Homemade Natural Weed Killer

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It is so easy to make your own 3 ingredient homemade natural weed killing spray with vinegar and Dawn dish detergent! In just minutes you can make a vinegar weed killer that gets rid of pesky weeds without dangerous chemicals!

before and after collage of weeds sprayed with weed killer

Despite our best efforts to mulch beds in the garden, sometimes you’ll find yourself with weeds that need to be killed. Weeds lessen your curb appeal and can crowd your annuals and perennials in your flower beds.

While pulling weeds by hand is usually the best route, using a homemade weed killer can be the next best option!

This spray is also great for controlling crabgrass, dandelions, and other weeds that pop up in the cracks of your sidewalk, patio, walkways, or driveway.

a lot of weeds in black mulch
Despite laying landscape fabric and mulch, the weeds can still grow!

Why make your own weed killer?

Not only do many store-bought weed killers not work well, they also contain harmful chemicals that affect the environment as well as the health of both humans and animals.

According to this article, chemical herbicides can be harmful to water supplies, native animals and amphibians, as well as harm local bee, butterfly, and bird populations.


  • Vinegar – Ordinary white household vinegar contains acetic acid which draws moisture from weeds
  • Dawn Dish Detergent – acts as a surfactant, which reduces the surface tension of the mixture and lets it absorb into the plant rather than bead up on the surface
  • Salt – I do not recommend adding salt to the mixture unless you intend to never plant there again. Salt can build up in the soil and make it impossible to plant in the area permanently. If you use salt, do so with extreme caution.

You can also make Borax weed killer by substituting the salt in my recipe for Borax. This makes a strong homemade weed killer so use wisely!

Does this really work?


It’s simple but it will kill the weeds, and quickly. Some stubborn weeds may need a few applications but it’s worth the trade-off to avoid those nasty chemicals.

hand spraying green spray bottle at weeds in black mulch

Check out the difference in this flower bed only one day after spraying the weed killer!

dead weeds in black mulch

I also use this natural weed killer with salt or borax on weeds that pop up in the pavement cracks as well not only to kill the weeds but to prevent them from coming back. If you catch them early you hardly have to pull them at all.

Tips for best weed control results

  • Store in a cool, dark place and shake well before each use.
  • There is no need to restrict children or pets from the areas the weed killer is sprayed, it will not harm them.
  • Be sure not to spray any plants you want to keep, it is not a selective weed killer so spray carefully!
  • This weed killer works best applied to dry plants on a sunny, hot day. The warmer it is, the faster and more efficiently it will work.
  • Stubborn, well-established weeds may require multiple treatments to fully die.

If you try this homemade weed killer, please leave a star rating below!

Yield: 1

Homemade Natural Weed Killer

hand spraying green spray bottle at weeds in black mulch

It is so easy to make your own homemade natural weed killer. With just two household ingredients you can make a vinegar weed killer that gets rid of pesky weeds without dangerous chemicals!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Difficulty Easy


  • dish detergent
  • white vinegar
  • salt (optional)


  • spray bottle


  1. Mix 2 cups of vinegar with 2 tablespoons of dish detergent and shake to mix.
  2. Spray mixture on weeds, ideally at the hottest/sunniest part of the day.


  • For a more permanent solution in an area you do not wish to plant in the future mix 1 gallon of vinegar with 1 cup of salt.
  • Mix until salt dissolves.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of dish soap and mix again.
  • Spray onto the plants at the hottest/sunniest part of the day.

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  1. I’m just wondering. I have purple henbit weeds in my lawn that will not die after several applications of Spectricide AND Roundup. Will the vinegar and soap solution also kill my grass? This I do NOT want to do.

  2. Hello,

    Our property is infested with dandelions and my kid is very allergic to them. In addition, we have allergies to most fragranced products, including Dawn dish soap. I have tried using Seventh Generation Free & Clear dish soap and it just solidifies into stringy goop when mixed with vinegar.

    Are you aware of any fragrance-free alternatives that can be used as a surfactant in this recipe? Or if we just use salt and vinegar should it still be effective?

    Thank you for any advice you may have on surfactant recommendations.

  3. Hi Melissa,I would like to know if this is going to stop my dog from doing his business on the grass near the vinegar solution.I know dogs don’t care for the smell of vinegar.See what happened is I have a small yard ,and grass doesn’t grow well at all in my yard ,too much shade .So I cover it with pine straw ,but don’t you know that some grass is popping through the pine straw so I sprayed the vinegar solution .Now I am thinking he will not make around there? What are your thoughts?

    Thank you,Mary Ardito

  4. Can you use this in your vegetable garden? I have a lot of stubborn weeds that keep popping up.

    1. I wouldn’t use it around anything you want to grow, maybe only around the periphery? I have the same problem but I hand pull mine (constantly🙄) instead of spraying

  5. The solution works well to kill all the weeds in my yard. I’m wondering if the solution is safe to fruit trees? I have weeds growing around the base of fruit trees and I haven’t applied the solution yet as I am worried it might kill the trees as well. Please advise and thank you very much!

    1. I have applied it to weeds growing in mulch near a tree (that is that picture in the blog post) but I would not spray it in the dirt the citrus tree is growing in

  6. My weeds are growing among other plants that I wish to keep. What effect will solution have on those plants and how quickly can expect this work?

  7. Too many pop up adds, clicked on a stupid hard floating by….not impressed. If you have a good product or post you do not need all the extra garbage!!!!!!

    1. I’m sorry about that Kendra, I try to keep them to a minimum but those ads provide me my full time income to support my family and the money to keep this website up and running (which is much more expensive than most people realize!)

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