Weeds are one of the most frustrating and troublesome problems gardeners face. Not only are they an awful eyesore ruining perfectly sculptured gardens and patios, but they actively take up moisture, nutrients, and sunlight that other plants need, increasing competition in your garden and reducing the health and survival chances of your more desirable and delicate flowers and plants.
This is unacceptable, but what can gardeners do to fight back against the endless encroachment of weeds?
They are very difficult to remove, notoriously hardy, and often spring back up after a few weeks just when you think you have finally gotten rid of them!
One potential solution that some people rely on is weed killer, which is available from various brands and uses various chemicals and agents to kill and prevent weeds from growing.
However weed killer can be expensive, and not only that but the very agents used to kill weeds in weed killer can have a terrible effect on your soil health and your other delicate plants, which makes many gardeners hesitant when it comes to strong commercial weed killer.
Thankfully however there are alternative options open to gardeners who don’t want to use shop-bought weed killer, regardless of the reason.
Homemade weed killers can be just as effective as branded weed killers but are often much cheaper, much less more readily available and a little less offensive to your plant life and soil in many cases.
There are a ton of options available to you if you know what to do, and in this guide, we’re going to highlight some of the strongest and most effective homemade weed killers to help you spend more time tending to your plants than fighting off weeds!
1. Vinegar Weed Killer
First on our list of strong homemade weed killers is vinegar!
While many people may not know this, vinegar is an effective weed killer due to the fact that it contains acetic acid, which can attack weeds and kill them very effectively.
There are several different types of vinegar, and each one has a different percentage of acetic acid in it. The best option for weed killing is the 5% acetic acid content of white vinegar, however, it is possible to get higher percentages in other types of vinegar.
The 5% option is great as it’s cheaper than the more potent vinegar but has everything you need to totally destroy weeds.
How To Use
To use this vinegar as a weed killer you need to pour the vinegar directly onto the weed itself or use a spray bottle to cover the weed in the vinegar.
While the type of weed you’re fighting can play a part in how effective and fast vinegar is at killing weeds, you can expect to see results in 10 to 14 days, however, you can see results sooner than this or slightly later.
If you don’t notice any improvements after 21 days, reapply the vinegar or consider trying a different weed killer as this option may not be effective for some reason.
You can use a mixture of this vinegar and half water to make a general household cleaner too and as a means of removing ants and, so keep this one in mind as it’s a great value all-around option that should be every gardener’s first weapon against weeds and other issues.
2. Salt and Vinegar Weed Killer
This is another excellent homemade weed killer that uses the same 5% vinegar as the above solution, but adds salt and some other ingredients to become even more effective!
- 1 liter of white vinegar
- Three tablespoons of salt
- Three tablespoons of washing up liquid
- A spray bottle
How To Use
Take the spray bottle and fill it with vinegar and salt. Shake the bottle and allow the salt to dissolve into the vinegar, then add the washing-up liquid and continue to shake to agitate and mix these ingredients.
You can now spray this mixture onto weeds to kill them very effectively.
This method works on both weeds and plants so discretion and care must be taken when using this weedkiller to avoid damaging your beloved plants!
It’s also important to note that this mixture could affect your soil quality and make your compost slightly acidic for a while, so prepare for this and monitor your plants closely for any signs that this may be affecting their health. It’s best to avoid this method for plants that are particularly sensitive to acidic soil.
3. Salt Weed Killer
It’s well known that salt can have a terrible effect on plant life, as the famous expression of salting the earth refers to rendering fields totally lifeless by salting them, a terrible punishment for medieval criminals and nations at war.
While weed killing isn’t anything so dramatic, salt is no less effective at killing plant life, and if used carefully salt can work well at preventing weeds from growing.
- 2 parts salt to 1 part water for your mixture and the required amount of each depending on your desired amount
- A spray bottle
How To Use
To make this mixture simply add some water and salt to your spray bottle using the above measurements, and then mix it well.
Then spray on the weeds or the area where you want to prevent plants or weeds from growing.
This will almost certainly kill the weeds very effectively. It is possible to pour salt directly onto areas of your garden or weeds if you’re wanting to totally destroy your soil and make it impossible for plants to grow, however, this is an extreme measure and most gardeners won’t want to resort to this level of damage to their garden, regardless of how many weeds there are as the soil will take a long time to recover.
4. Baking Soda Weed Killer
Baking soda can be used as a weed killer and to do this you need to simply get some standard baking soda and sprinkle it where you want to kill or prevent weeds.
This works well on paths and driveways as well as patios and can be used to keep cracks and gaps in your stonework clear.
Be warned however that using this on soil is a dangerous idea as it can hurt your other plant life and soil quality much like salt.
5. Boiling Water Weed Killer
Boiling water is a good choice of weed killer as it is much less offensive and dangerous than other chemical agents.
All you need to do is boil some water either in a kettle or pot, and pour this onto the weeds you want to remove.
Unlike chemical treatments, using this method is less dangerous to your soil and other plants, but the drawback is that you may need to do this several times to achieve the desired effect.
6. Bleach Weed Killer
Bleach is well known for its cleaning uses and its relatively dangerous qualities as a chemical, but few know it can also work as an effective weed killer that works very quickly and effectively.
- Spray bottle
How To Use
Just add some bleach diluted with water into a spray bottle and spray it onto the weeds you want to kill.
The danger with bleach is that it’s a toxic chemical that will kill almost anything it touches, so don’t use this in key areas of your garden or on soil that you want to plant in as this will likely affect the soil for some considerable time.
7. Cardboard Weed Killer
Most people know that plants need sunlight to grow, and without it, they will die fairly quickly. The same goes for weeds, which rely on sunlight to create energy and grow.
Creating a cover to stop weeds from getting access to sunlight is a great way of killing weeds without ruining your soil quality or affecting your other plants.
All You Need Is
- Cardboard Boxes
- Something to weigh it down or hold it in place
All you need to do is find a box big enough or small enough to cover the weeds or area of your garden you want to cover and place the box or newspaper over it, weighing it in place with whatever you can.
After some time the weeds should die off and the cardboard/newspaper will break down and help nourish your soil which is a nice bonus!
8. Borax Weed Killer
Borax is a chemical that is actually banned in some parts of the world now, but depending on where you are and if you have access to it, it can work well as a weed killer and functions in a similar way to baking soda, although it is a little more harmful and dangerous so its best used away from soil and healthy plants.
Use in a method similar to the baking soda method above, but take care with it as it’s more toxic than baking soda.
9. Lemon Juice Weed Killer
Lemon juice is another easy-to-use weed killer which is readily available!
All you need to do is fill a spray bottle with some real lemon juice and spray the weed until it’s saturated and the citric acid should kill it relatively quickly.
Usually, this takes only a day or two.
You can combine lemon juice and vinegar for an even more potent and effective weed killer if you have a larger problem.