Top 9 Homemade Organic Weed Killers

Top 9 Homemade Organic Weed Killers

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Rebecca
December 29, 2021
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You’re probably reading this because you want to skip commercial weed killers perhaps because of their potential dangers.

Whatever your reason, natural or organic weed control methods are safer and eco-friendly. Plus, many of them can prevent weeds, to begin with.

To keep things simple, we will only focus on organic weed killers that you can readily make at home.

So what are these organic weed killers? If you’re like most people, you probably already have most of the ingredients you’ll need to make these DIY remedies. Things like Vinegar, Water, Old Papers, Lemon Juice, Mulch, Salt, Baking Soda might not seem at first to be weed killers but with some preparation, mixing and clever use they can become very potent weed killers.

In addition to listing the best homemade organic weed killers, we’ll show you how to prepare them.

Let’s get started.

9 Effective Homemade Organic Weed Killers to Try

#1 Vinegar

Top 9 Homemade Organic Weed Killers

Vinegar deserves the top spot on any list of natural weed control methods.

Why’s that? It works – plain and simple! Vinegar contains acetic acid, which is very effective even at low concentrations.

Things you’ll need

White vinegar (5% acetic acid)

How to use:

  • Pour vinegar directly on the unwanted plant
  • Alternatively, add the vinegar into a spray bottle and spray it on the weed

For best results, use vinegar at full strength. Do not dilute it in water or anything. You may have to apply vinegar to the area a few times to completely kill the weeds.

Consider waiting for between 14 to 21 days to see the effects before reapplying.

Reapplying vinegar to a particular area can be a good thing. The repeated treatment will make the soil more acidic and prevent the unwanted plants from reestablishing.

But there’s one small detail you should also be aware of. You can’t plant any other thing in that soil.

Well, technically, you can. But whatever you plant won’t germinate or do so well in a highly acidic environment. Here’s something else to keep in mind when using vinegar.

Although you can use herbicidal vinegar (if you have it at home), the acetic acid concentration is significantly higher than the typical stuff found in most pantries.

Higher acetic acid concentration can burn the skin and eyes, so you want to be extra careful when applying it to weeds.

#2 Boiling Water

#2 Boiling Water

Boiling water will kill just about anything it comes in contact with.

That’s another way of saying you want to be careful when using boiling water, as it will also kill any other plant besides weed.

Of course, you want to take proper precautions to prevent burning yourself. Don’t have steady hands? Take our advice and skip this weed control method.

With the caveats out of the way, let’s see how to use this 100% natural weed killer.

Things you’ll need

Boiling water

How to use:

  • Grab a kettle or large pot, add water and bring it to boil
  • Carefully pour the boiling water on the weeds to eradicate them
  • Repeat until you cover the entire area

Boiling water works very quickly but it is more effective on seedlings and small areas.

You’ll get better results if you reserve this natural weed control method for tackling unwanted plants growing through driveways, sidewalks, edging, or paving.

The water will literally cook the plants! Want to take things a step further? Add one tablespoon of salt to 2 liters of boiling water before pouring on weeds.

Here’s another similar thermal weed control you might want to give a shot.

If you have a steam cleaner, you can use the hot steam to instantly kill weeds that deface your driveway, path, or yard.

#3 Newspaper or Cardboard

Top 9 Homemade Organic Weed Killers

If grasses and weeds are taking over your garden, newspaper and cardboard can help keep them at bay.

Remember your fifth-grade photosynthesis lesson? All plants need sunlight to grow.

And that’s where yesterday’s newspaper comes in handy.

The trick is to block the sunlight so the weeds can’t synthesize nutrients from water and carbon dioxide.

Okay, let’s not bore you with all the science. Simply put, cardboard or newspaper will disrupt the process of photosynthesis and eventually kill the weeds.

Things you’ll need

  • Newspaper or cardboard
  • Mulch (optional)

How to use

  • First, use a weed whacker or string trimmer to tackle the culprits if your garden is overgrown with weeds
  • Lay down about four sheets of thick newspaper over the weed-infested area
  • Alternatively, you can use cardboard to cover the weed
  • Top off the covering with mulch (if that’s what you want)

You don’t have to worry about cleaning up afterward because the newspaper or cardboard will eventually break down.

This is great for the soil because it will provide additional nutrients.

Topping the cardboard or newspaper with mulch is a great idea if you are dealing with perennial weeds.

However, don’t forget the possible downsides of mulching (more on that in a bit).

#4 Lemon Juice

Top 9 Homemade Organic Weed Killers
lemonade

Do you like lemons? We do, too! And it’s not just because we love lemonade but the juice of this pretty fruit is a natural acid that kills weeds.

Weeds covered in lemon juice will shrivel away in just a few days.

Things you’ll need

  • Lemons
  • Spray bottle

How to use

  • Fill the spray bottle with real lemon juice
  • Generously spray the juice onto the weeds, making sure all the unwanted plants are saturated

You can cut and squeeze out the juice from a bunch of lemons to cover enough area in your yard.

Don’t have lemons? No worries.

You can use storebought options. Just make sure you are buying 100% lemon juice – no artificial preservatives.

Consider adding vinegar to the lemon juice if you want to make a more potent formula.

Whether or not you add vinegar, you want to be careful when spraying lemon juice.

It will kill any plant it touches, so make sure that you aren’t accidentally spraying your lawn or beautiful flowers.

#5 Mulching

Top 9 Homemade Organic Weed Killers

Mulching doesn’t only minimize runoffs but also prevents surface crusting and deters weeds.

This natural weed killer works by blocking sunlight.

