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DIY Weed Killer

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Not sure how to make DIY weed killer? With only 3 ingredients, this natural weed killer recipe has no long list of unrecognizable ingredients (I’m looking at you, store-bought brands). Making your own DIY weed killer has never been easier.

How to Make DIY weed killer

3-Ingredient Homemade Weed Killer

Weeds, even the name sounds like a nuisance. Every yard, flower bed, and lawn has them. And to be honest, they’re not all bad! My opinion of weeds, particularly dandelions, has changed since I saw them for sale at The Fresh Market a few months ago. Who knew I could have been harvesting fresh dandelion greens from my own yard?

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Weeds are simply plants that we don’t want growing in a certain spot, and some, if left to their own devices, can quickly take over a space. In our yard and walkways, we struggle to control crabgrass and some form of Bermuda grass that loves our garden paths.

I don’t worry too much about these things in the lawn itself. If it’s green and mows like grass, we pretty much let it live. But in other places, such as walkways, the driveway, and flower beds, I like to control what could potentially take over. 

Natural Weed killers and Gardens

The main reason I found out how to make DIY weed killer is because of my love of backyard gardening. I’m hesitant to spray or put something on the ground that has a list of ingredients I cannot pronounce. This is the same rule of thumb for what seems good to eat.

The classic blue and white bottled weed killer at the hardware store is adding who knows what to my property, and if it gets on me during application, I’m a little freaked out.

Several years ago, I tested a DIY weed killer recipe my dad gave me as well as plain boiling water. Both methods worked well, and you can see my full results in the link above. If you’ve seen the article, then you know that boiling water did an amazing job of killing weeds.

However, carrying the kettle in and out of the house and waiting for it to boil in between wasn’t the most time effective method. By tweaking the DIY weed killer recipe, I was able to make up a large batch, and hit all of the weeds in one session. Win!

As a note, I do not use this DIY weed killer, or any other, in my raised garden beds. If there’s a weed in the garden, I pull it by hand. I do use this on my garden paths, and I have had no ill effects from using it there.

How to Make a Natural Weed Killer that Works

For this recipe, I used a lot of the common ingredients for natural weed killers: vinegar of some kind, salt, and soap. The soap helps to cut through any oils the plant’s leaves may have as protection, and the salt and vinegar do their jobs of drying out the plants and killing them.

There are variations and substitutions that can be made, and I’ll list those below.

DIY Weed Killer Recipe

For the recipe, you’ll need:

  • 1 gallon white vinegar (You could use another type of vinegar, but white is the cheapest and easiest to buy in large quantities)
  • 2 cups Epsom salt (I like the garden variety found in local garden centers, but I have a friend who used iodized salt… I’m not sure about the long term effects of this since science shows regular salt will keep anything from growing for quite a while afterwards.)
  • 1/4 cup Dish soap (Dr. Bronner’s castile soap can also be used for a more natural option.)

To make the DIY weed killer, combine the ingredients in the order listed in a large garden sprayer.

how to make DIY weed killer

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.

how to make DIY weed killer
how to make DIY weed killer

When to Apply Homemade Weed Killer

Ideally, a sunny day (or at least a dry one) is perfect for applying DIY weed killer. This will ensure that your solution can soak down and do it’s job. So if rain is in the forecast for later in the day, I would wait to apply your DIY weed killer until the weather has cleared up and the ground has dried.

Check out my video below of exactly how to make DIY weed killer and see how effective it is at killing weeds on our driveway!

Other Natural Weed Killer Options:

  1. Boiling Water– Taking a kettle of boiling water outside and pouring it on offending plants will effectively kill them. I like this method closer to my garden, so I’m not concerned  at all about any leeching into the soil. It’s also great for cracks in driveways and sidewalks.
  2. Corn Meal– This old-school technique works as a weed preventative, but it will not kill weeds that are already growing. Apply this in late winter to get a jump on spring weeds. 
  3. Straight Vinegar– Though I haven’t used this method myself, I have read about using pure white vinegar from the jug. If going this route, I recommend using the more diluted white vinegar from the grocery store, not horticultural white vinegar which has a higher acidity. If you have used this method with success, let us know below in the comments!
  4. Heavier Plantings– While adding more plants won’t kill existing weeds, having less space for weeds to grow is an effective way to prevent them. Use ground cover plants, like those I mention in my Best Trailing Plants post. These plants spread out below shrubs and taller plants and keep weeds at bay. 

So may the force be with you in the battle against weeds, and as my fellow master gardener told us, “a weed is just a plant out of place.” Have a great week and happy gardening!

Yield: 1 gallon

DIY Weed Killer

DIY weed killer

This DIY weed killer is simple to make with what you may already have at home. And this homemade weed killer recipe won't put hazardous chemicals into your yard!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $5


  • White Vinegar
  • Dish Soap
  • Epsom Salt


  • Garden Sprayer


  1. Begin by gathering materials for your Natural weed killer.
  2. Pour vinegar into garden sprayer container. Add epsom salt followed by dish soap.
  3. Screw on lid and gently swish around to combine ingredients.
  4. Pump sprayer and thoroughly wet weeds with the weed killer.
  5. Wait several hours and see weeds die!

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Erdal Can Alko├žlar

Friday 8th of July 2022

Thank you for every other informative blog.


Monday 6th of June 2022

Yowza, this stuff works amazing. I followed the recipe above using iodized table salt, vinegar, & regular dawn. I sprayed not quite 3 hours ago and the weeds are already turning brown!! Thank you for a recipe that I feel confident knowing won't hurt my grands and pups.


Tuesday 7th of June 2022

You are very welcome!

Gail Davis

Monday 13th of September 2021

Is this safe for your dog to get in the areas that have been sprayed? Does it have to dry first before allowing your dog in those areas?


Wednesday 15th of September 2021

Hi Gail! I'd let it dry a bit first, and then it should be just fine for the doggies. Mine have never had any issues. Thanks for stopping by!

Barry Roberts

Friday 20th of August 2021

Hi the Homemade Weed Killer that you mentioned, there is one ingredient from that list that i wouldn't use and that is the Epsom Salts. Epsom Salt is made up of Hydrated Magnesium Sulphate (magnesium and sulphur), which is important to healthy plant growth. As a replacement i would just use Sea Salt or ordinary Table Salt instead, i just thought i would mention it i hope you don't mind.

Stay Safe.


Monday 23rd of August 2021

Hi Barry! Yes, I always love suggestions, so never worry about leaving your thoughts. I do agree that table salt or something similar would be more effective for long term weed control and is perfect for areas like walkways, etc. I typically use this particular recipe near my gardens with the Epsom salt so I don't have to worry about the table salt getting to the roots of the plants I want to grow. Thank you again for stopping by, and keep the suggestions coming!

Frank Waters

Sunday 8th of August 2021

Hi. I want to keep my trails in the woods clear. I want to use the formula in in a big sprayer, like 50 gallons. What would the ratio be for it?


Monday 9th of August 2021

Hi Frank! I use a gallon of vinegar when I make it, so you'll want to take the original recipe times 50? For a trail, I'd try to find some "gardener's" vinegar, which is more acidic. I've seen it in the lawn and garden area of several big box stores. '

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