How to make weed killer – an easy, homemade recipe

You can make homemade weed killer easily to tackle pesky patio invaders. This is how

Weed killer being sprayed from a bottle with green background
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Recently, we posted a TikTok on how to make a weed killer – and it went viral. 

However, many of our followers had questions about our homemade weed killer, and getting rid of weeds, some of which we thought we would answer here.

Below, we show you how to make your own weed killer, which is particularly effective for removing weeds from pavers, particularly young weeds, and address some of the questions. 

How to make weed killer

You will need:


♬ Cooking Time - Lux-Inspira

1. Mix two cups of vinegar, a ¼ cup of salt and 1 tsp of dish soap and pour it into a spray bottle.

2. Spray it on to your weeds on a sunny day, leave for 24 hours.

3. Remove the weeds with a weeding tool, like this one from Amazon, at the roots.

Does a weed killer with vinegar and salt harm plants?

You'll note that our TikTok above is tackling weeds isolated by pavers. If you want to use it to get rid of grass growing in flower beds or to kill weeds but not grass on a lawn, for example, you need to exercise caution.

'On the whole this mix is okay to use, I have done it myself with success,' says our gardening expert Drew Swainston. However, my caveats would be that homemade vinegar-based weed killer is best used on young weeds that have newly-sprouted. 

'It quickly targets and kills the above-ground parts of the plant and is therefore best suited to young annuals. It will not be as effective on older weeds and perennial weeds, especially those with tap roots or well-established root systems. 

'The above-ground foliage may die back, but the roots will still function and the weed will be able to regrow as a result.

'Caution should be taken when using salt to kill weeds on beds and borders, or around any other plants in the garden. Not only would you need to be extra cautious as the mixture could be harmful to any existing ornamental plants in the vicinity, but a build-up of salt in the soil will definitely have a detrimental effect on the health of all plants in the area.'

Drew Swainston
Drew Swainston

Drew qualified as a journalist before studying for a horticulture qualification, after which he worked as a professional gardener for several years, specializing in kitchen gardening. He's now bringing his expertise and passion to Homes & Gardens as a member of our team. 

What homemade weed killers are safe to use on flowerbeds?

Using cardboard for weed control is a quick, safe way to suppress early weed growth, though be careful not to use cardboard that might have colored dyes, sticky residues or anything else that can run off into the soil, and remove it from the borders once the weeds have died back, and you can get at their roots to remove them.

'Solarization is also a safe DIY weed killer,' continues Drew Swainston. 'If you have a large, sunny flower bed you want to plant out, but it is full off weeds, you can lay basic clear plastic sheeting (from Amazon) over the area and kill the weeds with the sun's heat,' advises Homes & Gardens' gardening expert Drew Swainston. 

'The clear plastic will concentrate the heat of the sun to a degree where it will kill the weeds and eliminate any weed seeds in the soil. You will still have to weed out the roots by hand, however.'

Mulching flowerbeds is another easy homemade DIY weed killer. 

'You can smother weeds with a thick layer of mulch,' says Drew Swainston. 'The benefit of mulching is that it can also work to improve your flower beds' soil health. Mulch can range from homemade compost to leaf mold, gravel, and more, and all have their benefits.'

However, perennials with persistent roots will still need weeding out by hand.

Boiling water, poured over weeds, can kill them, 'but this method will only work on the youngest, newly-emerging weeds, as boiling water kills foliage but not established roots,' continues Drew.

'Again, the weeds will likely just grow back, and again, you do need to be careful of your other plants when applying boiling water in flower beds.'

What kills weeds down to the root?

Herbicides aside, the DIY methods above that contain vinegar, boiling water and salted water will kill the roots of young weeds; established perennials will need carefully digging out and thoroughly removing if they are not to reappear. 

However, if you are looking for a quicker way to kill weeds yourself, Drew Swainston recommends a flame gun, something he has done in his work as a gardener. 

'The heat quickly kills weeds,' he says. 'Flame King's Propane Torch Weed Burner at Amazon is a great buy. However, as ever, be careful not to accidentally damage the other plants in your flower beds.' 


How do you permanently stop weeds from growing?

It is difficult to stop weeds from growing entirely, if not impossible. The best way to ensure your yard stays as weed-free as possible is to remove young weeds before they can take hold, to mulch your flower beds so that they are inhospitable to weeds, and to allow time for regular maintenance sessions from spring through to the end of the growing season.

For us, making this weed killer to use on pavers and decks is a great solution. However, if you are looking to get rid of weeds on flower beds, the best and most permanent solution is hand removal followed by mulching. 

Lucy Searle
Content Director

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she also took on the editorship of the magazine. Today, Lucy works as Content Director across Homes & Gardens, Woman & Home, Ideal Home and Real Homes.