Natural weed killers are essential to the atmosphere and your garden. With the ever-growing realization that synthetic weed killers might not actually be that great for our health or wellbeing of the environment, companies have been experimenting with natural alternatives. In this article, we’ll be going over everything you need to know regarding natural weed killer, along with a quick review of our favorite products.
So, what makes up our complete guide to a natural weed killer? Below are the categories that we’ll be covering to give you a better insight:
- What Constitutes a Natural Weed Killer
- Benefits of Natural Weed Killer
- The Best Natural Weed Killer for Flower Beds
- Natural Weed Killer that Doesn’t Kill Grass
- Best Natural Weed Killer to Use Around Dogs
- How to Make Your Own Natural Weed Killer
- Safety Tips When Handling and FAQs
In the upcoming sections, we’ll be covering each of the above topics in greater detail, so stick around if you want to know more!
What Constitutes a Natural Weed Killer
In any industry, the word “natural” can mean a lot of things. Some “natural” products are partially made with organically-occurring ingredients while others are made only with organic ingredients — a product can be labeled “natural” with actually very little natural ingredients.
And the same goes for natural weed killers. Many weed killers that are made with mostly natural ingredients can still contain harmful chemicals that may have adverse effects on your health or the earth. This is why we recommend that you always read the labels.
Fortunately, natural weed killers can be certified for organic use. This means that the product is held to high standards of ingredient cleanliness and quality — and those are the natural weed killers you really want to go after, especially if you’re concerned for the wellbeing of your family and your property.
Some of the most common ingredients found in natural weed killers are:
- Vinegar (often labeled as Acetic Acid)
- A high concentration of sea salt or other forms of sodium ingredients
- Citrus extracts
- Essential oils like peppermint, clove or lavender
When used properly, of course, these ingredients are all relatively safe to have around the family and in the yard.
Benefits of Natural Weed Killer
Before we dive into the benefits of natural weed killers, let’s take a brief look at the cons of chemical weed killers compared to alternative weed solutions.
Chemical Weed Killer Cons:
- Contents are toxic or poisonous to people and pets.
- Chemical ingredients have been traced to cancer cases.
- Chemicals leach into underground water sources.
- Contents may be harmful to wildlife or natural habitats (such as water ecosystems).
- Chemicals can linger in the soil.
As you can see, chemical weed killers may do more harm than good. Now, let’s take a look at the benefits of these eco-friendly products.
Natural Weed Killer Benefits:
- They don’t have the potential side effects that chemical weed killers have.
- Won’t seep into and linger in the soil or adversely affect your plants or produce.
- Many can be used near water sources without fear of leaching into the ecosystem.
- They’re completely safe to use around children and pets.
- Won’t harm wildlife.
- Often cost less than commercial products (especially if you make your own).
- They still work just as well as chemical weed killers to ward off unwanted weeds.
- Smell better than chemical weed killers. Natural options often contain essential oils like peppermint or lavender that work to both kill weeds and put off an appealing scent.
The pros of the natural products definitely outweigh the cons of the chemical weed killers, in our book. If health is a top priority, going for a natural alternative to weed control is a bet you’re not likely to regret.
The Best Natural Weed Killer for Flower Beds
If you plan on using a natural weed killer around your flower beds, you’ll want to find a product that contains little or no sodium products, as high salt content will kill flowers. Our favorite is the Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed and Grass Killer.
The Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed Killer is certified for organic use, won’t hurt your petunias, and does a wonderful job at killing weeds in a jiffy. It contains no potentially cancer-causing chemicals, and you can expect the solution to work within 24 hours of application.
This weed killer eliminates a variety of broadleaf weeds such as dandelions, crabgrass, musk thistle, and many more pesky weed species. It can be used practically anywhere, such as along fence lines, on sidewalks, between pavers, and of course, in and around your flower beds.
