"Natural" weed killer

I found this on Instagram (yes, I know that’s not a great starting point!!) and I’m wondering if it works and if it has any unintended consequences like killing all the earthworms?

The mixture for this weed killer is:

1 Gallon Vinegar
2 Cups Epsom Salt
1/4 Cup Dawn dish soap
(no water at all)

The claim is if you spray this on anything, in the morning after the dew has evaporated, by the next day all the weeds will be gone.

I have a large swath in my garden that was tilled 6 weeks ago, and is sprouting all sorts of weeds and grasses. I don’t want to RoundUp it, and was wondering if this route would be a better way to go?

Has anyone ever heard of this and tried it? Will I be doing more harm than good by using it? What about under fruit trees?


1 Like

We tried it years ago, and don’t recall it accomplishing anything. Report back if you try it!

1 Like

It does work, at least to a degree. My preacher sprays this mixture on any weeds that poke up through our gravel parking lot at the church building. If memory serves me right he sprays 3-6 times a year. I have no idea if it would have any ill effects on fruit trees.

Another solution might be (if you haven’t already planted anything yet) to till the garden again using the weeds as a green fertilizer and then mulching your plants after planting to suppress weed growth.

I’ve used this recipe with a sub of iodized salt instead of epsom. It killed weeds if used on a sunny hot day, during the hottest part of the day. Fries them. It doesn’t work on weeds with deep taproot such as dandelion, however. I used it on spotted spurge with success.

All I can imagine that doing is burning the foliage. It won’t affect the roots like some herbicides do. Those type of things usually work best on very small young weeds that are growing rapidly. Once a weed is established it’s usually harder to kill. Even roundup works better on young weeds.

1 Like

Burns the weeds down, but doen’t kill them.

Thanks all!! I’m going to rototill and hoe up the area

Bart, just be aware that some weeds are spread when rototilled. Many grasses just start a new plant from each chopped-up piece.

Green manures are great if you have rye, alfalfa, or clover or such, but make sure that what you’re rototilling doesn’t include quack grass!

This recipe gets shared on FB fairly often. Sometimes in an image that misspells “soap” as “soup”. I’ve commented numerous times there, that Epsom Salt is Magnesium Sulfate. And that if your soil happens to be Magnesium deficient, and you have a plant that wants it, it can sure perk them up. I suspect somewhere down the line, someone misunderstood and wrote “epsom” when they meant “table”. Since table salt will surely harm plants… In my gravel driveway I have “suppressed” weeds simply with straight vinegar before. Hot/sunny day, spray it on, they turn brown quickly. Being a strong acid, it acts as a dessicant, sucks the moisture out of the plant. Doesn’t necessarily “kill” it as others have said, just destroys the green part above ground. Many will sprout right back and keep on growing. For something like the center of a gravel driveway though, that might be the desired result.

Some random FB person replied to me recently that Epsom Salt did harm the weeds because of the quantity being used. I responded that based on that logic, he could probably kill 'em by using an entire 50lb bag of 10-10-10 as well.


My mom used distilled vinegar by intself painted onto weeds. They died fast.

1 Like

straight vinegar will kill by itself, use it all the time.