Hands Down the Best Way to Kill Weeds and It’s Not Roundup

In 1970, John Franz, a chemist for Monsanto, discovered that the chemical glyphosate is a potent herbicide that kills just about every kind of plant material imaginable. In no time, the company gave its miracle weed killer the brand name Roundup.

Farmers, especially, went wild for Roundup. Just one problem: It was nearly impossible to kill the weeds without also killing their crops. So Monsanto sent its chemists back to work to develop glyphosate-resistant, or “Roundup ready crops” that have had their DNA altered (genetically modified or GMO) to allow them to be immune to glyphosate. Now farmers could spray with abandon and not worry about their crops.

To say that glyphosate, Roundup and GMO foods have become a bit controversial would be to put it mildly. There are some who say that glyphosate causes cancer in animals, and most likely humans, too. They insist that the side effects of long-term GMO food consumption is producing serious health risks for all living things. Despite all of this controversy and outcry about issues surrounding Roundup and GMO crops, so far the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found no convincing evidence to force Roundup off the market. It’s a hot button issue, that’s for sure.

There is one provable and very compelling reason to not buy Roundup: It’s too expensive! Even if it were proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Roundup is safe as water, I still wouldn’t shell out the high price for the stuff. I kill weeds like crazy with kitchen pantry items that are really cheap and non toxic: white vinegar, ordinary table salt and dishwashing liquid.

First I will give you the ingredients, followed by two Weed Killer recipes using them:

White vinegar. Ordinary distilled white vinegar with 5% acidity is cheap and works great. If you can find a higher acidity even up to 20%, it is going to work faster, but the end results will be the same.

Table salt. Use the cheapest kind of salt you can find in the supermarket—not sea salt, rock salt, Epsom salts (not even close to table salt, trust me on that) or anything fancy. Just cheap iodized or un-iodized generic salt also known as sodium chloride (NaCl).

Dishwashing liquid. You will be using only a few drops, so the brand doesn’t matter. The purpose of the soap is to break the surface tension of the vinegar so it sticks to the weeds, forcing them to absorb it more readily.

WEED KILLER FOR AREAS TO BE REPLANTED. If you have weeds in areas you want to replant, do this: Fill an ordinary garden sprayer with white vinegar and add about one teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap like blue Dawn or Meyer’s Clean Day. Apply sprayer top and follow the instructions on the sprayer to get it ready to spray. That’s it. Seriously, it is that simple. Pick a hot, dry day to spray weeds until saturated, and they will wilt and shrivel up within hours so be careful to not spray anything you want to live. However, do not worry about the vinegar killing anything below the soil. Because vinegar will not harm the soil, you can safely replant the area once the weeds have died.

WEED KILLER FOR AREAS NEVER TO GROW AGAIN. To kill all vegetation in walkways, driveways and other areas where you don’t want any living thing to grow again, mix two cups ordinary table salt with one gallon of white vinegar. Do this in a container that is larger than one gallon capacity so you have room for the salt. Apply the lid and shake to dissolve the salt. Salt dissolves more quickly in vinegar than in water, but it takes a bit of doing. It may not completely dissolve, but that’s okay. Add 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap. Pour into an ordinary garden sprayer. Apply to weeds or grass on a dry, sunny day to areas you don’t want to see vegetation of any kind in the future.

The presence of salt in this recipe is what will eventually bring permanence to your weed killing. The salt will penetrate and leach into the soil. It may take several applications, but in time the presence of salt will “sterilize” the soil in this area so that nothing will grow there. Plan well before you go this permanent route.

These homemade weed killer recipes are not only cheap, both are completely non-toxic to humans and animals. In fact, except for the soap (not toxic, but not very tasty) you could have fun with the family tonight when you tell them you made the salad vinaigrette using 3 parts olive oil to 1 part weed killer!


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  • Ann

    Sad waste of a nutritious dandelion!

    • Margaux Milchen

      Dandelions would be a cinch. It is the “trees from Heaven” which are invasive, bindweed which spread from my neighbors yard and it is killing everything, henbit etc.

  • JP

    Research online brings up what most internet advice about using vinegar on weeds fails to say: “acetic acid in the vinegar works to kill the leaves on the plant but not the root”. So repeated applications are necessary if using vinegar. It’s not a once-and-done thing.

    • Brett Bostrom

      Probably a good thing for my overspray mistakes.

      • Dwight Johnson

        The article mentions that it takes several applications for the salt to penetrate into the soil. That should kill the roots.

    • Chris Bacher

      Re read the article. That was clearly stated.

    • Les Hilet

      Round-up isn’t a permanent solution either, and it costs a shitload more

      • Roger M

        I can buy Roundup for less than a dollar per gallon and a generic version for even less. If you go to a farm store and not the big box stores. It’s not premixed. I have an acre of yard with lots of uncultivated areas where weeds like to go. If I used your vinegar mixture, it would break me. I mix it up in 15 gal batches and it takes about two batches to spray all that I need to spray and it has to be 3 or 4 times as weed seeds can lie dormant for years before sprouting.

