Homemade Organic Weed Control


It's tempting to reach for a spray bottle of chemical weed killer when a large number of undesirable weeds pop up in your yard. However, simple, natural alternatives exist in the form of common, nontoxic materials such as cardboard, white vinegar, clear plastic and other ingredients. When you switch to organic weed control methods, you'll be keeping your yard a safe place for children, pets and your desirable plants. You'll also save money when you don't have to invest in chemical herbicides.

Step 1

Hand pull weeds before they form flowers and seeds.

Step 2

Spray widespread infestations of weeds with 1 gallon of 10 percent white vinegar mixed with 1 oz. orange essential oil, 1 tbsp. molasses and 1 tsp. non-ultra dish soap. Wait until the sun is on the area and repeat spraying every day until the weeds die.

Step 3

Lay flattened cardboard over areas where you want to kill weeds. Anchor the edges with rocks or bricks if you live in a windy area.

Step 4

Spread 20 lbs. of corn gluten meal over each 1,000 linear feet of area where you want to kill weeds. Water the area well after five days and repeat your application every five or six weeks.

Step 5

Solarize very weedy areas during the hottest six weeks of summer. Mow or weed whack the area first and then spread a sheet of heavy clear plastic over it. Anchor the edges with bricks or rocks and leave the plastic in place for six weeks.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use bleach or salt on your weedy areas because these substances can adversely affect your desirable plants.

Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar (10 percent acidity)
  • Essential oil of orange
  • Molasses
  • Liquid soap
  • Spray bottle
  • Cardboard
  • Rocks or bricks
  • Corn gluten meal
  • Clear plastic
  • Lawnmower or weed whacker


  • "Lasagna Gardening"; Patricia Lanza; 1998
  • Dirt Doctor: Vinegar--The Organic Herbicide
  • University of Idaho: Soil Solarization

Who Can Help

  • Iowa State University: Corn Gluten Meal Research Page
Keywords: weeds killing, control organic, solarization vinegar cardboard

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.