Can You Use Bleach to Kill Weeds?

  • Editor: Alex
  • Time to read: 9 min.

The short answer is – yes. You can use bleach to kill weeds. Do we recommend that you use it? Well, that would take a little bit more explaining. As most gardeners already know, killing weeds is never straight-forward.

We might anticipate that it would resemble pouring some weed killer or a herbicide on top of it, but the weeds always seem to have other ideas – it’s just not that simple. So, of course, many people will turn to alternatives to create their makeshift weed killers.

Today we will also investigate whether these home-made weed killers are worth their salt and even offer some tips and tricks on which substances might be more effective.

Now before we dive into the deep end, it is worth explaining just precisely how the bleach itself can work to kill weeds. Of course, you and I both recognise bleach as a useful disinfectant and life-saving spot cleaner should we ever knock a glass of something all over clothes. Yet, it’s these same elements that make it so helpful in cleaning out old garden weeds too.

We know that bleach is poisonous for humans – and it’s the same for plants and other animals. It absorbs itself onto the plant roots and destroys them in the same way it does for any other human. When you pour the bleach onto an area of your garden, the pH level in the soil (essentially: the acid/alkaline balance) becomes very high, meaning the weed will be destroyed, and no other plants will grow there for a while.

Once your garden surface gets a taste of the bleach, it doesn’t stand much of a chance of surviving. That’s how powerful a compound it is. You should not underestimate the strength of this cleaning concoction on your ground. It may be tempting to use.

 

 

After all, it’s a much cheaper alternative than using weed killers, but this comes at a cost. A much higher cost – thanks to its permanent effects on the ground due to its penetrative and ruthless nature.

Like mentioned, bleach won’t just kill weeds. It stops other forms of plants from growing too. So this will call for as much care and precaution as you can afford, should you decide to go down this route of weed removal. If your mixture holds just the exact amount of chemicals, you should be able to hold onto the results you are looking for.

Some Safety Precautions

Bleach is a poisonous material and will cause severe agitation for eyes and skin if it comes into contact. You are even being exposed to minimal amounts of cause huge problems if you are not careful. Here are some precautions you will want to take if you are handling any bleach mixtures to kill garden weeds.

  • Firstly, ensure the use of gloves and goggles – and possibly a mask.
  • If you can, make sure not to bleach your weeds on a windy day. Otherwise, the spray particles can enter your ears, eyes, or nose.
  • Additionally, check for rain forecast to maximise its effectiveness.
  • Ensure there aren’t any other children or animals nearby.
  • Don’t mix with other chemicals before you are aware of how they might react.
  • And lastly, simply do not use too much bleach.

Can Baking Soda Kill Weeds?

So now I bet you’ve read about using bleach to kill weeds, and are unsure about whether it’s the best option. After all, it can be severely dangerous if you are not careful, and if full precautions are not taken. So now, we are going to run through some simple, easy-to-make alternatives to using bleach to kill weeds. These are all just as effective (if not more effective), and don’t carry many health and safety hazards.

The first of these options is to use baking soda to get rid of weeds.

So if you want to get organically rid of the pesticides, head straight for your pantry, it’s an everyday ingredient, and it’s certainly not expensive. All you have to do is add a little bit of baking soda and before you know it you have sent all your little weeds to their resting grave. Make sure that you test your baking soda on one or two smaller weeds first, before you go overboard. This is just to double-check that the baking soda can produce the desired effect and that it’s the best weed management substance available to you.

So here is exactly how to make the baking-soda-weed-killing mix. First of all, you have to moisten the area with some water. Next, measure out a teaspoon of baking soda and sprinkle on top of the entire weed, not solely the centre area.

Repeat this in every weed. If the weeds are growing in between cracks in your pavement, you can just dump the baking soda using your hands over the garden area. Just make sure to brush aside any weeds from the pavement, and make sure that the weeds aren’t nearby any grass or plants.

One last Tip:

Be very careful if you are using baking soda in an area with naturally high salt content. For example, if you live near the ocean. You don’t want to kill any plants or grass after adding more salt accidentally. It’s usually best to apply baking soda when the weeds are growing, mostly in the spring. You can do it in the summer, but just make sure to apply water to the weeds beforehand.

Can Epsom Salt Kill Weeds?

Traditionally used to heal joint pains and to feed other plants such as roses and tomatos, you wouldn’t quite think that Epsom salt would be useful in our battle against weeds. But we would be wrong. Epsom salt has proven to be an instrumental weed killer, especially when paired alongside other valuable ingredients.

 

Can Epsom Salt Kill Weeds?