  • ksmartbl

    I wonder why farmers do not use the vinegar-and-dish soap method?

    • Lotus530

      I’m thinking because it’s much easier to just spray the entire area with Roundup, that’s the whole point of the GMOs, the Roundup won’t kill the crop, just the weeds….

      • Starlink9c

        and everything else. Glyphosate is very effective at killing. Do we really need it in the food chain? I would rather use gasoline or diesel to control weeds.

        • tuffone3

          Diesel is the lesser of the two evils.

          • Jeff F.

            Using gasoline/diesel is one of the worst possible things you could use as a herbicide. I know it is standard practice in many places and is even recommended by agricultural “experts”, but come on! You are pouring refined hydrocarbon oils, napthalene, toluene and alkylbenzenes onto your soil. Not to mention that gasoline has benzene in it which is utterly carcinogenic. Diesel is very persistent in the soil and can also move into the water table. I am not a huge fan of glyphosphate, but please use it and not gasolene/diesel.

            Oh and one more thing, don’t ever use salt as a herbicide. That is just as wrong headed as using hydrocarbons.

    • Ann

      Because vinegar isn’t very effective, and salt is VERY bad for the soil.

  • Sojourner

    I have used cornmeal with great success. This is a great site on how to use cornmeal effectively as a natural weed killer; http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/organic/cornmeal-in-the-garden.htm

    • Brett Bostrom

      Probably a good thing for my overspray mistakes.

    • Dwight Johnson

      Cornmeal doesn’t kill weeds, it is supposed to stop seeds from sprouting. Sort of an organic preen.

      Cornmeal is also recommended on grass as an organic fertilizer.

    • Terry Thomas Photos

      Worms love to eat cornmeal.

  • Lotus530

    I’m in SE Texas. I’ve never found household vinegar to be effective in killing weeds! But I’ve sworn off Roundup. The higher percentage agricultural type vinegar seems to work….it’s an ongoing battle….had a Chinese Tallow tree removed but not the stump. It’s grown back over 6 feet now. /sigh/

    • Ksmartbl33

      Pound a copper nail into the trunk and watch it wither

      & die

      • Freckles

        I’m gonna try it. Thanks.

    • Freckles

      Those things are the devil! I got one and can’t afford a tree chopper. SMH Dadgummit! Who thought them things were a good idea?

    • Crystal Allen

      We had a black walnut stump that insisted on sending up shoots after being cut down. For several years. Sprayed with RoundUp. Knocked it back a bit, but always came back. What worked was a cup full of houseplant fertilizer (blue crystals) dumped in the dead center of the stump. Killed it! I think it over stimulates the plant or tree, and it dies from exhaustion 🙂

    • A cottonwood tree that was cut down continued to grow back in spite of spraying with various poisons, cutting again and again, and burning. I suggested that my client cut it back again and then build a compost pile over and around it. The diameter for the trunk was at least 4′. She put some inexpensive wire fencing around the trunk and filled it with leaves plus some vegetable and fruit peelings. The trunk began to decompose and never grew back again.

  • Patricia

    In Europe they have used salt to kill grass in the sidewalks. I remember my mother pouring salt in all the cracks where grass was growing. When the ground was wet we used to pull up the weeds and then put salt down. Worked every time.

    • Honey

      Not a good idea- It will destroy the concrete.
      Salt is a mild acid and lowers the pH in the concrete. The acidic reaction attacks
      the concrete paste and aggregate, weakening the structure and strength of the
      concrete. It also increases the pore size, allowing additional water and chemicals
      into the concrete, which can exacerbate freeze/thaw cycle damage.

      • Pigoff

        Thank you for letting me know that.

      • BG Davis

        Back to Chemistry 101A. Salts are not acids.
        Table salt, which is sodium chloride (NaCl), is not an acid nor a base, but is a salt, as it is formed by the replacement of the H+ ion in Hydrochloric acid by a sodium ion.
        The reason that salt damages concrete is that it is hygroscopic (it attracts and retains moisture). The excess moisture, accumulating wherever the salt solution penetrated, swells and cracks the concrete over time.

        • ReallyFedUp

          Glad I read the comments.

