If gardening is one of your favourite hobbies, then weeds might be your worst enemy too. They demolish the beauty of your garden and interrupt the growth of other plants. The most irritating thing about weeds is that they multiply so quickly that there is no other way than curtailing their spread as soon as possible. There are many weed killers available in the market, but all of them are composed of strong chemicals that may harm your plants too. Here, the need for homemade and safe weed killers arises. We have listed some of the best weed killer recipes that you can make at your home. Have a look at them!
1. Boiling Water
Water, however, contributes to the growth of plants and weeds, boiling water could do just the opposite of it. It is the burning temperature of boiling water which eliminates the weed growth. You can simply pour a pot of boiling water on weeds. It will scorch the weeds and kill them. Instead of especially boiling water to kill weeds, you can consider using the water in which you have boiled potatoes or any other vegetables. It is the easiest of all natural weed killer (1).
Note: Make sure that you don’t pour boiling water on the plants as it doesn’t work selectively. It will kill the plants as well ().
Vinegar serves as the best natural weed killer. The acidic nature of vinegar helps in eliminating the weeds However, it works best on the broad leaf weeds than on grass weeds (3, 4). It can be used directly or in diluted form on the unwanted weeds to deplete their growth. It can be used with various other ingredients too, such as mixing with dish soap. It works as a good alternative to glyphosate, as it contains acetic acid, which doesn’t harm the neighbouring plants much, you wish to keep safe (5).
The first scientific evidence of vinegar being a potent herbicide, has been offered by Agricultural Research Center scientists. They declared that it’s not only environmentally safe, yet an inexpensive option for organic farming (6).
- To prepare homemade organic weed killer, you can add 1¼ cups of table salt and 2 tbsp dish soap to a gallon of household vinegar. Spray it on the weeds you want to kill. This vinegar and salt weed killer is an effective way to remove weeds from your lawn ().
2. Clove Oil Spray
Clove oil spray is also another useful organic alternative to chemical weed killers (8). As per a study conducted by USDA on the effectiveness of clove oil treatment, it turned out that it works better on warm season weeds during summer conditions than on winter weeds.
Bleach is an excellent spot remover, but it is also a good natural weed killer (9). Pour some bleach in a spray bottle and use it on the weeds you want to kill. The chemicals present in it helps destroy the weeds. Be very careful while using this remedy because if you accidentally sprinkle bleach on other plants, it may harm them too.
Also, don’t keep it for more than a month, as it might lose its potency with time ().
Note: The major drawback of using bleach as a weed killer is that you won’t be able to grow any other plant in the treated area as it increases the pH level of the soil.
Salt is the best weed killer for lawns, but it can cause damage to the surrounding soil as well. This is why it should be used with caution. You can sprinkle rock salt or table salt on the unwanted weeds. It will destroy the weed spread and check on their further growth. However, due to its mobility it can reach to near by areas too and cause damage for good plants. So, a careful usage is advised (11).
- To make a liquid solution of the salt, you can follow this natural weed killer recipe. Mix one part of salt with two parts of water. Spray this solution on the weeds to get the desired results.
5. Corn Meal
Corn meal gluten prevents the growth of weeds (12). The additional benefit of corn meal is that it not only stops the weeds from growing but also breaks down the nitrogen to fertilise your lawn (13, 14). But, overuse can damage water supplies and also attract rats (15). When you sprinkle corn meal in a particular area, no seed will be able to grow into a plant. It means that it actually doesn’t kill the weed but puts a check on their further growth.
6. Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol kills weeds by sucking the water out of them and thus, causing their death. You can spray rubbing alcohol on the weeds. However, it may harm the other plants too, so be careful while spraying it in your garden.
- Alternatively, you can dilute 1-2 tbsp of alcohol with 1 ltr. of water. Spray it on the weeds to kill them in a natural way. Increase the amount of alcohol for the tougher weeds (16).
You can choke the weeds using newspapers. It won’t require any chemical solution. Just cover the weeds with a thick layer of newspapers, so that they cannot get enough sunlight and die eventually. The layer of newspapers should be at least four sheets thick to properly cover the weeds to stop them from sprouting due to the lack of sunlight (17).
8. Borax Powder
You can also use the cleaning agent borax to kill the weeds in your garden. Dilute it with water and spray the solution on the leaves of weed to destroy them (18).
Note: 1) Make sure that soil doesn’t soak this solution as it may make the soil infertile.
2) Avoid direct contact of this mixture with bare skin.
3) Borax can be hazardous for children and pets. So, make sure you keep it out of their reach (19).
9. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice works exactly like vinegar. It kills the weed and prevents their further growth too. You can use plain lemon juice to spray on the unwanted weeds ().
- Or, mix half a cup of lemon juice with one quart of vinegar and spray it in your lawn to remove the undesired weed spread.
10. Dish Detergent
Dish soap is a popular homemade weed killer. Mix equal parts of dish soap and water in a spray bottle. Use this solution to prevent the weed growth in your garden.
- Another option is to mix dish soap liquid with vinegar. Spray this mixture on the weeds during the hottest part of the day.
- Or else, you can add two tbsp of dish detergent and 1/4 cup of salt to one quart of vinegar. Mix all the ingredients well. Spray it on the weeds to eliminate them from your garden.
11. Baking Soda
Baking soda proves to be an effective weed killer. First of all, moisten the weeds with water and then sprinkle baking soda on them. Repeat this remedy after a month, if you don’t get the desired results (22).
Take a tsp of dishwashing liquid, one tbsp each of vinegar and gin. Combine all three ingredients and add four cups of water to it. Pour this solution into a spray bottle and spritz it on the weeds (23).
Pour a gallon of 10% white vinegar in a large pail. Add two ounces each of liquid dish washing detergent and orange oil. Stir properly and pour this solution into a spray bottle using a funnel. Drench the weed growth with this mixture and see its results within a couple of days. Repeat this remedy after two or three days to eradicate weeds completely from your garden.
- Or else, take one tbsp of any citrus oil like lemon or orange. Mix it with full strength vinegar and spritz it on the weeds (24).
14. Organic treatment
This method is useful for removing water weeds. Fill a gunnysack with barley straw and place this sack below the plant you want to eliminate. Tie the sack with a rope to a stone so that it can remain fix in the water. It has been proved that one sack of barley straw is sufficient to kill weeds in per 10 square feet of water space (25).
Words of Caution
3) Make proper partitions and edgings in your garden to keep the weeds at bay.
4) Plant more and more healthy trees to outnumber the weeds. These plants will give competition to weeds for nutrients and sunlight. Maintaining a thick and healthy garden is the best way to keep the number of weeds minimum (32).
5) While using any weed killer, make sure that you don’t spray it on other plants as it may curtail their growth too.