Yes—as long as you understand that homemade, all-natural weed killers work differently from synthetic herbicides. Many synthetic herbicides are systemic—meaning once sprayed onto the weed, they infiltrate the entire plant—leaves, stems, roots, and all—to kill the plant. This vinegar-based weed killer doesn’t kill the entire plant. Instead, it burns the foliage, making it difficult for the plant to survive (and easy to remove).
If you can stir or shake, you can make homemade weed killer. Here is the gist of it, and we have a printable version at the bottom of the post—print it out and put it in your garden journal.
How do vinegar and salt kill weeds?
Vinegar weed killer works best on broad-leafed weeds, however, it will kill (or at least brown) grass as well. This weed killer is non-selective—meaning it will burn or kill any plant it touches.
We’ve tested recipes with liquid dish soap and instead, we prefer using orange oil. Orange oil also works as a surfactant, but it also helps mask the scent of vinegar, and it creates a barrier on the leaves of weeds to help lock in the chemical reaction. If you like to add dishwashing soap, go for it, but one bottle of orange oil will go a long way (and it smells sooo good)! We recommend experimenting to find the perfect formula for weed killer for your garden.
Because kitchen vinegar is so affordable, we really wanted to make this work—but no matter what we tried (mixing it with salt, adding orange oil, adding dishwashing soap, spraying at different times of day, spraying at different amounts), we couldn’t get good results with distilled vinegar. It consistently killed the foliage on about a third of our weeds.
Alcohol dehydrates plants and is a great way to eliminate them organically. Adding a little dish soap to the solution helps the vodka stick to the plant surface longer and is more effective.
Make sure that the layer of mulch is consistent to prevent any weeds from taking root in areas where mulch is less than three inches thick. Natural mulch breaks down over time, so check the mulched areas yearly and add more as needed.
Bring a stockpot of water to a boil and carefully pour the boiling water into a watering can. Immediately carry the can outside and pour the water directly onto the lawn weed, slowly and cautiously, to prevent splashing any on yourself or nearby foliage. Repeat daily until the weed plants are withered and dead.
Lemon Organic Weed Killer
Vinegar is also ideal as the best way to kill a centipede, spider, or other creepy crawlie that invades your space. Keep a bottle on hand to spritz unwanted weeds and insects.
Use a hoe to work the soil while looking for any leftover, broken roots. Place all parts of the weed into a garbage bag and dispose of them to prevent spreading.
It’s critical to your lawn that you do not cut the grass too short. While this may eliminate the need for frequent mowing, it is unhealthy for the grass. When grass is too short, it becomes vulnerable to the sun and heat.
Make sure that you will not be expecting any rain for a couple of days after treatment. Pour corn gluten meal into a lawn spreader and spread it across the yard at 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Use a garden hose to water the lawn until it receives a one-quarter inch of water.