7 Surprising Eco-Friendly Ways to Kill Weeds

By on March 28, 2013

7 Surprising Eco-Friendly Ways to Kill Weeds

Weed killers are like that catty friend you had in the 7th grade. You know, the one who thrived on gossip, drama, and putting others down, but always had your back no matter what. Even though she helped you out at times, you couldn't help but feel poisoned by her negativity. Weed killers have a similar effect; they're your trusty ol' friend when you need to blast weeds out of your yard, but they stealthily go behind your back and hurt you.

Weed killers contain chemicals (namely glyphosate and polyethoxylated tallow amine) that can cause headaches, make you nauseated, put rashes on your skin, give you cancer, or even kill you. Animals aren't immune to the stuff; it's been known to kill pets and wildlife as well.

Let's not get started on what weed killers do to the environment. There have been numerous studies that proved the detrimental effects of Roundup, the most popular weed killer on the market. A common trend among those studies is water contamination. In a study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, they discovered that it was common for the chemicals in Roundup to seep through the soil and end up in the water supply. We're drinking glyphosate and tallow amine, chemicals that are known to kill or mutilate human cells. They also pose a toxic risk to fish, birds, and toads that feed off the water supply.

Know what's scary? Since Roundup has been used for almost 40 years, weeds are becoming more and more resistant to the chemical. This results in farmers and homeowners applying more and more of it. Right now, we're using at least 100 million pounds of Roundup a year, and that doesn't even count all the other chemical weed killers on the market!

Many people believe that the only way to get rid of weeds is to apply chemicals to them. That's definitely not true at all! There are many natural ways to get rid of the pesky plants without harming the environment or your own health. You'd be surprised at some of the stuff you can use. Chances are you have most of the ingredients lying around your house!

Allow us to introduce to you 7 different ways to blast weeds out your yard without using toxic chemicals.

By hand

Okay, this method isn't exactly surprising, but it's so effective that we had to include it on this list. Yanking out weeds by hand is natural and doesn't hurt the environment one bit, after all! All you need are your hands, some time, and a bit of elbow grease. Put on a good pair of gardening gloves, get on your knees, and yank ‘em out! Make sure you get the roots too; if there are any leftover roots in the ground, the weeds could grow back. For roots that are hard to remove (like with dandelions), use a small hoe to loosen the soil around the weed until you're able to pull the entire root out.

Salt and boiling water

Boiling water will scald and kill any plant it comes in contact with. Salt will discourage the weeds from growing back.

Grab a tea kettle (or a pan that's easy to carry around) and boil some tap water in it. Mix in a cup of salt and allow it to dissolve in the water. Next, bring the water/salt solution outside. You might want to use a pot holder or an oven mitt to hold the handle if it's too hot. Hold the kettle a few inches above the weed and slowly pour the solution on it. Be sure not to let the water/salt solution get on anything else because it kills anything that grows, pesky weeds or not.


Vinegar is an acetic acid, which is effective at killing some common weed species. The acid breaks down quickly in the soil and stunts the growth of weeds. You have to be sure to use vinegar that contains at least 5 percent of acetic acid (white or apple cider vinegar would work great). Simply spray some vinegar over the weeds and watch them wither up and die.


Liquid soap (such as dishwashing liquid soap) kills weed two different ways: First, it breaks down the surface of the weed, making it vulnerable to the sun. Also, soap is made from oil, which can destroy weeds on its own.

Take 5 tablespoons of liquid soap and mix it in one quart of water. Spray the soap mixture onto the weeds, and be sure to do it on a hot day when the sun can help dry them up. Some people like to mix in a bit of vinegar and rubbing alcohol to ensure that the weeds will be gone for sure the next day.


Got some cheap vodka you're trying to get rid of? If so, you're in luck! Like soap, alcohol will break down the waxy surface of the weeds, making them more vulnerable to the sun. Mix three parts water and one part vodka (and, if you want, add a few drops of liquid soap). Apply the mixture liberally to the weeds until they're completely coated. This only works on weeds growing in direct sunlight, though.

Baking soda

If you have any small weeds growing in your yard, grab a box of baking soda and go to war with them! Baking soda will kill any small weeds and discourage new ones from growing back. Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate, which is deadly to weeds. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the weeds and let it work its magic. Be sure not to let it get on the grass or other plants.

Weed torches

What better way to kill weeds than to use one of the four classical elements: fire? When you torch weeds, you're melting away the waxy surface and letting the sun damage them. Some people say that you have to torch weeds a few times before the sun is able to get them, but it's super easy compared to the manual task of pulling weeds by hand.

Do you use another natural method or mixture to get rid of the weeds in your yard? If so, please sound off in the comments below!

Chiara Fucarino
Chiara Fucarino
Contributing Writer at ExcelLiving.com
A proud resident of the pristine High Rockies, Chiara Fucarino happily spends her days writing in front of a breathtaking view of the mountains. When she's not crafting words, Chiara cooks innovative meals, embarks on scenic hikes, travels to exciting new places, hangs out with domesticated animals, and takes her motorcycle out for a spin.

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