Tending a garden can become a full-time occupation if you allow weeds to take over. A weed is defined as a plant in an undesirable location. Weeds serve no purpose in the garden. They can be invasive and kill your beautiful flowers or nutritious fruits or vegetables, and they can be unsightly. While there are some beneficial weeds, in most cases weeds are unwanted because they take over in your garden, grass, or containers or pots where you had intended on growing something else—herbs, flowers, ornamental plants, fruits, berries, or vegetables.
Weed control is extremely important in a garden. It’s also important to begin treatment of any weeds from the moment they’re sighted, as often they grow several times faster than what you had intended on growing. You may think you can leave it until the next month, until you realize all that time and expense you paid in buying fresh soil, seeds, cuttings, and fertilizer has gone to waste, and you must begin again.
Many homeowners do not want to buy store-bought weed killers, as many have health hazard warnings on them. Even if you don’t have any children or pets that run around outside, your neighbors do, and you don’t want anyone harmed because you used poisonous chemicals in your garden. There is also the local wildlife to consider. You want your garden plants to stay safe, particularly if they’re edible, and you want to enjoy your garden and not have to fence if off for several weeks because you had to treat your lawn with chemicals.
In fact, some people may leave weeds in their gardens to grow, rather than risking a weed killer. But it can be hard work having to manually dig up weeds week after week.
The best solution is to make your own homemade weed killer recipes that are nontoxic and safe to use around humans and animals. They also cause minimum damage to your yard. You may have to reseed a few inches of your lawn or garden, but that’s much better than the alternative. Here are 5 of the best homemade weed killer recipes that really work.
1. Boiling Water Weedkiller
Perhaps one of the simplest ways to tackle weeds is with boiling water. This is an excellent short-term solution for when you’re planning a big garden party and want your lawn or yard to look it’s best, but you don’t want any lingering smells from vinegar or cloves. But it can be a temporary solution, so if you find this method doesn’t work, you can try any one of the other 4 weedkiller recipes on this page for when you have more time to devote to your garden.
Ingredients and Supplies List for Boiling Water Weedkiller
- One kettle full of water.
- Stove in kitchen.
Method to Make Boiling Water Weedkiller
Fill up your kettle with water, then bring your kettle to a boil on top of the stove, then turn off the heat. Carry your kettle outdoors. This is a lot simpler and safer than trying to pour the hot water into another container.
How to Apply Boiling Water Weedkiller
Put gloves so you don’t get burned by the boiling water. Pour the hot water directly onto the weeds.
Note that the hot water will also kill any grass or other plants in the vicinity, so aim it directly at the weeds. The advantage of this method is that when the water cools down and spreads throughout the dirt, it won’t hurt any of the other plants. But be careful to only drench your weeds, just in case.
Wait a day or two, then yank up the dead wilting weeds.
2. Salt and Vinegar Weed Killer
Some weeds can be difficult to remove. If the hot water trick worked for only a few weeks before your weeds took hold again, they may need a salt and vinegar weed killer. Salt, or sodium chloride is an effective herbicide and has been used in history to keep plants from growing in specific parts of the yard or garden. The white vinegar you buy from stores contains about 5% acetic acid, which is strong enough to kill most garden weeds. You can also purchase an industrial-strength type from garden supply stores but this can be harmful to your eyes and skin, and the store brand is safe and simple to use. This recipe doesn’t require any water.
Ingredients List for Salt and Vinegar Weed Killer
Gather together the following ingredients and supplies.
- 125 milliliters of regular table salt.
- 1 liter of vinegar.
- One large bucket or a large watering can with an opening wide enough.
- One large spoon for mixing.
Method to Make Salt and Vinegar Weed Killer
Follow these steps to make your salt and vinegar weed killer recipe. It takes only minutes to get it ready for your garden or yard.
- Pour the vinegar into the bucket or container first.
- Pour in the salt slowly, mixing with the spoon.
- After all the salt has been added, keep mixing.
- Ensure that the salt isn’t stuck at the bottom of the container.
How to Apply Salt and Vinegar Weed Killer
It’s simple to apply your salt and vinegar solution to weeds.
- If you pour your solution into the watering can, simply pour it directly onto the weeds.
- If you used a bucket, you may wish to pour it into a watering can first, or use a small container so you can better control your pouring.
- This solution will affect other plants, so concentrate your efforts directly on the weeds.
- Try not to over pour as you want to direct the solution only on the weeds. This is why it’s best to use a smaller container, rather than attempt to pour it directly from the bucket.
- After a day or two, the weeds will be wilting and you can manually pull them out easily.
- You may need to inspect your lawn or garden to see if you need to plant more seeds, or move the plants around a bit to fill in any gaps.
3. Recipe for Nontoxic Clove and Vinegar Weedkiller
Sometimes you need a nontoxic weedkiller that is safe to use around pets or children, but that provides an additional level of weed killer properties besides the salt and vinegar. Clove essential oil has many anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and insecticide properties, but can also be an effective weed killer too.
