All-Natural Homemade Weed Killers That Really Work

Learn how to kill those pesky weeds with natural ingredients you already have on hand. 

Yes, your lawn is manicured and beautiful, but did you know that such perfection can actually make it more susceptible to weeds? Dandelion, crab grass, basically anything with a seed, loves to work its way into neatly clipped grass and Pinterest-worthy gardens.

One natural way to keep weeds at bay? “Keep the lawn long so it takes longer for seeds to work their way down the ground,” says Leslie Reichert, founder of Green Cleaning Coach. Or try the old-fashioned method: “Sometimes you can’t control exactly where the weed killer disseminates when sprayed. If you’re afraid of brown spots in your lawn, a weed puller and a bucket can be your best bet.”

For something a little stronger, but still natural and chemical-free, try these do-it-yourself solutions to wage the war on weeds with ingredients most likely laying around the house.


Homemade Weed Killer

Photo by Onfokus/Getty Images

Try this make-at-home weed killer: a gallon of vinegar, a cup of salt or borax, and a tablespoon of dish soap. To apply, use a spray bottle where you can control the nozzle for either a spray or stream. If it’s a small area, shoot a stream; if it’s an all-over weed situation, go for the spray. However, “be careful with it,” Reichert advises. “It doesn’t know the difference between a weed and a flower.” Especially when using the more potent borax, the solution can also kill the soil so that nothing else will grow around it. This method works best on a sunny day, as the natural acid will burn the plant and the salt will shrivel it up by sundown (the dish soaps helps the solution stick to the weeds).



Even professional landscapers are known to use this simple trick. If your garden is infested, use a weed whacker to address the culprits, then lay down yesterday’s headlines. Newspaper blocks beginning weeds from growing and new seeds from forming by shutting out sun and air. Top it off with mulch and the weeds won't show up, Reichert says.


Boiling Water

It’s inexpensive, simple, effective, and completely free of chemicals. For areas like cracks in sidewalks and driveways, take a pot of boiling water and pour it on the weeds; it will kill them right away, Reichert says. Be sure to get close to the plant and pour slowly, to avoid being splashed. If the weeds re-grow, repeat the process until the area is free and clear.


Lemon Juice

This pretty fruit not only grows in the garden; it also helps keep it pristine since citrusy lemon juice serves as a natural acid to kill weeds. Fill a spray bottle with lemon juice and saturate any perpetrators—the natural solution will dry up and kill the leaves within one or two days (if you don’t have an abundance of lemon trees in the backyard, a bottle of ReaLemon also does the trick). For an extra-strong formula, mix the lemon juice with acidic vinegar (the kind sold at garden stores or nurseries is stronger than supermarket options).