Don’t Buy Expensive Weed Killer. Here Are 12 DIY Ways to Kill Weeds.

Whether you have a bona fide green thumb or you’re a beginning gardener, there’s one battle you’ll always have to face: the one against weeds! There are tons of specialized and formulated weed killers on the market, and you can’t walk into a gardening supply store without being bombarded with tons of options. Still, we find all of the variety a little lacking, thanks to the high prices and the presence of mysterious, artificial ingredients. We’d much rather fight the weed battle the old-fashioned, green way, and who better to guide us than Bob Vila? He put together a list of all-natural weed killers, and it inspired us to look around and see if we could find more. Here are TWELVE DIY ways we discovered.

  1. Vinegar
    WhiteVinegarBottlesMike Mozart via Flickr

    Is there anything this kitchen-and-DIY staple can’t do? Take it outside on a sunny, windless day and aim it at the weeds. (Be careful not to hit the plants you like!) The natural herbicide will take care of them!

  2. Homemade Herbicidal Soap
    Want to give that vinegar a boost? Combine it with equal parts salt and dish soap to make your own herbicidal soap spray.

  3. Borax
    Here’s another DIY staple you can use! Add 10 ounces to 2 ½ gallons of water, mix thoroughly, and spray onto the weeds.

  4. Boiling Water
    BoilingWaterTatty via Dollar Photo Club

    Weeds don’t like being scalded any more than we do. Pour some boiling water straight from the stove directly onto each weed to kill it off.

  5. Fire
    You could also just skip the water and take the heat directly to the weeds. Use a special “weed torch” to wilt them, being careful not to heat the plants you like. The water in the weed’s cells will heat up and the pests will die.

  6. Barricades
    BoxGardenBedForListtamifreed via Deposit Photos

    There’s a reason so many historical gardens feature lawn edgings and raised beds— they keep the weeds out! Make your own easily with scraps of pressure-treated decking.

  7. Salt
    SaltforListWikiMedia

    Have you ever heard the phrase “salt the earth?” That’s because salt makes soil uninhabitable. To focus its weed-killing-power without hurting the rest of your garden, all you have to do is put a small pinch at the base of each weed. The rain will dilute it after a while, and the weeds will wither away.

  8. Mulch
    There’s a reason you see this stuff in all the neighborhood gardens! Mulch forms an anti-weed barrier, preventing seeds from finding the soil to grow in and already-planted weeds from getting the sun they need to grow.

  9. Newspapers
    NewspapersForListgoldenlobby via Deposit Photos

    Another way to smother those weeds? Newspapers! Let it give a boost to your mulch by wetting it and the ground, then putting it down in a thick layer beneath the moss. Not only will it block weeds from sunlight, it’ll invite helpful earth worms into your garden.

  10. Crowding
    DandelionsClose-upvencav via Deposit Photos

    The prettiest way to crowd-out and smother weeds? Plant enough of the flowers and plants you want, and the pests won’t be able to compete.

  11. Cornmeal
    Want to stop weeds before they even start? The proteins in cornmeal – or specially-processed corn gluten meal – stop any seed from germinating and growing.

  12. By Hand
    WeedingPlantsHeaderamyinlondon via Deposit Photos

    The simplest way to get rid of weeds is also the most old-fashioned— just get out there and yank them out!

So many smart ideas! We love that we already have most of what we need for these tricks. If you want to learn more about how and why they work, be sure to check out Bob Vila’s guide. Were there any we missed? How do you keep your garden weed-free?