Though this product is safe for use around and inside flower beds, it’s best to avoid direct contact of the flowers and weed killing solution. Use as directed. Overall, this is a great product that contains natural ingredients and is safe for use around the family and your ornamentals.
Natural Weed Killer that Doesn’t Kill Grass
You work hard to keep your lawn looking nice, and we understand that you don’t need any dead grass. That’s why our favorite natural weed killer that’s friendly to grass is the Doctor Kirchner Weed Killer. Made from ocean salt water and vinegar, this weed killer is as natural as they come. And once the solution is dry, your children and pets can get back to playing or you can get right back to planting without any worry.
Another great thing about the Doctor Kirchner Weed Killer is that it doesn’t translocate. This means that you can use this solution anywhere on your lawn or around ornamental grasses (remember not to spray them directly) without having to worry about the solution spreading and killing them off along with the weeds.
You can expect this option to accomplish complete die-off within 24 hours of application.
The Best Natural Weed Killer to Use Around Dogs
If you have a yard full of dogs and weeds, then you know how important it is to keep your pets put up when dealing with yard issues. When we consider natural weed killers that are safe for dogs, the Just for Pets Weed Killer Spray always comes to mind. Made with pets’ health as the primary concern, this weed killer is nontoxic and contains vinegar, citrus, and essential oil (clove) ingredients.
This solution works incredibly well – almost too well – as a nonselective option, killing off even the most stubborn weeds within 24 hours of application. Be sure to use with caution, as this weed killer is no respecter of plants and will wither your pretty flowers and grass.
If you happen to kill off grass or plants, keep in mind that you likely will not see any regrowth or improvement for a few months.
So not only is this a (really) effective solution, but part of the proceeds goes to shelters all across the country to help dogs and cats get meals, toys, and shelter. What more could a pet-lover ask for?
How to Make Your Own Natural Weed Killer
For some, purchasing weed killers just isn’t their cup of tea. If you’re a DIYer, you’re sure to enjoy these natural weed killer recipes made with ingredients found right in your kitchen. Keep in mind that not all of these solutions are permanent, and you may need to reapply these natural weed killers after regrowth.
- Homemade Solution
This homemade solution is a nonselective weed killer, so before you spray this all over your flower bed, keep in mind that it doesn’t know the difference between your roses and the weeds. Made with three simple ingredients, preparing this solution should take no time at all (and you’ll know it’s safe!).
- 1 gallon of white vinegar
- 1 cup of iodized salt or sea salt
- 1 tablespoon of dish soap — we recommend that you use Dawn dish soap
Using a spray bottle, apply directly to the weed. Use caution around flower beds and don’t apply too much product. Only spray the solution until you can visibly see wetness on the leaves of the weeds.
- Boiling Water
One of the simplest, least costly, and most timely do-it-yourself weed killers, boiling water, is a go-to method for homemade weed control. Best for use on driveways, sidewalks, and pavers; it will kill weeds directly on contact — but it will also kill grass, flowers, and any other delicate plants that you may want to keep. It will also scald skin if it spills, so be sure to use caution.
Note that this isn’t a permanent solution. Pouring boiling water onto weeds will not kill down to the roots, meaning that after some time, the weeds will grow back just as they were. An easy way to combat regrowth is to cover the area where the weed used to be with a rock and newspaper. This will prevent regrowth by keeping light from reaching the soil and roots.
- Cheap, Iodized Salt
Another great and inexpensive weed control method is plain old table salt. This solution is best used for weeds in sidewalks, walkways, driveways, pavers, and other places without garden beds or grass that you want to keep.
- A pot of boiling water
- Half a cup to a cup of salt
Simply pour the solution onto the unwanted weeds. Take care not to pour it on the grass. Wear closed-toed shoes and long pants to avoid backsplash onto your bare skin. Depending on how vigilant you are with removing weeds, this may be only a semi-permanent solution.
Safety When Handling
Though the products and methods outlined in our article are made with all-natural ingredients and are overall considered safe to use, it’s still important that you protect yourself from coming into contact with the solutions – simply as a precaution. Even natural ingredients may cause reactions in those with sensitive skin.
