Does Bleach Kill Weeds (How And What Are The Alternatives?)

If you have a home garden or are a farmer, there is a menace you must be familiar with: weeds.

Weeds can have you scratching your head, wondering what you can use to kill them. You might even ask yourself, does bleach kill weeds?

Do you feel like you are at this point? Weeds can be quite annoying. Who loves weed-filled cracks in their home? We bet no one wants that.

That’s why most people will look for every solution to finish them off-including trying bleach. But will it work? If it does work, how? Let’s find out.

Does Bleach Kill Weeds Permanently?

does bleach kill weeds

While there are many uses for bleach like removing moss, the part of whether it can kill weeds is still unclear for many people. But can they?

Will they help you have a weed-free garden characterized by healthy green plants or help you kill weeds in cracks on your driveway?

The short answer is yes. Among the many uses of bleach, you can use it to kill weeds. Spraying a specific amount of dilute bleach will help kill weeds in your flower beds and pavements.

After you spray, you will have to let the bleach sit for about three days, then come and check for any progress. Most of the time, you will find the weeds dead.

Bleach is particularly potent when you want to kill weeds that grow in cracks on your patio, pavement, or driveway.

That begs the question, how does bleach do it? How does it manage to kill weeds? Bleach works in two ways to destroy weeds.

Firstly, it denatures or messes with the integrity of leaf cells, making it increasingly harder for the weeds to make food that helps them thrive.

Basic biology says any green plant’s food is the responsibility of the leaves.

The second way by which bleach kills weeds is by raising the pH level of the soil. That makes it harder for the weeds to grow since they aren’t used to certain pH levels.

The downside is that such soil cannot support any other vegetation.

While bleach is a handy way to kill weeds, you can’t use it to kill weeds in the soil you have other plants growing on. That’s because it is mainly indiscriminate in dealing with vegetation.

Apart from just killing the weeds, it will probably also kill other plants by making the soil unconducive for them.

Using Bleach to Kill Weeds: A Step By Step Guide

bleach as weed killer

Most of these weeds are usually aggressive competitors of nutrients and might choke your plant. You better act FAST! Here is how you can kill those menacing weeds using bleach!

  1. Wear Hand Gloves

Bleach isn’t only harmful to plant since it can also be irritating to your skin. That is why you need to ensure you are wearing hand gloves when spraying.

You should also ensure you do it as far away as possible from kids and pets. Chemical weed killers can cause harm to your pets and kids.

  1. Cover Your Eyes

You should also cover your eyes if possible. If bleach gets into your eyes, immediately wash them with plenty of water. It might irritate your eyes as well if it gets into contact with them.

  1. Spray it on a Calm day

When applying the bleach, ensure you do it on a calm day. A windy day will promote overspray that might spill onto things you don’t want to harm.

A little undiluted bleach will go a long way in killing the weeds.

  1. Don’t Mix it With Any Other Chemicals

Another thing you should follow when using bleach is to avoid mixing it with different chemicals. Apart from it being dangerous, it could make your sol permanently incapable of supporting any vegetation.

  1. Avoid Spraying Edible Plants and Water Sources

You also would do best not to use it next to a source of water or near plants you intend to eat. Bleach is a chemical that can also harm humans if they ingest it.

After a few days, you can choose whether to uproot the weeds after a few days or let them rot. Soil that you have sprayed with bleach will not support any other vegetation unless you flush it with a lot of water.

Also, you can spray exclusively on the weeds to ensure the other parts are safe. Such soil should be ready to support newer vegetation in a week or two.

That should be enough for any of the bleach to dissipate or leach away.

What if you don’t want to use bleach? Are there any alternatives? Of course, yes.

Disadvantages of Using Bleach to Kill Weeds

There are some things you won’t be able to escape when you use bleach to kill weeds. For starters, bleach could leach away nutrients if you use it to kill weeds on soil with other plants.

That will render the soil infertile and make it incapable of supporting any plant growth.

Bleach is an irritant when it touches your skin or eyes. You, therefore, have to be extra careful when using it to kill weeds. It also can be hazardous if ingested.

That is why it is best to spray it away from a water source or edible plants.

Bleach, when used excessively, can harm plants and degrade the environment. That is why people are often told to use it sparingly. It wouldn’t hurt to use it to kill small weeds in cracks on patios and driveways.

However, if you are going to do it on a large scale, then it’d be better to get a commercial weed killer that wouldn’t be a hazard to the environment.

As effective as bleach is, it isn’t advisable to use it to kill weeds unless you can’t find any other alternative. The only downside to using bleach is that it will struggle to choke most established weeds.

That’s because it is more efficient against smaller weeds in cracks and pavements than large weed types.

Alternative Bleach Home Remedies to Kill Weeds

  • Salt

Salt is an excellent alternative if you don’t want to use bleach. Not only is it safe, but it is also efficient in killing weeds.

If you have weeds growing in cracks on your pavements or driveway, a mixture of salt and water should enable you to kill them.

And you won’t have to worry about any side effects since salt is entirely safe. Salt, unlike bleach, dehydrates the weeds and makes them dry and eventually decompose.

You can also use it on weeds in your potted plants without fear of any side effects.

  • Hot Boiling Water

In the same way, hot water would scald your skin, it will also kill weeds. If your patio is full of unwanted weeds that are quickly becoming an eyesore, hot boiling water could be the solution you are looking for.

It will scald the leaves of the weeds and have them dry within a few days. The bonus is that it isn’t as hazardous as bleach. See the effectiveness of this method in this video.

  • Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the most versatile home remedies. It has multiple uses, from cooking t cleaning and now to killing weeds. It can be an excellent alternative to bleach since it also is safe.

You can use it in combination with salt to form a potent mix that the weeds cannot stand. It won’t have any adverse effects on the soil, making it the ideal replacement for bleach/. All it does is kill the weeds.

You also won’t have to flush the soil with water once you have used vinegar to kill the weeds.

Final Thoughts

Does bleach kill weeds? The answer is an emphatic yes. It, however, requires you to use it sparingly to avoid negatively affecting the soil.

If you are using it for potted plants, it is best to use it in limited amounts for the plants’ safety.

It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to use bleach if you don’t want to. There are alternatives to bleach, such as salt and boiling water, that could help you kill weeds.

Bleach as a weed killer can help you eradicate most small weeds, but it wouldn’t be that effective for larger weeds. The final decision, however, lies with you.

Good luck.

References:

  1. Time and temperature requirements for weed seed thermal death.

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