Having a yard to take care of feels like a bit of a luxury after years of apartment living. I haven’t always loved yard work (at least not as a child), but I sure do now. I find it relaxing to be outside grooming the plants and keeping things looking tidy.
I do not, however, like weeds—and I’m not alone in that sentiment! But I also don’t like using a bunch of harmful, toxic chemicals to get rid of them so here’s a super simple natural weed killer that’s safe to use near pets and children.
It’s a modern day catch-22. Here’s how I make my own natural weed killer using a few secret ingredients that actually work.
The Secret Ingredient for a Natural Weed Killer
Pulling the weeds is definitely the most obvious way to help control or get rid of them, but it’s not always the easiest. Simply tugging on the leaves doesn’t always pull weeds up at the root. Once they break off, they simply grow back a few days or weeks later, forcing you to repeat the entire rigmarole all over again. But there is something that actually does work—and it’s much less labor-intensive: white vinegar.
Just put this natural weed killer into a spray bottle and and go to town! Within a few hours, they will dry up and become easier to pull from the ground. (Make sure to get the whole root, too!)
Here’s the catch: The vinegar will also harm the plants you want to keep, so it’s important to use a stream vs. spray with the vinegar. I find this to be most effective on the weeds between the stones on my patio and sidewalk where I don’t want any plants to grow.
When using on the lawn, I’m very careful to get down close to the base of the plant and give it a few squirts of vinegar. I let it sit for a few hours, then go back and pull them out. And obviously, it’s nice to get the weeds when they are tiny, but the big ones will shrivel and dry up just as much as the smaller ones.
Just a word of warning: since vinegar works by drying out the leaves of the plant, it won’t be nearly as effective if it gets rinsed off too soon (you know, like if it rains the next day). It also works best with help from the sun, so if you spray it on weeds in the shade, you may need a couple applications to get rid of them.
Otherwise, easy as can be, right?
More natural weed control options
- Water the area around weeds to loosen roots before you pull them
- Insert a knife or screwdriver alongside the root to help dig it out
- Pour boiling water on them
- Sprinkle salt on weeds to shrivel them (just be careful you don’t get it on your lawn!)
- Add lemon juice to the vinegar to increase acidity (which should help kill them faster)
How do you kill weeds in your yard or garden?2