Let’s go over a few safety tips:
- Always wear closed-toed shoes, long pants, and long sleeves when handling commercial or homemade natural weed killers.
- Never purposefully inhale fumes from the weed killers. If you must, wear a protective nose and mouth mask.
- If spraying a natural option, you may want to consider wearing protective eyewear, especially if it’s windy outside.
- Wear protective gloves when handling these products.
- Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after using weed killer solutions.
- If you use the boiling water method, keep children and pets away. Slowly pour the water. Use caution and avoid coming into contact with the water.
- Though solutions are considered safe, if you have especially curious pets or children, it’s best to keep them inside until the natural weed killer has dried completely.
As with any weed killer, exercise caution and common sense while the product is in use. Though the products in our review are considered safe and natural, if not used as directed, they can be harmful.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, we’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions about natural weed killers.
Q: Can I use bleach as a weed killer?
A: Though bleach doesn’t contain a plethora of chemicals like synthetic weed killers, it still isn’t all that great for your yard or for the health of your family when used in larger quantities. We don’t recommend that you use bleach because anything you pour onto the ground will also seep into it — and we want to be as friendly to the earth as we can.
Q: What do I do if my pet or child accidentally consumes my natural weed killer?
A: If a child or pet accidentally ingests these products, contact poison control or the emergency veterinarian immediately for assistance. We recommend that you take your child or pet to the hospital or vet’s office immediately, as well as a precaution.
Even though the weed killers mentioned in our article are made with natural, safe (when used as directed) ingredients, they are still potent solutions that may cause harm if swallowed.
Q: Can I use my natural weed killer to cover a large area of my lawn?
A: If your yard is infested with weeds, we recommend that you call a professional landscaper to help clear out the problem. They aren’t necessarily made to cover an extremely large space and are better suited for flower beds, around sidewalks and driveways, and other places of minimal upkeep.
Pouring an excessive amount of solution onto your yard may result in large areas of dead grass and plants. Always use these products as directed and only spray the solution directly onto the weeds you want to kill.
Q: Should I buy a nonselective or selective natural weed killer?
A: It really depends on your yard needs. If you have an area covered in weeds and don’t mind killing off the grass around them, then a nonselective solution could be what you need. You may also want a nonselective weed killer if you’re dealing with a variety of species, as some selective weed killers only kill off certain types of weeds (and not others).
On the other hand, if a specific weed (such as dandelion) is your issue, you may be better off with a selective natural weed killer known to target dandelions. Selective options are also great for flower beds, around trees, and near or in vegetable or fruit gardens.
Q: Will natural weed killers reach the root?
A: Most options that you purchase from a store or online will soak deep into the root, killing off the plant entirely and preventing regrowth. However, if you opt for homemade weed-killing solutions, such as boiling water, you will not kill the weeds down to the root. Homemade methods (aside from solutions including vinegar and salt) are usually just temporary solutions unless you remove the root after application of the solution.
For homemade methods, we recommend that you follow up with either placing a newspaper and rock over the location of the dead weed (to block sunlight from the roots) or use a trowel to dig up and remove the roots by hand.
When it comes to weed killers, most homeowners will opt for the harsh chemical solutions without ever realizing the negative effects they may have on the environment or on their family’s health. Natural weed killers are a wonderful alternative to the traditional commercial weed killer and are not only effective and kill down to the root, but they’re also affordable, fast-acting, and most importantly, safe to have around pets, gardens, and children.
We mentioned quite a few natural weed killers and homemade weed killer methods, but our favorite product is by far the Doctor Kirchner Weed Killer. This weed killer has all the works: it’s made with completely natural ingredients, it’s safe for use around pets and children, and it won’t kill off your grass or plants if the weeds are growing a little too close to your precious flower beds. Overall, if you’re concerned with the health and happiness of your lawn, natural is the way to go.