I’ve always considered myself to be green-fingered. Pottering around in the yard at the weekend helps me decompress after a stressful week.
Recently, I decided to audit my stash of yard supplies and was ashamed to see how many toxic chemicals had crept under the radar.
It fired me up to go on a mission to find the best organic lawn weed killer to help me win the war against weeds...without turning my back on my eco-credentials.
How Green Is Your Weed Killer?
It turns out that most lawn weed killers may help keep your lawn looking green and lush, but some of the ingredients used are anything but green.
Do you know your pre-emergent for your post-emergent or your surfactant from your saltwater?
Check out my weed killer 101 towards the bottom of this article.
Natural organic weed killer effectively kills unwanted weeds without leaving harmful chemicals in the soil.
I’ve tested a bunch of natural weed killer options that promise a green garden in every sense of the word.
They Say: Natural Armor Weed & Grass Killer is All-Natural and Organic - Made with No Glyphosate or any Chemicals or Poisons. Simply the best non-toxic weed and grass killer product available. All-natural, concentrated formula that kills 250+ types of weeds and grasses dead in their tracks. Weeds and grass will look like you took a torch to them. Natural Armor Weed & Grass Killer is easy to use. Just spray and go. No Messy Mixing.
We Say: This is a potent weed and grass killer that is also 100% natural and safe to use around children and pets.
The weedy patch of lawn I tested this product on started to change color within a few hours and was brown and dead within 24 hours.
Natural Armor Weed And Grass Killer comes ready-mixed, and the addition of the spray nozzle is incredibly convenient.
For more generic jobs around the yard and home, I also love Natural Armor 30% Vinegar. It’s six times stronger than regular vinegar and works great as a cleaner, sanitizer, and all-around weed killer.
They Say: A natural weed killer Made from ocean salt water, commercial strength food grade vinegar and soap. Our non selective ready to spray Natural Weed & Grass Killer is not normally used on the lawn. Featuring our new ECO-Pour jug using less plastic and No-Glug spout. No Mixing, No Glyphosate and No Hormone Disrupting Chemicals.
We Say: This liquid weedkiller is fantastic at keeping those pesky invasive grasses and weeds from growing between pavers and driveway joints.
Fast-acting and long-lasting, Doctor Kirchner weed killer works quickly and has a long shelf life. Perfect for those of you who like to bulk buy and stash.
They Say: Eliminate any type of weed in just a matter of hours. Expect full desiccation in less than 24 hours. Green Gobbler contains 20% acetic acid. Use on crabgrass, dandelions, clover weeds, white clover, moss, etc. No potentially cancer-causing chemicals. Glyphosate-free. 20% formula is four times stronger than traditional table vinegar. Made strictly from ethanol distilled from corn grain.
We Say: Green Gobbler has zero toxic chemicals. It uses concentrated acetic acid (vinegar) to kill weeds without harming the soil or the surrounding environment.
This is another ready mixed weed killer with the added convenience of a spray nozzle.
Made from ethanol distilled from corn grain, Green Gobbler kills weeds without leaving a trace of anything toxic in the soil.
A truly green product you can trust to kill weeds sustainably and effectively.
They Say: Formulated to kill weeds and grass fast! Our proprietary formula will deliver results within 24 hours! Perfect for all residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural use - including: driveways, sidewalks, concrete, mulch beds, pavement, flowers beds, parking lots, and farm lands.
We Say: ECO Garden PRO natural weed killer is safe for bees, soil, groundwater, children, fish, livestock, and pets.
It’s so natural that I even felt safe using it on weeds around the edge of my vegetable patch.
It’s gentle on the planet...but brutal on weeds. I noticed results in less than 24 hours, with no retreating required.
They Say: BurnOut weed control is for use on non-selective herbaceous broadleaf and grassy weeds. Read the label for specific annual broadleaf weeds, perennial broadleaf weeds, annual grasses, and perennial grasses to be treated. Our weed killing formula can provide results in just hours! Additionally, once this product dries after application it becomes waterproof!
We Say: This stuff does exactly what it says on the bottle. Within 24 hours of application, the weeds I tested it on looked totally burnt-out.
BurnOut is also excellent value for money. The 1 gallon of concentrate makes 4 gallons of usable product. That’s enough to last me a good few years.
On the downside, it means you have to mix it yourself and need another bottle.
Not a significant issue, though. I simply mix up a batch in my pump sprayer as and when I need it.
Pre-emergent weed killers are used before the weed seeds have had a chance to sprout. Once a pre-emergent weed killer is in the ground, it will kill everything (weed, flowers, plants, grass, etc.), so caution is needed.
