Do you have some stubborn weeds, like crabgrass, dandelions, creeping charlie, horsetail, or wild onion in your garden? Weeds make your garden look less beautiful, but they also steal essential nutrients such as water and food from your plants, resulting in their poor growth. You may already know that you can use boiling water, baking soda, white vinegar and acetic acid to get rid of them, but is this all? Many people suggest using bleach, and no weed killers, as a cheaper and more convenient option. Not sure about it?
You put so much effort and time into your garden to make it green and lush, and when you spot weed there, it could feel like all your efforts were in vain. Don’t worry! There are ways to kill these resilient plants, and using bleach is one of them. You’ll want to be careful about how you handle exterminating weeds using this product. Keep on reading to find out how effective bleach is, how to use it properly, and some other natural ways to eliminate unwanted plants!
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Does bleach kill weeds permanently?
It can be frustrating to constantly have to get rid of weeds growing in your garden or lawn. This may lead you to consider using easily accessible products around the household that work fast to get the job done. Also, you probably don’t want to spend a fortune buying weed exterminators to maintain a weed-free garden. Wondering if bleach(sodium hypochlorite) can kill weeds permanently? The short answer is yes, it will! Although it was not designed as a weedkiller, it isn’t only an excellent spot cleaner.
Bleach can kill weeds permanently by lowering the soil pH level so much that no plants can survive in the area you apply it. You shouldn’t use it in your lawns, flower beds or if you’re growing grass between your patio pavers. Prefer to apply it on areas such as driveways, between rocks, pavers and gravel to get rid of weeds for good! Before you start spraying it all over, there are some safety precautions and instructions you should know about. Keep reading to find out all you need to know.
Safety precautions to take when using bleach to kill weeds
Bleach is a poisonous chemical. It is corrosive and can be hazardous for human beings if you allow it to make contact with your skin and eyes. It can also cause damage and staining to concrete surfaces. You should take proper care when using it as your DIY weed killer and take these precautions:
- Wear safety gloves, mask and protection goggles at all times.
- Make sure it is not windy on the day you plan to use it. The spray particles might enter your eyes, nose, and ears. Using it on a calm day will also prevent accidentally spraying other plants. Check the weather forecast to know when it will be appropriate to use.
- Before spraying the entire garden, always do a pretest.
- Don’t use it near children, elderly people, or pets.
- Avoid using too much bleach on your garden soil. Wait a few days to check the results.
- Do not mix it with other chemicals without researching how they may react.
- Since it can seep into groundwater, don’t use it near aquatic environments or sources of water.
- Avoid using bleach near edible crops, plants you desire or lawns.
How to use bleach to kill weeds
You are now ready to kill any unwanted weeds in the cracks of your sidewalk, the gravel driveway or in between the stones of a pathway. You may also want to kill the grass around your mailbox’s base or other places you can’t get to with your mower. Save yourself the cost of purchasing expensive commercial weed killers and reach into your laundry supply cabinet for some bleach. This is how to use your homemade weed killer with bleach to get rid of any unwanted grass and weeds:
- Wear long-sleeved clothes, gloves and protective goggles to protect your skin and eyes.
- Take a little quantity of chlorine bleach.
- Mix it with water. A good mix is around 2 cups of bleach to every 1 cup of water ratio. You may multiply this ratio if you are doing a big area or divide it for a smaller one.
- Pour the undiluted bleach into an empty, clean spray bottle using a plastic funnel to avoid bleaching your countertop and getting it onto your hands. Screw the bottle’s top closed and set the nozzle to “mist” or its equivalent.
- Locate the unwanted weeds on your property and mist the weed growth.
- Then, switch the nozzle of the bottle to “spray” or its equivalent and pray the weed’s root and the crevices from which they grow. Take care not to spray any neighbouring desirable plants.
- Wait 1 or 2 days for the bleach to kill the weed’s roots. Its acidic properties will lead to a fall in the area’s pH and will help you kill plants and grass you don’t want around.
- Go back to the weed site and pull the weeds from the soil.
