Simple Solutions

How to Make a Non-Toxic Weed Killer

By: Joe Truini
dish detergent, vinegar, epsom salt

Use these ingredients to make a nontoxic and inexpensive weed killer.

To make an affordable, nontoxic 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.


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44 Comments on “How to Make a Non-Toxic Weed Killer”

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  • sam Says:
    August 6th, 2019 at 6:08 am

    how to make weed killer for pull behind sprayer .That will kill crab grass and Johnson grass and not kill my grass

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    August 6th, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    Hi, Sean,
    We’re based in Mobile, Alabama, but this solution has helped homeowners in other regions.
    Of course, when it comes to things around the yard, results vary based on geography and various conditions.
    Also: Fungus and other diseases can affect a lawn.
    Here’s more information:

  • Sean Says:
    August 5th, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    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.

  • Sean Says:
    August 5th, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    The disappointing thing is that this kills grass too even though the video shows it being applied to a lawn.

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    August 6th, 2019 at 4:47 pm

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

  • allen tompkins Says:
    August 3rd, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    pesticides dont kill weeds they kill insects…HERBICIDES KILL WEEDS

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    July 18th, 2019 at 11:24 am

  • Terry Says:
    July 4th, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    We have poison sumac an poison oak on our property what is the best natural way too get ride of this . Thanks Terry

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    June 24th, 2019 at 10:42 am

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

  • Bill Says:
    June 22nd, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Will this formula also kill the grass

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    June 18th, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    Hi, Scott,
    We don’t recommend this for use on tomato plants or potato plants.
    Thanks for your question.

  • Scott kern Says:
    June 13th, 2019 at 12:05 am

    Can I use this home remedy around my tomato plants or potato plants

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    June 2nd, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    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! 🙂

  • Holly Says:
    May 31st, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    Will this kill creeping Charlie

  • Barbara Williams Says:
    May 8th, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    How long after the weeds die can you plant something? thank you.

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    May 9th, 2019 at 9:57 am

    Hi, Sandra,
    We haven’t covered that topic yet, but you might try this resource from our friends at SFGate:
    Let us know how it works for you!

  • Sandra Says:
    May 8th, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    I want to kill my pompas grass. How do I do that?

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    May 5th, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    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.

  • Donna G Athey Says:
    April 26th, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    Using the recipe for weed killer, will it kill poison ivy?

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    May 5th, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Hi, Maria! Bonide has some great products for unwanted grass. Good luck!

  • Maria Says:
    April 23rd, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    What would you suggest on a large scale to kill grass around Christmas trees?

  • Jenn V. Says:
    March 15th, 2019 at 9:53 am

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

  • Linda Says:
    February 1st, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    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?

  • Jaelynn M. Says:
    October 1st, 2018 at 10:51 am


  • natalie rivers Says:
    September 26th, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    I need a weed killer that will not harm geckos I like them in my garden

  • Rod McCoy Says:
    September 25th, 2018 at 7:42 am

    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.

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    September 6th, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Hi, Marilynne! Here’s more information on this topic:
    Good luck!

  • Marilynne Says:
    September 5th, 2018 at 9:30 am

    How long should I wait to plant something new after the weeds die?

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    September 4th, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    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!”

  • David L. Carroll Says:
    September 2nd, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    If I use this stuff to kill crabgrass, how soon will the soil be able to support re-seeding with Tall Fescue?

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    July 26th, 2018 at 1:19 pm

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

  • charlotte ives Says:
    July 24th, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    i need to kill weeds that grow between concrete drive sections. does white vinegar harm concrete?

  • Sarah Says:
    May 28th, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    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?

  • Julia Says:
    April 25th, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    I do not consider the claim of nontoxic as accurate. Common household dish soaps are toxic.

  • Josh Says:
    March 6th, 2018 at 12:45 am

    Weed killer is not a pesticide. It’s a herbicide

  • Joan turnbull Says:
    February 20th, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    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.

  • Susan Langley Says:
    March 22nd, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    Will your formula kill rattle snake weed and dollar weed?

  • Susan Langley Says:
    March 22nd, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Will your formula kill rattlesnake weed and dollar weed?

  • WR Owens Says:
    March 20th, 2017 at 6:57 am

    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.

  • Keller Says:
    July 1st, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    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?

  • Official Comment:

    Lindsay Hughes Says:
    June 20th, 2016 at 9:50 am

    J Stephens, regular white vinegar should work fine.

  • J Stephens Says:
    June 19th, 2016 at 6:42 pm

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

  • Official Comment:

    Lindsay Hughes Says:
    June 20th, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Cindy, yes, this formula could kill (wanted) plants as well as weeds; so be careful when spraying!

  • cindy Says:
    June 18th, 2016 at 5:29 am

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

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How to Make a Non-Toxic Weed Killer