Lawn Maintenance: How to Kill Weeds

May 23, 2024
Watering a lawn with a hose.

Are you tired of pulling up weeds by hand in your yard? Or just worried about the chemicals affecting your pets or your family? It’s time to reclaim your lawn and use a cost-effective, eco-friendly solution: DIY weed killer. Read more to learn how to make your own.

How to naturally kill weeds

It doesn’t matter how much you try to prevent weeds; inevitably, they will show up in your garden and lawn. To get on top of your weeds without hurting the surrounding plants, it’s important to naturally kill weeds without using harsh chemicals.


Mulch is anything that covers and smothers weeds. Often made of materials such as cardboard, newspapers, pine bark, straw, bark, or rubber, mulch helps conserve moisture, and it typically breaks down to make soil more fertile. Place your mulch in a 2- to 4-inch layer over your weeds but avoid placing it close to the trunks of trees or stalks of plants. [1]

Natural weed killers

You can still purchase certain natural weed killers, but they have drawbacks. Organic weed-killer products can work, but they also have certain limitations. For example, you can’t control where the weed killer sprays, so certain spots on your lawn might have to be pulled by hand.

Homemade natural weed-killer recipe

If you choose to make your own weed killer at home, it’s not that hard. Simply combine 1 gallon of vinegar, 1 cup of Borax and 1 tablespoon of dish soap and add to a spray bottle. Make sure to be careful when spraying on your lawn, because the solution can kill the flowers instead of the weeds if sprayed. [2]

Why use homemade weed killer?

If you make your own weed killer at home, you aren’t relying on harmful synthetical chemicals that can be found in store-bought herbicides. It also might save you some money to whip up your own weed killer. [3]

Frequently asked questions

Will vinegar kill grass?

Unfortunately, vinegar will damage any plants or grass that it touches. This means that when you apply your homemade weed killer, you have to be very careful to spray it only onto weeds. If it’s not possible to get the weeds only and not the plants, paint the vinegar onto the weeds with a brush. [4]

How long does it take for weed killer to work?

On average, weeds may turn yellow and start to wilt around 5 to 7 days after an application. It’s important to remember that not all weeds are the same. Some more stubborn weeds can take longer to die, and some might even need additional treatments. [5]

Does vinegar kill weeds to the root?

Unfortunately, vinegar doesn’t target the roots of weeds. It only kills the top growth of the weed, and if it has an extensive root system, the weed can grow back from the root. However, if the weed is shallow-rooted, it can’t survive its foliage being torched, so this DIY solution will kill it. [6]

Is homemade weed killer safe for pets?

DIY weed killers such as boiling water, vinegar, salt, sugar and cornmeal can help kill your weeds while letting your pet enjoy the garden without worrying too much about them getting sick. [7] If you have concerns about pet safety, consult your veterinarian for more information.


[1] “How to Kill Weeds in Flower Beds and Lawns with Organic Products,” Deb Wiley, (Accessed Mar 2024)

[2] “How to Make A Chemical-Free, Homemade Weed Killer That Actually Works,” Brooke Showell Kasir, (Accessed Mar 2024)

[3] “How to Make a Homemade Weed Killer,” Jane Purnell, (Accessed Mar 2024)

[4] “How to Use Vinegar to Kill Weeds on Walkways and Driveways,” Leah Chester-Davis, (Accessed Mar 2024)

[5] “How Long Does it Take For Lawn Treatments to Work? Weed Control, Fertilizer, & More,” Mike Moore, (Accessed Mar 2024)

[6] “Can We Just Quit With The Vinegar-Epsom Salts Weed Killer Nonsense?” Steve Bender, (Accessed Mar 2024)

[7] “Homemade Pet (and Human!) Friendly Weed Killer,” (Accessed Feb 2024)


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