Kill Weeds Organically

How to Kill Weeds Organically

I’ve been experimenting with different ways to get rid of unwanted weeds – organically.

Weeds are not the fun part of keeping a garden or having a yard. Pulling them can be a pain in the…back. Literally. Enough so, that it’s tempting to turn to the strong stuff. The last two times I’ve been to the garden center, the Roundup has been flying off the shelf! Roundup is toxic. Roundup comes with a warning label. Roundup is a curse word in most green circles. So, Roundup is definitely not for the organic gardener. Not to mention, that stuff’s not cheap! Go Green and Save Green with these organic methods for ridding your yard and garden of weeds:

The first method to organically rid your yard of weeds is to spray the weeds with vinegar. I added straight vinegar to a spray bottle and went to town on the weeds that are coming up in the rocks by my front sidewalk.

Weeds Sprayed with Vinegar

As you can see, it does work….to a degree. I feel like I inflicted some damage but failed to deliver a killing blow. I think it would require mass amounts of vinegar to knock these guys out! I’d reserve this method for small scale weed problems.

The second method to try to kill weeds organically is to use boiling water.

Weeds Killed Using Boiling Water

Using a tea kettle, I brought water to the boiling point, then poured it over the weeds. **Here’s a little helpful hint for you – water poured from a high distance tends to splash your feet. Boiling water does not feel good on your feet!** But look how well it worked! I was very impressed with this method. The biggest downfall is that it requires a lot of water – so it involves several trips to the stove. But, if your weed problem is minor – give this method a whirl!

Finally, use an organic weed barrier to kill grass that is growing as a weed.

Grass Invading Mulched Area

I have grass where I don’t want grass. In fact, we pulled out a huge section of lawn and xeriscaped the area. However, no one seems to have informed the grass that it is no longer welcome in these sections of the yard. I spend hours pulling the grass out week after week after week. Not this year. This year I’ve formed an organic barrier using biodegradeable material I had on hand. Since the material is biodegradeable, I do know that I will be doing this job again. But instead of needing to pull the grass again in another week, I won’t need to redo the organic weed barrier again for several years. Oh yes. That is more like it!

Newspaper Barrier

First, I raked the mulch away. Then I covered the grass and soil with cardboard and newspapers.

Mulched Weed Barrier

Then I replaced the mulch.

That’s it.

Simple, yes?

The weed barrier will keep the grass from coming back and I haven’t had to purchase any expensive weed barrier material or add anything toxic to my yard. This method gets the triple thumbs up in my book!

Have you used any organic methods to kill weeds? What has worked for you?

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  1. I have use the vinegar method for a couple years now and am impressed with the results. Vinegar is cheep in comparison and safe. Just a couple tips it will kill anything around it such as grass and if it gets wet via rain or mositure before it drys naturally the vinegar losses its effectivness.

  2. I am laughing, I read the article to my 17 yr old, he asks ” how green is it to heat and boil lots of water?” ps. All those extra newspaper is how I kept weeds out of my garden

  3. Does anyone know of a great way to get rid of the weed comfrey (it’s like poision oak to my family just rubbing against it a little) and also blackberries? Would really appreciate the help!

  4. .ambre. @ livingasoftheday says:

    Oh, Louise! I’m so sorry to hear about your family’s reaction to what is usually such a healing herb! My husband is just as sensitive to Virginia Creeper which I am in a now three year long battle against. I need help too! I even resorted to roundup as his last exposure to the creeper put him in the hospital but the little bugger is still back this spring. sigh…

  5. Louise, Does comfrey come back every year? Can you try newspapers and cardboard as a weed type barrier? That is what is working for me with the grass that doesn’t respond to just pulling. Smothering it seems to be the only thing that works!

  6. Heidi, Well, the water I used came from my rainbarrel – and you could use the microwave to heat the water to boiling since it does take less energy then the stovetop. Plus, it is definitely a lot more green than a toxic pesticide. But that always seems to be the trouble with green solutions – you think you find a great answer then a curve ball of “But…..” gets thrown in. Kinda like the new lightbulbs. More efficient, but there is the mercury waste that needs to be disposed of properly! I just try to do my best!

  7. rita tauzin says:

    that what i do,,use vinger and hot water and it works all the time

  8. I have yet to try it but I have heard that salt water works. I am willing to try it this year on my drive way it is a pebble one and it has been overgrown by grass.

  9. Lisa, I’d be interested to know how the salt water works on your driveway. It makes sense that it would kill them but I wonder what the salt/water ratio would need to be? Then, if you boiled the water as well, would it be more potent? Let me know how it goes!

