Natural DIY Weed Control
It's no secret that weed control products kill weeds. But what many people are unaware of is that they pose a serious risk to our health, and especially the health of our children and pets.
Did you know that spraying popular weed control products such as Weed-B-Gon increases the risk of canine malignant lymphoma 2-fold(1), and the risk of childhood leukemia a staggering 7-fold(2)?
Let's face it, when we look at our garden a see a weed pop up, it's an eyesore! But you don't have to resort to toxic products to get rid of them. I'm going to share with you a couple of very simply concoctions that you can quickly whip up at home to rid of those weeds for good.
Environ Health Perspect.
DIY Weed Killer
One of the most powerful weed control methods available is a combination of horticultural vinegar, orange oil, and dish detergent. It's very easy to find these ingredients online (and in farm supply stores). Best of all, after they have been applied, their residue is safe and non-toxic for both children and pets.
Things You'll Need
- 20 or 30% horticultural vinegar
- Orange oil
- Liquid dish soap
- Table salt***
- Rubber gloves
- Safety goggles
- Tank sprayer
- Heavy duty storage container (e.g. a Home Depot bucket)
- 1 gallon Horticultural Vinegar
This isn't the white vinegar you buy from your local store, which contains around 5% acetic acid. Horticultural vinegar has a much higher percentage (20-30%) which is much more powerful when it comes to killing weeds. You can buy a gallon of 30% vinegar online from various retailers:
Home Depot: Green Goblin Horticultural Vinegar
Amazon: Eco Clean Solutions Horticultural Vinegar
Vinegar with a high percentage of acetic acid is very potent! It's very important to wear rubber gloves and goggles to protect yourself from burns from the high acidity.
- 1 ounce Orange Oil
Orange oil is the ingredient that dries out the weeds. Make sure you choose pure orange oil. There should be no other ingredients except orange oil.
- 1 teaspoon Dish Detergent
Dish detergent helps the mixture stick to the surface of the weeds.
How to Apply
STEP 1: Prepare the Mixture
The best way to apply is using a heavy-duty spray bottle. I highly recommend using a pump sprayer with a hand pump, available at any hardware store. Simply add the correct ratio of vinegar, oil, and soap mixture to the spray bottle.
STEP 2: Protect your Skin
Make sure you wear a good pair of rubber gloves and goggles. High acetic acid products can cause serious burns when they touch your skin or if they get into your eyes. It's very important to keep your skin protected from any spray/overspray.
STEP 3: Spray!
When you're ready, pump the tank sprayer's handle to create pressure and then thoroughly spray the weeds. It will take a day or two for the weeds to die. Apply every 2 weeks if you see any weeds re-emerge.
The best time of day to apply is during good weather, at full strength sunlight. Avoid applying within 24 hours of a rainy forecast.
STEP 4: Store it Appropriately
When you're finished, it's important to transfer and store your mixture in a non-corrosive and heavy-duty container. Do not leave it in the spray bottle, or the high acidic content will destroy it! Label the container appropriately and store it safely away from children and pets.
***OPTIONAL: Adding Salt
If you're spraying an area where you want to completely remove all vegetation and do not want ANYTHING to grow back in that area, follow the recipe above, but instead of using orange oil, add 1 cup of plain table salt salt and mix well. Spray the area thoroughly. This literally "salts the earth" and prevents any type of plant from growing.
DO NOT spray concrete areas (e.g. driveways and pavement cracks) with this mixture as it the high salt content can erode concrete
Keep in mind that this weed control spray doesn't discriminate. Spray your weeds directly and be careful the spray does not touch other greenery. Not only will it kill weeds, but it will also kill plants and flowers.
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