Make Your Own Natural Weed Killer

Tackle troublesome garden weeds the sustainable way.

Related To:
A solution of vinegar, salt, and dish soap can be a cheap and effective tool against some weeds.

A solution of vinegar, salt, and dish soap can be a cheap and effective tool against some weeds.

A solution of vinegar, salt, and dish soap can be a cheap and effective tool against weeds.

A solution of vinegar, salt, and dish soap can be a cheap and effective tool against weeds.

Even in the best of plots, weeds will grow. And why wouldn’t they? You’ve provided inviting soil and the sun shines on even the most reviled plant. If you are fighting the good fight against those unwelcome visitors, there is no shortage of chemical options for clearing the decks, but many are now seeking alternatives to commercial herbicides as we enjoy a long-overdue trend toward "greener" living.

Pulling weeds by hand is always the most reliable solution, but I accept that there are times when herbicides may be the practical choice. For small outbreaks or perimeter weeds, though, I prefer to seek out a response other than the use of synthetic chemicals. Fortunately, a cheap and easy natural alternative using ingredients from the pantry will get the job done. To a point.

When looking for a natural alternative to herbicides, a cocktail of vinegar, salt and liquid dish soap has all of the ingredients needed to quickly kill weeds. Acetic acid in the vinegar and the salt are both very good at drawing moisture from weeds. Dish soap acts as a surfactant, which is an agent that will reduce the surface tension that can cause the weed-killing concoction to bead on the leaves instead of being absorbed by the plant. On a warm, sunny day, the results of this homemade spray will be obvious in a matter of hours as weeds turn brown and wither.

Depending on the weeds and the season, the results can be speedy and effective. But there are downsides. Unlike some chemical solutions, this formula is not built to work its way into the root system, meaning multiple treatments will probably be necessary to keep weeds at bay. Additionally, when looking for a quick fix, sunshine makes a big difference and the 5% acetic acid in most household vinegars may fall short of expectations against hardier weeds.

Shortcomings aside, keeping a spray bottle of this homemade solution on hand is an inexpensive and often effective weapon against weeds that may pop up along walkways, fences or house foundations. Spray the targeted weeds and avoid dousing the soil or nearby plants. This weed killer doesn’t have its Master Gardener certification and can’t tell the difference between weeds and the plants you’d prefer to keep around.

This natural weed killer is great for light weeding, but when it comes to tending to the garden, don’t put away your gloves just yet. Keep pulling.

Natural Weed Killer

  • 1 gallon white vinegar
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and treat weeds at the sunniest time of day for best results.

Keep Reading

Next Up

These Natural Weed Killers Actually Work

We tested natural weed-killing solutions.

Natural Born Killer: Sustainable Ways to Defeat Weeds

HGTV blogger Meagan Francis offers four ways to kill weeds without chemicals.

Q&A: Killing Dollar Weed

It's hard to kill weeds without affecting your plants, but there are a few things you can do to save them.

Improve Weed Control by Mulching

Constant weeding and mulching are what it takes to keep weeds from germinating.

Q&A: Japanese Stiltgrass

Learn about this invasive exotic weed that thrives in a variety of soil and light conditions.

How to Kill Weeds Without Hurting Your Garden

Aggressive weeds will take over your garden—but you can fight back without harming your valuable plants.

How to Defeat Bermuda Grass

It's best to get the jump on this garden pest in spring.

How to Control Nutgrass and Johnsongrass

Combat persistent weeds with a creativity and simple maintenance.

Weed Beater: Dandelions

Dandelion seeds can remain viable for decades when conditions are not conducive to germination.

When to Apply Herbicides

Gardening experts share tips on when to apply pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides.

On TV

Log Cabin Living

6:30am | 5:30c

Log Cabin Living

7:30am | 6:30c

Fixer Upper

8am | 7c

Fixer Upper

9am | 8c

Fixer Upper

10am | 9c

Fixer Upper

11am | 10c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Desert Flippers

1:30pm | 12:30c

Desert Flippers

2:30pm | 1:30c

Desert Flippers

3:30pm | 2:30c

Flip or Flop

4:30pm | 3:30c

Flip or Flop

5:30pm | 4:30c

Flip or Flop

6:30pm | 5:30c

Flip or Flop

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Flip or Flop

8pm | 7c

Flip or Flop

8:30pm | 7:30c

Flip or Flop Atlanta

9:30pm | 8:30c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

11:30pm | 10:30c

Flip or Flop Atlanta

12:30am | 11:30c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

House Hunters

2:30am | 1:30c

Flip or Flop

3:30am | 2:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.