4 Natural Weed Killer Safe for Pets and Children

Are you looking for natural weed killers for your gravel driveway or stone path? Do you want an effective weed killer that is not cancer-causing? Maintaining a weed-free gravel driveway or weed-free stone pathway is not easy. It can be challenging and a lot of work! The good news is, that there are natural ways to permanently kill the weeds and grass growing on gravel driveways. Here I will show you four effective weed killers for your gravel driveway. These weed killers are safe to use around pets and children without the cancer-causing side effects.

Using propane torch to kill weeds

4 Natural Weed Killers that are Safe for Pets and Children 

1. Homemade Weed Killer

An effective natural weed killer is to make a homemade weed killer using food-safe ingredients from your kitchen. My homemade weed killer is made out of salt, vinegar, and dish liquid. Vinegar is a natural weed killer. The salt will alter the soil chemistry, making it not viable for healthy plants to thrive. The dish liquid will help the salt and vinegar weed killer solution adhere to the leaves.

Homemade salt and vinegar weed killer
Homemade salt and vinegar weed killer

Do know that when you make this salt and vinegar weed killer, you may also kill nearby plants since it will kill any plants it touches. I suggest using this homemade weed killer on gravel, and stone pathways but not on your lawn or garden bed since it will alter the soil chemistry and make it bad for plant growth. Only use it in areas where you don’t want any grass or plants to grow. You can use a backpack garden sprayer so it’s easier to target the weeds in your driveway or stone pathway.

The salt and vinegar weed killer is pretty effective and from personal experience, it typically takes 5 days for the weeds to die out. Do note that you need to use it on a day without rain in the forecast. You also want to make sure there is no rain the following day and the day after. You want the weed killer to be properly absorbed. It is also more effective if you use it on a sunny day since the combination of the sun and the weed killer will effectively kill off the weeds. The good thing about the salt and vinegar weed killer is that it is safe to use around pets and children. However, there is work involved once the weeds die out. You still need to manually remove the wilted weeds after they die. This step can be time-consuming and tedious. 

2. Hot Water

Another effective natural weed killer is to use hot water on the weeds.  Boil hot water in a kettle and pour it directly onto the weeds in your gravel or stone pathway. In 4 to 5 days, you will start to see the weeds turn brown and die out. 

Using hot water to kill weeds
Using hot water to kill weeds

This is an effective natural weed killer that is safe for pets and children. However, do be careful and make sure pets and children are out of the way when you are pouring hot water on the weeds. 

It’s also a time-consuming weed killer since you will need to boil a lot of water. The best way to do this is to have a couple of electric kettles. I like the fast-boiling electric kettles. Rotate between 2 to 3 electric kettles so you don’t have to wait too long between kettles.

And similar to the salt and vinegar weed-killing method, you will need to clean up the weeds when it dies. Use a rake to remove the wilted weeds off your gravel driveway. 

3. Propane Torch

My preferred method to kill weeds in my gravel driveway is to use a propane torch. The propane torch will burn off the weeds and is extremely effective as a weed killer. What I like about using a propane torch to kill weeds is that the weeds will burn off and disintegrate. That means there is no need to clean up the dead weeds! The burnt weeds disintegrate into the air!  It’s a very effective and satisfying way to kill weeds. I like this propane torch since it is easy to use and lightweight. 

Using propane torch to kill weeds
Using propane torch to kill weeds

The only downside to using a propane torch to kill weeds is that there is a lot of smoke. The smoke can get intense if you have a big patch of weeds to kill off. You can wear a mask to reduce smoke inhalation. 

Using a propane torch to get rid of weeds is safe for pets and children since there are no harmful chemicals involved. Just be careful when torching the weeds and don’t do it when children and pets are around.  

4. Pull out the Weeds by Hand

Another safe way to get rid of weeds in gravel driveways is to hand weed. It’s the most tedious weed-killing method but effective especially if you remove the roots. However, oftentimes, it is impractical since you have to keep up with weekly hand weeding in order to keep your gravel looking neat.  

Pulling out weeds growing in gravel driveway
Pulling out weeds growing in gravel driveway

If you decide to hand weed, make sure you do it after rain so the soil is soft and the weeds will be easier to pull off.

Tips for Removing Weeds in Gravel Driveway

Start Getting Rid of Weeds in Early Spring

The key to keeping your gravel driveway free of weeds is to start early. Start getting rid of weeds in early Spring. That way you are removing weeds as they are just emerging. It will make it easier to maintain your gravel driveway or stone pathway.

Pick a Sunny day to Remove Weeds

If you are removing weeds using salt and vinegar weed killer or hot water, it is most effective if you do it during a sunny day. I find these natural weed killers work best if it’s sunny and there is no rain in the forecast the following day

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