what is the strongest homemade weed killer? Tackle Weeds the Natural Way

Weeds can be a persistent problem for gardeners and homeowners alike. In the quest for a perfect lawn or garden, many people turn to homemade weed killers as a natural and cost-effective solution. In this article, we'll explore the strongest homemade weed killer recipe, discuss its effectiveness, and provide natural alternatives for weed control. Keep reading to learn how to make homemade weed killers that really work and maintain a weed-free lawn and garden.

The strongest homemade weed killer is a mixture of white vinegar, salt, and liquid dish soap. These ingredients have special properties that combine to kill weeds effectively. One recipe for a potent homemade weed killer includes the following ingredients:

  • 3 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup regular table salt
  • 2 tsp blue Dawn dish soap (works best, but you can use others)
  • 3 tsp liquid arthritis rub (optional, but it intensifies the reaction and works better on thick and hearty weeds)  

To make the weed killer, combine all the ingredients in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture to the weeds during the sunniest part of the day, as the sun and heat help dry out and kill the weeds. Spray the weeds from close range. The effect of the weed killer should be evident in a few hours, with the leaves of the weeds turning brown and eventually withering away.

Keep in mind that this homemade weed killer does not seep down into the roots of the weeds like some chemical products do, so you might need to make multiple passes for tougher weeds.

Key Takeaways

  • The strongest homemade weed killer recipe combines white vinegar, salt, and dish soap.
  • Each ingredient plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of the weed killer.
  • Homemade weed killers can have downsides, such as non-selective nature, soil damage, and frequent application.
  • Natural alternatives to homemade weed killers include vinegar solution, boiling water, mulch, cornmeal, propane torch, baking soda, and rubbing alcohol.

what is the strongest homemade weed killer

How the Ingredients Work

Each ingredient in this homemade weed killer recipe plays a crucial role in its effectiveness:

  • Vinegar: The acetic acid in vinegar burns and kills the plant, making it an effective natural herbicide.
  • Salt: Salt dehydrates the plant and disrupts its internal processes, contributing to the weed's demise.
  • Dish soap: Dish soap acts as a surfactant, helping the vinegar cling to the weed's surface longer, increasing its effectiveness.
  • Liquid arthritis rub (optional): This ingredient intensifies the reaction and works better on thick and hearty weeds.

Are there any downsides to using homemade weed killers?

There are several downsides to using homemade weed killers:

  1. Non-selective: Homemade weed killers, such as the vinegar, salt, and soap mixture, are non-selective, meaning they can kill other plants they come into contact with, not just the weeds
  2. Ineffectiveness: Homemade weed killers may not be as effective as commercial products, especially for perennial weeds or those with extensive root systems. They typically kill the top growth but not the roots, allowing the weeds to grow back.
  3. Frequent application: Homemade weed killers often require frequent application to be effective, which can be time-consuming and impractical for homeowners.
  4. Health risks: Some homemade weed killer recipes may include harsh chemicals like bleach, which can be harmful to your health if they come into contact with your skin or are ingested.
  5. Environmental impact: Although homemade weed killers are often considered more environmentally friendly than commercial products, they can still have negative effects on the environment, such as disrupting soil pH and affecting nearby plants .

what are some natural alternatives to homemade weed killers?

There are several natural alternatives to homemade weed killers that can help you manage those pesky weeds in your garden without causing harm to other plants or the environment. Some of these alternatives include:

  1. Vinegar solution: A mixture of distilled white vinegar and dishwashing liquid can be an effective natural weed killer. The acetic acid in the vinegar helps to burn and kill the plant, while the dish soap acts as a surfactant to help the vinegar cling to the weed's surface longer.
  2. Boiling water: Pouring boiling water on the leaves of the weed can be an easy and effective method to kill them. The hot water damages the plant cells, causing the weed to wilt and die.
  3. Mulch: Mulching is an excellent weed control method, as it provides a barrier that keeps weeds well below the surface, eventually causing them to die due to the lack of sunlight.
  4. Cornmeal: Cornmeal gluten (ground from dried maize) acts as an organic herbicide and is free of toxic chemicals. Scatter cornmeal over the soil to prevent weed growth.
  5. Propane torch: A propane torch can be used to burn weeds, causing them to wilt and die. This method is best suited for weeds growing in cracks and crevices, as it can be difficult to control the flame and avoid damaging nearby plants.
  6. Baking soda: Sweeping baking soda into the cracks where weeds grow can help to kill them. Be careful not to harm nearby grass or other healthy vegetation in the process.
  7. Rubbing alcohol: An ethanol-based liquid like rubbing alcohol can cause water loss in weeds, making them wilt and die. Mix rubbing alcohol with water and spray it on the weeds to achieve .

Remember that natural alternatives may not be as effective as commercial weed killers, and they might require more frequent application. However, they are generally safer for the environment and other plants in your garden.

Can homemade weed killers harm pets or wildlife?

Homemade weed killers can potentially harm pets or wildlife if they contain ingredients that are toxic to animals or if they are ingested or come into contact with the animal's skin.

For example, vinegar and salt, which are common ingredients in homemade weed killers, can be harmful to pets if ingested in large quantities however, there are pet-safe homemade weed killers available, such as those made with clove oil, lemon oil, or cornmeal 

It's important to note that even natural or homemade herbicides can still harm soil, garden plants, animal life, or humans if not used properly. To minimize the risk to pets and wildlife, consider using pet-safe weed killers and follow the application instructions carefully.

