Homemade Weed Killer (10 Different Ideas!)

by Merissa on July 10, 2013

in Make Your Own

Ideas for Homemade Weed Killer for your garden and home.

Homemade Weed Killer

So we've taken care of the bug problem in our gardens, but what about weeds? They can be just as much of a terror as the little creepy crawlies. No matter if you have a full blown garden or just a patch of grass-weeds can creep in and mess it all up. Here are some tried and true at-home remedies for homemade weed killer that can help battle these green monsters.

1. Vinegar. This is what we use the most to kill the weeds in our yard. Spray some on a sunny day and watch them burn up. Be careful though not to spray your grass or other plants. (Pick up an empty Spray Bottle if you don't already have one.)

2. Salt. Placing salt at the base of the plant will cause it to die. Now, this won't work if you're in rainy season.

3. Corn Meal. This is an option if you are not wanting ANYTHING to grow in a particular area. Spreading this around will cause any seeds in that area to cease to grow.

Burning Flame

4. Burn Them. Running a slight flame (you can actually purchase a weed scorcher) over the weed will cause it to shrivel up and die. This is a pretty serious one!

5. Baking Soda.Β The added sodium in baking soda will help to kill weeds around your home. Like corn meal, it will kill all of the things around it so make sure that you only get it on the weeds! This is particularly a good method for weeds growing in cracks in sidewalks or driveways.

6. Pull them up. Well, I know this is a "duh" moment, but there's nothing cheaper than just getting your hands dirty and pulling up the weeds yourself. Some say this is therapeutic- I can't say I agree!


7. Place down newspaper. This is another method we love. Before planting flowers, we always place a layer of newspaper down in order to keep weeds at bay. This works incredibly well. You do have to replace it after about a year, but that's okay with us!

8. Rubbing Alcohol. Spraying this on a weed will cause the very life of it to evaporate. Another extremely cheap option.

9. Boiling water. This will kill pretty much anything. Great for larger areas (like driveways) where you want everything to evacuate quickly!

10. Eat them up. I love this idea. Many common weeds can be eaten in a fresh salad like dandelion. Talk about using your resources to your advantage!

Homemade Weed Killer

Getting rid of weeds doesn't mean running to the store and purchasing a bunch of chemicals to spray in your yard. As you can see, many items can be found right in your cupboards!

Gardening? You need to check out all of the articles we have on the Gardening 101 page!

The Gardening and Preserving Journal is here!Β If you are gardening or planning on doing any preserving this year, you NEED this wonderful sprial bound journal! Get your own copy here.


Do you have any other ways you've learned to get rid of weeds? Have you ever made your own homemade weed killer?


Print Friendly

Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

9:00 am

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mike the Gardener July 10, 2013 at 1:28 pm

I use newspaper as a weed barrier in my vegetable gardens, then place straw on top of that. Works great! You will get a weed here or there, but nothing like what you will get if you do not put it down.


2 Kathe July 10, 2013 at 3:48 pm

All good choices! I do like to go out and pull some every now and then…helps take my mind off things or releases any frustration πŸ™‚


3 Alecia @ Chicken Scratch NY July 10, 2013 at 3:56 pm

What a great round up! I’ve got wooden raised beds (super clay soil takes forever to dry in the spring without them) and the paths between them have been horribly neglected! I’ll have to try out a bunch of these


4 Cynthia L July 11, 2013 at 6:26 am

Great list! I recently found our about vinegar and it works like a charm. Never knew about corn meal. Will keep this in mind!


5 Mia K. Levy July 12, 2013 at 4:50 am

Mix thoroughly until the salt dissolves, pour into a hand-held spray bottle and spray the solution directly on the target weeds. For weeds growing out of cracks in driveways and sidewalks, some people pour salt directly on the weeds. Other people pour straight vinegar directly on weeds. Still others add a few drops of liquid dish soap to the recipe to help the solution stick to the weeds. The important thing to know about this homemade recipe is that is non-selective. Just like any weed killer, use it sparingly and with caution. Non-selective means it will kill or damage any plants or grass that come into contact with it. Also, try to avoid spraying it directly on the soil. Vinegar breaks down the soil structure and kills beneficial microorganisms. In areas where this is applied, the vinegar can render the soil sterile for several years. Other organic methods of weed control include hand-pulling, boiling water or torching.


6 Stacy @Stacy Makes Cents July 17, 2013 at 3:36 am

This is great! We use the vinegar method and it works like a charm – I’m going to post this link on FB today as my Daily Duh. πŸ™‚
Visiting from Works For Me Wednesday!


7 Ali @Crafty WI Mama July 17, 2013 at 8:31 am

I use the vinegar method frequently, but just as a note it doesn’t work on big weeds. I’m talking the ones you’ve ignored for 3 months, and are 3 feet high πŸ™‚ Probably another “duh” moment, but they are thorny and I don’t want to touch them. Other than those monsters… vinegar works well. I’ll have to try the cornmeal method around our mulched swing set.
Visiting from Thrift Home party.


8 Nancy H July 17, 2013 at 8:36 pm

How much newspaper constitutes a layer? We tried this last year in the front flower bed (of our rental) before putting down mulch and had weeds popping back up through after a few weeks. We’re trying to get it ready for a small vegetable garden for next summer (since family illness kept me from working at it more for this year) It’s been neglected for several years and the neighborhood dogs had destroyed it. Thanks! (And I’m going to try some of the other suggestions on this list for other weeds out back.)


9 Faulkner September 5, 2013 at 9:48 am

Weeds are the only green things in my yard. Why do I want to get rid of them?


