Biodegradable and Safer Alternative for Commercial Herbicide




Introduction: Biodegradable and Safer Alternative for Commercial Herbicide

About: "Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." "La inacción engendra la duda y el miedo. La ac...

With this Instructable we will learn how to make a safer and cheaper alternative to commercial herbicide. The ingredients are very easy to obtain at any supermarket or grocery store. Most of us have them already available at home. 

Step 1: Ingredients

You will need:
  • 1 gallon (3.78 liters) of white vinegar
  • 12 ounces (341.1 grams) approximately of salt for every gallon of vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon, more or less, of dishwashing detergent (biodegradable detergent preferably) will work as a surfactant
Mix and shake the ingredients on a safe plastic container.

Step 2: How to Use the Biodegradable Herbicide

For maximum effect you should spray the solution on a very hot and sunny day over the undesirable plants using a small trigger sprayer or a pump sprayer. Cover the whole plant and roots and watch the weeds go.



  • Tiny Home Contest

    Tiny Home Contest
  • Metalworking Contest

    Metalworking Contest
  • Creative Misuse Contest

    Creative Misuse Contest

85 Discussions

Although it took 4 days of watering clover three times a day for 6 days eventually mold grew on the soil and the clover. It may have been very difficult to extract and keep the enzyme stable with my method.

However I have discovered that this selective Pathogenic plant mold if used in terms of dose and then exposed to 1-2% bleach could be used as a tough herbicide that could kill very tough plants like Poison Ivy.

Here are some images of the clover infected by the mold.


At ph 6.0 the solution caaused at 50% the clovers to start to grow. So I have added a 6.66% active enzyme with acetic acid and a bit of sodium acetate at pH of 4.0.

Here are some calculations to get the pH from 14 to 4 with acetic acid.

pH 14.

KOH(aq) + CH3COOH >>> CH3COOK + H20.

HOCl Lets pretend it too small to measure.

When neutralized with sodium thiosulfate pH was 14 means

very little effect.

4g/56.11 g = 0.0712 moles*10 = 0.712 moles per L.

1. Neutralize Lye.....

0.712 m*60 g (Atomic mass of acetic acid) = 42.72 g per L.

Requires 4.3 g Acetic acid.

Now pH is 7.0

Get it to 4.0

1% acetic acid m/v.

pH = -log (H+).

25 g*0.01 = 0.25 g.

0.25g/60g = 0.0042 moles Acetic acid.

Ka = [H+][A]/[HA].

Ka = 1.8*10^-5.

1.8*10^-5 = X2/0.0042 m.

X2 = 7.56*10^-8.

X = 2.749*10^-4.

pH = 3.5

Diluted this goes down a lot.

150 ml total/ 25 ml acetic acid mix * 0.25 g Acetic acid = 1.5 grams Acetic acid required in 150 ml water.

Requires 37.5 ml acetic acid for a total of 100 ml water.

I have done more testing but for me at pH 5 (non diluted) and 6-7 for 25% the enzyme did not prevent growth of clover seed. Also reports say the optional temp is 45-50 degrees at 3-6 pH. At 20 degrees and pH 4 the solution active enzyme is Only at pure strength 16% max.

This solution of enzymes prevents growth of plants safely.

In school the Plamsa is used to peirce cell wall of bacteria and fungi. I have to do a trial and error results to get the enzyme out.


I am attempting again to plasma enhance the effects of mold and generate plasma that may (Key word) penetrate the cell wall structure of the cell. 12 kV 30 ma at 1 degree gives roughly 85 Amps. Here are some images of prep work.


What you are seeing is plasma.

Here are a few prototypes of using high voltage with PI inside a aluminum foil which generates a plasma. It is important that the PI be completely dry with 12,000 volts 30 ma.

Here are some images of results of grtowing pencillium and procedures to help

Pencillium mold.jpg007.jpg001.jpg002.jpg003.jpg

Here is a project on a natural herbicide although it did not work maybe it could work on a larger scale and with better centrifuges and chemicals.

Using mold (PI) with soap (Ammonia lauryl sulfate and Ammonia lauryl sulfite.

Intro: Here an potential type of herbicide made from activated Pectinase enzyme from

Pencillium I. Growing mold and letting 30 g of mold dust collect onto a solution of soap

and attempting to isolate Pectinase is possible.

Purification with a centrifuge at speeds of 105,000 rotations a minute and lower speeds of 35,000

rpm Total with fridge exposure overnight as well as purifying with a 0.1 micron antimicrobal and antifungal filter including

spores is essential.

Clover with soil (regular type) when a purified solution with water and others with ammonia 0.166 moles per L has lead to slowing down the cover.

Purpose: The purpose is to make a natural herbicide with Pectinase from PI.


Theory: Soap containing digestive surfacants including ammonia lauryl sulfate with high speed centrifugation may be able to purify and extract Pectinase

in sufficient qualities. Centrifuging and chemical cell wall digestion with special soap could result in release of enzyme Pectinase.


