Kill Weeds Efficiently With This Vodka Hack

Want to get rid of some pesky dandelions? Creeping charlie or clover? Head to the liquor store and grab a bottle of vodka to make a surprisingly effective weed-killing cocktail.

This efficient hack works because the alcohol in the vodka strips the plants of some of their natural defensive layers, allowing the sun to really hit the weeds hard and dry them out, basically sunburning the plants. Within a few days, the weeds will have browned and died. You still might have to pull them, depending on the type of plant, but they won't be able to propagate, and they should also come out easier.

While using vodka to kill weeds might seem like an expensive way to clear out your home bar, it's not only effective but environmentally friendly, pet-friendly, and kid-friendly, too — as long as they're not licking or eating the leaves immediately after you spray them — as the sun will very quickly evaporate the alcohol.

The sun is an important element too

Most recipes of this vodka hack call for a diluted solution, mixing vodka with water (e.g., 1 ounce of vodka and 2 cups of water), along with a bit of dish soap. The soap will help the solution adhere to the leaves of the plant, letting the vodka do its drying-out trick. But remember, the other part of the recipe is sunlight to burn the weeds, so make sure to use this homemade weed killer on a warm, sunny day.

With this said, you have to be careful with how you spray. As with other nonselective weed killers, this vodka method will kill anything it touches, so you'll need to be precise. To help, you could use a paintbrush to basically paint the leaves of the weeds with the vodka mix. However, even this workaround isn't recommended for use on tall weeds or grasses that could bend over and touch other plants.

It's especially effective on pavement and stone

If you have a lot of little weeds in cracks between pavement or in stones you want to get rid of, the vodka hack will work well. In addition to the heat from the sun, any residual heat from the stones themselves will help the solution burn and kill the plants.

If vodka is a little pricey for your weed-killing budget, however, rubbing alcohol is another DIY option. As with vodka, adding rubbing alcohol to weeds will dry out the plant, effectively killing it. For this method, mix 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol with 1 quart of water in a spray bottle and apply. Again, you'll want to be careful where you spray as it will also kill any plant it comes in contact with.

Ironically, adding a splash of vodka to a vase of fresh flowers will actually make them last longer. The alcohol kills bacteria in the water and on the stems, keeping the blooms healthier for longer, as long as you keep them out of the sun and in a cool place.