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Get Rid of Weeds with a DIY Natural Weed Killer / Shutterstock

A home garden can provide you with fresh, natural food to enjoy throughout the spring and summer. When you eat food from your garden, there is no question about where it came from or where it has been. But before you can enjoy the fruits of your labor, you need to have a plan for dealing with one of the biggest threats to your garden: weeds.

How to make homemade weed and grass killer

Keeping the weeds away is one of the most difficult parts of having a successful home garden. There are a variety of herbicides on the market that promise to provide excellent results. However, many home gardeners want to avoid using weed treatments that contain a long list of unknown chemicals. If you are looking for a natural weed killer for your garden you can up a homemade weed and grass killer.

Natural Weed Killer Recipe


Combine the vinegar, salt, and dish soap in a plastic container to make a vinegar and salt weed killer. Horticultural vinegar is 20% acetic acid—much higher than typical household vinegar—so be sure to wear eye and hand protection. Do not use metal utensils to mix this vinegar weed killer because the vinegar can damage metal. Once mixed, put your DIY weed killer in a spray bottle and apply directly to the weeds. Apply natural weed killer during the day to ensure that it has time to work its way into the leaves of the weeds. If you want to use vinegar and salt to kill weeds, be sure and spray the entire weed with the mixture because it is a contact weed killer.

The pros and cons of using natural weed killer

There are pros and cons to any weed control option you choose. Pulling weeds by hand is an effective and natural weed killer. Weeding by hand can also be back-breaking and time-consuming work. If you cannot keep the weeds out of your garden with hand weeding alone but do not want to use herbicides full of chemicals, using a natural weed killer is the next best option.


  • Natural weed killer is made with recognizable ingredients that are easy to find. The natural weed killer recipe outlined above is made with ingredients that you can pronounce and that are easy to find. You may even already have them in your home.
  • You can control the levels of the ingredients when you make natural weed killer. Mixing up your own weed killer will allow you to experiment with the levels of the ingredients to determine what works best for the weeds in your garden.
  • You know exactly what is in the natural weed killer. When you mix your own natural weed killer, you do not have to wonder or worry about what it is or how it impacts the food from your garden. You can quickly research the three simple ingredients in the natural weed killer recipe to get peace of mind about what you are using to control weeds.


  • The wrong timing can make natural weed killer ineffective.  Since natural weed killer is a contact killer, it must be applied while the plant is actively growing in order for it to have an effect. This means you need to be proactive about applying it during the day to give the weed killer time to permeate the weeds and take effect. In addition, you may find that you have to apply natural weed killer more often in order to get the timing right.
  • Natural weed killer will not prevent future weeds. If you are looking for a weed killer to keep weeds away for good, this recipe is not the right option. This natural weed killer is not a permanent solution for getting rid of weeds in your garden. This recipe is designed to kill current weeds. Fortunately, there are some natural pre-emergent options—such as corn gluten—that can help you prevent future weeds.
  • Natural weed killer is slower acting than some of the chemical options on the market. The natural weed killer recipe outlined above is not the quickest option for eliminating weeds. There are some herbicides on the market that provide visible results in minutes. If you are dedicated to using a more natural option it will require some patience and persistence.

The bottom line on making DIY weed killer

Does vinegar kill weeds? Can you use salt to kill weeds in your garden instead of harsh chemicals? Results may vary. Hopeful home gardeners are always on the search for weed control solutions that do not threaten the safety or quality of the food they grow. The bottom line on making a DIY weed killer is that you have to weigh your desire for a natural weed solution against your desire for a quick fix. Ultimately, it is quicker and easier to use a fast-acting chemical weed killer that you purchase online or at the hardware store. If you want to grow a garden without using commercial weed control products, it will require you to pull weeds by hand, mix your own natural weed killer, and learn about other methods that help minimize weed growth naturally. It is possible to grow a successful garden without using hard-to-pronounce chemicals as long as you are willing to put in the extra work.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does vinegar kill weeds?  
Vinegar can be an effective option for killing weeds because of the acetic acid in the vinegar. Household vinegar contains a low percentage of acetic acid so for maximum effectiveness you should use horticultural vinegar for weed control.

Does DIY weed killer work? 
DIY weed killer can work but it requires more time and effort than using chemical herbicides.

Are there options for preventing weeds naturally?  
You can use a pre-emergent to prevent weeds from returning in the future after you pull them by hand or kill them with a natural weed killer. One natural option for preventing weeds is corn gluten.

Is natural weed killer effective on seriously overgrown areas?
Natural weed killer is best used for maintenance in small areas. A seriously overgrown area will most likely require a combination of tilling and pulling weeds by hand to get it back under control.

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