DIY Weed Killer

4 Materials
10 Minutes

Control those pesky weeds with this easy DIY Weed Killer!

Crab grass and bermuda grass are big contenders in our backyard area. I don't mind them growing in the lawn (if it's green and mows, it lives), but when they begin invading our patio, sidewalk, driveway, and flower beds, it's time to do something.

A few years ago, I tested some DIY weed killers, including plain boiling water, and I loved the results. ( The boiling water was great, because it was always on hand, but the constant boiling and carrying the water in and out of the house was a bit of a hassle.

So after a few years of tweaking the DIY weed killer recipe, I have finally settled on a combination that I like. It takes minutes of mix and I can knock out all of the weeds in one session, instead of the constant back and forth.

*As a note, I do not use this DIY weed killer, or any other, in my  .

Replace the lid on the sprayer, and gently swirl around the ingredients. You don’t want to shake it so vigorously that the soap foams too much.

Pump up your sprayer, and wet the weeds with your DIY weed killer solution.

You should be able to see a difference within 8 hours of spraying the DIY weed killer. After the weeds have died, you can pull up what's left of them, or leave them be. Either way, they shouldn't be a problem anymore!

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Courtney |The Kitchen Garten
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

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  36 questions
  • Belinda Belinda on Aug 19, 2018

    Hello. How long do the weeds stay gone?

    • Ebo7388427 Ebo7388427 on Aug 19, 2018

      In my experience, the weeds stay gone until the formula is diluted from rain or is just dissipates. I don't use epsom salt though, I use rock salt. The kind you might throw on your driveway or sidewalk in the wintertime. It works great and is a lot cheaper than buying commercial weed killer. I understand it is safer around kids and pets also.

  • Fran Fran on Aug 19, 2018

    Have you tried this without the epsom salts? I use epsom salts as a plant food/fertilizer on all my flowers and vegetables. Its magnesium sulfate, plants love it. I'm wondering if it is necessary in your formula.

    • Ebo7388427 Ebo7388427 on Aug 19, 2018

      I've used this formula using rock salt instead of epsom salt. I've also heard that the salt whether it be epsom or rock is not necessary. The vinegar does the trick. I've not tested it though.

    • I have heard that pouring plain vinegar will also work. I've just been hesitant to do it for some reason.

    • Elisabeth Mackey Elisabeth Mackey on Aug 19, 2018

      I was wondering about Epsom Salt too as it is not "real" salt but a good fertilizer. I use table salt, I pour salt on first and then the vinegar. Works like a charm!

    • Faith Faith on Aug 19, 2018

      I've used plain vinegar with decent results. We spent HOURS stoning in a portion of our yard that used to be grass (well, mostly weeds) and was difficult to mow. We used red stone, and I placed my bird feeders and bird bath in the stones area. Anyway, birds are messy, and fling the seed around, causing plant growth. Poured straight vinegar on the new growth, and it all died within 12 hours. It did, however, bleach the stones a bit.

    • Fran Fran on Aug 19, 2018

      Maybe if you used the vinegar and Dawn it wouldn't dye so bad if at all.

  • Bren Bren on Aug 19, 2018

    Will this kill the grass too if I use it near the grass?

  • Crumly Crumly on Aug 19, 2018

    Is it safe for dogs?

    • Sh Sh on Aug 19, 2018

      My dog hates the smell. So he does not go near the spray.

    • Jacki Jacki on Aug 19, 2018

      Not with the Epsom salts. Do not use that around pets.

    • Kathy Kathy on Aug 19, 2018

      Dogs will be fine as long as they don't drink the solution.

    • We have a dog, and there haven't been any issues. There isn't a puddle of the solution for them to drink. The sprayer does a good job of distributing it over the weeds.

  • Sharon Sharon on Aug 19, 2018

    will try- how much alcohol?

  • Carolyn Carolyn on Aug 19, 2018

    Will this kill just grass or will it kill other weeds?

