is an effective weed killer that, like salt, is a desiccant drawing moisture from the plant’s cells and forcing them to wither and die and once again, it works best on newer weeds.

A word of warning: Don’t use baking soda to kill weeds if you live by the sea. Your soil will already contain significant amounts of salt, and adding baking soda may tip the balance and harm desirable plants. 

White vinegar 

As we’ve touched on above, vinegar, especially the strong stuff, can destroy weeds and make a great weed killer. It is best used either undiluted or mixed with a surfactant as in the recipe. However, the acidity in vinegar can cause damage, so don’t use it in natural stone paving or patios.

Are Homemade Weed Killers Effective? 

DIY weed killers can be very effective and are much more environmentally friendly than commercial products containing harsh chemicals. However, sometimes you may need to reapply a couple of times and wait a few days for the results. 

Last Word 

After reading this, you should now know how to make a homemade weed killer and how to use it. There are a few things to consider as even natural remedies can still unbalance the PH level of your soil and the acidity in vinegar can damage slabs made from natural stone. 

That being said, you will save money and have peace of mind that you are not impacting wildlife or damaging the environment in your pursuit of a weed-free garden.