Easiest DIY Weed Killer Recipe

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Are weeds in your driveway driving you nuts? This DIY Weed Killer is just about the easiest way to deal with them–plus it’s non-toxic, so it won’t harm the environment, or your kids!

Find out how to make the Easiest and Cheapest Homemade Weed Killer and why this blogger almost screamed at her neighbor.

Before I tell you about this great Homemade Weed Killer, it’s confession time. I can get pretty worked up when I see folks polluting the environment and thinking it means nothing.

What’s a little RoundUP here? Or a little toxic chemical house cleaning stuff dumped down the drain, right?

I mean, I get it. It’s not easy to make changes to a healthier lifestyle.

I need grace too. It took me awhile to quit eating sugar (read What is Candida-The Beginning of My Sugar-Free Life) but chemicals have ALWAYS bothered me.

I’ve never done well around perfum-ey cleaners, personal care products (like ultra-stinky hairspray [see my Homemade Hairspray to see what I use now], cigarettes, or any such chemical nasty offenders.

I clearly remember walking through the perfume department of malls, or the detergent and house cleaner aisles of grocery stores, feeling like I was going to faint and then trying to escape said toxic department or aisle asap.

You too?

Truth is, there are so many toxins in the world that it is making a HUGE impact on our environment.

And on our health.

I wrote about it some in Could You Have Heavy Metal Poisoning and Not Know It? and Candida, My Childhood, and 5 Causes of Gut Dysbiosis.

That’s why I pretty much refuse to use any chemical or otherwise toxic product on myself–or in our home.

So back to my “anger problem.”

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Why I Almost Screamed at My Neighbor

Last week was one such time that the urge to scream nearly overtook me. I was driving down the road (with my sons in the backseat) that I really almost screamed at a neighbor.

He was standing there, in his driveway, seemingly inconspicuous to other passersby—

But to me, he was a health hazard.

Unleashing his poison on the world.

And on my family.

One spray at a time.

There he stood, aerosol can in hand, spraying his driveway weeds.

So the weeds had to go, right? And that can was the way to do it.

I slowed down when I saw him, and with each spray, I could feel myself getting more and more frustrated.

My kids are used to me and my “non toxic thinking.”

Me: “Ugh – look at that!”

Boys: “What, Mom?”

Me: “That guy is spraying his weeds with that icky stuff! Doesn’t he know what that will do to the environment?!”

I almost screamed. But I didn’t. I’m sure my boys were glad about that.

Yes, I get frustrated about this stuff.  The toxins that are being spewed willy-nilly into our environment and onto our food with rarely thought about the consequences we are going to have to pay for this.

The price tag is big, folks.

Cancer. Autism. Autoimmune disorders. All of these have toxins as part of their cause. I am convinced of that.

And the research says it too.

You don’t have to look very far to see the multitude of health effects from the use of toxic chemicals on our lawns and driveways. (Source)

So–what’s a natural crunchy “paranoid about toxins” mom supposed to do about Driveway Weeds?

Let ’em grow and deal with frustrated neighbors and shame about the progressively more shabby appearance of your driveway?

Nope. There’s a better way.

And it’s super simple.

It’s a Homemade Weed Killer that anyone can use–and it won’t send us chemically sensitive folks running for cover and it also won’t harm the environment.

Our Driveway Weed Problem

Sadly, our driveway weeds had gotten pretty out of control. You can see it just fine in the top photo, but here’s a clear shot without the title so you can get the full impact.

Find out how to make the Easiest and Cheapest Homemade Weed Killer and why this blogger almost screamed at her neighbor.
Driveway being overcome with weeds–Eek!

Yes, I was getting pretty embarrassed. My driveway looked like the beginnings of a giant Chia Pet. Sigh.

I did a bit of research about driveway weeds (you can imagine that Google and I are pretty good friends, huh?) and found out a few things:

1.  Don’t try to pull the weeds out.  You likely can’t get the roots out and they will just grow deeper and stronger. Not at all what we want, righto?

2.  Too much information. There are a bunch of recipes for killing the weeds. I tried one that looked the most promising, and it worked, but I found something easier and cheaper.

Here’s how I got rid of the weeds in my driveway.

No aerosol can.

No toxins.

And it was kind of fun too 🙂 !

Find out how to make the Easiest and Cheapest Homemade Weed Killer and why this blogger almost screamed at her neighbor.

person holding a spray bottle containing weed killer

Homemade Weed Killer

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  • Vinegar
  • Spray Bottle  (Tip: Get whatever color your kids like – then they are excited to spray for you :)!)


  • Fill spray bottle with vinegar
  • Spray weeds thoroughly with vinegar, taking care not to spray grass or other plants.  It'll kill them too!
  • Let sit for a day or so.
  • Spray again if needed.  You want the weeds to be pretty thoroughly brown before trying to remove them.
  • Gently try to pull weeds out after a rain.  Grasp the weeds by the base and gently wiggle and pull 'til they release from the soil.
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholenewmom or tag #wholenewmom!
Find out how to make the Easiest and Cheapest Homemade Weed Killer and why this blogger almost screamed at her neighbor.
Check out the length of the roots on these babies! Pull gently to get the whole thing out!