Ingredients List for Nontoxic Clove and Vinegar Weedkiller
Collect together the following items to make a simple clove and vinegar weedkiller recipe.
- 20 drops of clove essential oil.
- Note: Don’t use the cloves from your spice shelf, it’s not powerful enough.
- 1 litre of white vinegar.
- Empty spray bottle.
- A pinch of salt.
Method to Make Nontoxic Clove and Vinegar Weedkiller
Pour your vinegar into the spray bottle, then measure out the salt and clove essential oil and pour into the bottle. Screw on the spray top and shake well.
How to Apply Nontoxic Clove and Vinegar Weedkiller
Spray the base of the weeds that you wish to kill. Remember that this mixture can also kill regular grass and plants, so avoid any exposure to them, or expect that you’ll have to dig them up and replace these plants a few days after treatment is done.
A couple days later dig up the dead and wilting weeds so that your garden always looks its best.
4. Using Other Essential Oils in Weedkiller Recipes
You can simply substitute clove essential oil for another type of essential oil in your weedkiller recipes. This is beneficial for people who don’t like the smell of cloves, but can appreciate how their homemade weed killer recipes may need more than basic boiling water, or vinegar and salt.
Ingredients List for Essential Oils Weedkiller Recipe
Gather together the following ingredients to make a simple weedkiller recipe.
- 20 drops of thyme, oregano, cinnamon or lemon essential oil.
- Note: Don’t use the spices or ingredients from your kitchen. Essential oils are in highly concentrated form.
- 1 litre of white vinegar.
- Empty spray bottle.
- A pinch of salt.
Method to Make Essential Oils Weedkiller Recipe
Pour the vinegar into the spray bottle first, then add in the salt and essential oil. Screw the top on.
Shake the bottle thoroughly. Now it’s ready to use.
How to Apply Essential Oils Weedkiller Recipe
Just like with the other recipes, you want to aim the spray directly at the base of the weed, or at the ground where the weed is growing out of. Spray it thoroughly until it’s coated with liquid, but don’t over-spray it so much that the liquid starts running off and heading for another plant that you do want to keep.
5. Baking Soda Weedkiller Recipe
Baking soda is another effective weedkiller that can smother the weeds, and the natural salts within it can also work as an herbicide. If you’re lazy, you can simply sprinkle the baking soda directly from the bottle onto the weeds.
The only warning for this technique is that if you’re doing further work in the garden, that the baking soda can disperse too easily, or the wind can spread it around the yard. This affects the integrity of your other plants. The best solution is to make a baking soda weedkiller solution that can be easily controlled and applied to your garden’s weeds.
Ingredients List for Baking Soda Weedkiller Recipe
Collect together the following ingredients to make your baking soda weedkiller recipe.
- 1 liter vinegar.
- 125 ml baking soda.
- One large bucket.
- Large spoon.
Method to Make Baking Soda Weedkiller Recipe
Pour the vinegar into the bucket first, then add in your baking soda. This mixture will foam up. Mix well to ensure there are no clumps and that it’s mixed up well.
How to Apply Baking Soda Weedkiller Recipe
Mix this recipe up only at the last minute before you plan on pouring it on your weeds.
This mixture is a bit thicker than the other weedkillers, so you’ll want to scoop it out of the bucket with a spoon and apply it directly to your weeds. The chemical action between the vinegar and baking soda will work for a while, ensuring that the weeds get smothered and die.
Ensure that you don’t pour this onto any other plants that you hope to keep in your garden.
Cautions and Warnings for Using Homemade Weedkiller Recipes
Follow this advice to ensure that you and your family stay safe, and that your garden always looks its best.
- Remember to never spray anything but the weeds, because none of these natural homemade weedkillers know what’s a weed and what’s a desirable plant.
- Even if you are cautious, you may still have to do a bit of maintenance in your garden after you have completed treatment.
- Be sure to allow for 24-48 hours for the weedkiller to work. After this time it will be far simpler for you to dig up the weeds, but if you try to dig them up too soon, the chore will be much harder.
- Apply your weedkiller while your pets and children are safe indoors. Even though these are natural, hot water can still burn, and the essential oils aren’t safe for the eyes.
- Store any items and supplies meant for homemade weedkiller recipes in a locked garden shed so nobody can get into them.
- Mix up your weedkiller recipes as you need them, as they don’t contain any preservatives for storage like the store-bought weedkiller bottles contain.
If you find the weeds getting out of control on your property and you don’t have a lot of time to tend to your garden, try one of these 5 homemade weedkiller recipes that are not only safe to use around your family and pets, but also simple and quick to mix up. After the first few treatments, in a few weeks you’ll begin to see a noticeable improvement in how your garden or yard looks. Soon your neighbors will be jealous and puzzled how you have managed to quickly get your weeds under control to create an attractive and beautiful garden.