  • Andrea W

    Happy Thursday!!!
    I have been singing the praises of the formula since March 3rd of this year & telling all of my friends!!! I finally got in my backyard to tackle the weeds growing in the alley alongside my fence. My husband doesn’t like for me to go into the alley, so I used the formula from my side of the fence. All of those weeds died & are still gone!!! The city if LA is extremely lousy on taking care of the alleys. I plan on giving the city councilman in my area the formula so that whatever city dept handles alleys in the city can use this formula to control the weed growth. My mind tells me this attempt will be futile, but I am going to do this anyway. I will continue to use this formula & tell people about it. I have a lot more to do my the backyard, but nothing pleases me more than to do this process myself. I also take time to dig up the roots of weeds then apply the solution. That has been effective for me. My husband still is NOT a believer in this process although he has seen spectacular results! I believe what I believe! N- joy HIS day!!

  • Terrie Lewis

    We tried this concoction this Spring on our front yard. We used Epsom salt instead of table salt from a recipe I found on Facebook. We sprayed it on dandelions in the front yard and it killed the leaves and the grass around the plant. However the dandelions quickly went to seed and the seeds blew away. I don’t recommend this method.

    • Sue in MN

      This is not an appropriate, research-based solution! You won’t see this recommended by trained personnel – it is not an ecologically sound sustainable gardening practice. (The University Extension Service trained Master Gardeners around the country are not paid or supported in any way by the chemical companies.) Keep in mind that just because something is “natural” or edible by humans that it is harmless. (For example, chocolate is great for humans, but a couple of ounces can kill your dog.) You are altering the chemical makeup of the soil with vinegar & salt. Vinegar must be used repeatedly to be effective (doesn’t kill the roots outright.) So you re adding acid to your soil, upsetting the natural balance, and perhaps killing or stunting beneficial bugs and bacteria that live there. Salt, as noted above, is a KILLER. In South Texas, the ground water already contains too much dissolved salt from fertilizers and salt water infiltration. This limits its use to a few salt-tolerant crops. If you live up North, look at what winter road salt does to the ditches & boulevards – only salt-tolerant plants will grow there, and many of those are weeds. Don’t assume because you don’t want anything to grow there, that the next tenant or homeowner will feel the same way.
      So, before you embrace this as a weed control, look at the full ramifications. And maybe, just maybe, spend some time pulling those weeds – it’s great exercise.

      • AH

        haha, you’re welcome to come hand-pull the weeds on my 1/2 mile long driveway! 🙂

    • Kathy Meadows-Goodman

      The reason it didn’t work for you is most likely because you used Epsom salt instead of table salt. Epsom ‘salt’ is not true Salt; true salt is Sodium. Sodium/Salt acts as a drying agent, which is why Sodium Chloride, aka table salt kills plants. Epsom ‘salt’ is actually a pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate in crystal form. It looks like salt crystals so it’s labeled ‘salt’, but it has no sodium chloride. In fact Epsom salt is used as a fertilizer or plant booster for many plants including roses and tomatoes. The vinegar alone would have done a much better job, probably, although they say vinegar will only kill the leaves or parts above ground and not a root. Sodium chloride or true salt will kill the entire plant, leaves stem, & root, BUT it will also sterilize the soil and nothing else will ever grow in that spot where true salt has been put.

      • mlind33

        Most everything Kathy said here is true except for the statement that Epsom salt is not a true salt. Here is the definition of a ‘salt’.
        “any chemical compound formed from the reaction of an acid with a base, with all or part of the hydrogen of the acid replaced by a metal or other cation.” Magnesium sulfate is a salt; just not the kind that is effective at killing weeds.

  • Gehugh

    As an alternative to ridding your property of every possible unsightly weed: consider consuming the dandelion greens and picking the yellow flower heads before they blow out. You might want to find out what kind of ‘weeds’ you have and act accordingly. After many years of DDE (Daily Dandelion Elimination) every spring we had it with that method and made peace with the greens and just pulled the tops. Our Fiskars weed popper was great then. We have thistle, spotted knapweed, oxeye daisy and several other noxious and invasive weeds that we work on eliminating every year. Hand pulling is the most successful we’ve found.
    There is a website, urbanfoodgarden.org, that may be of interest to those who don’t have to live with manicured lawns.

    • timbo

      I don’t think most gardeners who would use this method are worried about every possible unsightly weed. I would like to see it used on the weeds that have invaded you yard that are on the state’s noxious weed list, e.g. old man beard clematis, english ivy, etc. We are after lots of other weeds as well (cat’s ear, potato weed, and lots of others that overtake the vegetable garden.
      Our lawn has several non-grass plants. I love the yarrow; it looks a lot like grass and the occasional white flower is attractive.

  • Maggie

    I have used a teakettle of boiling water for most areas. I don’t concern myself much with lawn weeds. Works like a charm.

    • Sweetie

      But wouldn’t you rather poison the soil by adding sodium salt?

    • timbo

      Whenever we have pasta, I use the leftover water while still hot to hit selected weeds. It works pretty well unless the plant has a really large root. Some plants need a second dose. Too bad it doesn’t go further and hit more weeds. The advantages are that you can hit a specific weed without killing wanted plants and the dissolved nutrients in the water help neighboring plants.

