Homemade Weed Killer: How To Save Earth And Kill Weeds!

Homemade Weed Killers that works now are alternative if you don’t like to use chemicals. For me, weeds are unsightly plants that hinder food and sunlight for other surrounding plants as well as attract pests. I seriously had no idea of whether there are any good qualities of these weeds, as they have not been explored. So, I do not completely say that weeds are totally useless.

However, while searching on the Internet for homemade weed killers I found that several weeds can be used in remedies? Many of them are even tasty! Those otherwise pesky dandelions can give a tasty syrup or jelly, while plantains can alleviate mosquito bite itching or bee sting pain.

One’s weeds are someone else’s roses! Well, while these facts were tempting me to leave back the weeds, none of these issues linger in my home. I was more worried for those ugly looking weeds blocking the beauty of my lawn and inviting insects.

Why I Hate Chemicals as Weed Killers?

Several common weeds act as food for many uninvited pests, depending on the types grown and how one look upon them. So, I seriously do not like them to thrive in their lawns and driveways. Even if most weeds have been eaten up, it is essential to remove all weeds.

This is perhaps because at present, they are a nuisance. Even I believe so and it tempted me to go for a commercial weed killer, especially sprays. Well, after some months of usage, I was much disappointed to use such a chemical version. The chemicals were ruining the fertile soil as well as the small, useful plants around. Strong chemical solutions such as fungicides have their own side effects. These solutions easily and quickly contaminate groundwater as well as drinking water, a big cause of health risks lasting for a long time.

Just one thought sprung in my mind: If one harmful chemical-based medicine can damage a mother’s womb, then why do the same with Mother Nature just for removing weeds? As a result, I was pushed toward the alternative green solutions such as a homemade herbicide.

A homemade or organic solution is a better choice for soil, water pipes, and other vegetations, as it is a more environmentally friendly than those chemical ones. A quick research on Internet hinted me that I was not alone to feel the need of a non-toxic weed killer.

There were many posts, blogs, and forums giving a lot of details and recipes for killing weeds, which I found to be enough for saving both money and shopping time on commercial products.

Eco-friendly Options I Found Online

Homemade Weed KillersWell, this research of mine resulted in a hodge-podge. The greenest method for removing weeds is to pull them up, allow them drying in the sun, dig the roots, and add them to a compost. Well, while this way is quite effective, it takes good amount of time.

Believe me; I do not have that much patience to wait for the results, because I really cannot tolerate anything that obstructs the pretty view of my hard-maintained lawn. So, I was looking for a faster yet effective and greener way to get rid of weeds.

This convinced me to go for homemade herbicides. While looking for them, I realized that just because they are homemade weed killers or natural herbicides, it does not mean that they cannot harm your soil, pets, or a human being. I just got curious!!!

Here is the explanation: Herbicides are toxic to plants if applied in big amounts. At the same time, they can injure humans if misused. I felt relieved!!! While the garden plants, soil, and humans are vulnerable to these treatments, it is only so if one is not knowledgeable about how to use them. 

It might appear like a simply job of mixing all ingredients to make a weed killer recipe. However, it is not that simple. It is like so many recipes are there and I had to find out about its effectiveness before even choosing any one to try out.

Several users have different opinions or experiences due to which it is rational to consider what a majority of them say. So, I decided to spend a few minutes to educate my own self for getting best results including with protection.

Homemade Weed Killers to Consider: How Do They Function

Let me share this full gamut of suggested homemade herbicides along with the knowledgebase related to its dos, don’ts, and precautions. With this sharing of my knowledge, I hope that you also shall easily identify the best remedy for uprooting some weeds without any kind of harm.

Boiling Water

Do I mean to say boiling water as a homemade weed killer? Yes! Plain water is an extremely reliable weed killer. In fact, boiling water is found to be more effective than most of those store-sold killers. Above all, it is perhaps the most affordable and easiest solution to make.

Homemade Weed Killers

Just put a small filled container on stove and allow it to boil and then apply on unwanted weeds directly. Well, I just have to cook the weeds in the ground. I would recommend it for wiping out vegetation totally, especially those on sidewalks and driveways.

Even the leftover boiling water after cooking pasta will do. A splatter of such water will work even on the toughest weeds but it takes some days for those weeds to wither out.

Best for: Loosestrifes choking out flowers and other useful vegetation; weeds in driveways and sidewalks; weeds on big areas where replanting is the goal, as no residue is left or risky long-term effects are triggered.

Warning: This is not selective. It means that will kill any plant immediately, even the underneath roots of surrounding plants. So, use it in those areas where the nearby plants are not useful. And yes, apply only to unwanted weeds, as boiling water can even kill veggie or flowering plants.

Vinegar

This remedy is something that anybody will find too frequently online. Well, this is because a good shot of concentrated vinegar (no, do not dilute it) kills weeds when you spray it on sunny and dry. Vinegar is extracted from grain, grapes, and apples with the help of fermentation.

Vinegar used in cooking contains 5% acetic acid (acidity), the main ingredient that uproots weeds. While this does the job well, more concentrated vinegar offers better results. It was recommended using stronger vinegar having 9-10% acetic acid for stubborn or more mature weeds.

