Natural weed killer recipe

Updated April 17, 2017

Weeds can be a nuisance in an otherwise perfectly manicured lawn. They are unsightly and can be irritating to an avid gardener. Instead of spending a lot of money on name-brand weed killers, make an effective homemade recipe for a fraction of the cost. Natural weed killers are also safe to use around children and pets.

Vinegar, Salt & Dish Soap

Vinegar, salt and bleach-free dish soap can work individually or combined as a natural weed killer. In a spray bottle or watering can, combine 1 qt. household vinegar, 1/4 cup salt and 2 tsp liquid dish detergent. Shake until the salt is fully dissolved. The combination of the three can kill other plants as well, so only spray the weed, or spray an entire area to clear it.

According to the USDA, when using vinegar "Canada thistle, one of the most tenacious weeds in the world, proved the most susceptible; the 5-percent concentration had a 100-percent kill rate of the perennial's top growth." Household vinegar is reportedly a 5-percent concentration. A 20-percent concentration will kill Canada thistle in about two hours.

Salt works to dehydrate plants in the same way too much salt can dehydrate humans. Place salt around the stalk of the weed. It will eventually die from lack of water.

Dish soap is used to help the solutions stick to the leaves and stalks of the weed. If mixing with vinegar alone or with vinegar and salt, it will do the same.

Lemon Juice & Vinegar

Mix 1/2 cup of each in a spray bottle or watering can and spray or water the weeds with it. The high acid content in the combined lemon juice and vinegar kills weeds when it is sprayed on them.

Boiling Water & Vinegar

Boil a few cups of water and put it in a tempered container with 1/2 cup vinegar. Pour it directly on the weeds daily until they die. The boiling water will cook the roots of the weeds.


According to Gail Delaney,'s gardening editor, gin combined with a vinegar-and-soap solution will kill weeds. Mix 29.6ml. gin, 28.4gr. vinegar and 1 tbsp dish soap or baby shampoo per qt. of water. Coat the weed and spray the ground above its roots. Two tbsp of rubbing alcohol can also be mixed with 1 qt. of water and sprinkled on the weeds.

Baking Soda

Sprinkle baking soda onto crabgrass to kill it. The soda will, however, kill other plants and grass, so don't sprinkle it close to them.

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About the Author

Randi Cardoza has been writing since 2008. Her specialties include health and fitness, DIY projects, home improvement, gardening and crafts. She received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in marketing from Western Illinois University.