A Natural Method for Killing Weeds

4 Materials
$1
15 Minutes
Easy

With kids and pets, a natural way to kill weeds is your best bet. This method is also more economical than commercial weed killers. You may already have these items around the house. It probably only costs $1.00 a bottle to make.

This homemade product is best used on weeds that come up between bricks / pavers on patios. If used on a lawn or garden it will kill grass and flowers / vegetable plants. It cannot discriminate between weeds and other plants.

I use a cocktail of (5%) white vinegar, plain table salt and liquid dish soap to quickly kill weeds on my brick patio. Acetic acid in the 5% vinegar and the salt are both very good at drawing moisture from weeds. This causes death to the plants.

Stick to 5% white vinegar. Do NOT use the stronger vinegars available. You can find 5% white vinegar in the food section of the grocery store. Dish soap acts as a surfactant. The soap helps the vinegar / salt solution to stick to the leaves.

Applied on a warm, sunny day, the results of this homemade weed killer spray will be obvious in a few hours. Total death in a few days.
Weeds on my patio! Looks so bad!
Take a plain empty plastic spray bottle. Add 1 tablespoon to 1/2 cup plain table salt. Then pour in 5% white vinegar. Store brand is fine. Then add a squirt of your favorite dishwashing liquid.
This solution is pet safe, after it dries.   The 5% white vinegar and salt can burn paws, so it is best to wait unit the solution is dry to welcome them in the area. It will also hurt the eyes if the spray gets into them.
Store brand 5% white vinegar.
Check the label for 5% acetic acid. Do NOT use stronger. Stronger vinegar may damage your skin, and the surface you are spraying.
Store brand salt is fine. You may use Iodized salt or plain salt. After adding a squirt of dishwashing liquid (your favorite) - shake the bottle to mix thoroughly. It should have a slight color, from the dishwashing liquid.
Spray the solution on the weeds. If you have any open sores on your hands, the solution may burn - so wear gloves.
For best results, saturate the weed.
Totally saturate the weed. You may notice that this solution may clean green and dirty areas of the patio.
The weeds are already dying after 1 1/2 hour!
I did this application on a warm spring sunny day. After 1 1/2 hours, the weeds are already dying.
Weed dying after 1/1/2 hours. Weeds will continue to die over a few days. For tougher weeds, a second application may be necessary.

When weeds die and turn brown, they can be easily swept up. If you leave them they will disintegrate and blow away!
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Have a question about this project?

292 questions
  • Cherie Gibson
    Cherie Gibson
    on Apr 23, 2018

    Will this kill the grass? I'm try to kill weeds that have burrs on them but not my grass. Tks


    • Deirdre
      Deirdre
      on Apr 24, 2018

      Yes it will. It says "If used on a lawn or garden it will kill grass and flowers / vegetable plants."

    • Sir10482626
      Sir10482626
      on Apr 24, 2018

      Yes it will kill grass and flowers, it states can not discriminate grass from weeds. June.

  • Alison
    Alison
    on Apr 24, 2018

    I'm confused ! It says " add 1 tablespoon to 1/2 cup plain salt...1 tablespoon of what ? Water ? As no water has been mentioned at all , & without water this mixture would be too dry to spray ?

    • The10083601
      The10083601
      on Apr 24, 2018

      She means as much as 1 tablespoon , or as much as 1 cup. She wasn't combining or adding two things together.

    • Che17993302
      Che17993302
      on Apr 24, 2018

      She says salt.

    • Dch11896252
      Dch11896252
      on Apr 24, 2018

      The vinegar is what takes the place of any water as it's liquid.

    • Sally Frazier
      Sally Frazier
      on Apr 24, 2018

      I have been making this concoction for years, i just add vinegar, salt and a couple shots of blue Dawn and yes, water. There is no secret recipe. Just mix it up the way that feels correct to you. I mix this in an old spray weed killer bottle which allows me the option to spray and/or stream. And i usually use apple cider vinegar as i think it has a little more strength than white vinegar. So to recap, table salt, a couple shots of Dawn, vinegar AND water/ shake and use. No magic.