Such vinegar is not that commonly found but still accessible online. Just as a strong acid, acetic acid is a desiccant, which indicates working by removal of moisture. All one has to do is to spray on the leaves after which the contained water from them is pulled, resulting in killing of the plant’s top growth.

However, the type of weed along with its maturity actually determines whether or not the root is slayed down. On the other hand, the strength of acetic acid determines the speed and depth of killing the weeds. The full strength vinegar (not mixed with water) is perhaps the strongest. Homemade Weed Killers It is also possible for a few weeds to be more resistant to such full strength vinegar. For example, that with hairy or waxy leaves tend to soak in less of the solution due to which damage is consequently less. Similarly, a few plants show signs of death on the surface but might re-grow from the left behind intact root.

So, it is not necessary to gain 100% control with vinegar. Still, vinegar kills leaves and young weeds effectively, as those young roots do not have much energy for re-growth. In case of more established weeds, the stored energy will finally deplete after a few vinegar applications.

Many websites (so do I) recommend using an industrial strength of 20% acetic acid but that is risky for lungs, eyes, and skin although available in several stores. However, if handled with care, this homemade weed killer vinegar gives best results, provided overspray does not occur on nearby soil and garden plants.

Repeated applications might be indispensable. Moreover, adding a few drops of liquid dish detergent can boost the effectiveness of vinegar.

Best for: Dandelions, thistles, foxtail, and Bermuda grass.

Warning: Vinegar is also, like boiling water, not selective when applied on foliage. It can kill any foliage, including the grass surrounding the weeds. So, both the useful and unwanted foliage die. In this way, vinegar has limited usage, as you will have to protect the valuable foliage around.

Vinegar also slays down the beneficial organisms in the soil. Therefore, do not directly apply to soil or roots. Acetic acid in vinegar also has many health risks such as respiratory infection, eye irritation or burns, allergy, skin irritation, and digestive tract reaction. However, this is for higher concentrations (10+ above).

Salt

Sprinkle or spray it – this most affordable as well as available remedy works! Consider this remedy for areas that are not meant for re-plantation, such as a patio or brick path. This is because salt works by making soil unsuitable for growing plants and weeds.

History Says It: Salt was used on the fields of enemies as a war strategy. It was also used as a punishment for major crimes in different nations throughout history.

Internet says to add a small pinch of common salt at the base of weeds. Doing so easily kills the plant but will attenuate to harmless during upcoming few rainfalls. One can even use it on a big area upon which you can add enough salt on your yard or gravel driveway so that nothing grows there for several months.

Homemade Weed Killers

The most recommended method is to use a solution prepared by mixing three parts of water to one part of salt although sprinkling salt directly over the top of plants is also fine. Due to negative effects, it is recommended applying salt on the leaves directly, and not to soil, particularly in lawns or garden beds.

It is also possible to make a stronger solution by mixing 1 part salt in two parts of hot water and putting it in a spray bottle. Alternatively, one can add some liquid dish soap, which helps the solution to stick to leaves.

For precaution, cover the nearby valuable plants and then spray the solution aforementioned solution from the bottle. Do not apply this solution on cemented areas such as sidewalks or driveways, as it can result in discoloration. One may have to consider multiple applications.

Best for: Poison Ivy.

Warning: Well, it is considered illegal to add salt on someone else’s property, which is termed vandalism. Further, big amounts tend to trigger damage to the flanking soil. So, use salt only in those areas where no vegetation is required, such as underneath decks, over the home foundation, and sidewalk cracks. This is not a homemade weed killer for lawns. Remember please!

Sugar

Homemade Weed Killers

I did not believe it!!! However, sugar can kill weeds by making the soil temporarily unsuitable. All one has to do is apply some sugar at the plant’s base. The only risk that you run is attracting sugar loving pests. To overcome it, just mix equal parts of chili pepper and sugar.

Best for: Bushes, vines, and weed trees, which are hard to pull.

Propane Torch or Fire

I was shocked to see this!!! But yes, it works if used with great caution and care. In the method of propane torch, one applies the flame over the weeds directly in a circular motion. This burns weeds after which the liquids inside start to dry and the roots tend to overheat for slaying down everything. Homemade Weed Killers In most cases, applying such direct heat to weeds results in instant wilting. Repeated applications slays down leaves that re-grow from roots. Most garden and home stores offer a flame weeder that allows rendering flame to the weeds directly without risking the neighborhood for fire. This treatment is required once for annual weeds, while deep-rooted, perennial ones might demand more than one. The safest use is on the sidewalks and driveway.

Warning: In fire-prone regions, flame weeding is not suggested but it is possible to do so with some additional precautions. This is because those sun-dried grasses and weeds can catch fire easily. Avoid applying to the soil. And it's not sure that weeds will not re-grow again.

Cornmeal

This is actually not a weed killer but a preventer! At times, the most effective strategy to get rid of weeds is to stop them from growing. This is where cornmeal can do wonders.