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  • Tami Yeomans

    I have concrete blocks with pansies growing in them along the edge of our patio. If I spray the permanent killer on the lawn side of them, will it effect the pansies?

    • Scott

      If it leaches through the porous concrete blocks – bingo death to the pansies. I assume you are talking about the salt because it’s the permanent killer, Roundup / glyphosate break down in the soil and it’s unlikely to leach through the concrete before it breaks down.

      • john

        glyphosate (roundup) is banned in many countries because it is highly cancerous and causes birth defects.
        It doesn’t just disappear! regardless of what Monsanto would have you believe.

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  • Scott

    Sure fell in love with the ‘natural’ home remedy herbicide…Until I read about the toxicity of each and not to mention the permanent soil sterilization that salt does. As to price – Still not a winner. White Vinegar is between $2.50 to $3.50 a gallon, disregard the price of an oz of dishwashing liquid and skip the salt and you are going to use that straight no dilution. Eliminator (A glyphosate only weed killer is currently $34.99/gallon) in a gallon container using at the strongest recommended concentration is going to cost you just under $.70/gallon that’s bout 25% the price of just white vinegar and with white vinegar you get a top only kill of everything and with glyphosate you get a systemic kill. BOTH break down in the soil – that is unless you add salt to the ‘home remedy’ mix and then the price goes some more and you render that soil sterile for a lengthy period of time. And lest we forget, that salt will leach into the surrounding soil with affects determined by how high that concentration rises over time.
    I’m not pro-roundup or any other chemical. BUT given that the EPA still has not found a reason to ban or provide any cancer-causing connection to glyphosate. Further at least one other report gives salt and acetic acid (the active ingredient in white vinegar) a higher toxicity rating to humans than glyphosate. I have to say – I’ll save my money and stay with Roundup or other glyphosate containing products.
    One last point – in ancient times the conquering armies that wanted to infllict the most long lasting damage on their enemies – would salt their fields to prevent any crops from growing for years. Once dissolved into the soil the soil was rendered useless for crops.

  • martymarsh

    I have a pile of dirt that keeps growing weeds and so far this process is taking along time, I have hit it like 3 times now and a lot of it is still green.

  • Dee

    I have killed weeds in my backyard that grow around my pool area, by using the salt/vinegar method. However, the soil composition has changed, and now there are ant colonies throughout the whole area. To get rid of the ants, I pour boiling water on them, but it is a large area, and not a permanent solution. Any advice?

    • Seth

      Hi Dee, have you tired the ‘Borax solution’ we had a problem with ants once and I tried all the ant sand, ant powder, commercial insecticides etc and the ants just kept coming back! I found the borax recipe in one my Dad’s old gardening books, so I mixed it up and used it around the ants, after a few days it works wonders. I couldn’t find the book but I did find the recipe for you on the internet: ”Mix one cup warm water with ½ cup sugar and 3 tablespoons borax. Soak it up with cotton balls and place them in shallow dishes near ant trails” I found it best to place the balls near where the ants nest. It doesn’t kill straight away as they carry it back (the solution, not the cotton ball!) to the nest. Try not to disturb or kill any ants you see as you want them to keep coming for the solution.
      I bought the Borax from the supermarket in the laundry section. Hope this works for you.

      • judeanbob

        Another way is to use Borax powder mixed with icing sugar in equal parts, the ants love sugar and will transport both the icing sugar and borax deep into the nest for all to enjoy. If you can’t find any Borax, use baking soda mixed with the icing sugar instead. Ants have no way to expel gas from their body generated by the baking soda once they eat it with the icing sugar. They will swell up and rupture causing death.

        • Sherri s


  • MM

    Anyone ever find an effective solution to be used over a large area using an Ortho sprayer, (thru a garden hose)?

  • Robin Lillian

    Salt poisons the soil. It makes it barren for generations. In the past, when a conquering nation wanted to destroy a land/people, they would sow the water and soil with salt. (The Bible has examples.) Not all pollutants are new inventions.

    PLEASE stick to vinegar and dish soap, etc. Even if you never want ANYTHING to grow in that spot EVER again, what if you sell the house? What about future generations?

    Remember, we do not own the world. We merely borrow it from our children.

    This is not a criticism of anyone. Just please understand that the consequences of salting the earth last a very long time.

    • Jack Snakes

      Christ – what a load of drama queens. rain water will eventually leach salt out of the soil just as it leaches out everything else. Here in the UK, that would take about a week in March…

      • Sweetie

        It’s not “queen” anything. Salinization of soil is a huge global farming problem. Intentionally adding sodium salt to soil is stupid. In fact, it’s my opinion that sodium salt should be illegal for use as an ice melt. Calcium chloride works better (twice the number of ions per gram and effective at lower temps) and is safe for plants.