    • Ang22901062
      Ang22901062
      on Apr 24, 2018

      Yes, it means BETWEEN 1 TABLESPOON AND HALF A CUP OF SALT. I reckon half a cup is about 3 tablespoons, so the measure of salt is between 1 and 3 tablespoons. Fill the bottle with vinegar and add a squirt of washing-up liquid.

    • Paperdoll
      Paperdoll
      on Apr 24, 2018

      8 Tbls. is a half a cup. 3 Tbls. is less than a forth of a cup. It all depends on the size of your spray bottle as to how much salt to add. Even if you have a quart size spray bottle, I would think a half cup is too much. I'd use about a forth cup ( 4 Tbls.) in a quart size sprayer.

    • Paperdoll
      Paperdoll
      on Apr 24, 2018

      8 Tbls. is a half a cup. 3 Tbls. is less than a forth of a cup. It all depends on the size of your spray bottle as to how much salt to add. Even if you have a quart size spray bottle, I would think a half cup is too much. I'd use about a forth cup ( 4 Tbls.) in a quart size sprayer.


    • Karen Chan Seet
      Karen Chan Seet
      on Apr 24, 2018

      If you use 1 tablespoon, use less vinegar. If you want to make a full bottle's worth, use half cup of salt. We're not making cupcakes here so the measurement does not need to be exact.

    • Alison
      Alison
      on Apr 27, 2018

      Thank you to all who took the trouble to answer...I was obviously reading it wrongly...just colour me old thicko gaga woman !!!!!

  • Lily
    Lily
    on Apr 24, 2018

    We live in Australia what would you recommend as a alternative to Dawn dish soap.

    • Ann22833479
      Ann22833479
      on Apr 24, 2018

      Any dish soap will do

    • Barbara
      Barbara
      on Apr 24, 2018

      Nearest to it is Fairy.


    • Lisa S.
      Lisa S.
      on Apr 24, 2018

      I have used different types of dishwashing liquid. Really any type will do. The dishwashing liquid helps the solution to adhere to the plant.

  • Lily
    Lily
    on Apr 24, 2018

    We live in Australia what would you recommend as a alternative to Dawn dish soap.

  • Den27457764
    Den27457764
    on Apr 24, 2018

    Will this poison the soil if you use it to kill weeds in the lawn?

    • Ric25939588
      Ric25939588
      on Apr 24, 2018

      Yes, article says it will “Kill grass and plant / vegetables area” best used only on bricks.

    • Lyn14297196
      Lyn14297196
      on Apr 24, 2018

      I don’t think it will poison the soil

    • Joya D'amato-Devico
      Joya D'amato-Devico
      on Apr 24, 2018

      Yes it will. I've done it.


    • Dac8247514
      Dac8247514
      on Apr 24, 2018

      The salt WILL, in essence, "poison" the soil. It stays in the soil for some time - has a residual effect - and plants will die or struggle in soil contaminated by salt.

    • Ahe12021641
      Ahe12021641
      on Apr 24, 2018

      Yes. Salt deposits in soil stay for years. Don't use it anywhere you want plants to grow again...better yet...dig them out. Much safer.

    • Ahe12021641
      Ahe12021641
      on Apr 24, 2018

      Yes. Salt deposits in soil stay for years and the dish soap has phosphates that will get into the water shed and cause algae in the rivers. Don't use it anywhere you want plants to grow again...better yet...dig them out. Much safer. It probably isn't as bad as the atore-bought weed killer your neighbor uses....but still not great for the soil.

    • Patricia_Moran
      Patricia_Moran
      on Apr 24, 2018

      You don’t need to use salt or soap- just use straight vinegar as it works every time for me

    • Amanda
      Amanda
      on Apr 24, 2018

      It will kill anything you spray it on but it doesn't poison the soil. If you're concerned about that, you can thoroughly drench the area with plain water after you clean up the dead weeds.

    • Jerry Russell
      Jerry Russell
      on Apr 24, 2018

      Thank you for the Tip, Have a good day mate!

    • Hpdorf
      Hpdorf
      on Apr 24, 2018

      I simply boil water, and pour it into weeds coming up between bricks. No salt, vinegar or other residuals left behind.

