Make Your Own Weed Killer With Cheap Gin

This little tip sounds like the perfect solution for an alcoholic gardener who just went on the wagon: Make your own weed killer with leftover gin. Does it work? Hell, we have no idea. We live in Brooklyn where yards are outlawed.

It is, however, on the internet so it must be true. From Shakyard:

Chemical weedkiller is expensive, stinky, and potentially hazardous. Fortunately, there is a better weedkiller out there, and it is one you can make yourself using common household items.

Combine an ounce of white vinegar, an ounce of cheap gin, and 8 ounces of water. Pour the mixture on the weeds, and they will die.

Is gin cheaper than weed killer? For the sake of awesome, and without doing any research, we say yes. —MEGHANN MARCO

Make Your Own Weed Killer [Shakyard]
(Photo: Phault)

UPDATE: People are saying that the vinegar works without the gin, but what fun is that?

Comments

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  1. TPIRman says:

    “Is gin cheaper than weed killer?”

    Yesh!

  2. nweaver says:

    Use Roundup. Clasic roundup is a great herbicide, killing broadleaf plants while being effectively nontoxic.

  3. weave says:

    I doubt it’s cheaper in the state store system of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

  4. homerjay says:

    Hmmm.. Roundup and non-toxic in the same sentance. See, thats why I nominated Monsanto…..

  5. Hawkins says:

    Roundup is NOT non-toxic. Wikipedia says that Roundup (glyphosate) is classed as a” moderately toxic herbicide and in EPA toxicity class III.”

    Worse:

    On two occasions the American EPA has caught scientists deliberately falsifying test results at research laboratories hired by Monsanto to study glyphosate,[11][12][13] and Monsanto has also been charged with illegally advertising, (falsely and misleadingly), glyphosate products calling them “safer than table salt”, prompting a law suit by the New York State attorney general[14], and prompting several action groups to form in the United States against these products.[15]In the second incident of falsifying test results in 1991, the owner of the lab (Craven Labs), and three employees were indicted the following year on 20 felony counts, the owner was sentenced to 5 years in prison and fined 50,000 dollars, the lab was fined 15.5 million dollars and ordered to pay 3.7 million in restitution

    So don’t believe everything that the Monsanto dicks tell you about the safety of their products.

  6. robrob says:

    man, i originally read the title as “Make your own Killer Weed”.

    this is obviously a let down.

  7. Blackneto says:

    @robrob: okay i thought i was just drunk but i saw it that way too.

  8. mopar_man says:

    The cheapest bottle of gin in the UP of MI is $3.xx so I imagine I could make quite a bit of weed killer with that.

  9. When i need to kill weeds in an area that children or pets are likely to follow (i work for a parks and recreation department) i use a large amount of salt. I just heap the salt onto the plant and water. This wouldn’t be wise around the bottoms of metal fencing, concrete, or any other substance that might corrode as a result. It rains a lot here so i often just dump it on the invading plants and walk away. I’m also quite fortunate because a fish cannery puts out pallets of 50 pound bags of it every now and then. Something about some bags being “contaminated” with sand.

  10. soj17 says:

    @zieak: So you dump large amounts of salt on plants and they die? Isn’t this just as bad as using something toxic, you are salting the earth a la scorched earth used by the soviets during WW2.

  11. Hexum2600 says:

    Or the Romans and Carthage?

  12. WindowSeat says:

    Best weed killer I’ve ever used is boiling water.

  13. Mike_ says:

    Yeah – boiling water. Functional, free, and positively non-toxic.

  14. thrillhouse says:

    try 20% acidity vinegar. you can usually get it at Lowes, and it works better than Round-Up.

  15. virgilstar says:

    Sounds like a bad waste of Gin to me!

    We use vinegar on stumps of maples. When the seedlings get out of control and you invariably end up with a 1″ thick maple with roots going down 3ft, just cut it off at the base and pour neat vinegar on the stump. It doesn’t grow back, and after a few weeks the roots rot out so you can pull up the stump easily.

  16. kerry says:

    @thrillhouse, @virgilstar: Any idea if this would work on weed trees? We have dozens of them choking off our real trees and bushes, but the damned things won’t die. My mother said we need to drill a hold in the trunk and pour herbicide directly into the roots, but I’m loathe to use Roundup or something else toxic.

  17. This is an urban (suburban?) legend — it’s also set forth as a way to FEED your plants (whiskey/gin and vinegar diluted with water). Depending on the plant and the amount of stress it’s under, you might do it in with this mix. (I can’t really see how it’d GROW with this mix.) The acetic acid in the vinegar in the right strength WILL work as a weed killer (and is very useful to large-scale organic farmers), but it’s probably easier just to buy the acetic acid instead of using it diluted in vinegar diluted in water. The alcohol is both expensive and extraneous. (And if it’s the alcohol that’s the alleged active ingredient? Use rubbing alcohol, not expensive drinkin’ alcohol.)

