It sounds to good to be true!
Yes it is possible to make weed killer at home and yes it is quite effective. It's not to good to be true and some home made weed killers have been used for centuries.
Be warned, none of these homemade weed killers are as effective as a proper commercial weed killer.
Most will only kill the parts of the weed it is applied to, your weeds may grow back. The effectiveness of DIY weedkillers has been over-hyped but they do work.
Please use caution when using any herbicide. Always try to eliminate your weeds by hand first, sometimes it's as easy as just picking or digging them out. If in doubt read our beginners guide to weed control.
6 strong homemade weed killers
There are many good ways to get rid of weeds.
Weeding by hand is the easiest and most common way to eliminate weeds. You should always try to manually remove the weeds before applying any weed killers.
In the end prevention is the best cure and procrastination is a gardeners 2nd worse enemy - weeds are enemy #1.
It is highly effective on small weeds but it can alter your soil and prevent things from growing there in the future. Can be used safely on block paving and gravel driveways. Simply add it to a sprayer and spray onto the leaves and stem of the desired weeds.
Vinegar is non selective and will kill everything it touches. It won't work on deep rooted perennials and may just "burn" the visible part of the weed.
In the old days convicted traitors would often have their land salted to prevent growth, this would starve the traitor and his family, pretty evil huh? We've been using salt as a herbicide and pesticide for hundreds of years and it is effective.
Dilute 3 parts salt with 1 part water. Agitate the mixture and leave to stand for 10 minutes to ensure the salt is dissolved. Spray the desired weeds with the salty solution and wait. You can also add pure salt directly onto the weeds. Great for a small area or small amount of weeds.
WARNING: Salt will be absorbed into your soil and prevent future growth, sometimes for a long time. Do not use on lawns.
3# Boiling hot water
Yep, scalding hot water will quickly kill any weeds it touches. Simply fill your kettle, boil & pour. It may take a few trips to kill all the weeds and they may not stay dead for long.
A great solution for weeds growing in the cracks of paving or in driveways. Not completely effective but works on small seedling weeds and it's at least worth a try.
Remember the water has to be scalding hot.
Bleach isn't just fantastic cleaner and it is also a deadly herbicide. Put some bleach into a spray bottle and spray it onto the weeds. They will soon die, the plant may regrow after a short while.
Bleach is an effective herbicide but we don't recommend it's use at all. Bleach isn't natural and traditional weed killers will be safer.
Try not to get any onto your soil and check with your local regulations to see if this is allowed.
5# Newspaper or cardboard
Weeds need light to grow, smother them and they will die. If murdering weeds with sprays isn't your style then you could always choke the life out of them with some newspaper or cardboard.
Lay it down 4 sheets thick for news paper or two for cardboard.
The weeds that are already there will die from the lack of sunlight and none will sprout either.
6# salt, vinegar & dish soap
A mixture of various homemade weed killers this concoction has proved highly effective at killing a vast array of weeds.
How and where to use them?
Homemade weed killers do have their problems.
They weren't intended as herbicides so they can often impact your soil PH levels and prevent plants or vegetables from growing there in the future.
None of these DIY weed killers are suitable for use on grass. They will kill all plant life you use them on, get it on your grass and you'll soon have dead grass.
Word of caution, if your planning on clearing an area for seeding a new lawn please allow plenty of time between application and the start of re-seeding as many of these homemade recipes will leave residues in the ground which may prevent your grass seeds from growing.
They are certainly effective at killing many types of weed but please be careful.
Be safe with home made weed killers
The most popular ingredient in homemade weedkillers is vinegar. The acetic acid in vinegar comes with several health warnings:
- Eye irritation or burns
- Skin irritation or allergic reaction
- Digestive tract reactions or damage
- Respiratory tract irritation
Obviously the higher the concentration of acetic acid the more common these effects will be. 5% acetic acid vinegar should be ample.
What are the alternatives?
There are many organic commercial weed killers if protecting the environment and using less chemicals is important to you.
If at all possible try weeding by hand first use weed killers as a last resort.