 

So let’s break it down briefly. The first item you will need in your next shopping run is vinegar. There is a considerable debate about whether you should use regular vinegar or what’s known as horticultural vinegar. This kind of vinegar is a specialist product, however, and won’t prove any more effective in killing the weeds in your garden. If you should decide to use it, just make sure to take some extra safety precautions.

Now onto the salts.

Some recipes claim good-old table salt will do the trick, while others will state that Epsom salts are more effective. Now without turning this into a GCSE Chemistry lesson, I will explain the difference. Simply put, Epsom salts contain more sulfur and magnesium, Epsom salts are used as a fertiliser to help vegetation.

Regular table salt, however, will kill weeds unless they are significantly salt tolerant. Put simply; the table salt may lead to sodium toxicity, while the sulfur/magnesium mix may interfere with the growth of other plants within that area.

So now you must be wondering about what is involved in this salt mixture. First of all, all you have to do is to add a tablespoon of Epsom salt, a gallon of vinegar, and a small amount of dish soap. To use for weed killing, just apply directly to the weeds, use a spray bottle to ensure you don’t affect any nearby plants or flowers.

Can Boiling Water Kill Weeds?

So at this stage, you might be a little uneasy about what’s the best weed treatment for your garden. We have explained the adverse side effects and potential dangers of using bleach, Epsom salt and baking soda to keep your garden in good shape. But if you’re still searching for a less harmful weed management substance (which I assume you are if you’re still reading), then you can finally relax, because we have just found it.

Yes, that’s right, those irritating little weeds won’t be annoying you any more after being scalded. If you’ve never done this before, or if you’ve never heard of it, then you might have some questions about whether or not this method can work. The truth is that it does, and it does so quite effectively too.

Again, without me having to disguise as a biological sciences professor, here is a simple breakdown of how it works to kill weeds. The extremely hot water generates heat that can collapse within the cell’s structure and kill it. Some of the weeds will hardly need more than one boiling treatment. This method makes it far easier to remove weeds from within your border garden beds.

So now that we have that out of the way, here are some basic instructions on how to get rid of the weeds using boiling water. First of all, you may want to dress in long trousers, a long shirt and ensure that your footwear covers your toes, this is just to protect you if the hot water splashes onto you.

Next, identify the weeds you would like to kill, be very careful using this method next to plants – if the piling water hits the plants, the plants will probably die. Next, you will boil the kettle, and carry it quickly but carefully to the target area. From there, pour the water directly into the weeds being careful that the water doesn’t splash.

Additionally, boiling water is an excellent tool for disinfecting soil. If you wish to use it for seeds, juvenile specimens and seedlings, you can cook the water for 5 minutes and let it cool to room temperature, then, gently pour over your soil.

Can Coca Cola Kill Weeds?

Coca cola is perhaps the most affordable solution of them all. Yes – you really can use Coca Cola to kill the weeds in your garden. As you might know, Coca cola was initially invented for health purposes. It was a confederate by the name of John Pemberton who first created Coca Cola, in an attempt to cure his morphine addiction after an injury in the civil war. So as it started as a health tonic, it may not be surprising that it comes with so benefits to the garden. But how exactly does it kill those pesky weeds, you ask? Well, let’s find that out.

Why exactly is coke effective as a weed killer and more than just a delicious tasting sweet fizzy drink? Well, the answer can be found in its high acidic content. Like the vinegar method we mentioned above, Coke is very high in acid, but not relatively high enough for us to consume. Since vinegar has no real bother killing weeds, it’s no surprise that coke does not either.

All you have to do is pour the coke onto the cracks in the patio and driveway. However, as we have learned above, no method is quite a simple as that. Like the methods we have outlined above, you need to be very careful since the coke may kill any flowers or plants that are nearby.

This makes it much more useful for the small weeds in the patio or pavement than amongst the other plants. Thankfully, there are no primary health and safety risks from your perspective. Still, if you want to protect the natural elements in your garden, you may want to be careful when pouring the coke, and prefer to handle it within a jug of some sort – rather than straight from the bottle.

Additionally, don’t be afraid to use this trick when the sun is out (rather tricky if you live in the U.K – I know, but try anyway), since the heat from sun rays will strengthen the acid, and ensure you get rid of those little weeds once and for all.

Wrapping it Up

In conclusion, then, we’ve investigated numerous ways in which we can kill weeds which arise in our garden. While it’s essential to select the best method and ingredients based on the type of weeds you are trying to get rid of (and ensuring you can keep your other plants safe), the most important factor to keep in mind is safety.

After all, yes – you can use bleach to kill your weeds, but whether it is worth doing so is wholly up to you, as we have demonstrated today, there are several ways in which you could kill those petty little greens, which each method has their strengths and weaknesses.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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