No matter how long you've been gardening for, it's no secret that our lawns, flowerbeds, and gardens are susceptible to weeds. Weeds don't need to reach a full-blown infestation before they start to annoy us or ruin our pristine greenery. While you can purchase weed killers from the hardware store, you can also make a homemade weed killer from the comfort of your own home with just a few ingredients. It's time to take back control of your lawn!

Weed Killer Recipe

Two old dandelions

If torching your weeds or adding them to your dinner doesn't sound like a good idea, there is one recipe you can try. You can create your own homemade weed killer using a few simple ingredients.

What You'll Need

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

Steps

  • Combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
  • Use whenever pesky weeds sprout in your garden or on your lawn.

Why This Works

The salt and the vinegar work hard to reduce the moisture in weeds and the dish soap helps the salt and vinegar stick to the leaves and effectively kill weeds. The acetic acid in the vinegar sucks the moisture from a weed's leaves thereby drying it out and preventing future growth. Since salt is sodium chloride, the compound works a little more effectively to rid of some harsher weeds that vinegar wouldn't be able to pulverize on its own.

You should use this concoction on a sunny day because when you dry out the weeds, they'll shrivel and die throughout the day and by the time the sun goes down you'll have nothing left to worry about.

Natural Weed Killers

It can be tempting to gravitate towards store-bought weed killers because they swear they can get the job done. While they do dispose of any uninvited weeds, popular weed killers have been under the microscope for years as scientists try to determine whether they're ultimately doing more harm than good. It's also a well-known fact that some weed killers have the potential to damage the environment, harm pets, irritate the skin, and attack other plants that we actually wanted to keep alive.

With all of this negativity swarming around store-bought weed killers, it might be time to invest in natural remedies that will deter any pests from harming your lawn or garden. Some of these items are, too, found in stores, but they don't contain any harsh chemicals and are comprised of natural materials.

Mulch

close-up of bark mulch

The National Gardening Association recommends mulching to get rid of weeds. They suggest using a smothering mulch in order to accomplish a few things for you and your garden. First, a smothering mulch prevents the sun from reaching the soil thereby depriving weeds of light. Secondly, some of the more organic mulches will deteriorate into the soil and help feed your garden. Finally, mulching the weeds will also prevent new ones from growing, so you don't have to worry about another generation spreading into your garden.

You should aim to keep your mulch about two inches thick and you'll need to replenish it as it starts to decay.

Boiling Water

water boiling in a pot on the stove

One of the simplest and cheapest ways you can attack weeds is to pour boiling water over them. You simply need to boil some water in a pot or a kettle and then gently douse the weeds with it. You'll want to take extra caution to not inadvertently splash yourself with the water or any plants suffering from a weed infestation. You should get as close as you can to the weed and then slowly and carefully pour the boiling water onto it.

You'll also need to exert some caution when it comes to spreading the water to unoffending greenery. The boiling water may spread to other plants so you'll want to ensure you get as close to only the weeds as possible.

The results are immediate and it's one of the best, most organic methods. Though one treatment may not be enough, so if you see weeds start to sprout again you may need to repeat the process until the weeds clear out completely.

Plucking Them Out With Your Hands

a gardener ripping out a weed from the ground

A tried and true method for weed control is to merely pluck them out manually. The National Gardening Association suggests plucking weeds after rainfall due to the softening of a weed's roots. They warn that you should rip from the root of the weed as only pulling off its head will guarantee regrowth in the future.

Aim to use garden gloves during the process in order to avoid spreading weed seeds around your lawn or garden. You'll also want to have a garden tool on standby such as a claw to help loosen the soil around the affected area.

Lemon Juice

slices of lemon on a white plate on a pink background

This is one of the easiest and natural homemade weed killer because you can find lemons at a low cost in your local grocery store. You should avoid just squirting lemon juice from the fruit, however, and should instead aim to put lemon juice inside of a spray bottle and spray any offending weeds. You won't have to wait much longer than a few days before the acidity in the juice dries out the weeds and kills them. What's also great about this method is that you seldom need an additional treatment.

Newspaper Or Carpet Scraps

a bunch of folded up newspapers

We've found another way for you to recycle those old newspaper piling in your home. If you rip the pages to shreds then you can layer them on your soil and cover them with a smothering mulch. Not only will this help feed your garden as the materials begin to decay, but they also serve the same purpose as mulch: blocking out the sun from reaching the weeds. If you're looking to use newspaper then you should try to add about 3-4 layers before mulching.

Carpet scraps is another method you can try to accompany mulch. With an old rug, though, you shouldn't keep the scraps on your soil for longer than 11-12 months.

Each work in the same way. They block out the sun from reaching the weeds and prevent them or future generations from seeing the light of day again... quite literally.

Using Fire

fire burning on a black background

Not to say that you should take a flamethrower to your weeds (though the idea is certainly tempting) but you can use flames to eat away those little intruders.

According to garden.org, purchasing a weed torch is a good way to treat unwanted pests in the garden because when you pass the flame over weeds, it dries them out and inevitably kills them. Weed ecologist Tom Laine spoke with them and said that it doesn't take much heat either. "You know you're successful when the weed changes from a glossy to a matte finish. The weed may not droop immediately but will wilt and die within a few hours. Then you just leave the weed to compost naturally." He added that you just want to leave it at that since you don't want to disturb your soil and encourage more weeds to grow.

Most of the weed torches you'll find will set you back anywhere from $50.00 - $90.00. There are also safety tips to be followed such as not using flames during an extremely dry season, not using flames in high winds, always following the instructions of your torch, and keeping any extensions away from the tank and hose.

Off With Their Heads

a bird's eye view of a dying dandelion

Perhaps the most satisfying homemade weed killer on this list is to remove its head.

You can use a pair of shears or simply use your hands to behead them, but either way, this method has proved itself to be a fan favorite thanks to its success rate. Cutting off the heads of perennial weeds stops the seeding process and prevents them from spreading.

Some people have been known to mow over weeds when they're mowing the grass, but it's important to know that this doesn't always kill them. If you have perennial weeds sneaking up on your grass or garden then you mowing over them won't prevent them from trying to sprout again next year.

Make Yourself A Snack

a single dandelion in the grass

Talk about a homemade weed killer that kills two birds with one stone.

Believe it or not, there are several weeds out there that are perfectly edible. In fact, dandelions have been proven to be a bitter food packed with vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin A, C, and B6. It also contains calcium and iron and studies have shown that dandelions have a significant effect on type 2 diabetes.

They're not the only ones safe for consumption. Feel free to eat weeds like clover, purslane, lamb's quarters and plantains. They can be used in salads or ground into flour and many people prefer to indulge in a recipe rather than getting rid of weeds and having that be the end of it.

a lawn of green grass

Making a homemade weed killer doesn't take very much time, spending, or ingredients. Some of the ingredients you need are probably laying around in your pantry or shed as we speak. If you follow this guide you'll be able to finally have your lawn looking picture-perfect.

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