Homemade Organic Herbicide


Although many of the long-term effects of chemical herbicides were not known as of 2010, organic farmers say that they fear that chemical herbicide use can destroy the structure of soil and pollute the environment. To counter this effect, many organic aficionados have turned to common organic household products to kill herbs while leaving the soil intact. Some homemade herbicides, such as saltwater, should be used sparingly because they can add sodium to the soil. Others, such as vinegar, can kill a plant without causing a change in the structure of soil.

Boiling Water

Step 1

Fill a 5-gallon stock pot with water.

Step 2

Place the water on the stove and turn up the heat until the water reaches a rolling boil.

Step 3

Pick up the stock pot with pot holders and carry the water out to the weed-choked area.

Step 4

Pour boiling water directly over the weeds. The water will penetrate the soil to par-boil not only the weed, but also the roots of the plant. Boiling water should be used sparingly in gardens and other areas where the water could also affect nearby plants.

Vinegar Solution

Step 1

Combine vinegar with dishwashing liquid, orange oil and lemon juice in a mixing bowl with a pour spout.

Step 2

Stir the ingredients well and pour into a spray bottle.

Step 3

Place a dropcloth over plants you wish to protect.

Step 4

Spray weeds until they are saturated. Pour the solution into the ground to kill the roots. Reapply up to two more times to kill the weed.

Step 5

Spray again when you see green growth re-emerge. Spraying dead brown growth will not help kill the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Stock pot
  • Pot holders
  • Mixing bowl with pour spout
  • Mixing spoon
  • 1 gallon (10 to 20 percent concentrate) vinegar
  • 2 tsp. dishwashing liquid
  • ¼ cup orange oil
  • 1 cup lemon juice concentrate
  • Spray bottle


  • Extension.org: The Organic Grower's Dilemma: How to Manage Weeds Effectively Without Compromising Soil Quality
  • Extension.org: Integrated Pest Management Concepts for Weeds in Organic Farming Systems
  • Ohio State University Extension: Vinegar Makes Good Organic Herbicide

Who Can Help

  • Organic Gardening Web: Vinegar (Acid Kill)
Keywords: Making herbicides, organic herbicide, vinegar weed killer

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."