I’ve got an easy homemade weed killer recipe for you today, to help you tackle persistent weeds gently.
Weed killer is one of those things that makes me feel a bit uneasy. I don’t like to keep it in the house, and I certainly don’t like to use it in the garden. This is because of its strong links to the decline in bee populations and the linkages between cancer and glyphosate, the main ingredient in most commercial weed killers.
Instead, I’ve recently come up with my own eco-friendly homemade weed killer. This helps to tackle the persistent weeds that pop up through the cracks in our paving slabs and blight our yard, but is gentle on the wildlife that frequent it (like this little guy). I am fully embracing the beneficial weeds that grow in our yard and am keeping patches of weeds for the wildlife. I just don’t want the dandelions growing up through the cracks in our slabs!
The other week I mentioned that I’ve been trying to turn our unloved yard into a cared-for space that we enjoy using. Along with a good clear-out, a lick of paint, a few plants and hanging baskets, and this homemade weed killer recipe, I feel like I’m slowly getting somewhere with the yard.
This wildlife-friendly weed killer contains just three common household ingredients that you’ll probably have to hand. You just need some white vinegar, salt, and washing-up liquid. The vinegar and salt help to dry out the weeds. Meanwhile, the washing-up liquid ensures the salty vinegar solution sticks to the leaves of the weeds.
See the results for yourself!
Want the recipe? Of course you do! Here you go!
Homemade Weed Killer Recipe
You Will Need:
1 litre white vinegar (here’s where I buy vinegar in bulk)
3 large tablespoons of salt
3 teaspoons of washing up liquid/dish soap (preferably a more environmentally friendly brand that is not antibacterial – I used Ecover and it did the job)
Add your salt to your vinegar and stir until dissolved.
Once the salt is dissolved add your washing-up liquid, and stir well.
Decant it into a spray bottle.
That’s all there is to it!
How To Use Homemade Weed Killer
This homemade weed killer recipe works best on a sunny day. I’d suggest applying at midday, or just before, when the sun is at its peak.
The weed killer works indiscriminately on all plant life and can turn your soil acidic. For this reason, it’s best used to kill weeds that have appeared in the gaps between paving slabs or monoblocks, rather than to tackle the weeds in your lawn or flower bed, or wider areas.
Before you start, give the weed a shake to remove any insects on the plant to avoid harming them.
For small weeds and younger dandelions spray the solution directly onto the leaves.
For larger, more well-established weeds spray the leaves and also pour a good glug of the solution onto the plant. It’s very effective – you should notice the weeds beginning to wilt within an hour.
This homemade weed killer recipe probably won’t kill dandelion roots. However, it is a quick, easy, and green way to deal with dandelions and other weeds as soon as they appear.
As with any form of weed killer, commercial or homemade, you do have to exercise common sense when using it.
If you have pets, then keep them off the treated area, at least until the solution is dry. Vinegar and salt could be harmful to their paws or if ingested by them. If your pets are prone to eating plants, then, if you can, keep them off the area for at least a few hours whilst you treat the weeds. Then rinse the treated area with plenty of water before letting your pets back in the part of the garden you have treated. In full sun, this weed killer doesn’t take long to get to work on weeds.
If you can’t keep your pets off your slabs or paving, then do give this recipe a miss. Instead, use the eco-friendliest method there is – pulling up the weeds by hand.
Another key point is that you may want also want to rinse off the homemade weed killer solution with water before night falls. This is in case any local wildlife are walking over your slabs or paving – such as hedgehogs, foxes, or badgers. Salt and vinegar could be caustic to their paws or cause sickness if ingested. Again, rinsing off the solution prevents this from being an issue.
More green gardening tips this way! And if your house is plagued by fruit flies in summer, do see my tips on how to get rid of fruit flies naturally. I’ve also got some useful tips on what to feed wild birds in winter.