        “Soil salinization is a serious and difficult to reverse form of soil degradation. Topsoil salts can greatly reduce agricultural productivity, erode infrastructure, and impose long-term limitations on land productivity.”

      • Danny

        You can also till the soil and add water and it fixes the issue.

    • Jason P

      Who wants weeds to ever grow again in their gravel driveway?

  • Kathy Meadows-Goodman

    I’ve noticed several new ‘recipes’ online that suggest using Epsom salt instead of table salt. Please note Epsom ‘salt’ is NOT in any sense of the word actually salt. It will do nothing except possibly help the weeds revive. Epsom ‘salt’ is not true Salt; true salt is Sodium. Sodium/Salt acts as a drying agent, which is why Sodium Chloride, aka table salt kills plants. Epsom ‘salt’ is actually a pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate in crystal form. It looks like salt crystals so it’s labeled ‘salt’, but it has no sodium chloride. In fact Epsom salt is used as a FERTILIZER or plant booster for many plants including roses and tomatoes. The vinegar alone will do a much better job, probably, although the vinegar will only kill the parts above ground and not a root. Sodium chloride or true salt will kill the entire plant, leaves stem, & root, BUT it will also sterilize the soil and nothing else will ever grow in that spot where true salt has been put. Epsom ‘salt’ will not harm the plant nor the soil.

    • Edward Keating


    • killermouse1974

      to reinforce comments by edward keating…..

      epsom salt aka magnesium sulfate is, without any doubt whatsoever, a salt.

      sodium chloride aka table salt is but only one of many many many many many salts, and all are “true salt” using your term. “salt is an ionic compound that results from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base”.

      salt can be categorised in different ways eg component ions can be inorganic or organic, and can be monatomic or polyatomic, and there are varieties of salts dissolved in water eg salts that hydrolyze to produce hydroxide ions are basic salts, whilst those that hydrolyze to produce hydronium ions are acidic salts, and neutral salts are those that are neither acid nor basic salts.

      many fertilisers used in agricultural are salts and/or derived from salts eg potassium sulphate, potassium nitrate, potassium chloride, monocalcium phosphate aka single superphosphate, monoammonium phosphate. micronutrients like molybdenum, zinc, and copper are provided as water-soluble salts. these are all salts, or as you put it “true salts”.

      salt can absorb water that would otherwise be available to the roots and effectively dehydrate them causing plant stress, which can kill the plant.

      but sodium chloride aka table salt is toxic because it is made up of sodium and chloride and both are toxic to plants when present in high concentration. sodium ions in the salt
      replace other nutrients in the soil that plants need eg potassium calcium and magnesium, so these nutrients become unavailable to the plant. roots absorb the chloride ions and transport them to the leaves, where they accumulate and interfere with chlorophyll
      production and photosynthesis.

      although i did an agricultural degree, it was a long time ago and i have forgotten a lot of what i learnt, so i had to do some reading to be able to write this response, and i might not have explained it perfectly compared to a soil and/or plant specialist, or someone willing to do more reading than i did, it is more or less accurate and based on science, rather than uninformed and inaccurate opinion.

      • Mark Mauerman

        Holy shiest! What an amazing science lesson! Probably learned more right here than I did in my last science class.

    • Although Epsom salts are used as a fertilizer I have used it with vinegar and the results were very good. I wondered how Epsom salts could help but it did. So maybe there is something about the combination of the two.

  • Terrie Lewis

    Thank you for telling me about Epsom salt. I have read of it being used as a soil supplement. I have seen a recipe for weed killer calling for epsom salt, but it didn’t work for us. I know that there are places mentioned in the Bible where salt was sowed in the fields of the enemy.

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  • Madison Hedge

    Solizarization with plastic would kill seeds and sterilize the ground

    • Yaspar

      …sterilize the ground down an inch. If the roots are deeper than that…

  • Doodonde

    As for all you yahoos yelling about salt . . it’s MY land. Not borrowed. I’m not a tenant. I OWN it. If I want to put salt in the soil and sterilize it, then I will. If you don’t like it, find another planet to live on you tree hugging a-holes.

    • JF

      Geez… Take it easy.

    • Mark Robinson

      nobody said you couldnt ruin your ground with salt, dude….. get ahold of yourself! you must be from Texass.

    • Don Fowler

      People like you destroy not only their own land and supplies, but all those around them because the stuff runs off. People like you really do need to find another planet to live on. We may own a piece of earth, but if we destroy it, it never belonged to us. And if you ever want something out of the land, including selling it in the future, would you not want a valuable piece of land? Although many folks could care less, and you may very well be one of those.

      • Jason P

        In the north, we put tons and tons and tons of salt on the roads every winter, everything is fine. Where do you get your information?

        • Rod Wallbanger

          Road salt… is actually calcium chloride not sodium chloride.

