10 Free Ways to Eradicate Weeds Using Common Kitchen Items

Jun 06, 2018 by apost team

Everyone has their own personal plant species nemesis. Any founder plant that pokes up from the mulch, pavers, and driveway cracks can ruin a good landscape manicure. They come, and you want them to go. 
The battles are many every year, but there are ways to tame them and keep them at bay. 

1. The Incredible Edible Weed: Pluck Them Young and Eat Them 

It's far easier to deal with young plants than established ones. Many common garden weeds are edible. Dandelions, for example, have long taproots. If you wait too long to pull, the root grows deep and breaks off when pulled. A new plant will grow if enough root survives. 
Tender young dandelion leaves pair well with salads while older ones can be boiled to removed bitterness and treated as a green. The whole plant is nutritious


2. Boil Weeds Right in the Ground 

Since there is no difference between weeds and vegetables, they can be cooked out of the cracks. This method is best for the sidewalk, curb, rock walls, and driveway. 
Pour on boiling water. A plant with a long root or rhizome system may have surviving relatives, however. Be diligent and try to boil them before they've had a chance to get a good hold. 

3. Salt Desiccation

Plain, cheap sodium chloride will kill just about any plant by drawing out water. The key is location and using salt sparingly. Sprinkle salt along seams, rock mulch, and cracks to prevent weed growth. 
Some salt in hot water and put in a spray bottle can concentrate the treatment to a specific plant without damaging others or rendering the soil inhospitable to the plants you want to grow. 

4. Scrub Weeds with Dish Detergent and Vinegar 

In a standard-sized spray bottle, mix together a 1 or 2 teaspoons of dish detergent, 1/4 cup of table salt, and top with white vinegar. This concentrated spray is meant for targeting a plant without harming the surrounding area. 
You may need to apply more than one application on large plants, but the combination will kill the weed from the outside in. The effect multiplies on a hot day. 

5. Spicy Pepper Population Control 

If the weeds have taken over, a cayenne pepper and dish detergent combination can turn up the heat. The chemical in peppers that makes them hot and burn can have the same effect on those stubborn, well-established weeds. 
Combine 3 teaspoons of cayenne pepper with 3 cups of vinegar, 1 cup of table salt, 3 teaspoons of dish soap. Shake well and spray. This combination is also an effective ant deterrent. 

6. Citric and Acid Smackdown 

If you've ever gotten lemon or lime juice in your eye, you know that it is a mild but effective acid. 
Many plants don't like to grow in acidic soils because they need a neutral or basic pH. Combining powdered citric acid, lemon juice, and a cup of white vinegar in a spray bottle makes a very concentrated weed killer. 
Don't spray the dirt. Changing the pH of the soil may kill your vegetables or pretty flowers. Focus on one plant at a time and not an entire area. 

7. Wither with White or Apple Cider Vinegar 

Plain white vinegar can do the job. The acidity will eradicate weeds that want neutral or alkaline soil. It doesn't matter if you use white or apple cider. 
Warming the vinegar or spraying when the sun is shining on the offending plant will accelerate the process. Focus the spray on the plant and avoid pouring vinegar right on the soil. The only exception is on driveway or sidewalk cracks. Since any plants growing in those places are unacceptable, you can be more aggressive. 

8. Smother Weeds with a Barrier

A lot of plants that are ground covers have interconnected root systems and are notoriously hard to kill. 
While pulling by hand or tilling is an effective way to get rid of such colonies, it's hard work. One way to help the process is to cover the area. 
Free old cardboard and newspaper work just as well as store-bought weed fabric. Although they will break down over time, they will last long enough to kill the plants beneath. A layer of mulch over the top makes the barrier attractive. However, heavy rocks can hold down the seams if aesthetics aren't important. 
For a heavy-duty method for really stubborn plants, use plastic and let the sun cook them for you. 

9. Mulch Madness 

Whether pebble, artificial, or wood, a thick layer of mulch will prevent seeds from germinating. A mulch as to be 3-5 inches thick to prevent growth from below. 
Weeds can establish themselves in a mulch bed from the top down. Because the roots have so far to grow to reach soil, however, pulling weeds that have landed on the surfaces are weak and easy to pluck. Pull or spray when you see them. Don't let them establish. 

10. Fight Nature with Biodiversity

Other plants can control weed growth by crowding them out. Strong plants evict weeds. 
Plant low-maintenance perennials that are suited to the sunlight in a stubborn area. Cover generously with mulch and there will be naturally fewer weeds. For lawns, mow regularly to keep the flower heads from going to seed. 

The next time you see that clover or crabgrass growing in the middle of your patio, will you reach for one of these safe and cheap remedies? What will your kids think about plucking pretty, yellow dandelion heads and making daisy chains before they turn to white puffs?