Homemade Weed Killers

Cornmeal contains some kind of a chemical that keep germination of seeds at bay. This chemical is technically called a pre-emergent or seed birth control.

All one needs to do is to sprinkle it in an area where there should not be any weeds but at the same time, no harm should be caused to existing plants. While the aforementioned organic weed killers do harm the surrounding plants in some way or the other, cornmeal does not.

Consider corn meal for areas where plantation is essential and soil is to be conserved.

Corn Gluten Meal

Homemade Weed Killers

Well, this one is different from the above option. This is a fully natural product that works by putting off the seeds. Just ensure that the product you buy has a label as ‘pre-emergent herbicide’ otherwise it does not have much to show the good effect. It is also effective on flower beds, lawns, and veggie gardens.

Best for: Dandelions, crabgrass, pigweed, plantains, knotweed, curly dock.

Warning: This one influences the seed growth for any plant.

Bleach

Homemade Weed Killers

This is both spot and weed remover! It is the most preferable weed killer over the counter contact sprays. Instead of spending double or thrice the money, you spend half of the actual spray money and get rid of ever growing weeds in the gravel driveway.

However, the challenge lies in choosing the right brand! Most generic brands are down. If you get the right homemade weed killer with bleach in hand, just spray some on the unwanted weed. The chemicals in the bleach spray tend to dissipate in just two days after which the ground becomes suitable for planting.

Warning: Bleach can slay down anything.

Alcohol/Rubbing Alcohol

Homemade Weed Killers

Alcohol is a contact killer. It kills weeds as soon as it comes in contact with them. For most weeds, it is not necessary to use a lot of alcohol. In case of resistant weeds, more alcohol is essential. Ideally, it suffices to mix water and alcohol in a spray bottle.

Rubbing alcohol is usually use for pulling water out and facilitating quick evaporation. Even for weed plants, it is going to do the same. It works by pulling away the life blood from weeds.

Warning: Again, rubbing alcohol is capable of killing any kind of plant. It is not selective.

Baking Soda

Homemade Weed Killers

Baking soda is ideal for those living in warmer regions. This homemade weed killer for grass is ideal for removing grass weeds such as St. Augustine and Crabgrass. Simply sprinkle baking soda on these weeds.

Borax

Homemade Weed Killers

This is available in grocery stores as a cleaning product. However, for weeds, it acts as herbicide. Just prepare a solution by mixing 10 ounces of borax powder to 2.5 gallons of water and spray it as if you are coating the leaves of weeds in a yard.

Do not spray on any leaves that you want or soil that you wish to be fertile. At the same time, do not let it come in contact with your skin.

Soap

Soap usually is added to vinegar and salt for boosting the spray’s absorption. Usually, soap is mixed in the form of liquid dish detergent, not hand or dishwasher soap. The scientific reasoning is that soap breaks down the waxy surface on several weeds, which exposes the plant more deeply to acetic acid or sodium chloride.

Homemade Weed Killers

Soap also works by breaking water’s surface tension due to which sticking to leaves becomes easier instead of running off. As a result, more of the killing agent tends to linger on leaves to get the job done. Logical reasoning is that soap is derived from oil, which usually is known to slay down plants.

Another advantage of using soap is that it becomes easier to see the flow of spray. Further, the weeds will look glossy if layered with oil. This is why tracking the spray is easier.

Usually, the quantity of soap to be added is small, exceeding not over an ounce per gallon. However, one can even use it as a sole ingredient. In this case, the concentration has to be higher for killing weeds.

Effectiveness of These Natural Weed Killers

Again, I am repeating: It is not necessary that you will not hurt yourself or other plants while removing weeds by using one of the above weed killers. One more thing to inform is that none of these killers are equally effective as commercial killers.

A majority of them shall only slay down the weed parts to which they were applied. This means that the weeds can always grow back. So, do not be fooled by those over-hyped promotions of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) weed killers in terms of effectiveness. However, one thing is true: All of them work.

It is only required to use caution while using any of them. Initially, it is wise to remove weeds by hand. Many times, it is as easy as picking or digging out. In case of doubt, Internet is always there to help.

Tips for Best and Safe Outcome with Homemade Weed Killers

  • Always apply a homemade weed killer when it is warm and during the day.
  • Always wear a mask and gloves while sprinkling an organic weed killer in the garden, as most of them are strong.
  • Always cover the kids’ playing ground before spraying any of these killers, in case you have any in the coverage area.
  • Do not allow pets to go near the sprinkled area for some hours, after using any of the aforementioned weed killers.
  • Consider having a fence or some kind of protective barrier around the garden or lawn.
  • Avoid using all organic killers at once. It is rational to use one for some time prior to using another one.
  • Avoid removing all weeds at once. Just target one area and then the next one, once the weeds in the former area are gone.

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Conclusion

All of the shared homemade weed killers might not kill all types of weeds. Thus, it is essential to then go for alternatives, which are available commercially. No, No! This does not mean that you need to resort to chemicals. Many non-toxic products are available, which also ensure a healthy environment although they cover small areas at once, thus increasing the cost per application.

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