          • Jason P

            I stand corrected. I was unsure there was a difference. Thank you, now I know.

          • Christopher Roxby

            Actually that will depend on the area. Many areas use good ‘ol NaCl.

          • You are wrong. Sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, and calcium chloride are all commonly used as road salts. Sodium chloride is most common because it’s cheapest. All of them should be outlawed for clearing roads. Not just for polluting our waterways, but for the billions in damage to vehicles, roads, and bridges. Plow and sand. If that’s not good enough, stay home.

        • Kate Ryan

          I grew up in the Midwest where salt was used all the time. It was corrosive over the long term, particularly to the undersides of cars. But it works, so there’s that.

    • Sweetie

      Have you seen Dr. Strangelove? I think your twin rode the bomb.

    • Kate Ryan

      Oh, grow up. Nobody cares what you do. Have at it nasty little boy throwing a tantrum.

  • Leo Russell

    One question please. I plan to use this formula but am wondering if it will kill the grass as well. I am seeding a new area but would like to spray first. Will it have a negative effect on new seeds? thanks

  • Jessica Lambert

    I tried this weed killer but can’t get the salt to dissolve any ideas on how to do this.

    • Mark Robinson

      warm water.

  • Terrie James

    Will the salt leave a white residue? I have 150 year old cobble stones I don’t want white stains on!!

    • Sweetie

      A residue of foolishness, certainly — if you’re speaking about using sodium salt on soil.

    • Jason P

      It does not stain. If it recrystallizes into a white film, wash it off.

  • Deb Radman

    There is another reason to not use RoundUp. My father got Roundup on his hands in April 2015. He broke out in an all body rash which persisted until July. Then his platelets dropped to single digits. The docs did blood transfusions and finally a bone marrow test. He had what they call a “blast crisis” situation and the prognosis was that he would not survive. He was dead a month later. There are class action suits against Monsanto about several different diseases users have contracted. But there is no effort around “wrongful death.” I urge anyone using RoundUp to stop; get rid of it. It’s poison and it will kill you.

    • Paul

      I have seen something on television about a law firm that was advertising that it would represent people who became ill over using Roundup. I have used it for years; thank you for sharing your sad story about your father. It could save countless lives. God bless.

    • Yaspar

      Sorry about your father, but far and away the most people who get this sort of bone marrow disease have no contact with Roundup. And millions of people get Roundup on their skin with no ill effects. Cause and effect can be very hard to establish.

  • Crystal Allen

    According to my calculations, comparing cost of a gallon of white vinegar vs what it would cost for 4 tablespoons of RoundUp per gallon, RoundUp is CHEAPER. That being said, I refuse to use RoundUp because of what I perceive as dangers, to myself and family, future food crops, etc. And I just don’t like Monsanto.

    • Nancy Smith

      A gallon of vinegar is about $3. An ounce of dish soap about $.25. How do you figure that compares?

      • Crystal Allen

        We used to use RoundUp from time to time (before we knew better), and mixed it 3 oz per gallon. Walmart sells 64 oz of concentrate for 38.92. That makes it $1.82 / gal. For stubborn weeds we mixed it closer to 6 oz per gallon, which costs $3.65 per gallon. So the vinegar is in the ballpark, between those two extremes.

        The only issue I have had with the vinegar mix is that I have to repeat the spraying often. It burns the foliage, and that does not guarantee that the root dies as well. For large areas, heavy black plastic in the hot sun works wonders!

      • Crystal Allen

        p.s. …and the 20% acid vinegar is about $25 per gallon on Amazon

        • Nancy Smith

          p.s. you don’t have to use 20%.

          • Crystal Allen

            We used to use RoundUp from time to time (before we knew better), and
            mixed it 3 oz per gallon. Walmart sells 64 oz of concentrate for 38.92.
            That makes it $1.82 / gal. For stubborn weeds we mixed it closer to 6
            oz per gallon, which costs $3.65 per gallon. So the vinegar is in the
            ballpark, between those two extremes.

          • Crystal Allen


  • Jack Snakes

    That was the idea. Kill everything so that nothing will come back. I want to clear a patch of land to put a greenhouse on it. Weeds are now gone, but will come back. I want everything dead. Extinct. Gone. Never to return…

    • Sweetie

      Try salt on your mouth.

  • Sara Couillard Taft

    How much vinegar do I use for the week killer? You gave the amounts for salt and soap but not the vinager. Thank you

  • Jessica

    I have poison ivy and other weeds growing on and around my fruit trees. If I use the second recipe would it kill my trees too?

  • gomjabber

    that weed killer doesn’t work on garlic mustard. Back to roundup for me.

  • Douglass Stevenson

    Seven points on this discussion.