10 Merissa September 5, 2013 at 9:49 am

Well maybe in that case you don’t! πŸ™‚


11 Keith Douglas September 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm



12 Keith Douglas September 12, 2013 at 5:00 pm

A gallon of white vinegar(you can get organic), 2 cups of salt, a tablespoon of dish liquid. Works great in our yard.


13 Merissa September 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Thanks for sharing that!


14 Lynn October 22, 2013 at 6:24 pm

My daughter uses flattened cardboard boxes in her raised vegetable beds, and rarely sees any weeds at all.


15 Cynthia Martin February 26, 2014 at 7:00 pm

How long will the cornmeal keep seed from germinating and can i plant area later.


16 Dianne Anthony March 7, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Corn Gluten Meal is the correct product. You spread it in the spring before weeds emerge. It prevents the seeds from germinating. Available at feed stores and natural garden centers. It is a preventer rather than a killer.
Dianne Anthony


17 Marcia March 7, 2014 at 9:55 pm

Great post, newspaper is so much better than commercial weed barriers. I am going to try the vinegar solution. I was wondering about corn meal attracting ants, we tend to have such a problem with them. I would cation anyone using bleach to not use it in an area frequented by the family pets. You never know what they will sniff/lick.


18 Delores September 3, 2016 at 3:07 pm

No worries about corn meal attracting ants. one of my most successful endeavors keeping the ant population down while I was on extended vacation. Someone told me to spread corn meal around because ants eat it and cannot digest it and it kills them. I had great success with that. I would like to suggest this be used around outside air conditioning units. I had two service calls on mine. The second time, i told the repairman it was the same symptoms as before. (He charge me $150.00). Second time, he said “I bet those ants got in there and built a nest again.” I watched this time while he took a hair dryer and blew the ants out of a small black box inside the unit. ($100.00 this time) I am 79 and that is the last time I paid for that. A screw driver and a hair dryer fixed that!


19 Susan March 7, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Merissa, I just love Little House Living. Your ideas are so down to earth and helpful!


20 Benjamin Comeau March 8, 2014 at 5:23 am

Regarding vinegar: most stores sell a 5% acidity formula. HEB, for example, sells a 9% acidity formula. Nurseries & garden centers often carry 20%. The higher the acid the better job at killing weeds. The 20% is usually cost prohibitive so the 9-10% solution is generally your best buy.


21 Merissa March 8, 2014 at 9:58 am

Thanks for the tip!


22 Tejas Prairie Hen June 2, 2014 at 10:20 am

I tried the boiling water method this spring for a small 5’x6’bed to try to get rid of the grass that was coming up. I filled two very large pots that I brought to a boil, and over the course of 3 hrs., I had poured boiling water over the entire area several times to thoroughly saturate the area. The next several days showed wonderfully green grass with many lively earth worms–in other words, this method did not work on my grass which was not very thick to begin with. I ended up spending hours hand-pulling it all so I could plant veggies there. I have also tried the vinegar and salt method in the past for some weeds that grow up between the sidewalk and porch. Unfortunately, that did not work for me either. Maybe we just have tougher grass and weeds in Texas? Any more ideas? My back can’t take much more!


23 Sammi May 21, 2015 at 1:28 pm

I tried the boiling water on the weeds in the cracks of my driveway and I think it just watered them because they are still nice and green. They are little weeds too so I would have thought it would have killed them. I will try vinegar next. Love these ideas πŸ™‚


24 Cara June 27, 2015 at 9:50 pm

Hi there,
These are really interesting tips for weed removal, thanks. Do you have any idea if any of those methods can get rid of bracken/ferns (except for the torching one – I’m aware that makes bracken growth even worse)? Well, I know pulling them works but, realistically, I’m unable to do that because there are *so many*! I’ve tried using store-bought weed killer in the past, but that was ineffective because it only killed the visible, top part of each fern and had no impact on the underlying root system. Come to think of it, the weed killer probably disrupted the PH balance of the soil even more as well, further creating an ideal environment for these ferns to fester in!

Part of me wonders if I could try planting something there to help enrich the soil (which is probably overly acidic, due to the ferns) AND help deter the growth of the ferns. These things are insidious, in that they kill/suffocate almost all other plant life in their midst (including grass!). Even more worryingly, these ferns are known to have carcinogenic properties and have been linked to mouth and stomach cancers in humans who live within close proximity to them. Suffice to say I want them GONE!


25 Roy July 9, 2015 at 11:26 am

I use old roofing shingles to prevent weeds in flower beds. Lasts much longer than newspaper or cardboard.


26 Maryanne April 1, 2016 at 10:48 am

I have tried the boiling water method, and it works. After I’m finished canning, I take the boiling water from the canner and pour it on weeds in the driveway. In fact, anytime I have boiling water left over I take it outside and pour it on the weeds.


27 Tracy Smith May 15, 2016 at 5:58 am

We are trying the burn method this year . Yes, my hubby bought the weed scorcher! We will see how it works!


28 Cristina at Ava's Alphabet May 21, 2016 at 8:49 pm

Great post! I spent much of the afternoon weeding my patio pavers by hand. Perhaps I will follow up with some baking soda to prevent any from coming back. Pinning to reference in the future for sure!


Leave a Comment

Thanks for taking a moment to share your thoughts and your story. I love to hear from you and love when you are able to add something constructive to the conversation! Please remember this is a supportive and encouraging community. LHL reserves the right to delete any personal attacks, rude or offensive language, or anything not deemed family friendly. If you don't have anything nice to say, please keep it to yourself.

See our Comment Policy for more information.