Help! My Yard is a Mess: Homemade Weed Killer
Forget about pesticides and cancer-causing ingredients! This post will teach you how to make a safe & easy homemade weed killer! The best part: You more than likely already have the ingredients at home!
Note, this post contains some affiliate links. For more info see my disclosures here.
As the weather becomes cooler, summer annual weeds will naturally die off. However, the winter annuals may need an extra push to leave your yard!
For many new homeowners, one of the biggest learning curves is learning how to garden. We all have seen gorgeous front yard landscape ideas, and have dreamed of having the same. However, taking care of your yard can be expensive, time consuming, and difficult. Weed killers also have horrible chemicals that can cause cancer or other serious long-term health issues! Your neighborhood bees might also be dying due to store bought weed killer!
You might have feared bees and their ability to sting you for years. But as a new homeowner, and as a prospective gardener, you will learn that bees are your friends! Bees will help your “okay” garden produce a plethora of delicious goodies every year. Therefore, you want to stay away from weed killers that cause damage to your health and to the bees!
Instead of spending a fortune on a store-bought weed killer that is immensely harmful to your health, please consider making your own!
Homemade weed killer is super easy to make, very inexpensive, and most of the ingredients are already in your home!
Homemade Weed Killer
Super Easy & Effective
Mix 1 gallon of white vinegar with 1 cup of salt and 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap to make a super easy homemade weed killer!
How this weed killer works:
The salt and vinegar will remove moisture from the weeds, and the dish soap will prevent the moisture from being re-consumed. If you use this spray on a hot sunny day then you will see the weed brown in just a few hours! However, the spray won’t be able to make it all the way to the rooting system of the weed. Therefore, younger or less-hardy weeds will die pretty quickly, whereas weeds with larger rooting systems may require a few additional sprays.
Should you use an Epsom Salt Recipe?
If you are looking for an even stronger weed killer, then you probably learned that you can replace salt with epsom salt for a better result.
That is a Myth!
Epsom salt has been used as a fertilizer by gardeners for ages! The University of Minnesota states,
“Theoretically, you could apply so much Epsom salts that the amount of magnesium would interfere with the weed’s uptake of other essential nutrients such as calcium or potassium. This is not wise on several levels—first, because of how long magnesium can persist in the soil and second, the cost of doing so. In other words, keep the Epsom salts in the bathtub rather than use them as a pesticide.”
Weed killer epsom salt recipes are less effective than using salt! Save money and don’t use Epsom salt!
But, I want to use something stronger & more effective...
Remember, the vinegar in the super easy recipe (vinegar, salt, dish soap) does not make it to the weeds roots. Most homemade weed killers will be effective in killing small weeds, and good for touching up areas. However, if you are looking to get to the roots of a plant, then you can use pesticides– though, I personally believe the health consequences are not worth the benefits.
Instead, a safer alternative would be to replace your vinegar with horticultural vinegar. Horticultural vinegar is labelled for agricultural use only, and won’t be found in your grocery store. However, horticultural vinegar is quite potent, and is an acid that needs proper care when using. Though, on a nice sunny day, you can see your weeds dying within 24 hours!
Another option can be to use Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer. Green Gobbler’s recipe uses ethanol distilled from corn grain, so it has no potential cancer-causing ingredients. I have used Green Gobbler’s spray in my own yard to quite a lot of success. However, for me, this worked best on walkways, and anywhere there were cracks on the ground. This weed killer also has a really strong vinegar scent, and I could not stay outside too long after spraying it. If you are looking for a quick paid option, then the Green Gobbler weed killer is what I recommend!
I want something with NO chemicals!
It is true that all safe homemade weed killer recipes are mostly effective for killing everything but the root of a plant. However, most homeowners with small weeds will find homemade weed killers to suffice for their yards. If you really want to get deep and get to the weeds roots, then you can use Grampa’s Weeder! This weeding tool goes deep into a plant’s roots, and pulls the entire weed out. I have this weed pull tool, and I love using it a few days after using a homemade weed killer.
Homemade Weed Killer safe for pets
If you have pets at home like I do (isn’t Winston just too cute!), then you really want to stay away from pesticides. Our fur-family and their health is super important, and pesticides can cause lots of health issues! The three ingredient homemade weed killer with salt, dish soap and vinegar will be safe for pets after it dries. However, Dr. Karen Becker of Healthy Pets provides this recipe:
- 1 quart 20% vinegar (This is key! You must use vinegar that is 20% for potency. You can purchase at your local hardware or home improvement store).
- 1 oz. Orange Essential Oil
- .5 oz. Cinnamon Essential Oil
Shake well in an industrial sprayer. A cheap plastic sprayer will get destroyed by the potent mixture. Be sure to wear gloves as cinnamon essential oil can irritate the skin.
But, my yard is huge! I need a DIY weed killer for large areas!
Alright, perhaps you have a huge yard, or just too many weeds! Maybe you have existing plants surrounded by weeds, and you don’t want to kill the good along with the bad! If any of the previous issues resonate with you, then this this organic/natural weed-killer:
You will need 20 lbs of Corn Gluten Meal for every 1000 sq ft of coverage area.
- Put Corn Gluten Meal pellets or powder into a seed spreader
- Apply to area using at least 20 lbs for every 1000 sq feet
- Apply ¼ inch of water over your yard
This approach is great because as long as you have plants that are well-established, then the corn gluten meal will both kill your weeds, and fertilize your plants!
I only have weeds growing in small areas, or on walk-ways: is there a quicker option?
There is a super simple and easy way to kill weeds in small areas. If you have a walkway that you’d like to see immediately results with, then you don’t even need chemicals. You might be surprised to learn that all you need is some boiling water!
That’s right– simply boil water over a large pot and pour it over your walk-way. Within minutes all of the weeds in the area will be killed down to the roots! If you have a pressure washer, you can also use that for super quick results!
Whatever you decide to use, please handle with care! I am a big believer in avoiding pesticides at all costs! However, even if you were not as conscious as me– you don’t need to be spending a fortune! Homemade weed killer is super easy to make, safe for pets, and you probably already have all the ingredients!
Have fun & I am sure your yard will thank you!