  • Sharron Eastman Sharron Eastman on Aug 19, 2018

    How to get rid of bermuda grass in flower beds with DYI weed killer?

    • Smother with landscape fabric or plastic, then cover with mulch. No sun = no grow.

    • Kathy Kathy on Aug 19, 2018

      Bermuda grass doesn't need sun or water to grow. We have plenty of areas with landscape fabric where there is either mulch or rocks on top and the grass is still under there.

      Bermuda grass are like roaches, impossible to kill.

  • Par29293748 Par29293748 on Aug 19, 2018

    Will this kill Bermuda grass ?

  • Delana Piguet Wisdom Delana Piguet Wisdom on Aug 19, 2018

    Will this kill living plants that you want to keep if it gets on them or near them?

  • Terry. Iorio Terry. Iorio on Aug 19, 2018

    Where do I get the pump ??

  • Shelby Shelby on Aug 19, 2018

    Tell me how to kill crabgrass without killing the good grass.

  • Rondo Rondo on Aug 19, 2018

    Why are you using Epson salt? If you dilute Epson salt and pour it around your vegetables it makes them grow better. I would think the table salt idea would work best.

    • Sandy Sandy on Aug 19, 2018

      I agree Epson salt has magnesium in it which makes my grass grow great...

  • Anthony Anthony on Aug 19, 2018

    I use just plain bleach, why not try that?

  • Tex29883412 Tex29883412 on Aug 19, 2018

    Does it kill shrubs like forsythia and holly that I have in my flower garden? There is not much else in the garden except for lilies along the back. The garden fills up with Bermuda grass and weeds.

  • Sivan7 Sivan7 on Aug 19, 2018

    Why use Epsom salt which is a Magnesium rich fertilizer, opposed to regular salt?

    • Nancy Crowder Nancy Crowder on Aug 19, 2018

      I use this recipe with regular salt

    • Great question, and from what I've read, large quantities of regular salt can affect the soil in an area for an extended period of time. So, the epsom salt is gentler on the surrounding soil, and that's why I like to use it, especially close to my garden.

  • Wendy Macqueen Wendy Macqueen on Aug 19, 2018

    Can I use this to kill nutgrass in my lawn?

  • Shelby Shelby on Aug 19, 2018

    Tell me how to permanently kill crabgrass without killing the grass around it.

  • Cindy Cindy on Aug 19, 2018

    Question can I use this solution around my three dogs in the backyard, and near the shed, and three other locations where weeds come up around my house?

  • Dor28988862 Dor28988862 on Aug 19, 2018

    I live on a freshwater lake. Am I correct in thinking none of the ingredients will be detrimental to fish and other critters in the lake?

  • Kim 'Kiewatt' Waknitz Kim 'Kiewatt' Waknitz on Aug 19, 2018

    So this isn’t for flower beds? Looking for a way to weed my lily beds and wildflowers. I’m unable to hand weed and looking for solution.

  • Sharon kilriy Sharon kilriy on Aug 20, 2018

    Can you use any dish liquid

  • Connie Murphy Connie Murphy on Aug 20, 2018

    I have tried similar with table salt, they work well but the salt does not dissolve and clogs the sprayer, I even heated the vinegar and the salt still did not dissolve.

    Will epsom salt dissolve quickly?

    • Hi Connie! I haven't had any issues with the sprayer being clogged.

    • Makeba Tabor Makeba Tabor on Aug 20, 2018

      I had that same issue with table salt, so I just purchased a whole bottle of white vinegar, added the table salt and dish soap to the vinegar bottle, shook real good and poured right from the bottle. Labeled and attached self made hazardous stickers and stored under sink.

    • The salt should dissolve if it's poured s-l-o-w-ly into the gallon of vinegar, stirring as you go. (If there's not enough liquid per part of salt, the salt reaches super saturation and won't dissolve.)

    • Lisa Robinson Shehan Lisa Robinson Shehan on Aug 26, 2018

      i use table salt. i also add 1/4 c of bleach. It works quite well.