I must say, I am thrilled with how much better our driveway looks now.

The weeds are gone and so is the embarrassment.

Find out how to make the Easiest and Cheapest Homemade Weed Killer and why this blogger almost screamed at her neighbor.

I mean, my family is more important than how our house and driveway look, but I still prefer it not to look totally neglected, you know?

Plus the weeds can end up damaging the driveway so this easy DIY weed killer will help protect your investment too!

I’d love to know how this Homemade Weed Killer works for you!

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  1. Way to scream at your neighbor, Karen. You are probably one of those people who are breaking 10 HOA rules while pointing the finger at everybody else.

    1. Hahaha. In case you didn’t read the post, I did not scream. And my name isn’t Karen–and I don’t live in an HOA. And being upset about toxins in the environment isn’t a Karen thing–it’s a smart thing. Since you left a clearly fake email address, I am sure you won’t see this, but I’ll respond anyhow just to show others the kind of nonsense I have to deal with. Take care. 🙂

  2. Add 1 cup of table salt to 1 gallon white vinegar ( warming 1 quart to dissolve salt first) combine and let cool before putting into a garden sprayer works at killing weeds along walks, fences and driveways. Also works in all the sidewalk and driveway cracks in a day or two.

  3. I”m never certain when people say “vinegar” do they mean white vinegar or the brown apple cider vinegar! Which did you use? Thanks!

    1. Either but the white works fine and is typically cheaper so I would go that route–it’s the acidity that does the killing they both have the same acidity. I’m going out to spray mine today!

  4. What pisses me off is the way the utility companies spray chemical herbicides and kill everything even plants in my yard that do not grow over 3-4 feet tall & even killed the grass in my pasture where they sprayed. it has been 2-3 years since they sprayed and there is still nothin growing there . also look at all of the water they contaminate. it might be your drinking water, and you are drinking it .

      1. Most times if you can keep the top from growing the roots will die. I will try it and see what happens.

  5. Hey ther Chem Free Mom,
    Theres an even less chemically way or removing weeds!! H2O! Hot H2O to be exact. Pour boiling water (or if you have a portable steam cleaner, that’ll work too). You essentially boil the weeds, and they die!

  6. I’ve read that gin acts like Round-Up, but I never wanted to waste a good bottle of gin. 🙂

    Have you heard of using gin? Is there any negative environmental impact? I don’t even know if it works. I guess I should try it.

    1. I haven’t and don’t think I would spend the extra money either. But you mean it doesn’t kill grass?

      1. Here is the vinegar week killer recipe I wrote down. Have not tried it yet.

        1/2 gallon vinegar
        1 oz orange oil (essential oil) (I want to try De-Solv-It, which is pure orange oil, I believe)
        1 squirt dish soap

        Put in a gallon jug and fill with water. Shake & pour what you need into a spray bottle. Spray on weeds, shaking occasionally to keep mixture blended. It is supposed to kill everything.

        Oh and by the way, laundry soap kills moss but it will also kill your plants.

        And a mixture of bleach and water kills algae. Spray it on the algae, let sit a few minutes and then spray with a strong spray of water. Some hand washing may be necessary to remove the thicker stuff.

    2. The Gin sounds like a great idea. At my age of 83 I try to reduce stress over small things.
      I can only assume that you get a comfortable seat to relax on, then pour about a half glass of Gin into a tumbler then top it up with Orange flavour and soda water and then proceed to contemplate the weeds while you drink each glass full and watch the weeds become less important. Nothing like de-stressing to relax and enjoy life

      Billypil from Australia

  7. Please put your bugle down.I just hope when you and your sons were out driving around spying on your neighbors you were using an all electric car.

    1. So you think that using chemical weed killers are a better option?

      And just so you know, we were not “spying” on anyone. Just driving down the road and noticed it.

      And for the record, we typically have a very small carbon foot print. We do the best we can and have the least garbage of any family in the neighborhood. By far.

      Thanks for commenting.

  8. I tried the vinegar too but I cant say if it worked or not so Im not done with that idea. My husband & I used the black plastic. Yes, a little more work but I like my bugs, live soil and its worth it trying to find alternative.

    Thank you for the topic!

    1. I have more to do on my driveway this week. The weeds are more stubborn this year. Wish my grass was!

  9. I looked at your before and after pictures and if you feel the need to get rid of the “before” you are the problem. A little bit of green on your driveway is no big deal. Your obsessiveness is the real problem. Live with a little natural green rather than going nuts about getting rid of it on your driveway and creating a community where everyone feels the need to get rid of theirs using every chemical possible. Relax.

    1. Hi Alex. If you saw my lawn and life in general, you would know that I am not obsessive. I just don’t like the way the weeds look and this such an easy fix and non toxic to boot. In our last neighborhood we were the least fastidious about our lawn, etc. We’ve moved to a place that is less persnickety. Thanks for the comment, though. Believe me, I live with a lot of “natural green”.

