Some ‘organic’ weed-control remedies aren’t as safe as they sound

Internet helps you learn a lot. I have learned some organic weeds control methods on the internet including:

1. The mixture of Dawn dish soap and vinegar can kill the weeds.
2. Boil the water to its limit and reduce the weeds.
3. Borax is a perfect alternative of conventional lawn chemicals to kill the weeds

All of these solutions are marked as secure and organic options to avoid the bad stuff. People used them instead of using chemicals, but are they truly safe?

We always feel safe with the products we made ourselves, or we use in the kitchen, but homemade mixtures are not always safe for the use.



Boiling water is something really organic. Using the boiling water on the small weeds will kill them for sure, and it will kill whatever is growing around them. This is a good remedy for killing small weeds appearing in the cracks or driveways. But his treatment won’t work for the big weeds that have roots. They might seems to be gone for a day or two, but they will come back real soon.

Miracle cure?

When it comes to dawn dis soap remedy, it is always highlighted as a miracle recipe to improve the gardening. Let’s see what is the logic behind this remedy. The soap is actually used to stick this mixture on the plant. However, salt is not healthy for plants. Vinegar is the thing that fight against the weeds. Mostly, horticultural vinegar is used in this remedy, which is 4 times more powerful than regular vinegar used in the kitchens. This vinegar is quite dangerous and the users should wear goggles, and gloves to protect themselves.

The dish soap mix is a contact herbicide that works by drying out the leaves of the plant. Like Roundup, the mix doesn’t distinguish between good plants and bad plants, so if you decide to use it, watch where you spray it.

But like boiling water, this mix may kill only small weeds. Although results on bigger weeds look good at first when leaves show damage, perennial weeds and big weeds will likely bounce back. Roundup will take those weeds out, because it’s a systemic product that, unlike the soap mix, will kill the root of the weed.


There’s really nothing organic about the dish soap mix, either. All three main ingredients are chemicals, and one weed scientist who has written about it argues that toxicity levels in vinegar and salt may be higher than in glyphosate. (You can read his analysis here:

The wild card in mixing your own “safe” weed killer is that people tend to get dangerously creative. I recently saw an online suggestion to add a cup of bleach to the dish soap mix, something that could not only create a toxic gas but that will permanently damage soil.

Lastly, the creeping Charlie question. The borax recipe came from research in Iowa and was embraced by homeowners because creeping Charlie is so hard to kill. While it’s still floating out there as an option, it’s no longer recommended by the University of Minnesota Extension. Borax, too, is a chemical. Use it more than twice to fight creeping Charlie, and it will kill your grass as well — lingering in the soil, and creating a dead zone where nothing else will grow.

So what’s a gardener who’s looking for organic solutions to do? There’s always good old muscle power, applied every couple of weeks aided by dandelion diggers and trowels. A stiff rake can remove a lot of creeping Charlie.

And there’s education. Magic solutions usually aren’t half as good as they sound, and sometimes they can do considerable harm. Do your research before you use any chemical — homemade or not — in the garden.


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