Top 10 Natural Weed Killers + DIY Natural Garden Pesticides

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DIY Natural Garden Pesticides + 10 Natural Weed Killers for Your Garden

Do you have a lot of unwanted weeds in your garden? You can try to pull them out, but some of the roots are very deep and it’s a struggle to pull them out completely.

When we buy and apply commercial weed killers, called also herbicides, the chemicals react with plants, killing some or all of them, depending on the chemical formula. These weed killers contain harmful chemicals and substances that can cause damage not only to plants, but also to humans and wildlife.

Some weed killers if applied near water sources can cause water pollution. When applied in large quantities, the chemicals can even cause poisoning whose symptoms are headaches, nausea, rashes, dizziness and much more.


Due to all these risks, many people choose to use homemade natural weed killers as an alternative, and you can use common household products that are effective and cheap too. It might take a bit longer to kill the weed, but this is a safe option to your family, pets and the environment.

1. Boiling Water

This is the easiest solution but is also very effective. Just pour boiling water on the weeds to destroy them. For more established weeds you will probably need to repeat it several times over several days.

2. Vinegar

You can use apple cider vinegar (ACV) or white vinegar for this purpose. The high acidity of the vinegar helps to kill weeds. You can dilute the vinegar by adding water or use the concentrated form, depending on the results you have. Start with a 50% diluted mix (1 part of vinegar to 1 part of water) and then increase or decrease the concentration according to the results you have. If the weed is more established, you will probably need to spray it several times to kill it. Some suggest adding a little bit of dish soap (or you can use natural Castile soap) to the mixture to help the solution to better adhere to the weeds. You can find in my previous article more wonderful household uses for vinegar.

3. Salt

Using salt will make the soil unsuitable for future plant growth so this method is more suitable for areas where you don’t want to grow anything for the long term, for example in pavement areas or gravel paths. You can fill your spray bottle with warm or hot water and add to it about ½ cup of salt. Mix well and spray. Another method is to use dry salt: sprinkle the weeds with a good amount of salt, and then hose them.

4. Use a Weed torch

For larger areas, use a special propane torch with a long handle called a weed torch. You just need to wave the flame over the weeds long enough to cook them so they wilt and die. But if the weeds are too dry, skip this method.

5. Baking soda

Apply a good amount of baking soda over the tops of weeds growing in driveways and sidewalks and hose them. You may need to reapply this treatment several times. It is best to apply baking soda when the weeds are actively growing, often in spring or fall. It also works during the summer, but more slowly. Baking soda is also a home remedy, and you can find more information in my article 6 uses for baking soda as a kitchen medicine.

6. Rubbing Alcohol

You can buy rubbing alcohol in many pharmacies. It sucks the moisture from the leaves thus killing them. Fill your spray bottle with water and several tablespoons of rubbing alcohol and spray the weeds.


7. Corn Gluten Meal

This natural herbicide, which is available at most garden centers, was developed by the agronomist and horticulturist Dr. Nick Christians from Iowa State University. This substance is described as a pre-emergent lawn herbicide. Which means that it kills the weeds before they grow to adult size. The weed seeds actually germinate, but the corn gluten meal prevents the growth of the roots and they quickly die of dehydration. The problem is that a research shows that to achieve a good result there is a need for applying at least 20 pounds of corn gluten meal per 1,000 square feet at exactly the right time in the spring just before the weed seeds germinate. Also it was found that this substance doesn’t inhibit weeds that already have root systems, and actually it even enhances their growth due to the nitrogen content of the product.

8. Newspaper

Covering the ground with several layers of newspaper is suitable for low growing weeds. It is biodegradable and prevents the sunlight from reaching to the weeds, thus eventually killing them. Also new weeds will not be able to grow due to the lack of sunlight. You can cover the newspaper with mulch to prevent weeds from coming up in the first place.

9. Ground Cover Plants

Ground cover plants are useful in the garden for covering bare patches of soil. They are good for low maintenance garden and will not only brighten up the area but will also suppress weeds. These ground cover plants compete with the weeds for nutrients, sunlight and water so if you maintain a healthy and thick ground covers, it will help you to suppress weed growth.

10. If you can’t beat them, eat them

Many weeds are edible such as dandelion leaves or stinging nettle (boil them first to remove the stinging). You can add dandelion leaves to salads or cook them or use them for herbal infusion to cleanse your body. If you have any doubt whether the weed is edible or not, don’t take any chance and don’t eat it, as some can be poisonous when ingested.


Many weeds have medicinal uses so don’t underestimate their power. If you are interested in herbs and herbal remedies, you can find more useful information in my e-book the Herbal Remedies Guide. This e-book will teach you how to treat common ailments using herbs.

If you want to use eco-friendly substances in you garden, you can also make you own natural garden pesticides:

DIY Natural Garden Pesticides

Natural pesticides for plants are less expensive than buying commercial pesticides, and they are much safer for your garden, your family, your pets and the environment. There are homemade natural pesticides for plants that are cheap and easy to make and they are as effective as some commercial pesticides on the market. You don’t need special or fancy ingredients, and some of them are probably stocked in your kitchen and garden.

But before you start to spray your infected plants, here are few important tips:

1. The best thing to do is to treat for insects as soon as you notice signs of an infestation. The sooner you start to apply the natural pesticides for plants, the easier it will be to get rid of the critters.