    • Susan Miles
      Susan Miles
      on Apr 24, 2018

      it will KILL ANY plant. DO NOT USE IN LAWN. along borders where there are weeds or anything that's ok that dies. It will eventually disapate from the soil so that you can grow other things, flowers etc, but it may take a few months if rain to rinse the potency of the solution. The upside is that weeds are gone for that period also

    • Patrick Doucet
      Patrick Doucet
      on Apr 24, 2018

      It will not poison actually poison the soil but over time and if you get a lot of rain it will put too much salt in the ground which is not good for a healthy lawn

    • Lisa S.
      Lisa S.
      on Apr 24, 2018

      The solution is not poison per say. It is safe, although the dishwashing liquid would give you diarrhea if you drank it. The vinegar will become less acidic as it mixes with water. The salt will also dissolve over time and wash away. But I would not plant anything in that area right away.


      This solution is intended for stubborn weeds, or use in between pavers. I have used it on weeds and wild trees which I have been unable to get the root. Rather than using poison spray, which I cannot use in my back yard due to my dog, I use this solution.


      In between pavers it is a good thing for it to prevent anything from coming up right away. In the spring I have so many in between the pavers, it would be labor intensive to pull them all out by hand - and really difficult to get the roots.

  • Anna-rose Smith
    Anna-rose Smith
    on Apr 24, 2018

    I am surprise that there is no water added?...have I missed something??...also how much Vinegar, to salt to soap liquid, ie ratios? to get the right strength please??


  • Pe
    Pe
    on Apr 24, 2018

    How much salt to vinegar?

  • Sdh16598688
    Sdh16598688
    on Apr 24, 2018

    To the salt how much water is added..

  • Gol27234186
    Gol27234186
    on Apr 24, 2018

    Sounds great. But what are the proportions in your recipe? Is it a tablespoon of salt to half cup of vinegar? Thanks

  • Fran Taylor
    Fran Taylor
    on Apr 24, 2018

    I used this last year and the salt crumbled my cement sidewalk. Would it work without the salt.

  • Mary
    Mary
    on Apr 24, 2018

    How much vinegar?

  • Mary
    Mary
    on Apr 24, 2018

    How much vinegar?

  • Merle Stokes
    Merle Stokes
    on Apr 24, 2018

    How to repair a broken fan blade and is it safe

  • Lee
    Lee
    on Apr 24, 2018

    So this is 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1/2 cup salt and a squirt of dish soap? Do I have the vinegar amount right?? Don't you fill up the bottle with vinegar?

  • Terri Knoell
    Terri Knoell
    on Apr 24, 2018

    "Take a plain empty plastic spray bottle. Add 1 tablespoon to 1/2 cup plain table salt. Then pour in 5% white vinegar. Store brand is fine. Then add a squirt of your favorite dishwashing liquid." One tablespoon of what?

  • Can this solution be used on and between Trek decking ?

  • Jeanne
    Jeanne
    on Apr 24, 2018

    Will this kill poison ivy?


  • Linda Hubbard
    Linda Hubbard
    on Apr 24, 2018

    How much vinegar to 1/2 cup of salt?

  • Kathy Mccrary
    Kathy Mccrary
    on Apr 24, 2018

    How much vinegar to salt?

  • Kathy Mccrary
    Kathy Mccrary
    on Apr 24, 2018

    How much vinegar to salt?

  • Kathy Mccrary
    Kathy Mccrary
    on Apr 24, 2018

    How much vinegar to salt?

  • Kathy Mccrary
    Kathy Mccrary
    on Apr 24, 2018

    How much vinegar to salt?

  • Barbara Wood
    Barbara Wood
    on Apr 24, 2018

    How much vinegar?

  • Pjb6082146
    Pjb6082146
    on Apr 24, 2018

    So just to clarify, you use 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 cup vinegar with a bit of dish washing soap. Is that right?

  • Susie Palanza
    Susie Palanza
    on Apr 24, 2018

    Will this kill moss?


  • Susie Palanza
    Susie Palanza
    on Apr 24, 2018

    Will this kill moss?


  • Susie Palanza
    Susie Palanza
    on Apr 24, 2018

    Will this kill moss?


