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Today’s chemist solution is an easy homemade weed killer with a secret ingredient that may surprise you!
I have been testing out this homemade weed killer for awhile now and I am so impressed with how well it works. I wanted to create something that was easy to put together, but also fast acting! Weed killer from the store can be expensive, not to mention it is full of so many harmful chemicals. I hate spraying that stuff around my house with Ruger around. He always gets curious and sniffs everything!
The secret ingredient in this really makes it work fast! In fact, I applied this again a few days ago and shortly after it rained! I was afraid it would wash away the spray, but it had already starting working.
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- 3 cups distilled white vinegar
- 3/4 cup regular table salt
- 2 tsp blue dawn dish soap (works best, but can use others)
- 3 tsp liquid arthritis rub (seriously!!!, see notes below)
In a spray bottle (please read this in-depth post about the best spray bottles for solutions like this), add the salt, vinegar and capsicum type rub rub (found in grocery stores for only a few dollars, see picture below). Shake it up until well mixed.
Apply directly to the leaves of the weed. It starts working almost immediately, by 24 hours the weed is almost completely gone. It will continue to die and wither away!
About Chemistry Behind This Solution:
There are so many awesome things going on in this solution! Chemically, vinegar (acetic acid) is a strong acid which has the ability to kill or burn the leaves of weeds. Add in the salt (sodium chloride) which catalyzes the reaction of the vinegar.
The dish soap has always been a great weed killer. It creates a nice spray too.
Lastly, the secret ingredient: arthritis rub.
What does capsicum and methyl salicylate do?
Capsicum comes from peppers. It is provides that heat feeling in rubs, so it is very common to see in things for joint pain or arthritis. I was excited to find this particular rub because it also has methyl salicylate. This is wintergreen oil! Again, it gives that icy hot burn which is great for topical treatments.
Adding some of this to the weed killer, just intensfies the reaction and works better on those thick and hearty weeds. I have read literature that mentions pepper sprays for weed killing being very effective. Having the methyl salicylate is just a bonus!
I found this particular brand at my local grocery store for a few dollars. You can us almost any brand that contains the capsicum and/or methyl salicylate! It is amazing how many different products contain this in the first aide section of your store!
You can see from the picture the weed just keeps shriveling up. It will eventually just turn to dust like it does with store bought weed killers! It actually rained about 12 hours after I applied this solution, so I was curious if it would still work. And it did! With the capsicum rub, it really speeds this up!
Please read this section below:
Important Tips & FAQs
Things to remember:
DO NOT spray grass with this! It will kill certain grasses, so make sure to spray just the weed itself!
Be cautious using it in flower beds, again only spray the weed.
Works better on sunny, warmer days to speed up reaction.
Allow to work fully for up to 3 days, weed should be almost dissipated by then.
Especially good for weeds growing in the cracks of concrete!
Best method for this is to spray it and leave it!
BONUS: This actually kills ants! I had ants running around the weed stuck in the driveway, and it killed the ones that got sprayed! It also deterred others from coming.
Will it work without the arthritis rub?
Yes, it will still work, but not as fast. I have tried it without the addition, and it didn’t do as well on those heavy duty weeds!
What if I can’t find this type of arthritis rub?
Anything thing in that section that has capsicum will work fine!
Can I just use ground peppers?
Capsicum is found in peppers, like cayenne pepper. We have tested it out using some cayenne, but it didn’t work as quickly. Peppers aren’t as soluble as this rub, so it doesn’t mix into the solution well. If you cannot find a liquid product with capsicum, you can definitely try using ground pepper. It will still work, but not as fast!
And remember this heat rub also contains the wintergreen, methyl salicylate.
We always test these solutions with every method to make sure we share the fastest way to get what you need!
What if I leave out capsicum completely?
It still works! The problem I found while testing this is how fast it worked. If you have a nice sunny day with temperatures in the high 90s and your weeds are in the sun, this solution works great and pretty fast. For weeds not in the sun, or if the weather is cooler, it doesn’t work quickly. Adding in the capsicum and methyl salicylate showed an increase in effectiveness, so I always use it!
AND, capsicum and methyl salicylate help enhance this for killing ants.
I’ve tried something similar, but the weeds grow back. Will that happen with this?
With this exact solution, weeds have never grown back. In fact, spray it and leave it. About a week later, the weeds start to disintegrate like they do with store-bought weed killer! I very rarely have to pull up dead weeds when I use this, they just disappear.
Does it have to be distilled vinegar?
Yes. That is the best type for this solution.
Can I eliminate the dish soap?
You can, but again, it will not be as effective.
Can I use any brand of dish soap?
Blue dawn is the best, but any type of dish washing soap can be substituted.
Is epsom salt okay to use?
NO! Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate and is a nutrient for plants (like this homemade plant food). Regular cheap table salt is best!
What about Weeds in the Yard?
Please be cautious using this, it can kill any living plant. I haven’t had it kill much grass, but it is best for areas where you want to kill everything like sidewalks, preparing a flower bed, patios, etc.
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