    (1) Salt is not exclusively sodium chloride. There are many salts. A salt is the reaction product of an acid with a base. Sodium chloride (table salt) is the product of hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide. Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate, MgSO4) is a true salt, the product of sulfuric acid and magnesium hydroxide.

    (2) Sodium chloride (NaCl) does not poison the soil. All soils have varying quantities of sodium in them. Sodium does cause soils to become impervious to water by locking onto clay micelles and displacing calcium (Ca), causing the soil to become like concrete. However, the condition is not permanent unless you keep adding sodium every year. Even then you can cause a sodic soil to recover by adding gypsum (calcium sulfate, CaSO4), another salt, or sulfuric acid (H2SO4), which reacts with soil calcium to create gypsum, which displaces sodium. The sodium is released, becomes soluble and leaches away with either irrigation water or rain.

    (3) When a salt is mixed with vinegar (acetic acid, CH3COOH), it dissociates into cations and anions. In the acid solution in vinegar (approx 5% to 6 % acetic acid) its reaction with plant tissues is a combination of an acid burn and a salt burn. The acid disrupts cell membranes. The salt causes cells to lose water. The combination is a rapid burn and dry down of treated foliage. You can use a lot of different salts to get this effect. The alkali metal salts (lithium [Li], sodium [Na], potassium [K], rubidium [Rb], cesium [Cs]) are the most toxic, followed by the alkaline earth metals (beryllium [Be], magnesium [Mg], calcium [Ca], strontium [Sr], barium [Ba]). Their salts increase in toxicity with molecular weight, i.e. sodium chloride (NaCl) is more toxic to plants than lithium chloride (LiCl), and potassium chloride (KCl) is more toxic than sodium chloride. Furthermore, their halide salts, particularly with fluorine (F) or chlorine (Cl) are the most toxic. Sulfate salts (SO4) are less toxic.

    (4) Finally, if you want a really hot “salt & vinegar” weed killer, try vinegar and potassium chloride. Potassium chloride is found in “Light Table Salt” (not salt substitute) and is more expensive than ordinary table salt. However, fertilizer grade potassium chloride (murate of potash, 0-0-60 fertilizer) is cheaper than table salt. It is not as pure as table salt because there are insoluble components. But if you mix the murate of potash (KCl) with vinegar at the rate of 1 or 2 cups to a gallon of vinegar, you will get a very hot weed killer.

    (5) With 0-0-60 murate of potash, there is a mineral component that is not readily soluble in water or even dilute acetic acid (vinegar). Therefore, when you mix the murate of potash with the vinegar stir vigorously until most of it is dissolved. Let is stand until the insoluble mineral component settles out. Then transfer the clear solution to your sprayer. Then add liquid detergent, and do not stir to avoid foaming.

    (6) The effect on soil is negligible because unlike sodium, potassium is more reactive and does not cause the soil to become alkaline. Potassium is a plant nutrient, and once in the soil, it provides additional nutrients. If you check your garden fertilizer label, you will find that it contains potash (potassium) usually in the form of murate of potash (potassium chloride, KCl). Potassium, like nitrogen in fertilizer is quite water soluble and will readily leach out of the root zone of plants. So it must be replaced periodically.

    (7) My experience with potassium chloride fertilizer showed me how toxic it can be. About 35 years ago, I was an agricultural consultant with a large, multi-state farmers cooperative association. An orchard owner in Washington, Utah, asked for a fertilizer recommendation after a soil test showed a potassium deficiency. I recommended about a quarter pound per tree applied in the drip zone of the trees. The “drip zone” of a tree is the area under the tree just where the branches of a tree end. It is the area where the maximum number of feeder roots exist closest to the soil surface.

    The orchard owner, however, was a city guy who had never farmed anything before. He had moved to the rural area of Washington County to become a gentleman farmer, while he continued to commute by air to his office in Los Angeles. He had no idea where a tree’s drip zone was, so he placed the murate of potash against the trunks of his trees. A few months later, he called to say that his trees were all dead and had been killed by the fertilizer. When I investigated, I found that the murate of potash, still in crystalline form, in direct contact with the tree trunks. It had destroyed the bark, cambium and water conductive outer xylem of the trees. I explained where the drip zone was and that his lack of understanding had caused him to kill his own trees. We saved most of them by bridge grafting, and about half survived. But this demonstrated how phytotoxic concentrated potassium chloride is.

  • Yaspar

    So far, Roundup has been my only effective solution for bindweed and whitetops. I do not wish to saturate the soil with salt, making all growth impossible forever. I just want to kill the weed and its roots, and be able to replant. Roundup is the only thing that works for that. Roundup Ready Crops? No thank you!!

    • Sickofthis

      No worries about that salt will not make growth impossible forever. I used a bag of pool salt on my yard trying to kill everything growing . Worked for about 6 months. how ever it did not kill the Kudzu.