Effectiveness of Homemade Weed Killer vs Commercial Products

When comparing the effectiveness of the strongest homemade weed killer to commercial products, it's essential to adjust your expectations. Homemade weed killers, such as vinegar, salt, and dish soap solution, can be effective against small weed seedlings and destroy the green leaves above ground. However, they have very little effect on roots and may require multiple applications to fully kill the weed.

 On the other hand, commercial products like Roundup, which contains glyphosate, are absorbed by the leaves of growing plants and transported to the roots, killing the entire plant slowly but effectively.

Comparison of Homemade Weed Killer Ingredients with Commercial Herbicides

The active ingredients in homemade weed killers, such as vinegar (acetic acid), salt, and dish soap, act as contact herbicides, only damaging what they touch.

They work effectively on young annual weeds with small roots but are less effective on perennial weeds with extensive roots and vegetative systems.Commercial herbicides, like glyphosate, are systemic herbicides that target the entire plant, including the roots, making them more effective against a broader range of weeds.

Real-life Test Results of Homemade Weed Killer vs Chemical Herbicides

In a real-life test comparing homemade weed killers with commercial products like Roundup, it was found that vinegar-based solutions caused significant burning and damage to the weeds. However, the initial kill is only part of the test, and it's essential to consider how long the weeds stay down.

In this case, the commercial product Roundup was more effective at killing the roots of the weed and keeping them down for a longer period Another study found that homemade weed killers containing acetic acid provided initial control of 70 to 100% for the treated species, but their long-term effectiveness was not mentioned.

In conclusion, homemade weed killers can be effective in controlling weeds, but they may not be as potent or long-lasting as commercial products. They are best suited for small-scale weed control and may require multiple applications to achieve the desired results.

However, they can be a more eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to chemical herbicides for those looking to reduce their environmental impact.

How often should the strongest homemade weed killer be applied for optimal results?

The optimal frequency for applying the strongest homemade weed killer depends on the specific weeds you are targeting and the effectiveness of the initial application. It is generally recommended to wait at least four hours after the first application before applying another round of the weed killer.

However, some sources suggest not applying vinegar-based weed killers more often than once every two weeks to prevent soil damage and maintain soil health.

Keep in mind that homemade weed killers may require multiple applications to achieve the desired results, especially for perennial weeds or those with extensive root systems.

Are there any precautions to take when using homemade weed killers?

When using homemade weed killers, it is essential to take certain precautions to ensure the safety of yourself, your family, and your garden. Here are some precautions to consider:

  1. Wear protective clothing and gloves: Protect yourself from potential skin irritation or exposure to the weed-killer ingredients by wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, gloves, and goggles.
  2. Avoid spraying on windy days: Wind can cause the weed killer to drift onto desirable plants or other areas of your garden, potentially causing damage.
  3. Keep children and pets away from treated areas: While homemade weed killers are generally safer than commercial products, it's still essential to keep children and pets away from the treated areas until the solution has dried.
  4. Avoid spraying near desirable plants: Homemade weed killers are often non-selective, meaning they can kill other plants they come into contact with, not just the weeds. Be cautious when applying the solution near plants you want to keep.
  5. Properly dispose of leftover weed killer: Store any leftover weed killer in a sealed container, and dispose of it according to your local waste disposal guidelines

By following these precautions, you can safely and effectively use homemade weed killers to control weeds in your lawn and garden.

Frequently Asked Questions - Strongest Homemade Weed Killer

1. What is the strongest homemade weed killer?

The strongest homemade weed killer is a combination of vinegar and salt. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which helps to kill weeds, and salt acts as a desiccant, drying out the plant.

2. How can I make a homemade weed killer?

To make a homemade weed killer, mix one gallon of white vinegar with one cup of salt and one tablespoon of dish soap. Stir the mixture well until the salt is completely dissolved. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and apply it directly onto the weeds.

3. Homemade weed killers that really work best on all types of weeds?

Homemade weed killers can be effective on many types of weeds. They work best on young, actively growing weeds. However, some stubborn weeds with deep root systems may require multiple applications or additional methods to completely eliminate them.

4. Can I use homemade weed killer on my lawn?

It is not recommended to use homemade weed killer on your lawn. The vinegar can kill the grass along with the weeds. Instead, consider using other lawn care methods to control weeds, such as regular mowing, overseeding, and proper fertilization.

5. How long does it take for homemade weed killer to work?

The time it takes for homemade weed killer to work can vary depending on the type and size of the weeds. In general, you may start to see wilting and yellowing of the leaves within a few hours or days. For best results, apply the solution on a sunny day when the weeds are actively growing.

6. Will homemade weed killer prevent weeds from growing back?

Homemade weed killers can help to suppress weed growth, but they may not prevent weeds from growing back entirely. Weeds have resilient root systems and can regrow if any parts of the roots are left behind. To minimize weed regrowth, make sure to apply the solution directly to the leaves and stems, targeting the root system as much as possible.

7. Can I use apple cider vinegar as a homemade weed killer?

Yes, apple cider vinegar can be used as a homemade weed killer. It contains acetic acid, similar to white vinegar, which helps to kill weeds. However, apple cider vinegar may have a milder effect compared to white vinegar, so you may need to apply it more frequently or use a stronger concentration.


Homemade weed killers, like vinegar, salt, and dish soap solutions, can be an effective and eco-friendly way to kill weeds in your lawn and garden. However, there are downsides to consider, such as potential damage to other plants and soil, as well as the need for frequent application. By exploring natural alternatives and using homemade weed killers responsibly, you can maintain a beautiful and weed-free lawn and garden.