  • Susie Palanza
    Susie Palanza
    on Apr 24, 2018

    Will this kill moss?


  • Angus021461
    Angus021461
    on Apr 24, 2018

    Will this affect other animals also.

  • Dahliaqueen
    Dahliaqueen
    on Apr 24, 2018

    And no stain on pavers or bricks? Thanks

  • Heather Cochran
    Heather Cochran
    on Apr 24, 2018

    I would ya this but would it work under house in our crawl space to all our pipes that come up into house and around the outside of house to kill ants? I’ve been using baby powder to get rid of them inside house but they find another place to come in at and it’s getting frustrating to keep seeing ants all over the place especially in kitchen what can I do?

  • Elc27006546
    Elc27006546
    on Apr 24, 2018

    How much vinegar do you put in with a 1/2 cup of salt? or what is the ratio of vinegar v/s salt?

  • Slg28633603
    Slg28633603
    on Apr 24, 2018

    Do you use the entire 64 ounce bottle of vinegar to 1/2 cup of salt?

  • Ce.21616544
    Ce.21616544
    on Apr 24, 2018

    Can you spray this in mulch where weeds have come up

  • April.north
    April.north
    on Apr 24, 2018

    How much vinegar and how much salt?

  • Fmc28075385
    Fmc28075385
    on Apr 24, 2018

    What size bottle?

  • Debi
    Debi
    on Apr 24, 2018

    I’m not clear as to the exact amounts of the ingredients you’re using. Can you clarify?

  • Mary
    Mary
    on Apr 24, 2018

    I am confused on the amount of vinegar versus salt. Sorry

  • Betty Bishop
    Betty Bishop
    on Apr 24, 2018

    does this also work for weeds in other places?

    • Galina
      Galina
      on Apr 24, 2018

      It does, but it will kill other things in the area and the salt dilutes into the surrounding areas soil, etc., and it will continue to kill in the soil, so therefore use caution where you use this.

  • KC Caulder
    KC Caulder
    on Apr 24, 2018

    I have a rock yard ( no vegetation or grass due to water restrictions ). Could this be used in a large sprayer to treat the entire yard in order to keep weeds from growing between the rocks?

  • Cheryl
    Cheryl
    on Apr 24, 2018

    What are the exact measurements of the vinegar and salt. I know the salt says 1 tablespoon to 1/2 of a cup. What is the ratio?

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      on Apr 24, 2018

      fill a spray bottle then add some salt and soap. No measuring really. It it doesn't kill the weed then add more salt. The instructions are 1TBSP to 1/2 cup of salt to a spray bottle of vinegar then your favorite soap

  • Donna Walker Tyler
    Donna Walker Tyler
    on Apr 24, 2018

    How much salt and dish soap to the vinegar?

    • Barbarann
      Barbarann
      on Apr 24, 2018

      I think the post may have been a bit confusing. I believe she means add 1 tablespoon to 1/2 cup of salt to a bottle of vinegar depending on how much solution you need to make and then just add a squirt of your favorite dish soap...

  • Myrna
    Myrna
    on Apr 24, 2018

    What natural solutions can be used to get rid of pesky 🐜 ants?

  • Jo Babbie
    Jo Babbie
    on Apr 24, 2018

    i did not quite understand the "add one tablespoon" to 1/2 cup salt-one tablespoon of what? jb

    • Barbarann
      Barbarann
      on Apr 24, 2018

      Depending on how much solution you need you can add 1 tablespoon of salt up to 1/2 of a cup of salt added to the vinegar 5%. Then just add a splash of dish soap and shake

    • Ruth-Cassandra Hunt
      Ruth-Cassandra Hunt
      on Apr 24, 2018

      ...Salt. “Add 1tbs-1/2 cup of table salt”

    • Its32095021
      Its32095021
      on Apr 24, 2018

      water,to desolve the salt before you add the vinegar

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      on Apr 24, 2018

      salt, no water added to the solution

  • Msy22412191
    Msy22412191
    on Apr 24, 2018

    What is a natural way to kill bugs that eat fruit leaves?