Lactose milk protein

Cocoa powder



Soap containing Ammonium lauryl sulfate or equiv

Tap water

Cocoa pudding

Ammonia hydroxide 1 Molar


Pencillium I


Clover seeds

100 mw purple laser (line) 405 nm



Hot plate and stirrer

500 ml flask ( to put agar cocoa plates)

Alochol burner


Growing the mold on cocoa pudding mixture. Water is added to a concentrated pudding cocoa with milk protein to grow penicillium I fungi. Unlike bacteria spores

of PI require up to 3 weeks with normal humidity. A stock solution of PI is made by exposing cocoa agar glucose plates in the air for 5 days. Naturally there in trace

amounts. Once mold grows on plates it takes a few months to convert it into a powder.

Warning: Although PI is non pathogenic/non-toxic, large doses in some individuals may lead to allergies. Always due this outside and wear a gas mask or a N95 mask to protect yourself

from the spores.

Extracting the mold. In about 3 weeks to a month the mold will turn into a hard rock like substance. Outside with N95 mask, gloves, safety goggles, apron hit the mold species gently

with a hammer. You want to min the amount of mold spores that are released and allow for the chunks of mold to be placed in 100 ml of tap water with the desired soap 5 g.

In a few days the mold will slowly convert from spores back into the active PI. Soap with ALS should attack the cell structure over a long period of time. Remeber that it is difficult

and if the solution sits for many days then filtering and dilution must be done. This is because too much junk in the solution to filter with regular filter paper and will most likely

clog the filter.

In 2.0 ml centriuge tube (while wearing PPE) pipette 1.5 ml of sample and balance the centrifuge as according. For more info look up how to balance and set up the rotar of a centrifuge.

Using a clock time 5 minutes max (mine makes weird sound past 7 minutes). 8 tubes with PI solution will be centrifuged for a total of 35,000 rpm T *3.

with the sample centrifuge and without distrubing the pellet decant the tubes into fresh new tubes and place them (closed)in a beaker and store at 4-8 degrees C.

Making the Pectin pectinase gel.

Sodium fluorescin 1 ml in 100 ml tap water plus 5 g agar and 5 g Pectin (with acids) is placed in a flask (500 ml) and heated until it boils about 33 ml of the solution once it boils down to

80 degrees (after reaching 100 degrees C) are powered into polypropylene cups and placed into the fridge for 3 days (aprox) or until the solution gels up.

Activating the laser. A 405 nm line laser 100 mw from e-bay was used. Danger: Never look into the beam or the reflected beam to aviod retina damage especially at 50 mw or greater.

When the laser is fired across the plate you can see a green bubble like shape appearing. I think that this is the pectinase enzyme breaking down the gel. This took 5 hours to appear.

Growing the clover: Seeds of clover are exposed to several soil samples and exposed to tap water and some of the enzyme trial herbicide. The addition to 1.5 ml sample to get 0.166 moles Ammonia hydroxide

may help activate the enzyme.


The difficult process of pectinase is the fact that it is difficult to extract without harsh chemicals. A high concentration 2% bleach or sodium dichloroisocyanurate is needed to extract or attack the

cell wall and when combined with ammonium lauryl sulfate then chlorine gas is released which will attack the polypropylene centrifuge tubes. Another possiblity is to use high voltage with dried aluminum foil

to control burn the spores to allow chemicals to pentirate afterwords but this is quite dangerous.

What about Poison Ivy? it has tough roots and is highly resistant to many herbicides like Round Up, etc.

Filtering with a special type of micron filter that blocks bacteria (0.1 micron filter) from Sawyer is also essential to attempt to remove any left over spores.

Have you heard of using natural enzymes from Pencillium I (a plant pathogen) and purifiying the enzyme called Pectinase. The mold has a tough cell wall that requires centrifuging and spinning

Please see the link if you are interested.

I just use straight vinegar. Most of the "eco" herbicides I see on the store shelves are just 7% acetic acid. Pickling vinegar is 7% acetic acid. And costs less for a 4 litre jug than the 750 ml "eco" herbicides. Seems to work best when weeds are young. Larger established weeds seem to be more resilient.

Hot water does a good job, a little expensive but safe for the grand and great grand children. I wonder about how it might affect the worms though so try to not pour too long!

It is hard to call this part of biodegradable as salt from the soil nowhere to stay. Yes, this line-up will destroy the weeds, but on this earth a little that will grow.

2 replies

You are technically right that salt is not biodegradable. This issue has been discussed many times. However no proof has been presented that a little amount of salt would make your yard a huge brown spot. In every discussion that I have had on this issue no irrefutable evidence exists that this salt will permanently damage your yard or the environment.

Dear Sir, I just wanted to say that the salt remains in the soil, and I agree with you that it does not do any harm. I agree with you, and when the snow melts, I will process your staff my site. I think the best place for treatment will be the place where it grows weeds and crop plants do not grow.