How to Kill Weeds With Natural Homemade Weed Killer

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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If you are wondering how to kill weeds and you would like to use a chemical-free or a toxic-free technique of eradicating weeds and grass in your yard or garden, then you can opt for the natural homemade weed-killing ways.

Household supplies like salt, vinegar, newspaper, and water are in most households and can be used to make a natural weed killer. This article will brief and enlighten you on the types, advantages of organic weed preventers as well as the best natural weed killers that will work best to give you a well-kept yard and garden.

What Are the Types of Organic Weed Killers?

When looking for a solution on how to kill weeds, you will need to understand the types of weed killers you want to settle on to help get rid of and prevent the growth of grass and weeds. There are two main types of weeds; post-emergent and pre-emergent

a) Post-Emergent Weed Control

The post-emergent will control weed existing weeds and prevent new ones from germinating. There are several types of post-emergent weed preventers, and you should select the ones that work best for you. These weed preventers will kill grass and weeds from the levels down to the roots, for instance, the salt, soap, and vinegar option that you can spray, and it will do away with weeds like poison ivy in your garden or lawn.

They mainly come in liquid and powder forms and are a great solution for a large landscape, small landscape like the yard, driveways, patios, and walking paths. However, you will find that most of these weed controllers are non-selective, and you should be careful while using them to avoid contaminating close by plants.

b) Pre-Emergent Weed Control

The Pre-emergent is used to kill weed seeds before they even show up. These weed controllers will basically prevent the germination of the weeds and stop the formation of roots cells. These are perfect solutions for stubborn weeds even before they spring out.

They contain ingredients that will kill grass and weeds underneath the ground. However, you should note that this pre-emergent weed control should not be used on seedbeds because it will also prevent them from growing. A great example of a natural pre-emergent weed preventer is corn gluten that you can spray or pour the powder and water on your lawn or garden.

Which Natural Weed Killers Work Best?

If you need a more natural alternative for herbicides, there are pretty options on how to kill weeds using very cheap and available ingredients at home. We have listed some of the homemade weed killers that will banish the weeds in no time.

1. Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the most common methods people use because it effectively kills weeds, even on concrete surfaces like driveways. You only need salt and vinegar that contains a high percentage of acetic acid, also referred to as ethanoic acid, which will dry out any plant.

You could mix the acetic acid vinegar with salt and a surfactant like a dish soap for best results. You will then use a spray bottle, brush, or a pump sprayer to spatter the solution on the weeds. This vinegar, soap, and salt solution will perpetuate the roots of the grass or weeds and get rid of the weeds in a couple of hours.

However, it is important to know that vinegar and salt will dry off any plant in contact with it. Additionally, the salt and vinegar solution will work best on sunny days, and you can also use it when there is no wind to avoid adulterating nearby plants.

2. Corn Gluten

Another method you can consider is using Gluten cornmeal as a homemade weed killer. Corn gluten is a natural pre-emergent weed seed killer mostly applied even before the weeds spring out. Corn means works by restraining the growth or germination of the weed seeds before they spring out from the soil.

You use the corn gluten by either making a powder and water solution and spraying or pouring the cornmeal over the section and then spraying water later on the powder. However, you should note that this technic will also dry out any plant that comes in contact with weeds like dandelions and chickweed seeds. In addition, it is not the best to use in vegetable gardens.

3. Mulch

If you are looking for the best way on how to kill weeds, mulch is another great and natural method. However, you should note that this technic will work best in farms, flower beds, or vegetable gardens and not in driveways or pathways.

Mulch can include covering your crops using a thick layer of leaves, hay, chipped brush, grass clippings, straw, kitchen scraps, comfrey, sawdust, shells, shredded newspaper, or manure to help reduce weed seed germination. Additionally, the mulch technic will enhance the growth of the wanted crops.

4. Borax Powder

Borax powder is also known as sodium borate, disodium tetraborate, or sodium tetraborate, and it is mostly used as a color-safe bleach. In addition, the borax powder acts as a homemade weed killer that is natural and effective. You will only need to mix one tablespoon of the powder with one gallon of water and sprinkle the solution in the desired area.

5. Boiling Water

If you want to use natural ways to kill weeds that will leave your soil as it was, you could use boiling water. Using boiling water as a homemade weed killer is one of the easiest, natural, eco-friendly, and cheap weed control methods that are super effective. You will only need to bring water to boil and pour the boiling water directly into the garden or on the cracks on the paths; this way, you will get rid of the unwanted weeds on the pavements and garden.