- If it hasn’t worked, add more mix to the sprayer, apply it and wait longer before you return to pull the weeds.
Alternative bleach mixtures to using commercial pesticides
You can use many natural home remedies besides commercial pesticides when it comes to weed control. Yes, some of them, like Gallup, Roundup, Weedol Keep etc., are specialised in weed control, but why not use some more accessible and natural products? There are some strong alternative mixtures based on bleach you can use as weed killer. Find here more about them.
Bleach & dawn dish soap
Mix 1 cup of Clorox with 1 cup of water. Add 1 tbsp. of dish soap and mix all the ingredients well. Then, pour your solution into a plastic garden sprayer and spot-spray the unwanted weeds in your yard, walkways, driveways, and gravel areas. Let it sit for 1-2 days to kill weeds and grass.
Bleach & vinegar solution(white or apple cider vinegar)
Use vinegar with bleach to make a homemade herbicide. If you’re dealing with an extensive weed problem, do not dilute any of the 2 ingredients. Apply the vinegar directly on weeds between pavers and driveways to kill weeds and follow the application with a light bleach spray to ensure they are permanently dead.
Tips to prevent weeds from growing
Weeds are the ultimate enemy of all gardeners. They are responsible for choking the life from flower and vegetable gardens. Not only do they steal the life-giving nutrients away from plants, but they also wreak havoc in many other ways, like harbouring pests and disease that lie in wait to attack your plants. Here are the top tips to eliminate weeds from your garden forever.
- After removing weeds, eradicate any lingering seeds or roots. Power wash any cracks to keep your patio weed-free for longer. All you have to do is direct your garden hose at each crack, hold it there for about a minute, and move on to the following one.
- Sweep your patio a few times per week to remove any seedlings that would make their way down into the cracks.
- Sweep polymeric jointing sand into the patio’s cracks to seal them. To allow the sealant to bond, spray the patio lightly with water and then wait 24 hours before hanging out on your patio.
- Slop your patio to ensure proper drainage. If there is excess water sitting in between your patio cracks, you’ll have more weeds springing up.
- Eliminate bare soil by covering it up with mulch. Mulching your garden with straw or shredded leaves and grass clippings, using garden shredders, will help you stop weeds and add vital nutrients to the soil in the process.
- Use grass trimmers to maintain absolute precision while trimming your borders.
- Pull any weeds before they seed or use bleach and the other mentioned above methods to burn and kill them.
- Fix landscaping fabric before setting up hardscapes. This will inhibit weed growth.
- Sterilise the ground where you don’t want any plants and weeds with salt so nothing will grow on it.
- Keep all your gardening tools clean since weed seeds can be transported even if you carry the shovel to its storing place.
- Avoid unnecessary tilling and cultivating unless necessary when you establish a new garden bed.
- If you want to grow vegetables, prefer to build raised garden beds or use greenhouses to keep them safer.
- Apply pre-emergent herbicides to stop weed seeds from germinating in early spring or after cultivating. These products are activated by water, so after treating the area, give it a good soak.
- Since weeds love the open, sunny spaces between garden plants, it’s for the best to grow your plants closely. You can also use block spacing instead of growing in rows to eliminate any open areas where weeds tend to pop up in.
- You can use cover crops to reduce weeds as well as build soil. Some fast-growing, dense cover crops like buckwheat, which is often called a ‘smother crop’, can crowd out weeds. You may also use perennial cover crops like clover as pathway plants between raised beds to reduce weeds.
- Water smart to restrict weeds, as watering plants the right way is always important. You should always water the plant, not the soil in the garden bed. If you water the whole green area with garden sprinklers, you’re also watering weed seeds and weeds. You can either use soaker hoses or DIY your own watering system to direct water to the plants’ roots to encourage a weed-free garden.
Using bleach as a weed killer is a good option when taking all the precautions before using it. Either you use this or some of the other homemade herbicides mentioned above, remember to be very careful as they can be dangerous for you and your healthy plants. Ensure that the bleach mixture has the right concentration of ingredients and avoid direct contact with it. Follow the instructions given and enjoy your weed-free garden!