Organic Weed Killer

by Amy on May 23, 2008

Yesterday morning, a fellow member of our local COG chapter forwarded me an e-mail containing this recipe for an organic weed killer. It had been sent to him by some friends who had heard about it on a radio program (unknown). In their opinion, it “works like a charm.”

Organic Weed Killer

  • 4 cups of white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup table salt
  • 2 teaspoons of dish soap

Mix spray on weeds in sunshine if possible.

When I e-mailed back to thank him for forwarding the recipe, indicating that we’ll be anxious to try it out at our house, he replied that I should be careful, because it will kill any plants it is sprayed on, including, I assume, grass. This organic weed killer is probably best used for killing weeds in the cracks of sidewalks, or large patches of weeds in the middle of the lawn, but may not be appropriate for killing individual weeds in the middle of the lawn, since it will also impact on the surrounding grass.

If anyone gives it a try, let me know how it works! I’d also like to hear about any other recipes for organic weed control.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

theManicGardener May 23, 2008 at 2:06 pm

GREAT! Can I reproduce this on my site? I actually tried straight vinegar the other day (before temperatures plunged) and it worked–dandelion leaves withered within hours. Salt makes perfect sense, as most organic herbicides work through dehydration. What’s the dish soap for, I wonder?

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Amy May 24, 2008 at 10:10 am

I’ve also heard of using straight vinegar on a sunny day, but I think this recipe would be even more effective. This would be perfect for those pesky weeds growing in the cracks of my front walkway – they’re impossible to pull out.

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bill May 24, 2008 at 11:35 pm

the dish soap helps to keep the mixture sticking to the plant.


amanda May 26, 2008 at 6:53 pm

If you’re just going to use it to kill the weeds in the cracks of your side walk or something like that, you can just use boiling water. I’ve done that for the weeds that pop up on the side of the house through the rocks in the bed…

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Katie May 27, 2008 at 9:53 am

Presumably one would want to use an organic biodegradable dishsoap?


Amanda May 27, 2008 at 7:47 pm

After I read this yesterday evening I went out and tried it (I didn’t have any salt to spare, so I just used vinegar and dish soap). Today the weeds on our front path are brown and shrivelled. Thanks!

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deb May 30, 2008 at 11:43 am

The dish liquid breaks the surface tension so the mixture flows onto the leaves better. The vinegar, being acidic, burns the leaves. However a plant with a persistent root system will regrow.

In a lawn, to spot treat weeds take this mix and apply to the weeds with a soft paint brush. Obviously not for lots of weeds or very large lawns.

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Autumn April 23, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Does anyone know of using rhubarb leaves as a natural weedkiller?


Mike April 24, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Rhubarb leaves can be made into an insecticide, not a weed killer…..note the rather important little medical tidbit at the end….
Rhubarb insecticide
Boil 500 grams of rhubarb leaves in a few pints of water for about 20 minutes, allow to cool, then strain the liquid into a suitable container. Add some dish detergent or soap flakes (not laundry detergent!) and spray on leaves to kill off all kinds of bugs like aphids and spider mites. * NOTE: Rhubarb leaves contain high amounts of oxalic acid. If ingested, your heart will stop and you will die.


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Don April 9, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Salt will permanently contaminate soil and will continue to harm anything planted in that soil. Never a good idea to put salt in your soil.


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