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Do organic weed killers work? Everything you should know

Controlling weeds can be tedious and time-consuming. While herbicides are quite effective, most of them are toxic and can harm humans, plants, and the environment. This is why organic weed killers are gaining popularity.

However, before you rush to use them, the question you need to ask yourself is whether they are effective.

Do organic weed killers work? Yes. Organic weed killers are effective at killing weeds if used correctly. You have to apply the right amount and at the right time. If you do this, not only will you eliminate weeds, but you will have done that without harming the soil or surrounding plants.

What are organic weed killers?

These are weed killers that contain or are created using naturally occurring substances (for example, minerals such as salt). They are quite different from inorganic herbicides, which are created in the lab using synthetic and usually toxic chemical substances.

Due to the use of naturally occurring agents, organic herbicides have little or no toxic side effects. On top of that, they break down fast and easily, thus leaving no lasting effects on beneficial plants, soil, and environment.

Due to these benefits, farmers have been increasingly using organic herbicides for farming.

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How do natural weed killers work?

Organic weed killers work by disrupting the biological processes of weeds. They rely on the active ingredient used, which can be different depending on preference or types of weeds you want to kill.

Some of the top examples of active ingredients used in natural herbicides include:

  • Salt: It dehydrates weeds and interferes with nutrient absorption. This causes the plants to wither and die.
  • Acetic acid (vinegar): acetic acid burns the tissues of the plants it comes into contact with, causing the weeds to desiccate and die.
  • Soap: when sprayed on plants, soapy water damages the leaves membranes causing them to dehydrate and die.
  • Alcohol: It damages the cell membranes of plant tissue when it comes into contact with them.

To effectively kill weeds, the active ingredients need to come into contact with the plant tissues either on the leaves, stem, or roots. On top of that, some organic weed killers rely on additional factors such as temperature and sunlight to completely kill the weeds.

How effective is organic weed control?

From the above, it is quite clear that natural herbicides can kill weeds. But, are they an effective solution for weed control?

When applied in the right way, natural herbicides can eliminate unwanted plants. In fact, they have become quite popular that several organic weed killer concentrate products are being sold on the market.

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But the effectiveness of killing weeds is not the only positive thing about natural herbicides. They are less toxic, have fewer side effects, and are usually cheaper and easier to use. However, they also do come with some limitations.

One of the main downsides is that they will usually damage any plants they come into contact with – weeds or not. As such, you should be careful when using them, especially when it comes to organic weed killers for lawns or vegetable gardens.

That being said, there are some organic selective weed killers that you can find, but you can expect them to be pricier.

Another drawback of natural weed killers is that they might not be effective with just a single application. Some of them don’t target the seeds and roots, which means that the weeds can still grow back. However, this can be solved by applying the herbicide several times.


If you are having trouble with weeds and you don’t want to use toxic chemicals, organic weed killers can be a great alternative. There are several natural active ingredients that you can use as your herbicide of choice. And while they might not measure up to synthetic chemicals, they do work and offer several benefits.