      • ShadowsGathered

        Kudzu – the plant that ate the South. 🙂

  • Yaspar

    Works very well on dandelions and bindweed and whitetops.

    • DW

      Yep, Roundup works on most everything but can’t use in the lawn unless extremely careful and precise.

      I use Roundup and / or vinegar. For bindweed Quinclorac.

  • suzanne roberts

    Everyone is so negative about everything. What has happened to common sense. Too much round, too much salt or too much vinegar. The thing is about round up a very little with deiscretion and common sense goes a long way and is more effective than any other trick or old wives recepies out there. Just use it very carefully.

  • queenie

    Through all of this discussion, nobody ever gave the proportions of the landscape vinegar (I bought 30%) to water, salt, dish detergent. I would guess that strong vinegar should be cut with water????

  • Karen Bailey

    Is this a UK gallon, or a USA gallon please?

    • Thom

      It’s an Asian gallon.

  • Mack Doggs

    From the company that brought you Agent Orange, “Round UP”

    • Christopher Roxby

      Facts, please. Dow Chemical, Not Monsanto, developed Agent Orange.

      • Christopher Roxby

        Well… Technically the formula was developed by a team at the U of Chicago, but the supplier/manufacturer for the US Army was Dow

  • robert shaw

    I agree with the people who advise against using common table salt (sodium chloride) as a weed killer. From personal experience, it killed the weeds in my sidewalk cracks, but it also adversely affected any of the plants which had roots in the area, including several large specimen trees. It seemed to have been a very poor decision, and it did, in my case, leave the otherwise fertile soil unusable. Just stating my experience; people who like talking snarky-tough about tree-huggers can save their comments for someone who cares.
    I also agree with the people who suggest that a lot can be gained (and a lot of work avoided) by reassessing what you regard as a weed or not. It’s especially puzzling when people “pull a weed”, even if they don’t know what it is. It might be more interesting or valuable than the plant you’re trying to grow. Or it might attract pollinators or parasitic wasps to benefit the other plants. Best (and more thoughtful) to identify the plant first, before killing it.

  • Jack

    This is interesting i have also seen something similar here http://diysomo.com/index.php/2017/06/27/get-rid-of-garden-weed-organically/

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  • Sarah E. Meyer

    Round-up is a DNA disruptor. Does it really matter how much a little vinegar costs by comparison?

  • Dude

    I love RoundUPP… !! It’s my goat’s name.

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  • WellinDowd

    Actually, by far the best is something you shouldn’t use anymore . . . But I used to live out in the country where they used old motor oil from the county trucks on dirt roads. That’s the stuff . . . oil (and a little gas mixed in) will kill a spot for YEARS! Of course I personally never tried it, I just HEARD about it . . . yeah, that’s it. I just heard about it.

  • timbo

    I can’t imagine that two cups of salt sprayed on any area would be enough to keep the rain from leaching it away in a single season in a rainy region like Western Oregon/Washington. This must be a recipe for the Central Valley of California.

  • James

    Will this method work on Tall Fescue in my yard? I just moved into a new house and noticed my Bermuda Grass garden beginning to have patches of Fescue. I verified that it is indeed Tall Fescue and not Crabgrass by research and a calling a local gardener.

  • SuperGreen

    Tried the vinegar/soap and it was a complete fail. Maybe some minor wilting but nothing was even close to being killed, nothing. A whole gallon of 5% acetic acid in my pressurized sprayer – my patio smelled like a vinegar factory! I’ll try the salt now I guess. Anyone else failing?

    • James

      Yeah, this failed once before for me as well. I made a super concentrated mix in a 5 gallon bucket for my home in Colorado and added to much salt. It killed my entire lawn at that time and the yard filled up with weeds the next spring. I have to try it in NM hence why I asked about the tall Fescue issue. Be careful about the salt! I’m beginning to think resodding may be the cheaper overall solution.

  • Nick Barnes

    I read this article by Robert Pavlis who says NaCl doesn’t break down in the soil, whereas glyphosate does. He sounds like a Monsanto hack but I’d appreciate if anyone could verify or refute any of this. I’m just a simple caveman trying to kill the weeds on my patio without ruining the planet. http://www.gardenmyths.com/homemade-weed-killer-roundup-vs-vinegar-vs-salt/

  • TBo

    Actually kills dandelion and blackberry briars very well.

  • Timothy Hossfeld

    I agree, roundup didn’t kill the ivy out back at all. I sprayed it on about 30x on hot days and got fed up with the work, now it just creeps over the fence again…

  • Candee Hart Read

    Is there anything that will kill creeping Jenny permanently and still be able to grow veggies and grass?

  • Dave Eicher

    Works but doesn’t kill them dead as stated

  • KEN

    I spray my tomato plants with a mixture of water and dawn dishwashing soap it didnt kill anything around it or my plants so I dont think this will kill weeds or grass