If you have a yard, you’re no stranger to pesky weeds popping up where they aren’t wanted. While you can always use chemical herbicides to kill weeds, they may not be environmentally friendly, and they are an added expense. A cheap and effective alternative is using boiling water to kill and control weeds throughout the year.
***Disclaimer: Boiling water can be dangerous and cause life threatening burns. Please take all precautions if you decide to use this method***
Using boiling water can be a cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and easy way to kill weeds and control their growth. Just purchase a tea kettle, boil the water, and carefully pour it onto the targeted weeds to maintain a weed-free yard.
Here’s the deal, you can easily kill weeds and most weed seeds by hitting them with scalding water. You just need to decide if it’s the best option for your situation and goals.
Replacing chemical herbicides with boiling water will prevent toxic herbicides from entering your soil and being absorbed by surrounding plants, which is a common concern.
However, you need to understand that boiling water could potentially kill any plant it touches. For that reason this method isn’t the best for all situations.
If you’ve got a lawn full of weeds, or weeds near your desirable plants you’re going to need another option.
But, if you are dealing with isolated clumps of weeds or weeds popping up between pavers, then pouring boiling water on the weeds could be a great solution.
Read on to figure out how to properly use boiling hot water to kill weeds safely and decide if it will work for you.
How to Use Boiling Water to Kill Weeds
The only piece of equipment you need if you’re going to use boiling water to kill weeds is a tea kettle.
As we mentioned before, this is because, similar to chemical “non-selective” herbicides that kill anything they touch, boiling water will kill your precious plants, flowers, and grass if it touches them.
A tea kettle can help mitigate this because it has a spout that directs the water with precision.
You should purchase a tea kettle with a spout and heat-proof handle to boil the water. The kettle will maintain the proper temperature of the water as you move around the yard to different locations with weeds.
A gooseneck electric tea kettle can also be a great choice, especially if you have an electrical outlet outside. An electric tea kettle will keep the water boiling hot for the entire process.
After you decide which piece of equipment you will use to boil the water, you can complete the following simple steps:
- Cut down the weeds first so that the water can reach deep into the roots. This is especially important if the weeds are growing in large clumps throughout your lawn. It will give you more permanent results.
- The amount of weedy area and the types of weeds will help determine how much water you need to boil. The best bet is to fill your kettle, but be sure not to overfill as you don’t want to spill any boiling water during transport.
- The tea kettle will “whistle” when the water is boiled at the proper temperature. The water should be more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Unless you have a heat-proof kettle, the water will lose its heat quickly. Carry the tea kettle or pot quickly, but carefully, to the weeds you intend to kill.
- Slowly pour the boiling water over all of the weeds you want to kill on your lawn. Be sure to avoid any plants, flowers, and grass you do not want to kill.
The process is quite simple and will leave behind no nasty chemicals or residue that could be damaging to the environment, kids or pets.
How Much Boiling Water Does it Take to Kill Weeds
Be warned: The weeds may not die the first time you complete the above steps, and you will need to repeat as necessary.
This makes using boiling water time-consuming, depending on how deeply rooted the weeds are in your lawn.
The intense heat from the boiling water will break down the weed’s cell wall structure eventually, but the number of applications depends on the types of weed you are killing.
The weed type will also determine how much boiling water is needed to kill them properly and permanently.
- Weeds like dandelions that have a long taproot, which is a long thick root that taps way down into the soil, will need more boiling water. This is because these weeds need more water to reach the bottom of the root.
- Other weeds that have a fibrous root, which are most grasses and plants that have many very fine branches and the root system closer to the top of the soil, will not need as much boiling water to permanently kill them.
No matter the type of root, you should always trim the weeds so that the foliage is removed and the roots are treated properly.
If you have a lot of deeply rooted weeds or a thickly planted area of plants you want to maintain that are very close to these weeds, using boiling water may not be the best choice.
Luckily, for you we have done the research and can recommend other weed killers depending on your situation including:
Be Safe When Handling Boiling Water
There are numerous safety concerns to note when using boiling water to kill weeds.
You need to be extremely careful when moving hot, boiling water from your stove’s burner to your lawn because the water can easily splash or spill. Therefore, you need to take certain safety measures into account in addition to purchasing a proper tea kettle.
The last thing you want when treating weeds with boiling water is a hospital trip because of an unwanted burn on your arms, legs, or feet.
Boiling water can be extremely dangerous if it comes in contact with one’s skin and could actually result in second- or third-degree burns that are very painful and difficult to treat once the skin is burned.
You should make sure you take the proper precautions to stay safe during this weed-killing process.
- Wear long sleeves, pants, and closed-toed shoes to avoid a second- or third-degree burn from an accidental splash or spill.
- Do not pour boiling water on weeds while wearing short-sleeved shirts, shorts, or flip-flops.
- A tea kettle is preferred over a pot because a kettle has a refined spout to direct the hot water.
- While you want to walk quickly so as not to lose the water’s heat, do not walk too quickly. Walk safely and pay attention, so you do not lose your balance or spill boiling water.
Boiling Water Is Not the Answer for All Weeds
Just because you can boil water easily does not mean it is the best choice for all types of weeds.
- If you have a large lawn with a ton of weeds, for example, you probably do not want to run back and forth boiling water to try to cover the entire area.
- This weed-killing option is really best for weeds that grow in cracks of the pavement, driveway or in between pavers.
- It is also best for weeds that are not near your coveted flowers, gardens, or grassy areas when you need precision.
Remember that, similar to chemical herbicides, piping hot water will more than likely destroy any foliage it touches. Once you survey the area and determine that the weeds can be killed without killing other plants, then you can complete the proper steps.
Can boiling water kill weeds? Yes, and it can be an effective, natural, and cost-effective weed control option. Just boil water and pour it over the area in which you are targeting and, after a few tries, the weeds should be permanently gone. As long as you are careful and mind safety concerns, your lawn should be weed-free in no time.
If you’re looking for a natural method to kill weeds on your property and you have the time and patience, the hot water method may be an option for you.
You can increase the effectiveness by also applying vinegar, dish soap or Epsom salt immediately after attempting the boiling water method.
More Weed Killing Advice:
Killing Weeds with Boiling Water FAQs
Does boiling water really kill weeds?
Yes, this method will work, but is not ideal for all situations. The boiling water works to damage the cell wall of the plant root and killing the plant. However, using boiling water can be dangerous and may also kill any surrounding plants if the boiling water touches their roots. It is also not a one and done method if you are dealing with thick taproots, which may require multiple applications.
Does boiling water kill weeds between pavers?
Yes, and this is actually an ideal use for this method. If you have weeds popping up between pavers or growing in the cracks in your driveway, the hot water method is a great solution. The pavers prevent the hot water from damaging anything but the weed you are hoping to eliminate.