    2. Actually you DON’T want weeds growing in your driveway cracks, as the root system expands, it causes the cracks to worsen which can eventually destroy the driveway entirely. I’m fine with a little “unwanted” green anywhere except the driveway. Having a new one poured is extremely expensive.

  10. Every time I’m done with a canner load I empty the boiling water onto the weeds growing in my driveway. Most is concrete and they come up in the cracks. But I have a section that is landscape rocks which tends to grow a lot of weeds. There are patches of brown all over it where the boiling water has been dumped.

  11. Yes, well first of all it was his property and if you don’t want your neighbors exercising their freedoms then you need to move to a place where you have no neighbors. Your vinegar solution might work on some things but it does not work on everything. Not everyone shares your attitudes and practices and that is one of the things that makes this a wonderful place to live. We have the freedom to use and purchase anything legal, one of which is weed killer, tobacco, alcohol etc. They are deadly but legal. Sorry but just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean you have the right to take it from your neighbors.

    1. Hey Stephanei. I wasn’t saying he doesn’t have freedom but I am frustrated at how duped we’ve become as a culture to use and eat chemicals and therefore poison ourselves and the environment. It wasn’t him I was really upset at – but the situation.

      I hope that explains things.

      1. I agree with Stephanei. Nothings makes me madder than a neighbor that does nothing with the weeds in Their yard and they go to seed and fly to mine. I enjoy very much having a nice weed free lawn. I enjoy the way it feels on my feet and how it looks. If you don’t want to kill your weeds and prevent them from going to seed and flying over to some one else’s yard than go live in the country with no one around you.. weed can cause damage to any cement area and with out weeds your lawn is thicker and requires less watering. Plus I am allergic to a number of weeds. So I say go kill those weeds and keep your weeds out of my yard..how would you like me to allow my dog to come poo in your yard and I’ll say it is natural fertilizer.

        1. The natural fertilizer thing is very funny :). Speaking of, I need to go get rid of the weeds in our driveway today. The dandelions are a mixed bag — from what I am reading they are great for bees so makes me sad to remove them, but……

        2. We are actually contemplating a new grass / clover blend that is low water and gets few weeds. I think it would be a great way to go.

          1. Hi Adrienne!
            I had done it as well. It is very healthy for the bees. Watch out kids for them. It worked well last year with the kids. It is much cooler then just grass. So it took some time for my younger kid to get used to it.

            1. Oh great! Hi Olga! What blend did you get? What do you mean by “watch out kids for them”? My friend did it – she was interested in it b/c of not having to water much or mow much. That interests me as well. Did you do your front and back yard.

  12. If you add salt to your weedkiller it works even better plus a little bit of detergent.

    I have been using this for years. Great desiccant.

    1. Do you by any chance know why some recipes call for “Dawn dish det” in particular? Which, by the way, is made by P&G and is tested on animals.
      Products that are tested are to me what chemicals are to you. (essentially same thing)
      So I relented and bought “Dawn”. Was I duped.

      On a wonderful note the Elephants are free from bullwhips & chains from circuses!

  13. Do it on a very hot day with the sun shining. It works better at drying the weeds out & killing them better.

    You can buy 20% acidic vinegar online just for this purpose (killing weeds) and it works faster/better but it costs more.

  14. We used vinegar, didn’t work. We used a 50# bag on a 2x10ft section, didn’t work. We used boiling water, didn’t work. Nothing ‘natural’ works, period. Other than using a thick, black plastic film and keeping the grass covered for over 6-8 weeks!! But of course, as soon as the cover is removed, weeds grow back.

    1. I had a large section of weeds that were in a rocky walkway in Colorado. The vinegar just made those weeds laugh. Ha! Ha!.

      But then I applied more vinegar and covered the area in a large plastic sheet (found in the painting section of the hardware store). I weighed the edges down with bricks to prevent air from getting in. 48 hours later, the heat (it was summer) and vinegar did the trick. But it only works if you are trying to do a large area.

      Vinegar doesn’t work on some of those larger, stubborn western weeds. Sometimes you need to double tap. Hot water, then vinegar. Or vinegar and then heat. It takes a lot more work. That’s why it’s so easy to grab that bottle of poison.

  15. Boiling water works too! After making your morning tea, just dump what’s left in the teakettle onto your weeds! Just make sure your bathrobe is tied shut!

  16. Vinegar did not work for our weeds (they looked more disappointed than dead), but as noted in the comments, boiling water is great for controlling ants. However, you might need to reseed in spots if they are setting up shop in noticeable areas.

  17. I have experienced this all my life … and now that I’ve left the country life for a life as a gypsy …. I see it so often. Humans spraying their yard with something. Weed n Feed, Roundup, grass seed, and it’s all harmful …. what is so important about that patch of anything worth killing everything for …. I will march on and never let go of an opportunity to educate …. thanks for the story.