People are increasingly looking for natural weed control solutions given the potential dangers of chemical-based weed killers to humans, pets, and the environment. We believe most people would opt for a natural weed killer over a chemical one if it actually was as effective at killing weeds.
The good news for people looking to keep it natural is that boiling water does kill weeds. We’ll give you the simple steps to use boiling water on weeds below. However, as we will explain, this method has its shortfalls, which may convince you to try another weed killing method.
How to Kill Weeds with Boiling Water
If you choose to use boiling water to kill weeds, follow these steps for the best result:
- Dress Appropriately – Clearly flip flops and shorts are not the best attire when working with boiling water that will be poured near the feet. It is best to wear long pants, a long-sleeve shirt, and work boots (i.e. steel toe) if you have them.
- Kettle Boil Water – Fill a tea kettle with water and place it on a stove on high heat. Bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat and remove the kettle from the burner once the water reaches a boil. Avoid using a pot or saucepan considering how easy it is to spill boiling water as you carry it.
- Transport Kettle to Weeds – With the lid on the kettle, quickly but carefully walk to the location of the weeds before the water cools. Prepare yourself to start pouring the boiling water on the weeds.
- Pour – Pour the boiling water over the entire weed(s). Be cautious not to get any water on desirable grass or plants nearby. More importantly, make sure your body is clear of the path of the boiling water at all times. Be aware that weeds with deep roots, like dandelions, will need extra water to ensure the weed is killed to the root.
- Wait – Once you have covered the weeds in boiling water, do not expect results quickly. Wait a couple of days for the weeds to die.
- Reevaluate – A second round of boiling water may need to be applied to the weeds that were not killed in round one. Remember that weeds spread quickly so you may have new ones that have emerged. Start with step one to kill off the remaining weeds.
This boiling water method to kill weeds does have some flaws. The University of California states that the water should be above 200°F for this method to be most effective. The problem is that water cools rapidly once it is removed from the burner. By the time someone safely makes their way from the stove to the weeds with the hot water, the water may have cooled too much to be effective.
Another problem with this method is that it is not very practical, especially for numerous weeds. You need a decent amount of boiled water per weed and often repeat applications are required. The amount of time and energy it takes to boil water, potentially in large quantities, makes this method just not worth it for some people.
Boiled water works best on broadleaf weeds. If you have other types of weeds, you should consider other weed control options.
Lastly, there is clearly a safety issue with carrying around boiling water from stove to the yard. Many yards and interior of homes provide ample opportunity for someone to trip over things like toys, small shrubs, porch steps, and much more. If you are going to attempt this method of weed control, please be safe!