  • Roberta Bates
    Roberta Bates
    on Apr 24, 2018

    I tried this last year and had to re-spray every weekend to try to kill the weeds in my drainage ditch and around my driveway. I used 5% vinegar, salt and Dawn dish soap, but did not get the results I was hoping for. Any suggestion as to what might have been wrong?

    • Ann Hasse
      Ann Hasse
      on Apr 24, 2018

      Use a stronger vinegar. I bought 30% solution and diluted it to 10% solution ( add 2 water to 1 vinegar of equal amounts) and is available;e at Natural Grocer.

    • Sheryl A Hunt
      Sheryl A Hunt
      on Apr 24, 2018

      It works best on a warm day. Spray in the morning and the sun and heat of the afternoon helps kill the weeds. The warmer the temperature, the better it works.

    • Alradborn
      Alradborn
      on Apr 24, 2018

      The solution is good, but don't forget it won't kill weed seeds.

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      on Apr 24, 2018

      add more salt

  • Lisa
    Lisa
    on Apr 24, 2018

    CAN YOU USE THIS ON AREAS WHERE YOU HAVE MULCH AND WEEDS GROWING AND WILL IT DISCOLOR THE MULCH ? I HAVE BLACK MULCH ..

  • Karen Karr
    Karen Karr
    on Apr 24, 2018

    You don’t tell us how much vinegar?

  • Denise Wincz
    Denise Wincz
    on Apr 24, 2018

    I find the directions for this solution very confusing what are the exact measurements i.e. 1 tblsp to 1/2 cup of salt what is the exact ratio for this remedy.....I would love to try this if you could clarify the directions.,.thanks

  • Denise Wincz
    Denise Wincz
    on Apr 24, 2018

    I find the directions for this solution very confusing what are the exact measurements i.e. 1 tblsp to 1/2 cup of salt what is the exact ratio for this remedy.....I would love to try this if you could clarify the directions.,.thanks

    • Brenda
      Brenda
      on Apr 24, 2018

      The amount of salt probably depends on the size of the squirt bottle you're using. Smaller bottle, less salt.

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      on Apr 24, 2018

      There's really no measuring. Just fill a spray bottle with vinegar and add salt until your hearts content. Then put in some soap, shake and have at it.

  • Brinda
    Brinda
    on Apr 24, 2018

    I will try this, but is it straight vinegar or do you add water?

    • Lisa S.
      Lisa S.
      on Apr 24, 2018

      No water, straight white vinegar. Buy store brand.

    • Brenda
      Brenda
      on Apr 24, 2018

      The directions didn't have water as an ingredient..

    • Allie
      Allie
      on Apr 24, 2018

      Brinda, I had the same question. The directions are not clear as written. "Take a plain empty plastic spray bottle. Add 1 tablespoon to 1/2 cup plain table salt. Then pour in 5% white vinegar. "

      Add 1 tablespoon of what to the 1/2 cup of plain table salt? Also, how much vinegar is used in the mixture?

    • Mik29328945
      Mik29328945
      on Apr 24, 2018

      I think she’s talking about the salt. You can use an amount between 1 tbl up to 1/2 cup salt in the vinegar. At least that’s how I understand it

  • Terry
    Terry
    on Apr 24, 2018

    Do you think this cocktail will kill poison ivy?

    I am going to try.

    • Lisa S.
      Lisa S.
      on Apr 24, 2018

      Never tried it on poison ivy.

    • Randy
      Randy
      on Apr 24, 2018

      The only way to get rid of poison ivy is to dig it out. Use a plastic bag over your hand. Pull the bag up over your wrist and arm like a cuff. Dispose of bag and ivy in the trash. Don't forget to wash your tools in hot soapy water.

  • Janet Lakey
    Janet Lakey
    on Apr 24, 2018

    how much salt, vinegar and dish soap is used?

    • Sms21966537
      Sms21966537
      on Apr 24, 2018

      I HAVE USED THIS FOR YEARS 1 GALLON VINEGAR ONE BOX SALT AND A SQUIRT OF DAWN OR YOUR FAVORITE DISH WASHING DETERG

    • Lisa S.
      Lisa S.
      on Apr 24, 2018

      ON a standard spray bottle, add a