How to Use Boiling Water to Kill Weeds

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Weeds are pesky plants in our garden that often destroy the planned or desirable plants. I am sure every amateur gardener would have thought about eradicating these weeds organically, like using hot water, but does boiling water kill weeds?

If you want a natural alternative to eliminate weeds, boiling water can be used. The easiest method is to pour the boiling water over the weeds and ensure it penetrates the ground where the weeds are growing. Then cover your hands, carry the pot to the designated area, and pour over the weeds.

A Weed is a plant that is in the wrong place. Weeds are unwanted plants that grow in controlled settings like farms or a garden. They could be typical plants or weeds that stop the growth of desirable plants. They are usually invasive, and care has to be taken to remove them.

What Are Weeds & Why Are They Undesirable?

Weeds are usually unwanted plants that grow in controlled spaces. It also applies to plants that grow aggressively or are invasive outside their natural habitat, such as grass, does boiling water kill grass? I will answer that later in the article.

If weeds constantly overrun your garden rows, ask yourself what those are and why they are growing there. Put down the hoe long enough to consider what the weeds are telling you.

Sarah Owens, from their book entitled Sourdough: Recipes for Rustic Fermented Breads, Sweets, Savories, and More

Weeds can interfere with human activities, so multiple ways have been developed to deal with them. They are either eliminated or suppressed by us.

Weeds and how they can ruin gardens, even cement

Another huge issue to consider when dealing with weeds is that they can grow their roots in locations that can kill plants or even destroy the structural integrity of your home.

You’ve probably seen sidewalks that undesired roots have destroyed; you should remember that the damage weeds can cause is not just what’s visible to the naked eye. It can spread and become an issue all over your yard and home.

Why is the hot water method effective against weeds?

Does boiling water kill weeds? People have been using hot water to manage weeds since the 1880s. It may not be the best method for mass weed elimination, but it still works for small patches.

Small farms still use the boiling water method to eradicate weeds, known as thermal weed control.

Does boiling water kill plants? The logic behind this is the transfer of heat energy onto the plant, leading to the distortion of plant cells. It is more effective than air or steam and is one of the most effective energy transfer methods.

Benefits of using the hot water method to eradicate weeds

Water flows underground easily and hence reaches the roots faster. It is more effective than air or steam as they rise quickly to the surface.

Fumigation is a popular method to clear out weeds. Still, most chemicals enter the air and cannot have a long-lasting effect on the weeds. The substances that enter the air can also have an adverse environmental impact on your other plants.

Boiling Water is a free way to eradicate weeds.

Water is free, and this hot water method doesn’t use chemicals, so it is a good option. Knowing you can eliminate your weeds without harming other plants or the climate, you’ll feel good.

Putting boiling water on weeds ensure that it never grows back

Does boiling water kill weeds? Burning water to a high temperature can be as deadly as toxic herbicides to the plants. And if you pour it on a seed or a plant, it will probably cause it to die. So this also works for weeds along the sidewalks and driveways.

Pouring boiling water on weeds is a great tip for gardeners sick of cutting the weeds off. 

Too many people think they can eliminate weeds by cutting the tops; you will be ineffective if you don’t get down to the roots.

How to handle weeds with hot water?

Hot water is a natural weed killer and non-toxic. Hot water can kill any plants, so you need to remember that you can only use it on isolated weeds when using it.

You don’t want to dump boiling water on weeds in your grass because you’ll kill the grass around the weeds. Also, remember to be careful while using this method to eliminate weeds. To have the rundown before doing the process, it is best to have the following things at hand:

Longer pantsLong-sleeved shirt
Big socksClosed-toed shoes
TeakettleOven mitt or glove

Here are the steps that you can follow to use this method carefully.

Dress in proper attire for safety before using boiling water to kill weeds

Wear full pants, a full-sleeved shirt, and closed shoes. It would help if you prevented skin exposure to avoid accidental burns. So don’t forget the less you expose your skin, the better for you, and it will help you avoid unnecessary burns.

Even so, ensure you’re careful with the boiling water; you can still burn yourself even through your clothes.

Identify the weeds or plants in your garden before killing them off with boiling water.

When killing weeds, a crucial thing to do is identify the weeds you will use the hot boiling water method on, and you want to remove them. So be careful because if you hit any other plant by accident, the chances are that it will be dead in a couple of minutes.

Types of Weeds that you should look out for

The identification of weeds is the best way to ensure proper elimination. Lawn weeds can be categorized into three main types.

Weed typeDescription
Broadleaf grassThese grass weeds with broadly shaped leaves are commonly found in North American home yards.
SedgesThis grass has attractive colors and is textured, while the stem is triangular. If you are landscaping, you may keep it or eliminate it if you want the yard to look uniform.
This grass has attractive colors and is textured, while the stem is triangular. If you are landscaping, you may keep or eliminate it if you want the yard to look uniform.

Mapping out which are the pests and your precious plants is important so as not to damage the latter. So you better stick to sidewalks or outlying parts of the garden.

