How to Make a Non-Toxic Weed Killer

To make an affordable, non-toxic weed killer, use a funnel to add 1/2 cup of Epsom salt, a quart of white vinegar, and a few squirts of dish detergent to a spray bottle. Shake it up and spray directly on weeds. The detergent will help it stick to the leaves. Within two or three days, the weed will dry up and die.


  1. would this week killer ….kill plants too? If it gets sprayed by mistake on a plant, will it die too? thanks…. sounds good

  2. Use plain household vinegar in your weed killing formula? I was told I had to special order a stronger % vinegar. thx

  3. I’ve had success with boiling water, boiling water with salt in it, and white vinegar.

    I need something drastic but safe for dogs to kill Creeping Charlie, aka Jill (gill) over the ground, aka ground ivy. It’s everywhere. I spent one summer pulling up every speck of it and it didn’t make any difference. I know that even the tiniest bit of root or stem will create a zillion new plants.

    Bind weed that came in with a load of soil is also plaguing us. Any advice?

  4. Not sure why you need epsom salts, magnesium sulfate, in a weed killer. Included among its many uses, is a plant fertilizer. Vinegar is somewhat effective as a weed killer. In addition to soaking the leaves, you need to saturate the roots. Vinegar is a weak acid, so that’s probably why it kills plants. Liquid soap helps breakdown the coefficient of friction causing the solution to better adhere to the plants.

  5. I cut out a recipe for home made weed killer out of the Sunday mail years ago but have lost it,was for salt and vinegar don’t know the quantities it would kill anything green so had to be careful do u know it that was not from me I think it was Cindy.

  6. If you apply the formula to leaves, what about the roots… after the leaves dry up wouldn’t the roots still grow another set of leaves?

    • Hi, Charlotte,
      We don’t recommend applying white vinegar to concrete due to the possible reactions that could occur.
      Good question!

    • Hi, David! Here’s Joe’s answer:
      “Hi David,
      The very best time to reseed an existing lawn, or plant a new lawn, is fall. As the weather turns cooler, there’s less competition from weeds.
      I don’t know where you live, but wait until fall is fully established and the weather, especially at night, is cool.
      Good luck!”

  7. Expect this to take many applications. I won’t say it doesnt work, but it sure doesn’t work as quickly as getting your hands dirty.

  8. White vinegar works but I found it best to spray liberally and done best in hot weather. I’m looking for a material that won’t break down at all for my raised garden pathways. I’m constantly fighting encroaching grass and weeds. I was thinking about used roofing tiles. Has anyone done this?

  9. A few applications of boiling water at weekly intervals will kill weeds in concrete cracks without any toxins, reactions or damage.??

    • Hi, Donna! This recipe is not intended for poison ivy, so for a natural method, just repeatedly cut poison ivy to the ground. It’ll take some time, and numerous cuttings, but it will die at some point. Aside from that, your best bet is herbicide containing triclopyr or glyphosate.

    • Hi, Holly,
      We haven’t tested this on Creeping Charlie, but we’ve found it useful for all the weeds we tested it on.
      Try it and tell us how it goes! 🙂

    • We’ve never had that problem, Bill, but results may vary based on geography, climate and other factors.
      Use with caution. Good luck!

    • Absolutely, Allen.
      As the expression goes, ‘To err is human.’
      Sorry about this unscripted event, and thanks for watching!

  10. I’m sorry, Thomas, but I just read your comment about it not harming the grass. Are you in the Northeast? Perhaps my type of grass is killed by this but another type would have not been affected.

    Any insight would be appreciated.

  11. I have used this recipe but it destroys the plastic bottle nozzle which I store it in. I imagine it is designed for one application??

    • We’ve used this solution for years and haven’t had that problem.
      Try a different bottle and let’s see how it goes. 🙂

    • Hi, Peter! We haven’t encountered Spotted Purple Knapweed in our backyards, so we couldn’t say.
      If your yard has this, we hope you’ll try Joe’s solution and report back.
      Let us know how it goes. 🙂


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