  • Mary Allamand Mary Allamand on Aug 22, 2018

    What will happen if I put vinegar on house plants straight?can I take the dirty off but on fresh will it live ?

    • I believe straight vinegar will also kill the plant.

    • Rst20822284 Rst20822284 on Aug 25, 2018

      If you're asking how to clean the leaves of debris (dust etc.), the best way is to use a damp SOFT cloth and wipe gently or use a small sprayer to wet the leaves and then wipe gently.

      Vinegar - please be careful; it has Acetic Acid in it and can injure or kill plants.

  • Roy Jones Roy Jones on Aug 26, 2018

    I will try your method... my question is do you add any water to the mix? Shirl

  • Cathy Phelps Bowen Cathy Phelps Bowen on Aug 26, 2018

    Will this kill hosta

  • Nancy Roehr Nancy Roehr on Aug 26, 2018

    Can i spray this on weeds around other plants. without hurting the other plants

    • Joy30150932 Joy30150932 on Aug 27, 2018

      I would think the vinegar would harm plants you do not want to die.

    • Imjhale Imjhale on Sep 04, 2018

      Vinegar changes soil pH and salt will keep weeds from growing but it will also keep other things from growing. In the old days invading armies would "salt the fields" so the people they were invading couldn't grow crops and would face starvation. I'd keep it to sidewalks and fence lines etc. You can also use cornmeal gluten to keep weeds from germinating in these areas

  • Ken29998903 Ken29998903 on Sep 01, 2018

    will this kill flowers

  • Dix2494114 Dix2494114 on Sep 01, 2018

    Will this kill kudzu?

    • I think the fiery inferno may be the only thing that kills kudzu. Just kidding, but you'd probably want to cut as much back as you can first then apply heavily.

  • Dea Dea on Sep 16, 2018

    What is the formula? Did not see scoop size for salt. Thanks! Dea

  • Arnette Arnette on Sep 16, 2018

    Will this kill poison ivy?

  • Elizabeth Carr Elizabeth Carr on Sep 25, 2018
    Would this kill Burdock?

  • Vivian Lacy Vivian Lacy on Sep 29, 2018

    How long does the treatment last. Any tips on a DIY pre-emergent that is not chemical based?

  • Mam22122561 Mam22122561 on Oct 14, 2018

    can i use to spray the yard

  • Che11835076 Che11835076 on Oct 16, 2018

    Does it kill roses that the crap grass is wrapped around?

  • Susanne Constantino Susanne Constantino on Nov 14, 2018

    MINT IS TAKING OVER MY GARDEN! It is all around my roses, and they don't look healthy anymore.

    Will this solution hurt my roses and will it kill the mint?

    • Hi Susanne. Mint does love to spread, but instead of using this spray, I recommend taking a section of metal edging, and creating a barrier around the perimeter of your mint plant. The runners they send out are really quite shallow, and this metal ring should prevent your mint from spreading. Pounding the metal in place may also cut off the existing rhizomes as well and take care of your current mint takeover. I hope this helps!

    • Susanne Constantino Susanne Constantino on Nov 14, 2018

      Thank you for such a quick response.

      If I put the barrier in, a section at a time, can I put the solution on that area? Do you think it'll kill the mint? The area is so large, and I don't want to hurt my roses.

  • Sher Thurber Sher Thurber on Nov 19, 2018

    How much of each ingredient do you use?


Join the conversation

3 of 34 comments
  • Ldf6758 Ldf6758 on Aug 09, 2019

    Can I use table salt?

    Thanks so much for posting!

    • You can use table salt, but it will affect your soil much more significantly than epsom salt (which actually isn't salt at all ironically). Usually people put table salt in places they don't want anything to grow. Hope this helps!

  • Ldf6758 Ldf6758 on Aug 09, 2019

    Thanks for answering. I'll get the epsom salt tomorrow!