Simple Solutions

How to Make a Nontoxic 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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22 Comments on “How to Make a Nontoxic Weed Killer”

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  • 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 Nontoxic Weed Killer