Post-emergents weed killers are used directly on established weeds.
Selective weed killer will only kill specific types of weeds. For example, chemical herbicides developed for lawns target broadleaf weeds, such as chickweed and clover, but leave grasses unharmed.
Nonselective weed killer will kill all vegetation that it comes into contact with. Most of the best organic weed killers are nonselective.
Most organic weed killers are pretty basic when it comes to their ingredients. They’re simply a combination of saltwater, vinegar, eugenol (from raw clove oil), and soap.
Surfactants are found in post-emergents weed killers. Their job is to help break down the waxy counting of weed foliage to allow the weed killer to kill the week more quickly.
In chemical weed killer, the surfactant can be a range of different chemicals.
In natural/organic weed killer, natural soap is often used as a surfactant.
Some of the ingredients found in chemical weed killers are known to harm human health and damage the environment.
The main one you should avoid is Glyphosate. Glyphosate is the most widely used broad-spectrum systemic herbicide in the world. Exposure to high levels of Glyphosate has been linked to certain types of cancer.
There are different types of weed killer available for different applications.
Due to the corrosive nature of some of the natural ingredients (vinegar and saltwater, for example) used in natural weed killers, the only viable container option is plastic.
If you buy natural organic weed killer in plastic bottles, please ensure that you either reuse them or recycle fully.
If the plastic is a deal-breaker for you, then maybe consider one of these DIY alternatives.
Salt is probably the best organic weed killer currently sitting in your kitchen cupboard.
It can be sprinkled on areas where you want nothing to grow, applied directly to weed foliage, or mixed with water and used as a spray.
Organic dish soap mixed with water in a spray bottle makes an effective, cheap, and eco-friendly organic weed killer.
Vinegar contains acetic acid and is excellent at killing weeds. Most off-the-shelf natural and organic weed killers have vinegar as a key ingredient.
However, it’s worth noting that the standard household vinegar in your kitchen cupboards probably contains around 5% acetic acid. In contrast, off-the-shelf natural and organic weed killers can contain between 20-30% acetic acid.
Your kitchen vinegar will eventually kill weeds, but it might need a few applications.
Organic corn gluten meal is an effective pre-emergent organic weed killer.
It’s also high in nitrogen and makes an excellent fertilizer.
Burning the foliage of a weed will cause it to wither and die. Repeated burning will also eventually destroy the roots.
Treat fire with complete respect and always have a hose close by...just in case!
I found the best result came from using a propane weed torch. It felt safe to use and focused the flame directly on the weed without damaging neighboring plants and shrubs.
One of the best organic weed killer techniques is to pour boiling water directly on weeds.
Add a few teaspoons of salt for a cheap and effective organic weed killer.
Most weed control fabric is made from plastic (usually polypropylene) and so can’t be considered eco-friendly or sustainable.
A nice hack to try is to cover the area of lawn or weeds you want to kill with newspaper (or any old paper you have around the house) and then hose it down with water.
The damp paper starves the grass/weed of sunlight, and it eventually dies off.
I tried this DIY weed control technique on an area of the front lawn I needed to gravel for car parking. It worked pretty well but did take a long time.
Adding organic citrus peels to your DIY organic weed killer mixes can boost their killing power significantly.
The essential oils in citrus peels contain d-limonene and citric acid, which act as surfactants and help your DIY weed killer to reach the ‘heart’ of the weed quicker.
Even though organic natural weed killers are eco-friendly, they should still only be used when needed. Always read to label and use as sparingly as possible.
Salt-based organic weed killers will potentially leave soil unusable for planting for many years. If this is a concern, go for a vinegar-based weed killer instead.
According to Healthline, “Roundup has been linked to many diseases, but is still considered a safe herbicide by many organizations. It contains a lot of other ingredients that may be more toxic than glyphosate alone”.
Personally, I would steer well clear. Just to be on the safe side.
I’ve researched and tested the products in this article and am happy that they’re safe. However, always read the label and use as directed.
As a keen amateur gardener, I try to keep things as natural/organic as possible, especially around our family vegetable patch.
I know that there is no such thing as one all-powerful best organic weed killer spray for all my lawn and garden needs.
However, by using a variety of the organic weed killer techniques and products mentioned in this article, I’ve managed to stem the weed tide for several years now...100% chemical-free!
Killing weeds does not have to mean killing your eco-credentials too!
Where do you buy your eco-friendly weedkiller? Have I missed your favorite brand? Do you have a kick-ass green finger DIY hack you would like to share? Drop me a line and let me know.