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This DIY weed spray uses what’s already in your pantry

This DIY weed spray uses what’s already in your pantry
Posted at 10:06 AM, Jun 28, 2024

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You love your garden — fresh tomatoes and fragrant roses abound this time of year — but no matter what you do, it seems the weeds keep popping back up. Conventional weed killers are usually toxic, smelly and potentially harmful to pets. And pulling weeds by can leave you with a backache for days.

What’s a gardener to do?

Here’s a solution: Try an all-natural, three ingredient weed spray that’s been circling the internet. This hack combines items you likely already have in your home: vinegar, dish soap and Epsom salt. If you don’t have Epsom salt stashed away in bathroom storage, you can order some from Amazon for a few bucks. Both MarthaStewart.com and HGTV share their versions of the all-natural spray as an effective (yet gentle) gardening solution, so I had to try it for myself.

How I Tested This Spray

Since I currently have a bouquet of weeds popping up in the cement cracks of my driveway, I was interested to see if spraying this non-toxic mixture would actually work.

To start, I added all of the ingredients to a weed sprayer. (Note: If you don’t own a weed sprayer, you could also reduce the recipe and mix 1/4 of the amount of each ingredient into a standard 32-ounce spray bottle.)

weed sprayer

$14.98 at Amazon

Next, the instructions recommended spraying the weeds in the morning “after the dew has evaporated.” This is likely for the same reason that watering your plants early in the morning or late at night is a better idea than watering them in the middle of the day, since some of the liquid is more likely to evaporate in the bright sun of midday than at dawn or dusk.

After spraying early on a Saturday morning, I resisted the urge to stand and watch the weeds wilt.

After a few hours, I came back and was happy to see that the weeds had turned from green to a yellowish color, giving them a straw-like appearance. Although the weed-killing spray had not magically dissolved the weeds into thin air, when I went to yank the weeds out, their roots were easy to pull.

Here’s how it looked:

Margeaux Baulch Klein / Simplemost

So, I would rate this natural weed-killing spray as a win. Not only does it work, but it’s far less expensive than most comparable products on the market. Plus, you’ll have the peace of mind that these ingredients are non-toxic, and they’re safe to use in areas of your property where pets or kids might wander.

MORE: Make easy DIY mosquito repellents using common household items

Why This Works

While some home hacks from the internet are questionable, this trick is backed by science. (At least, that’s how the folks at HGTV explain it.)

Spraying salt onto a weed dries it out and causes it to shrivel. Meanwhile, vinegar contains acetic acid, which is a natural herbicide. (Household vinegar typically contains 5% acetic acid, but you can find concentrated versions online.) Lastly, dish soap acts as a surfactant and helps the vinegar and salt cling better to a weed’s leaves and stems, allowing more of the solution to be absorbed.

If you’re planning to use this spray in a flower bed, make sure you’re very precise about where you’re pointing the spray nozzle. It’s worth noting that this solution is capable of killing any plant in its path — not just weeds. In addition, some experts say adding a large amount of salt to a garden bed will change the soil’s composition and may make it hard for plants to grow there in the future.

Bottom line? Stick to using this all-natural, non-toxic spray only where you want to keep things tidy and plant-free, like cracks in a driveway or sidewalk.

This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money.