    However — as successful as vinegar is at controlling weeds, for most weeds it does NOT kill the roots — just the above-ground part of the weed, so your weed will be back.

    The problem with most of these homemade weed killers is twofold:

    First, commercial weed killers target one type of plant or a class of plants (all broadleaf plants in a lawn, say). If your alcohol/vinegar is working, it’s working on EVERYTHING, so you’re going to be killing grass as well as weeds, or the roses as well as the goldenrod.

    Second, proper herbicide applications are fairly precise. Store-bought herbicides are very explicitly labeled as to ingredients, concentrations, and appropriate application amounts. (This is all governed by law; they can’t just make stuff up.) Home-made herbicides are of varying degrees of strength (what kind of vinegar are we using?) and getting the right proportions depends on the homeowner’s diligence. And then, of course, there are no application instructions — does one plant need 3 T? 10 T? Just a spray? Is it a foliar or soil-applied herbicide? Is it systemic? What insects does it harm?

    Bleach is an excellent weed killer, in high concentrations. But in 10% concentration in small amounts, I use it to clean all my gardening tools so as not to transfer pathogens between plants. (At 10% concentration, it’ll also kill a few buggies but not the plants they’re on if you’re careful.) So you could easily apply either not enough, or far too much, and end up with outcomes you didn’t want.

    Better “non-toxic” solutions include
    –boiling water, mentioned above, particularly for weeds in pavement cracks — in your lawn, it’s going to kill the grass as well as the weed
    –baking them out by making a plastic “oven” over them (larger area)
    –setting something down on top of a weedy area for several months, like a compost pile or just a sheet of plastic. (This makes the soil underneath nice and rich for planting when you take off whatever you had on it.)
    –PULLING BY HAND

    Alcohol and vinegar probably isn’t going to hurt much in your lawn; you may just kill a patch of grass if you’re unlucky. But I probably wouldn’t try it on your beloved roses or prize geraniums.

    (Eyebrows graduates from Master Gardener training tomorrow. :P )

  18. @kerry: Have you tried “girdling” the weed trees? Cut all the way around them in a circle to a depth of a couple millimeters up to a centimeter, until you get to the heartwood. Use a razor blade or utility knife (or a wire) — you’re not cutting the tree DOWN, but making a thin shallow cut all the way around the trunk.

    You’ve now cut off the tree’s xylem and phloem transport systems completely and *most* trees will not recover from that. (A very small handful can.) They die fairly quickly once they’ve been girdled, and should be easy enough to remove once dead.

  19. kerry says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: I was wondering if something like this would work. I’ll give it a shot next time I’m in the garden. We try to get them out as seedlings but have missed enough that the yard’s a disaster. Thanks for the tip!

  20. itmustbeken says:

    Now my weeds are singing loudly and puking in my flower pots.
    Thanks allot Shakyard!

    (boiling water is the best but it only works on broad leafed weeds like dandilions, etc.)

  21. @kerry: oh, I know, we get maple seedlings EVERYWHERE!

  22. thrillhouse says:

    @Eyebrows McGee:

    First, commercial weed killers target one type of plant or a class of plants (all broadleaf plants in a lawn, say). If your alcohol/vinegar is working, it’s working on EVERYTHING, so you’re going to be killing grass as well as weeds, or the roses as well as the goldenrod.

    Last time I checked, Round-Up will smoke your grass as well as the broadleaf weeds. What you’re speaking of is selective herbicides, tho some like 2,4-D can cause stress to non-target plants, too.

    Home-made herbicides are of varying degrees of strength (what kind of vinegar are we using?)

    20% acidity

    and getting the right proportions depends on the homeowner’s diligence

    and thats not true of traditional herbicides? I know a lot of people who prefer to mix theirs “hot”.

    And then, of course, there are no application instructions — does one plant need 3 T? 10 T? Just a spray? Is it a foliar or soil-applied herbicide? Is it systemic? What insects does it harm?

    See when you buy 20% acidity vinegar, its not in the grocery store next to the balsamic. Its a herbicide and has label directions. The Garden-ville brand for example:

    “Effective non-selective herbicide for lawn and garden use. It is not systemic and is safe to use around the woody trunks of shrubs, vines, and trees. 20 % Vinegar—Made from Grain Based Vinegar.
    This product is a good weed control, used full strength it will burn and destroy any green leaf it is sprayed on. It does not have a damaging effect on established woody plants.
    Excellent for cleaning Bermuda grass out from under rose bushes.”

    So its pretty clear what you’re getting. I found this on the Google. I’m sure if you picked up a jug, it would have further application instructions.

  23. WindowSeat says:

    I forgot to mention this when I was touting boiling water, but a lot of the broadleaf weeds in the lawn and garden are edible.

  24. aidan.hadley says:

    Whether or not this is a cost-effective solution remains to be seen. But gin WILL work as an effective weed killer. Just look under a juniper tree. Weeds never grow there. And gin is made from juniper berries.