Things you’ll need

  • Organic mulches (including compost, pine needles, shredded barks, leaves, or any other organic material)
  • Rake or pitchfork

How to use

  • Place mulch over the surface of your lawn or the weed-infested area
  • Spread it out nicely using a rake, pitchfork, or your hands (actually, your hands is the best “tool” to spread mulch)
  • A mulch depth of 2 to 4 inches deep is more than enough to deter weeds

If you choose to use mulch, you might want to avoid organic mulches from off-farm sources.

Here’s why. They may carry seeds of new weeds and that’s not something you want!

Here’s another drawback. Mulching can be a very messy affair, particularly if you’re mulching tall grass or slightly damp grass.

Plus, mowing the lawn after mulching requires a lot more effort and time. This translates to increased mower maintenance frequency.

#6 Salt

Top 9 Homemade Organic Weed Killers

Salt is one of the most powerful natural or organic weed killers available. Yet, it is easy to make at home.

Okay, some might argue that salt is not an organic product, and that’s correct. But it is a naturally occurring compound.

Although it is inorganic, table salt is mined from underground deposits.

Things you’ll need

  • Table salt
  • Water
  • Spray bottle

How to use

  • Mix two-part salt and one part water in a spray bottle
  • Allow the salt to dissolve and shake thoroughly
  • Spray the desired area with the solution

Indeed, salt is a highly effective natural weed killer, but don’t go crazy with it.

You want to use it with extreme caution because it can have an environmental impact. The compound kills weeds and all plants, permanently!

If a patch of soil in your yard is loaded with too much salt, nothing will ever grow there again! Plus, rainwater can wash salt further down the soil affect the roots of nearby plants.

For this reason, we strongly suggest you limit the use of salt to only areas where you want to kill unwanted plants for good.

Spots such as between decorative bricks in your pathways or cracks on your driveway are good places to use salt for weed control.

#7 Baking Soda

Top 9 Homemade Organic Weed Killers

While we’re on the subject of non-organic compounds, baking soda is another product that’s not categorized as organic.

Yet, baking soda is so common in households and makes for a great natural weed killer that we have to include it on this list.

Baking soda is phytotoxic to plants. That’s a fancy way of saying it is poisonous to plants.

It kills weeds by removing water from the cells of the plants. This makes the leaves dry and eventually die off.

Things you’ll need

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Spray bottle

How to use

  • Mix the baking soda with water in a spray bottle
  • Give it a good shake
  • Spray the mixture on weeds until they are dead

Baking soda is a non-selective, contact plant killer.

That means it can kill both wanted and unwanted plants and grasses it comes in contact with.

If you plan to use this DIY weed remedy, make sure you carefully spray it on only the plants you want to kill.

#8 Orange Oil and Vinegar

Top 9 Homemade Organic Weed Killers

Orange oil can be used as a natural weed and grass killer and is especially suitable for spot treatment.

This homemade recipe combines orange oil (which is commonly used in commercial herbicides) with vinegar for a more effective result.

It also uses dishwashing liquid that serves as a surfactant to make the homemade weed killer stick well to unwanted plants.

Things you’ll need

  • Orange oil
  • White vinegar
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Large bucket
  • Long-handled spoon
  • Funnel
  • Spray bottle or garden sprayer

How to use:

  • Pour four tablespoons of orange oil in a large bucket
  • Add one gallon of white vinegar and four tablespoons of dishwashing liquid into the bucket
  • Stir well with a long-handled spoon until well combined
  • Pour the mixture into a spray bottle or garden sprayer
  • Spray the weeds with the DIY solution
  • Repeat after two days for best results

The best time to use this homemade organic weed killer is during the hottest time of the day. Make sure that it covers the unwanted plants completely to kill off the weed.

While this solution provides quick results, it doesn’t offer long-term weed control.

#9 Salt and Vinegar Mixture

Top 9 Homemade Organic Weed Killers

If you have stubborn weed, you will want to use a strong formula that’s sure to eliminate unwanted plants.

That’s why we’ve reserved this powerful combo for last!

You already know how potent vinegar is and the irreversible effect of salt on the soil. So, let’s see how to use these to make a homemade natural weed killer.

Things you’ll need

  • Table salt
  • Household white vinegar (5% acetic acid concentration)
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Large spray bottle

How to use

  • Add three large spoons of salt and one liter of white vinegar into a large spray bottle
  • Shake thoroughly and allow the salt to dissolve
  • Add three large spoons of the dishwashing liquid into the mixture
  • Give everything another shake
  • Apply the recipe to weeds and they’ll die permanently

For the best results, consider treating the desired area before midday and preferably on a dry day.

Don’t forget: only use this weed killer in areas where you don’t want any vegetation to grow again, ever!

Final Thoughts

Preparing your recipe at home is one of the best ways to be sure of every ingredient that goes into making the organic weed killer.

So, if you are concerned about highly toxic and potentially harmful chemicals, you might want to try out one or more of the homemade organic weed killers in this guide.

In any case, the best approach to keeping your home weed-free is to stop weeds from appearing or taking root, to begin with.

Want to learn more about preventative weed control methods? Check out this detailed guide on When to Apply Pre Emergent Herbicide.

Resources:

Rebecca

Rebecca Vargas is an experienced gardener and landscaper and has been rendering professional services for many years. Her services cover both private homes and commercial properties. Leveraging that rich experience, Rebecca Vargas now dedicates a chunk of time to show just about anyone how to maintain their garden and yard, whether at home or workplace. GreenIQ is his way of reaching and teaching millions of homeowners across the globe about proper gardening and lawn care practices.