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Does Bleach Kill Weeds?

How to kill weeds with bleach.

Does bleach really kill weeds?

Short answer..... YES, it will kill weeds.

Before you go all gung ho and start spraying those pesky weeds with bleach please read the rest of this article.

In addition to being an excellent spot cleaner. Bleach is also a useful and deadly weed killer.

Be warned, it was not designed to be used as a herbicide.

Is it safe to use bleach as a weed killer?

Short answer.... NO.

There are much better and safer alternatives.

Bleach is a hazardous chemical​, it will affect your soil health and leave harmful residues wherever it is sprayed.

It may also seep into ground water, try vinegar instead.​

​It can also be harmful to those critters living in your soil in addition to your local wildlife and of course your pets.

Please note, the use of bleach as a herbicide may be illegal where you live. Please check with your local authority.

How does it work?

The same things that make bleach a terrific spot cleaner and disinfectant also enable it to be an efficient herbicide​.

Bleach is poisonous to humans, the same applies to plants and other animals. It soaks into the roots of the plant destroying them as it would any other living organism.

After bleach has been poured on an area, the soil pH becomes very high, and nothing will grow there for quite some time (often several months).


How to use bleach as a herbicide:

If you really must use bleach as a weed killer then please follow the instructions below:

DO​

  • Wear safety gloves & eye protection at all times.
  • Use on a calm day to prevent accidental spraying.
  • Wait a few days before pulling out the dead weeds.
  • Try a little to test the effectiveness.
  • Exclude children and pets from the area.

DO​N'T

  • Use too much.
  • Allow kids or pets near till it's dry.
  • Spray near plants you wish to keep.
  • Use on/near lawns or edibles crops.
  • Use near sources of water.
  • Use in aquatic environments.
  • Use on a day forecast for rain.
  • Mix with other chemicals

Bleach can either be diluted and used in a spray bottle or used undiluted and smothered in between the cracks of paving, slabs or other hard surfaces.

​Apply on a warm, calm day with no forecast for rain.

If it rains the bleach may seep into other plants or areas of your garden killing everything.

Wind may blow the bleach onto other plants or persons when spraying.

How effective is it?

Bleach is an effective herbicide. It will kill weeds.

Bleach will kill most small weeds. It won't work against larger or invasive weeds like Ivy, Brambles or Knotweed. 

If you use it on soiled areas you will no longer be able to use that space for growing​, it can take several months before your soil is suitable for planting.


Do you recommend it's use?

Most, including us recommend against it's use.

Over using bleach can kill plants, trees, and harm insects and animal life. It can also seep in to the ground water and have other serious environmental effects. 

It may also be illegal where you live.

If you really must use it restrict usage to the cracks in your paving and use sparingly.

It would be a smarter, safer & more effective choice to use one of the alternatives listed below.

What are the alternatives?

Bleach is a harmful chemical.

Used sparingly it is an effective weed killer but there are many safer and more effective choices:

If you don't mind using chemicals to kill weeds then your best choice is probably a commercial weed killer.

They are designed to be used as herbicides and as long as you read the label and follow the instructions ​they are a more effective and safer choice.


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About the Author

Hey there, I am founder and editor in chief here at Good Grow. I guess I've always known I was going to be a gardener. I'm on a mission to share my expertise and insider weed control tips with you all.