How to Handle Herbicides Safely


Herbicides are used to kill various weeds and brush that are not wanted by homeowners or other land owners. Herbicides are extremely effective, yet they do pose some health risks if they are not used properly. Before you decide to use an herbicide, you must completely read all of the warning labels and use the product as instructed. Being safe when you use an herbicide is a must.

Step 1

Purchase the herbicide that is right for the type of weed you want to remove. Some weeds are tougher to kill and require a stronger herbicide. Some weeds will die fairly quickly with a less toxic herbicide. That would be a good choice, especially if you plan on planting another type of plant in the weed's place.

Step 2

Keep your leftover herbicides in their original container. Make sure the lid is on properly and that they are stored in a locked garage or shed. The herbicides should also be kept on a high shelf, so that children and pets cannot reach them.

Step 3

Wear long clothing and gloves when working with the herbicide. This will protect your skin from touching the herbicide. Herbicides can cause skin irritation.

Step 4

Put on a pair of goggles and a mask. Herbicides can splash up in your eye, and they can be inhaled. This could cause problems with your vision and respiratory health.

Step 5

Read all application and mixing instructions that come with the herbicide you want to use. Follow these exactly.

Step 6

Apply the herbicide on a sunny day when there is little or no wind. This prevents the herbicide from drifting and landing on plants and vegetation that you didn't intend it to get on. Rain will only wash the herbicide away, so make sure there is no rain scheduled in the forecast for 48 hours.

Step 7

Call the poison control center (1-800-222-1222) immediately if you get the herbicide in your eyes, or you breathe it in.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not smoke while you are working with herbicides. Some herbicides and pesticides require a license to be used. Make sure you have that license if the product you want to use requires one.

Things You'll Need

  • Long clothing
  • Mask
  • Goggles
  • Gloves


  • University of Florida: Using Herbicides Safetly & Herbicide Toxicity

Who Can Help

  • American Association of Poison Control Centers
Keywords: herbicide, herbicide safety, herbicide warnings

About this Author

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for six years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, Bright Hub, Associated Content and WiseGeek. Bodine is also the current cooking guru for LifeTips. She has received awards for being a top content producer.