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How to make homemade weed killer out of 3 household ingredients

Kelly Burch   

How to make homemade weed killer out of 3 household ingredients
LifeInternational3 min read
  • A combination of vinegar, salt, and soap makes an effective homemade weed killer.
  • This combination will kill weeds, but also any other vegetation it touches, so use it carefully.
  • The solution can also change the acidity of your soil, so it's best for sidewalks and patios.

If you want to avoid harsh chemicals in your yard, making a homemade weed killer is a great solution. You'll have total control and know exactly what you're spraying.

"With homemade weed killer, you can have full confidence in the ingredients," says Craig Elworthy, founder of eco-friendly lawn care company Lawnbright. "Most commercially available herbicides are laced with harsh chemicals and other difficult to pronounce ingredients. The homemade recipe is very straightforward."

A combination of vinegar, salt, and soap provides an effective and safe weed killer that you can mix up right at home.

"It's a good natural option if you want to kill weeds because it's made from known ingredients that have been around forever," says Elworthy.

What you need

  • Bucket for mixing
  • Spray bottle
  • Spoon for stirring
  • 1 gallon of vinegar: Elworthy recommends horticultural vinegar, which is more acidic, but regular white vinegar from your kitchen can also work.
  • 1 cup of table salt
  • 1 tablespoon of dish soap
  • Water-resistant gloves to protect your hands

How to make homemade weed killer

To make homemade weed killer, stir together 1 gallon of vinegar, 1 cup of salt, and 1 tablespoon of dish soap. Pour it into a spray bottle and thoroughly spray the weeds.

This solution is most effective when it's applied while weeds are actively growing, says Elworthy. Apply it during the spring and summer on warm, sunny days for the best results. Just be sure that you're not using this weed killer near any plants that you like.

"This is a non-selective herbicide and will kill any plant it touches," Elworthy says. "Further, it will have a lasting effect on the soil, and it will be difficult to grow anything in the area after using it."

Because of that, this solution is best used on patios, sidewalks, and other areas where you don't want any plant life to rebound.

Finally, this solution kills the visible part of the plant, but not the root system, so be prepared to reapply a few times. Start with once a week until the weed has died. For added assurance that the weed will not grow back, pull it and as much of its roots as you can.

How does homemade weed killer work

Each ingredient in homemade weed killer plays a role:

  • Soap breaks down plants' natural protective barriers so the solution can get inside.
  • Vinegar breaks down the cells of the plant, making it impossible for them to function. It also makes the soil more acidic, making it difficult for any plants to grow (so remember, don't use this in areas where you plan to plant grass or flowers).
  • Salt dries out the plant, depriving them of the water they need to grow.

Insider's takeaway

A non-toxic homemade weed killer of vinegar, salt, and soap is very effective. To make it even more potent, use highly acidic horticultural vinegar, rather than kitchen vinegar. Although this recipe is great for killing weeds, it will also kill any other plants it comes into contact with, and it can make your soil more acidic for the long term. Because of that, it's best to use it on patios and other areas where you don't want any vegetation to grow.

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