Do this if most of your lawn or garden is covered with weeds

There might also be times when weeds completely overrun your garden, and you want to eliminate everything. In that case, you can dump the boiling water everywhere, clear out the area, and try planting new plants around the yard.

That’s what’s nice about the hot water method; it’s quick and easy and can be done in small or large areas easily.

Heating Process of your water for eradicating weeds

Fill a kettle with water and put it to a boil. The water must be heated to at least 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure that you check that temperature before going outside and start pouring the water.

Be quick with the travel time of your boiling water from your stove to the weeds.

Also, go as quickly as possible after heating the water to the weeds. The water will rapidly decrease in temperature as you move it off the stove and into the garden.

The Process of Killing the Weeds with boiling water

Protect hands with gloves or oven mitts before taking the kettle outside. Be quick and careful. Head to the weed patch.

The water will cool down fast, so you must be quick when traveling from the stove to the weeds.

Hold the spout above the weeds and pour water on the weeds carefully. Aim for the roots and avoids splashing.

Pour the boiling water directly onto the weeds.

It would be best if you also tried to pour it as close as possible to the weeds so it cannot cool off in the air; otherwise, it won’t be as effective and might not kill the plants.

If that happens, the weeds will grow back, and you’ll have to restart the entire process, so ensure you get it right the first time, and you won’t have to deal with doing it again!

Avoid any unnecessary splashes with the boiling water when eradicating weeds.

The scalding water should impact only the weeds, so kneel or squat for best results. We know this will be hard, but be kind and friendly while pouring the boiling water, especially around surrounding plants you want to keep.

The best way for you to pour over the boiling water onto the weeds is to squat and start pouring the water down from a shallow height.

This will help reduce the chances of the boiling water splashing into the other plants. This will also help you stay safe as you pour water onto the weeds.

Boiling water can cause severe burns in less than a second and burn through clothes, so this is one of the most important things to remember when using this method to take out your weeds.

Tips on Weed Management

Gardeners and farmers know how difficult it is to keep weeds at bay. You must constantly watch out for these pesky plants because they can quickly take over your garden if left unchecked. Here are some tips for effective weed management.

  • Pulling out the weeds completely when the soil is wet is best. The roots can’t hold on tight to soft damp soil.
  • Use gloves to grip the weed from the roots and pull them out. Holding on to leaves means only the top part is pulled out.
  • Try using tools like a trowel to loosen the soil around the weed, but don’t cut into the weed, lest the seeds spread. Once pulled out, place weeds in a bucket to prevent seed spread.
  • Remember that weeds must be handled from the roots. Some roots may remain if you pull up weeds, so be cautious while pulling them up. Any time you leave behind living roots, remember that the weeds will have a chance to grow back.

Regarding the pulling of weeds method, to aid you in the process, I have recently written an article on pulling weeds and just how effective they are for eradicating them. It covers the benefits of doing said weed pulling, the many drawbacks, and other methods you can look into to kill weeds effectively. It will be a good companion article to look into with this one.

Pull the weeds after pouring in the boiled water.

In line with that, a great way to ensure you get rid of the weeds is to use the boiling water method and pull up the dead weed.

That way, you’ll kill the roots and eliminate the issue; if anything is left behind, it will already be dead and unable to grow again.

FAQs on How to Use Boiling Water to Kill Weeds

What happens if weeds sprout again after the hot water treatment?
If a weed reappears, apply the hot water treatment again. The weed will get weak with each application, and it may take two to three times with this method for the weeds to disappear permanently. Get the water onto the weed seconds after it reaches a boil for maximum effectiveness.

Can we use vinegar instead of hot water?
You can use vinegar in place of water for this treatment too. Boil vinegar in a kettle and apply it as you would with water. Pour on roots to get rid of the weeds. The heat ensures it can go through and sear the outside of the root, while the vinegar destroys the internal part.

Are all weeds bad?
Not all weeds are problematic. Certain types of weed are believed to have medicinal qualities. However, we must remember that weeds are any plant not desired in a particular place, so they may not be harmful per se. It is best to eradicate them early on to prevent an infestation.

Are there any alternative things to use against the weeds?
You can utilize baking soda, bleach, corn gluten meal, vodka, and even newspapers to help eradicate weeds from your gardens. Some options will require patience and time for the weeds to disappear. Be careful about your actions, and don’t put this material near your plants.

Will boiling water kill vines?
Using boiling water on vines is another good, non-toxic way to eradicate them! It is best to cut up the bulk of the vines and dig up their root system. The root system serves as the base of the plant. Pour about a liter of boiling water into the root system for maximum results.

Conclusion on using boiling water to kill weeds

While there may be many ways to eradicate weeds, boiling water is considered one of the most effective ways.

Other methods can take up hours to days of constant effort, time, and reapplication, while this one when done right, can solve your problems the first time. For instance, will bleach kill thistles or even weed seeds? What about adding table salt?

Properly keep potted or precious plants away from where you pour boiling water to keep them safe. This is also a reminder to use this method wisely and keep your kids, pets, or anyone away from the general vicinity when doing this process.

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