6. Alcohol Solution

Rubbing alcohol will also kill grass and weeds in a couple of hours. You will only need to make a solution to the alcohol, dish soap, and water, pour it into a spray bottle and apply it to the area. The rubbing alcohol solution may be effective even on the cracks on concrete surfaces, but it is not a perfect formula for gardens because it can harm the crops.

7. Newspapers

Newspapers are another homemade weed-killing method that is super effective and cheap. To use the newspaper, you will only need to sprinkle water into the soil to ensure that the soil is damp or moist, then place the layers of the newspapers on your garden paths. You will then place a layer of your mulch on the newspaper.

The newspaper will prevent sunlight from reaching weed seeds and killing grass and weeds before they spring out. The newspaper will then break down and act as organic matter to the soil, which will make your soil richer.

8. Pulling

Digging is an outmoded weed control technique that entails using your hand or gardening tools to pull off the weeds. You will only need to use a pair of gardening gloves and pull the unwanted weeds from the garden or the pavements. You could also use gardening tools like a Fishtail weeder or Paving weeder to get rid of the weeds.

Benefits of a Homemade Weed Killer

If you are wondering how to kill weeds with homemade weed killer can be beneficial, you will be amazed at how effective and advantageous they can be, notwithstanding the size of your yard or garden.

1. Break-Down Effortlessly

The first advantage of using homemade weed preventers is that they will break down easily and be absorbed into the soil effortlessly without damaging the soil's pH and texture. In addition, some of the weed controllers like the mulch and newspapers will leave your soil even more fertile.

2. Minimize Weed Growth

The other advantage of homemade weed killers is that they will effectively kill and minimize weed seeds growth. Some of these homemade weed preventers like salt and vinegar will dry up the plants from the leaves, while others like cornmeal will stop the germination of the plants.

3. Low Chemicals Levels

The third benefit of homemade weed preventers is that they do not have high chemicals or toxins. The ingredients for the salt and vinegar, for instance, will not be harmful to the soil and will not leave chemical residues on the soil.

4. Easy and Cheap recipes

Lastly, homemade weed preventers are great because there are cheap and easy to prepare, and finding the perfect solution for your weeds and grass can be super easy. Some like the salt and vinegar solution will only require you to mix water, salt, and vinegar which will only take a few minutes to prepare.

Tips on How to Kill Weeds

The amazing thing is that a homemade weed killer is safe and does not require much work. Furthermore, they are chemical-free, effective, and will not likely harm the environment. However, homemade weed-killing solutions are organic and non-selective, which means they may kill any plants they come in contact with, and you will need to be careful while using them.

It might also be easier to get, ready-made weed killers that are just as effective and safe in comparison to home made ones.

Some of the homemade weed killers have strong scents which can irritate you and your pets. One of the tips for applying the homemade killer will be using the weed preventer early in the morning when there is no wind to avoid adulterating nearby plants and unwanted areas. Lastly, you can wear protective clothing and apply the weed preventer while kids and pets are not around.

Frequently Asked Questions about How to Kill Weeds

1. How do you permanently kill weeds?

If you are looking for a weed killer that will kill any vegetation, you could use permanent grass and weed spray that is non-selective and contains glyphosate. The glyphosate will kill all plants it comes in contact with because it will prevent the vegetation from making proteins that plants need to grow.

2. Should I pull weeds or spray them?

Pulling or digging up weeds is one of the most common ways to kill weeds, while spraying is another easy method that people use. Pulling the weeds entails removing the weeds, including the roots, entirely from the ground. Spraying will require you to know the right herbicides to use to get the desired result.

3. Is bleach or vinegar better to kill grass and weeds?

When you want to use bleach or vinegar to kill plants, it is important to note that bleach, like Clorox bleach, will kill plants and grass permanently and even lower the pH levels of the soil, but vinegar-killed weeds will grow after a shorter period. When they are both used in the right concentrations, they will both do a great job of weed control, but vinegar is a better option.

4. How do you kill weeds with vinegar?

If you are looking for a solution on how to kill weeds with chemical-free or toxic-free technics, using salt, vinegar, and water is one of the natural approaches you can use. Still, you should not that vinegar is not a permanent herbicide and weeds will eventually regrow.

You could add one gallon of vinegar, a cup of salt, and a tablespoon of liquid dish soap. Then use a spray bottle and apply it to the unwanted weeds. The salt vinegar will kill the plant up to the roots.

5. Can baking soda kill weed?

Yes, baking soda can kill plants and works as a homemade weed killer. However, it is important to note that baking soda acts as a non-selective herbicide. The baking soda tends to draw water from the weeds hence drying off the plant.

To use baking soda to kill weeds, you will need to mix the baking soda, a surface-active agent such as a dish detergent, and water. Then add it to a spray bottle and spry on the unwanted weeds.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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