2. Test the solution by spraying it onto a small part of the plant and wait several hours to make sure there is no damage to the plant. If the sprayed part wilted, burnt or changed color, try a more diluted application or another type of pesticide.

3. You can mix several of the solutions below to create a stronger solution, for example you can add neem oil to the other pesticides.

4. Avoid spraying in rainy days as the rain will wash the application or dilute it. Also don’t treat the plant during a very hot and sunny day as it can burn the leaves.

5. Don’t forget to apply the solution not only on the top of the leaves, but also underneath them.


6. Don’t overdo the treatment to prevent damage. Spray every couple of days and see the progress.=

Chili peppers + onion + garlic

Many natural pesticides use a combination of some or all of the above ingredients. While the amount may vary between the recipes, the usual amount is about 1-2 Chili peppers (or 1-2 teaspoons of chili powder), 1 large onion or large bulb of garlic (or both, and then you can half the amount).

Put all the ingredient in a blender and add a little bit of water until a paste is formed. Then add about 1 liter warm water and blend again. Keep the mixture in a container in a sunny or warm place for 24 hours.

Then strain the water and pour them into a spray bottle. Thoroughly spray the infected plant every few days and repeat the treatment for several times. If kept refrigerated, it will remain potent for several weeks.

Mild Liquid soap varieties

You need to select mild soap such as all natural Castile soap. Mix a few teaspoons of the liquid dish soap with 1 gallon of water and mix. Pour it into a spray bottle and spray the infected plant. Spray every 2-3 days for two weeks.

There are other varieties of this natural pesticide recipe in which other ingredients can be added, for example, some recipes add a few teaspoons of baking soda, while others add a peel of an orange. If you add a peel of an orange, firstly place the peel in a glass container and pour 2 cups of boiling water over the peel and leave the solution for 24 hours in a warm place. Strain the water to remove the peel. Then add to the liquid soap and water mixture.

Another option is to add a few teaspoons of vegetable oil to the mild liquid soap and water while mixing all the ingredients well.

Tobacco leaves

This solution is not suitable to use on nightshade vegetables (solanaceous family) such as tomatoes, peppers or eggplants. Mix 1 cup of tobacco leaves into 1 gallon of water. Let the mixture sit for 24 hours in a warm place or until it reaches the color of light tea. Some recipes add a few teaspoons of mild liquid dish soap to the mixture and mix well. Pour it into a spray bottle and spray the infected plant.


This flower contain a chemical substance that can paralyze many garden insects. Use ½ cup of dried flower or 3 times the amount of fresh flower. Add to it 1 liter of water and boil the mixture for 20 minutes to release the chemical into the water. Strain the water, cool, and pour into a spray bottle. Spray the infected plant.

Neem oil

Mix a tablespoon of neem oil with a few teaspoons of mild liquid soap. Then add 2 liters of warm water and mix well. Pour it into a spray bottle and spray the infected plant.

Tomato or potato or rhubarb leaves

Cover 1 cup chopped rhubarb or tomato or potato leaves with about 2 liters warm water, let the mixture sit for 24 hours in a warm place, strain the leaves and add a few teaspoons of mild liquid soap. Cool and pour into a spray bottle.


Mix 2 tablespoons of salt into one gallon of warm water and spray on infected areas.

Mineral oil

Mix about 20-30 ml of high-grade mineral oil with one liter of water and spray on infected areas.

Lime sulfur spray

You can get it at any good garden center and it is applied during the dormant period. Lime sulfur has fungicidal properties and it kills many insects.

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7 Responses to Top 10 Natural Weed Killers + DIY Natural Garden Pesticides

  1. Ive Anderson says:

    Love to read more!

    • Jim says:

      I,ve tried boiling water to try and kill weeds on my driveway. It does make the weeds wilt for a day but then they just come back. It was also very time consuming. I tried white vinegar but this had the same result. I tried a salt and vinegar mixed together and this also failed to kill the weeds permanently. In NZ white vinegar is particularly cheap either. I suppose you could have success with these methods if you were only trying to kill a few weeds where you could apply repeatedly. I ended up buying a fat based “organic” weed killer which did a better job.

  2. Bobby says:

    It also kills ants by the thousands! Buy a commercial sprayer at the Home Depot for under $20.00, and a gallon of white vinegar for $1.99 and your good to go. Friendly to pets, and environment. Better than that commercial poison ant spray and it works on contact.

    Howard Beach, NY.

    • Bernadette Abbott says:

      Thanks, I presume these tips are for paved areas, I am looking for a natural product to use on weeds for lawned areas

  3. Liz says:

    I still haven’t found a weed killer – natural or not – that will get rid of Green ivy! As fast as I pull it up it grows and travels even further than it was before. I’ve even tried coating the underside of the leaves with pure, oil based, commercial killer, but if the nearby plants and shrubs die the ivy still remains. Ivy has almost taken over my 40m. X 3m long border, stifling shrubs, rose bushes and most of the plants that had been there for around 15 years. It is so heartbreaking and is driving me CRAZY!!!

    • Janu says:

      Try clove essential oil mixed with vinegar and some cheap oil. It smells really strong of clove for a while but it works!

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