FREE Herbicide!




Intro: FREE Herbicide!

Free Herbicide

And by Free I mean free of guilt, free of poison, and free of controversy.

This dawned on me quite a while ago and I only began to test this out in a serious manner earlier this summer (here in the US).
I have a driveway and off street parking area. It used to be gravel, until the weeds found it and began to have their way with my gravel.  I tried pulling them.  Too many, I was overwhelmed in no time.  I tried salt.  I tried black tarps.  I tried propane torches which though somewhat effective, were noisy, scared the neighbors, wasn't inexpensive and still the weeds returned in a week or two.  Fact is I had to heat the dirt to kill the weeds.  Besides being hot work it took forever and seemed to yield little in the way of success.  Commercially available herbicide has too many downsides for me.  Price is one thing, effectiveness is another as sooner or later the weeds are coming back.  Then there is the "poison laying on the weeds thing"  I have dogs, I have a family, we like bare feet.  I don't want any un-intentional exposure to any of us.
I also think that there should be a cheaper, safer, cleaner, less environmentally costly way to kill weeds.

I found it in my home, in my faucet and on top of the stove.  It's called boiling water.  Don't misunderstand, this is serious business and can result in at least as much pain and suffering as roasting your leg with the propane torch so if you think this isn't a manly way to kill weeds please, reconsider your thinking.
Which brings me to-
**Mandatory Warnings**
Boiling water is 212 degrees (+, - depending on your altitude)  It will raise blisters and make your life a hell if you are careless with it.  If you have never had an unintentional burn ( some pay to be branded but that's far different) consider yourself lucky.  There are days of agony ahead of you if you make a mistake with boiling water.  Your burn can be painful just being exposed to the air.  You MUST WEAR PERSONAL PROTECTIVE GEAR.  It is up to you what you consider  personal protective gear.  I consider heavy boots, stout, full length jeans, a sleeved shirt, heavy gloves and safety glasses to be a minimum to work with water that is 212 degrees.  With what I'm doing, I also use pot holders.
IF you do not possess a graceful walk and have difficulty NOT spilling a cup of coffee while walking either read and tell someone else about this or do not attempt this.
ONLY YOU can full assess your abilities as I am not there with you therefore I will not be held responsible for your injury or damages you may cause.  Because of the inherent dangers of boiling water I recommend that only persons that have reached the age of majority attempt this.  AND DON'T FORGET THE ROARING HOT STOVE.  Did I forget anything?  Like getting run over in the drive way?

#1) Fill pot with water.  fill it as full as you feel comfortable carrying the distance to the weeds.  I use a 5qt pot and fill it 3/4 full.  I live on the second floor and have stairs to negotiate-I've also worked in restaurants for years so I'm comfortable with carrying heated water.  Heat the water to a full rolling boil.  Not steaming but a full-on boil.

#2) Shut off the stove then, using the pot holders and wearing you PPG, remove the pot from the stove and bring it safely to the area of weeds you would like to eradicate.

#) Put the pot on the ground and TIP it to pour the water out.  Flood the weeds.  Don't fling the water it cools off in the flight and isn't anywhere near hot enough to get the job done.

If you cook, you will notice the weeds develop a beautiful vibrant green, similar to any greens you may have steamed for a meal.

Sadly the weeds don't melt with the application of water.  You have to pull their brown lifeless stalks from the ground and mulch them which you can do because they don't have a residue of herbicide on/in them
Enjoy your new weed free area - sure it's on the small side, do it again, in fact do it several times and or move to different areas.  Compare the price of a heated pot of water to a container of your (formerly) favorite herbicide and applicator device.  It's amazing how much boiling water you can buy for $26.97.

Enhancements - I recommend that you do this procedure at the hottest time of day.  That way you aren't getting the weeds warm and then trying to cook them.  Soil or concrete is a wonderful insulator from heat so you will likely have better performance on/in an area of thinner / harder soil.
This can have results in as little as 2 hours.  I've applied the boiling water and noticed that the weeds were brown in a relatively short time.  ie reading my email then "HEY!  Lookit that!!" sort of thing.  I've also had to "treat" a weed patch a couple of times to make it work the way I'd like.  NOTICE- this is not a surgical procedure - don't do this near your Tuberous Begonia or any other desirable plant.  You'll likely cook the Hosta and leave the weeds  (ask yourself, "How does he know this?")

One final note- the images out doors were taken using cool water.  When you go to pour the water out you will hold the pot using the handles on the sides and your PERSONAL PROTECTIVE GEAR

As an aside- Instructables is acting a bit wonky for me.  I'd like to be sure the images display properly as I've put quite a bit of effort into them but, we'll have to see how it turns out- sort of tired of this issue.

I suppose that's about it.  Be Careful please.  Enjoy your freedom from commercially available herbicide and.  .  .  say look at that.  There's a black helicopter outside my window with Monsa .  .  .   **LOST CARRIER**

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    16 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Farmers in in South AR and TX have been using portable steam pressure washers, like one would use to clean oil from the driveway, for quite a while now in their battle with fireants. So far, it's at least as effective as any of the permethrines and the results are immediate. There's also the small amount of pleasure one can take when the steam reaches the unexpected holes twenty feet away where the little red bastards pop through the surface, dead as so many tiny little hammers...sigh. Gotta love the boiling water.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    How deep do they go? I'm curious.
    -You could imagine green-kettles in garden centres "For Ants & Plants", but
    I imagine that this works on worms too.



    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Even the Zanti Misfits I've got in back? Undermining my DIY concrete patio?

    THAT would be great



    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    If you try it, the worst that can happen is "nothing".

    I'd be inclined to drill a hole and pour it in directly, though...


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I wonder if you could use or make a portable unit which heated the water and sprayed it on the weeds. Something like the commercially available steam cleaners.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I don't know about steam per se but one of the reasons this works is that the water penetrates to the roots and cooks them as well. Does it get all of the roots? Not usually so you have to re-apply in a couple of months or so. Just like any other herbicide. ALSO- this does not make the dirt impenetrable to new weed seeds as there is no poisonous residue, so you have that happening as well.

    So, cook pasta? Use the water, boil an egg? Use the water. It's a process and unlike the poison which is use and forget, you need to be more involved in it.

    Thanks for reading


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice idea, but it seems to me that you are using a lot of energy boiling the water. If you intend on doing any significant area this would end up costing you a fortune.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    It costs less than a tenth of a cent to boil that pot of water based on
    19KWh / $115.45 being mindful that those numbers are for the entire home and it took about 7 minutes to boil the water.
    As opposed to buying the chemistry

    PLUS this is not intended to be a wide area fix as  you couldn't spray 212 degree water from a crop duster for example.

    Thanks for commenting though, it made me sit down and finally figure out how to come up with a number (no matter how off) for this.