  10. Loretta Rizzo says:

    Thanks for the ideas. We are always looking for organic and natural ways to take care of our home, property and family.

  11. Yeah for newspaper and mulch, Andrea! That’s our favorite way to get rid of weeds and keep them down in flower beds. We add a yearly layer of paper and mulch to all our beds and there’s the extra benefit of feeding the soil. Here’s where I posted about it:

    As for the other methods you’ve tried- you’re right, they’re great for small areas like walkways, sidewalk cracks and the like. When we moved to an acre – complete with a large circular gravel drive – these small-time methods don’t work anymore. We try to have it scraped regularly, but we live in a wet climate that grows everything, so we’ve resorted to commercial organic weed killers. And blackberries? NOTHING works on them but the most powerful killer. We’ve cut, dug, and smothered, and they ALWAYS come back. Here in the NW, they are one of the worst offenders.

  12. Jami, Ooo. A gravel driveway would be tough. And I can honestly say, living in CO where blackberries are a tough thing to grow, it’s hard to imagine it taking over like a weed elsewhere in the world! Andrea

  13. Jeannie O says:

    Put some salt in the vinegar and/or water.

  14. Great hint Jeannie! I will give that a try, thank you. Andrea

  15. question: if the boiling water works, and the vinegar works .. if you combined the two and used boiling water WITH vinegar, do you think that would work?

  16. Deasanni, I think you totally could combine the boiling water and vinegar to kill weeds organically. I bet the smell is awful, but it would be a one-two punch. Andrea

  17. I hear that baking soda works well it neutralizes the soil so nothing grows, but be careful where you put it cause it will kill everything you put it on

  18. I saw this posted on facebook recently… 1 gallon vinegar, 2cups epsom salt, and 1/4 cup dish soap.

    Said to spray this mixture on after morning dew had evaporated… (Suggested putting it in a weed sprayer)

  19. Here are two similar recipes I received in emails this Spring:
    1/2 gal. Cider Vinegar, 1/4 c. table salt, 1/2 tsp. Dawn liquid dish soap
    1 gal. Cider Vinegar, 1 c. Epson Salt, 1/4 C Dawn liquid dish soap
    (The dish soap helps the solution stick to the weed.)
    It doesn’t kill all weeds, but does a good job on others.

  20. Boiled vinegar works like a charm! I don’t use it for my everyday weed killing. But once every couple of months, I have to descale my electric tea kettle. So I boil the vinegar in there one time. It removes all the calcium buildup on my kettle, and then I go pour it on the most obnoxious weeds in the front yard. They wither & turn brown IMMEDIATELY! (But yes, someone mentioned the smell, and it’s pretty bad!!!)

  21. Colleen, So clever to clean the teapot and take care of the garden! Love that suggestion. Thanks for sharing, Andrea

  22. Does the cardboard/newspaper trick for weeds as well as grass? For gardening areas, do you just cut holes for the plants you do want to come up? Or would you layer a lot of soil on top of the cardboard and plant above the cardboard?

  23. Vinegar, salt and dish soap. More effective than vinegar alone

  24. I use salt and Vinegar with a little Dawn dish soap to help it attach to the weeds. It does however kill every thing

  25. In the Bible, the Jewish people were instructure to cover fields with salt to stop anything growing. This,would stop defeated people from regrow in and building new armies to come after Jewish people.

  26. Marilyn Scott says:

    Hello Everyone – I had lots of weeds between 3 x 2 slabs in our carport and I sprinkled them with dry salt and it worked well even on the stubborn hard to kill weeds. It’s definitely worth a try and it’s cheap to do. But don’t sprinkle anywhere near plants or lawn as this will kill everything. Hope it works for you if you give it a try. Thanks for reading, Marilyn


  1. […] How to Kill Weeds Organically […]

  2. Simple Lives Thursday #45 | GNOWFGLINS says:

    […] Kill Weeds Organically by The Green Backs Gal. This blogger reviews several organic, cheap methods for killing weeds, and […]

  3. Simple Lives Thursday, May 25, 2011 | Sustainable Eats says:

    […] Kill Weeds Organically by The Green Backs Gal. This blogger reviews several organic, cheap methods for killing weeds, and […]

  4. […] Kill Weeds Organically by The Green Backs Gal. This blogger reviews several organic, cheap methods for killing weeds, and […]

  5. […] My hubs built a cute little fence around the front of the garden – for looks and not really for function (and please excuse the grass, or lack there of – it’s a work in progress). And I’m trying to figure out how to fight major weeds under my mulch.  I think I’m going to round up some newspaper and cardboard and try out Andrea from The Greenbacks Gal solution for organically killing weeds. […]

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