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Does Bleach Kill Weeds? Tips & Alternatives

pouring bleach in measuring cup

Every gardener knows the struggle of weeds constantly appearing and taking up space. Weeds can occur in even the narrowest areas, such as in the cracks of your concrete driveway, and they can certainly be annoying! While there are many solutions out there and many ways to eradicate weeds, bleach has a reputation for being the toughest killer around. While bleach can do a great job at killing weeds, it is a very harmful substance that needs to be handled carefully.

We recommend going for a more environmentally-friendly alternative option, but if the problem is too big and bleach is your only option, make sure to take all the safety precautions we’ve listed below.

garden flower divider

The Importance of Killing Weeds in Your Garden

Regularly weeding your garden is an important aspect of gardening properly. If you want your plants to grow healthy and strong, you have to kill weeds that get in their way. Weeds can not only stunt the growth of your vegetables and other plants, but can take up space, water, and nutrients too. If you let weeds grow too much, they can even interrupt and block pipes in the ground.

Weeds also tend to suffocate young plants and take up all the nutrients they need to grow healthily. This is why it is essential to kill weeds in time to prevent your vegetables from lacking in water and beneficial nutrients.

plucking weeds
Image By: Couleur, Pixabay

Is it Safe to Use Bleach to Kill Weeds?

Bleach is a non-selective option of weeding, which means it will kill anything it comes into contact with. It kills weeds plus affects your soil, edible plants, and vegetables. Using bleach to kill weeds is an effective option, but it is not entirely safe to do so. After you use bleach on your plants, you will also destroy the soil for growing any new plants. You will have to wait until the soil reaches average pH levels again to grow new plants.

On the other hand, if you want to destroy weeds in a place where you are not planning any future gardens, then using bleach to kill weeds can be a quick and effective solution.

Does Bleach Have a Permanent Effect on Weeds?

If growing other plants in the same spot is not crucial to you, then you can use bleach to ensure a weed-free garden. Bleach contains high amounts of chlorine, which can burn and kill weeds for good. Bleach can permanently kill weeds and grass, ensuring weeds will never grow in the same place until the soil returns to having an average pH level. You can spray bleach on areas such as driveways, sidewalks, driveways, rocks, and gravel, to make the area acidic and eliminate weeds for a long time.

Important Things to Know When Handling Bleach

If it gets to the point where you must use bleach to eradicate weeds, then make sure to take all the safety measures. Bleach is a very hazardous chemical and must be handled with maximum precaution. It can cause severe irritation to your skin and eyes and will leave a stain anywhere it gets. It is crucial to take all the safety measures when working with bleach to ensure your safety and the safety of all those around you.

  • Wear protective gloves and goggles
  • Do not use the spray pump on a windy day
  • Ensure there are no children, older people, or pets around you
  • Do not use too much bleach in your garden at once
  • Never mix bleach with other chemicals
  • Do a test on a small patch of the soil before spraying a bigger surface
  • Make sure to stay far away from edible plants and vegetables

Alternative Solutions

Transparent electric kettle with boiling water on table in kitchen
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Since bleach is such a hazardous and dangerous chemical to work with, it would be a good idea to consider some alternative options. It is always a good idea to go for a more natural solution first and then move to stronger chemicals if needed. Since bleach will also harm your soil and potentially your edible plants, using a natural solution to kill weeds will pay off in the long run.

A solution of vinegar, salt, and dish soap has everything needed to kill off any weeds in your garden, and it won’t be as harmful to other plants as bleach. The results will show quickly and effectively on a warm day and in direct sunlight. There are some downsides to using this solution, though. It may not eradicate weeds permanently, so you may need to go over the same spot a few times before seeing any permanent results.

Some other environmentally-friendly options to consider would be:
  • Using baking soda and water
  • Pouring boiling water into cracks and crevices
  • Acquire tools specially designed for weeding in narrow spaces
  • Use your hands to pluck all the weeds out of the soil

garden flower divider

Final Thoughts

While bleach can work effectively in eradicating weeds from your garden for good, it is not safe to use for many different reasons. Bleach can harm your soil, plants, entire garden, and surrounding areas. Bleach is the harshest solution for eradicating weeds, and we recommend going for a more natural solution first.

Featured Image Credit: Cassiohabib, Shutterstock


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