How to Kill Weeds Naturally Without Harming Plants or Bees

Killing weeds in a non-toxic way has never been easier.

Published February 18, 2023
Hands in gardening gloves pulling weeds

The last thing you want is your beautiful flower beds being marred by a stubborn patch of weeds. Yet, if you've got kids, delicate plants, and animals in tow, then you've probably considered how you can kill weeds naturally. Thankfully, there are a ton of different methods, and all of them require very few ingredients or tools.

Natural Weed Killers That Require Few Ingredients

When you're on a budget or don't want to go through the hassle of mixing a bunch of ingredients, you can turn to these quick and simple weed killers.

Dig Them Up by Hand

When you find an errant weed in your flower beds when you're watering or pruning, you don't waste time by grabbing weed killer and spraying it down. Instead, you just dig that sucker up by the roots and get rid of it. If you have a small number of weeds in your yard, you can take a manual approach to removing them.

Just make sure, when you're using a trowel, shovel, or weed puller, that you get up all the root. If you've just pulled away the green stuff on top before and had the weeds grow back in, then chances are you didn't dig deep enough.

Cover With Newspapers

This method works best in-between the growing seasons. When you're replanting a bed or starting a new one, you can make sure the weeds stay gone for good by smothering them from any sunlight. Covering with newspaper whatever weeds you couldn't kill or pull up is a biodegradable way to keep them smothered.

After you lay down the newspaper, wet it and then cover it again with some mulch or other top covering to keep the newspaper in place and further block out any sunlight.

Pour Boiling Water on Them

You don't like it when you accidentally turn the tap too high and scald your hands, so naturally, weeds don't like boiling water either. You can pour boiling water directly onto the weeds to kill them quickly, but you don't want to use this method if you have a lot of weeds in beds with other plants.

Rather, this method works best for stubborn weeds in sidewalks, driveways, cobblestones, and steps because they're not near other vulnerable vegetation.

Natural Weed Killer Spray Recipes to Get Rid of Weeds for Good

Closeup of woman holding weed killer spray

The last thing you want to do after laboring for months or years over your garden and yard is to endanger the creatures and plants around it by using toxic chemical weed killers. Instead, mix these simple DIY weed killer sprays and get rid of weeds for good.

Spray Them With Vinegar and Salt

Mix 1 tablespoon of salt into a cup of white vinegar, and pour it into a spray bottle. Directly spray the mixture onto the weeds, being very careful as to not get it anywhere near your other plants. While vinegar isn't toxic to animals or humans, it's not healthy for your vegetation.

We don't recommend that you spray it on the weeds if there's any chance of rain or if you were planning on watering your plants later. The water can mix with the residual solution and send it traveling towards your other plants and their root systems.

Spray Them With Dish Soap and Vinegar

You won't be making these weeds squeaky clean; instead, you'll be drying them out with vinegar and dish soap.

Squirt a few pumps of dish soap into a spray bottle full of vinegar and mix the two together. The dish soap helps make sure the vinegar sticks to the plant so that it dries up faster.

Quick Tip

Use these vinegar sprays on a sunny day since the direct sunlight will make weeds dry out faster.

When Should I Use Chemical Herbicides?

Herbicides are chemical weed killers that are used to manage unwanted vegetation through a variety of different biochemical processes. According to the EPA, applying herbicides directly to your plants "may result in…toxicity to non-target plants and animals or [cause] indirect effects due to death and decomposition of plants." While not every herbicide is immediately dangerous, using them takes consideration.

With so many other natural options for killing weeds, you shouldn't have to rely on chemical herbicides too often. Typically, they're best served if you want something done really fast, as opposed to some of the at-home methods that take multiple weeks to complete.

Yet, stubborn weeds like kudzu are very difficult to tackle using non-chemical methods. Of course, you can try smothering and cutting them out by the root, but if you find that they continue popping back up, then chemical herbicides are your best option.

Prevent Weeds From Popping up With These Tips

Of course, the best way to get rid of weeds it to stop them from showing up in the first place. Keep weeds at bay by implementing these actionable prevention methods.

Add Mulch

Mulch can serve both an aesthetic and functional purpose in your beds. By adding mulch, you can stop weed seeds from rooting in your soil by putting up a few centimeters of a barrier between the seeds and the actual ground.

Plant Ground Cover Vegetation

You've heard of plants with 'creeping' in their name, and those are just a few of nature's best ground cover. Ground cover plants are low-lying and spread across a large space when uninhibited. Because they cover the soil, they act as a great deterrent to any weed seeds trying to take root.

Get Rid of Weeds for Good

Unfortunately, you'll have to battle weeds every so often because they're a natural part of planting things outdoors. Yet, you can get ahead of the invasion by putting roadblocks in place and killing those weeds the minute you see them popping up by using your favorite at-home methods.

How to Kill Weeds Naturally Without Harming Plants or Bees