How To Prepare Homemade Weed Killers With Vinegar, Salt & Alcohol (4 Tested Recipes)

Homemade Weed Killer

What if you can get rid of those hideous finger grasses, dandelions and knotweeds within 8-24 hours?

And that too, without purchasing expensive chemical weed killers.

Wouldn’t it be cool?

We will discuss 4 easy-to-make homemade weed killer recipes to help you achieve that.

And relevant precautions and considerations you need to take.

So let’s start!

But why you need to worry about weeds?

But why you need to worry about weeds

We wouldn’t bore you with botanical terms and phrases. Weeds are simply unwanted plants in undesirable places.

Plants that are not needed where they grow.

Imagine hairy bunches of crabgrass growing in a mesmerizing blue flower bed. Wouldn’t it be just disgusting?

It could also be spaces and crevices of driveways, cobbled pathways or garden edges/boundaries.

But why are they undesirable?

  1. Because they suck up the nutrients of the soil leaving less portion for your plants.
  2. Destroy the beauty of the place (think of those green extensions coming out of the spaces of your stoned sidewalk)

Homemade Weed Killer Recipes

Here’s the good news. You can get rid of these unsightly weeds by natural weed killer recipes using common household items.

These weed killers should be an integral part of your useful garden products because you’d be needing them quite a lot.

They are effective and environmental-friendly. So without further detail, let’s dive right in.

Recipe#1- Salt (Not Epsom Salt), White Vinegar, Soap

Recipe#1- Salt (Not Epsom Salt), White Vinegar, Soap

Vinegar 1 gallon
Salt 2 cups (1 cup= 16 tablespoons)
Dawn (Dishwashing liquid soap) ¼ cup

1. Pour the vinegar, measure salt in the container and mix it until dissolved.

2. Add the dishwasher soap and mix it but not much that it forms a lather.

3. After 2 mins, transfer it on the spray bottle and soak the entire weed with it.

You might have seen recipes including Epsom salt on the internet but that is not correct.


Epsom salt contains magnesium and sulfate which are in fact, essential plant nutrients. Are you trying to kill the plant or grow it?

Salt on the other hand, contains sodium that is poisonous for the weeds. It restricts the intake of moisture by the roots which eventually dehydrates the weed.

Epsom salt solution may work as well but that would only be because of the other two ingredients. Why not replace it with a component (salt) that enhances the effect?

This above recipe works because the acetic acid in the vinegar pulls out the moisture from the weeds and turns them brown.

While dishwasher soap works as a surfactant and helps the ingredients to stick to the leaves so they are better absorbed.

This mixture doesn’t reach the roots (and destroy them completely) so the weeds can grow again. But it is super effective.

After all how much time was invested in preparing and applying it? You would see the result within 8-24 hours.

Recipe #2 – Boiling Water & Salt

Recipe #2 – Boiling Water & Salt

Boiling water ½ gallon
Salt 1 Tablespoon

1. Boil the water after adding salt.

2. Shifting the mixture to a sprayer might be dangerous so you can simply pour the mixture over the weeds.

The water needs to be above 200oF, as directed by the University of California Integrated Pest Management Online.

Now if the roots of the weed are deep within the soil, the water may not reach them and they may grow back again but if the boiling water and salt reach the roots, they will destroy the root tissue and make the weed die completely.

So, it is a win-win situation in both cases. After all, you are being saved from the use of chemical weed killers that are harmful to the environment.

This is a great recipe to keep a stock of among gardening must-haves to get rid of younger and new weeds.

You are advised to follow the other recipes involving vinegar if the task at hand is a more demanding. Also, only use this on driveways and pathways because hot water can be harmful to the soil.

Recipe #3 – Apple Cider Vinegar & Salt (Not Epsom salt)

Recipe #3 – Apple Cider Vinegar & Salt

Apple cider vinegar 2 ratio
Salt 1 ratio

1. Add the vinegar in the spray container before pouring salt into it.

2. Shake them well.

3. Apply on the weeds and brush away the dried remains easily.


Recipe #4 – Rubbing Alcohol & Water

Recipe #4 – Rubbing Alcohol & Water

Rubbing Alcohol 2 Tablespoons
Water ¼ gallon

1. Dilute the alcohol with water and transfer it in the spray bottle.

2. Apply directly on the weeds and see the result in 1 day.

Rubbing alcohol dries out the plant by pulling water from it. This can work for almost all types of weeds.

What is the best time to apply these homemade weed killers?

What is the best time to apply these homemade weed killers
Image Source pinterest

After preparing the solutions, you would be eager to apply it but before that, read these considerations.

  1. The best days to apply herbicides are the non-rainy days; otherwise, the rainwater can wash away the solution from the leaves’ surface.
  2. Don’t apply weed killer on a windy day because the fast currents will blow away the solution droplets. This can also distribute the droplets on other useful plants of your yards, which you don’t want.
  3. If you are applying the mixture in summers, do it early in the morning when the sun is rising because that is when the plant growth (absorption) is fast. Also, if done in bright sun, the droplets will be evaporated and the desired effect may not be achieved.
  4. In winters, you would want to apply the DIY weed killer solution after the dew has evaporated otherwise, the dewdrops can slide off the droplets along with them.

Precautions when applying the weed killer

And now what you should be careful about.

  1. Let’s be honest about it. The recipes we have mentioned above are not specifically for weeds. It would harm all other plants as well so you would want to keep them away from the spray.
In fact, they are most effective if weeds you are trying to kill are isolated from other plants.
  1. Vinegar can cause skin inflammation and irritation so you should always wear your garden gloves before applying the solution.
  2. If you plan to grow plants at the spot where you are spraying the weed killer, we recommend you don’t do it all. Because the salt will remain in the soil for long enough and increase the salinity levels, many plants cannot tolerate such saline levels.

Other ways to get rid of weeds

Natural weed killers are most effective for discarding isolated weeds; growing separately from the desired plants as even with full care, some drops can still find their way on the neighboring leaves.

mulch in a flower bed
Image Sources pinterest

1. Pulling out weeds by hand is the traditional but the safest method if you ask us especially if the weeds are growing close to the desired plant species.

Plant weeders
Image Source pinterest

2. A root remover will help you to remove distinct weeds growing in between in the grass.

Other ways to get rid of weeds
Image Sources pinterest

3. Another option to remove weed from a larger area is to use a weed trimmer brush blade. It removes weed accurately and makes sure that whole of the place gets free from weeds and mushrooms.

Carbon Steel Weed Brush & Trimmer
Weed Trimmer Brush

4. Mulching is another option. Cover the weeds with 2-3 inches of mulch. It stops the path of sunlight and they would die eventually.

black paper on a garden edge
Image Source Pinterest

5. Another method that gardeners recommend especially when creating a garden edge, is spreading a durable black sheet before placing decorative material over it. This stops the passageway of the sunlight and the weeds eventually dry out.

6. We also have the option of chemical weed killers that are meant for specific crops and weeds. They are made with components that will only affect the weeds and not the other plants generally. But they are not environmental-friendly.

Concluding lines

Try out these recipes and tell us how they turned out in the comment section. You can also post the before and after pictures with us.

We have tested them ourselves and they work just fine. Keep visiting our blog for more interesting stories.


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  1. Can you add the rubbing alcohol to the mixture of vinegar salt and Dawn dish liquid recipe? Would that work even better? Thanks!

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