Easy Homemade Weed Killer Recipe

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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’ve got little kids, so 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 devised 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 frequents it (like this little guy).

Don’t worry – I am fully embracing the beneficial weeds that grow in our yard. And I am keeping patches of weeds for the wildlife. I just don’t want the dandelions growing up through the cracks in our slabs!

Dandelions on a patio with a blue text box that reads how to make a homemade weed killer recipe

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. That’s all there is to it.

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!

homemade weedkiller recipe

Want the recipe? Of course you do! Here you go!

Homemade Weed Killer Recipe

You Will Need:

1 litre of 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 Bio-D and it did the job).

A spray bottle (here’s where I buy my spray bottles for all my green cleaning needs).


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 dry sunny day. I’d suggest applying it 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, 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.

Safety Considerations

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 also want to rinse off the homemade weed killer solution with water before night falls. This is in case any local wildlife walks 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.

I have got 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.

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  1. Thank you for sharing this homemade weed-killer recipe! I appreciate the simplicity of using common household ingredients like white vinegar, salt, and washing-up liquid. I’m excited to try this eco-friendly solution in my own yard.

  2. Does anyone know what the vinager is made from? And should I be looking for organic vinager. I am trying to avoid glyphosate

    1. Vinegar is made by feeding oxygen into vodka, wine, or other spirits. The oxygen causes a bacteria to grow which changes the liquid to vinegar.

      It’s 100% natural, non-alcoholic, and safe for foods (making pickles, sauerkraut, etc)

      1. If you spray this directly on to the plant, will it kill down to the root or will it require another treatment a few weeks later?

  3. It’s so good to consider alternatives to chemicals and I thankyou for your contributions towards a more considerate world. Ultimately I think the only way to get rid of weeds is a good tool to fit the dig with good old elbow grease. This way there is minimal harm and more benefited eg upper limb strength and no weeds. Also Dandelions are bee-friendly as well as make good tea and salad.

  4. Can i just ask about the products like vinegar. Are we using a product that is sustainable to produce? In using more natural products are we burdening the producers and the land.
    I know the whole subject is awash with complications but it is worth considering as we change are ways.

  5. Please don’t use BOILING WATER, it’ll kill every insect anywhere near which defeats the object of an eco-friendly weedkiller.

  6. How does this solution affect the insects, does it kill them too ??? I don’t want to eradicate them as well. Cheers.

    1. As I recall from a toxicologist’s assessment a couple of years ago, considerably more toxic than Roundup!

  7. You know, dandelion leaves are actually edible. Pick the leaves before the plant flowers and they make a lovely addition to salads. They also have a whole host of health benefits. Perhaps you could change the way you look at these plants- instead of persistent weeds, you could see them as bonus veges that have popped up in your yard. There’s nothing better than free vegetables that take no effort on your part!

  8. Yes! Vingear is great. I’ve also had great luck with simple boiling water – it’s perfect for cracks between concrete, too. Same results and easy-peasy. :)

  9. I have found a quarter teaspoon of salt in the centre of a dandelion or similar rosetted weed will kill it root and all. It is best done when there will be no rain for 24 hours. Don’t get salt on other plants as it will kill these as well.

    1. Using salt is definitely harmful to hedgehogs. It burns their feet as they walk over the treated area. I would not call this an ethical solution at all.