Does Baking Soda Kill Weeds?

Many commercial weed killers are available on the market these days, but you might be worried about them damaging your soil and killing other plants.

Yet, various household products are available, which can be very effective but offer a more natural alternative to kill your pesky weeds. 

Baking soda is a very viable substance that can be used to attack weeds that are proliferating your lawn, as well as numerous other places where they can crop up. 

Now we’ll look into what baking soda is, why baking soda is useful for killing weeds, and how to use it to its full effect.

What is Baking Soda?

Sodium bicarbonate, bicarbonate of soda, or just baking soda, is a chemical compound that generally comes in white powder form. 

Its intended purpose when store-bought is to add some fluffiness to baked goods, but for a long time, people have realized it’s beneficial for cleaning, and it can be used against weeds.

Also, due to its high alkaline content, it’s an effective antacid treatment, and it’s effective at whitening teeth. So it really is a wonder chemical that’s readily available from your local store and very cheap to buy for the home. 

Plus, another word for sodium is salt – and weeds can’t handle salt that well, especially in concentrated doses.

Natural Methods

Like vinegar (also another great way to attack weeds), baking soda is a natural substance. And, if possible, it’s always best to try and use natural methods to kill weeds, as well as pests and diseases. 

Natural methods are the least intrusive to the environment and don’t pose serious health risks when compared to manufactured chemicals.

If you choose to use commercial chemicals for weed killing, you should expect a lot of collateral damage to your grass and other plants in your garden.

Furthermore, when your plants and trees become weakened by such chemicals, they become vulnerable to attack from diseases and pests.

Therefore, we believe that any non-natural weed killers should only be used as a last resort.

How to Apply Baking Soda to Weeds

To use your baking soda most effectively, you should apply it to each weed plant individually.

It’s also a good idea to use rubber gloves in this process.

The straightforward method…

Quite simply, cover each weed plant thoroughly from the very bottom of its stem right up to the tips of its leaves.

This may be quite a time-consuming process, but it will be worth it if you want to keep your lawn looking healthy. 

If baking soda does get onto your grass, it will kill or damage it. So the individual application method is the least intrusive.

However, if you don’t want to spend time with such a laborious process, you could carefully pour baking soda over your weeds.

Then, later on, you can reseed your lawn, where patches of grass have been killed or damaged.

With driveways, patios, and graveled areas, baking soda is an ideal and natural way of attacking weeds in such a simple way.

All you have to do is pour the baking soda over all the cracks or affected areas. 

The baking soda, vinegar, dish soap remedy…

For an extremely powerful natural weed killer, you can add vinegar and dish soap with baking soda.

You can opt to add water to the mixture, although your homemade weed killer will work better if it’s more concentrated with baking soda and vinegar. 

Vinegar contains acetic acid, which draws all the moisture out of weeds – even dandelions.

You can add dish soap because it allows the baking soda and vinegar to stick onto the weeds better for more potent results.

  • Make a Spray

To make a spray, mix up a ratio of two cups of vinegar with one cup of baking soda and a few drops of dish soap.

You should put the baking soda in first and then the rest of the ingredients, and before you screw the nozzle on, just let the mixture fizz out for a few seconds.

Alternatively, you can apply the baking soda to all the weeds you want to kill and then spray the vinegar and dish soap after.

But the first method is probably better as the dish soap will help the baking soda stick on better. 

Lastly, instead of putting all of these ingredients into a spray bottle, you could mix them in a bucket.

Then, wearing rubber gloves, you can massage the mixture over each individual weed plant.

This method might be the best way to avoid catching other plants and damaging them.

  • Make a Paste

With the same ingredients, now use two parts baking soda to one part vinegar.

Again, once the mixture fizzles down, you can then apply the paste to weeds or cracks in your driveway using rubber gloves. 

Keep in mind:

Both of these mixtures will be extremely potent, so be careful not to add it to the surrounding soil or grass – as you may have issues growing anything in those spots again!

Will Baking Soda Kill Weeds Permanently?

Ultimately, just using baking soda alone can kill weeds permanently. In lawns and gardens, baking soda serves as a herbicide on young and actively growing weeds.

It kills weeds by removing water from plant cells, resulting in dried foliage, just like salt.

Baking soda kills weeds, causing the leaves to dry up by desiccating them. It’s the salt content that extracts water from plant cells, and so the weeds are practically starved of their much-needed water supply. 

Important Considerations

Before you jump straight in with applying baking soda to all your weeds, we have to remind you that too much baking soda can severely damage your soil and prevent future plant growth. 

For example, if you live near the ocean, your soil may have a higher salt content than inland soils.

Therefore, we recommend testing different baking soda strengths to find out what concentration levels will work best. 

Test in a place where you don’t mind damaging the soil, and if you want to make the baking soda weaker, just add water to dilute it.

The easiest way to do all this is with the use of a spray bottle.

However, if you live in a region where there is a lot of rainfall, you may not have to worry about damaging your soil because the rain will just wash the baking soda away. 

Alternatively, after leaving the baking soda solution on your weeds for a couple of weeks, you can hose your lawn down thoroughly to wash out your homemade weed killer.

The Best Time to Apply Baking Soda to Weeds

Early in the day is the best time to use baking soda on your weeds. In the morning, plants are more active, and their pores are open, and so your baking soda weed killer can work its magic better. 

Warmer weather is also desirable as baking soda’s effects are accelerated by temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

After one week of application, water the weeds a little if there hasn’t been any rain – a little water helps soak the baking soda to the roots.

Some final tips include:

  • Where a protective mask during the application process
  • Cover important plants with plastic sheeting so they won’t get damaged
  • Make sure to test, test, and test again before treating your entire lawn!

The Takeaway

For an easy-to-find, cheap, and proven way to prevent and kill weeds, you can use baking soda.

If you want an extra powerful natural weed killer, use vinegar and dish soap in the mixture.

To make your baking soda weed killer weaker, just add some water until you find a preferred balance to suit your needs.

In the end, we think it’s much better first to try natural weed killers before commercial herbicides.

Of course, if you have a severe weed infestation, you could introduce more powerful weed killers alongside your natural ones until you find a happy medium.

Sources:

  1. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/are-there-alternatives-to-glyphosate-for-weed-control-in-landscapes 
  2. https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/library/gardening/managing-soil-salinity/ 

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