Does Steaming Your Weeds Actually Work?

Removing all the weeds in your yard is a big task, and though herbicides are often effective, the chemicals in them can be harmful to humans and animals. If you're looking for a more natural way to kill weeds, steam could be the solution to your problem. Steam is a type of thermal weed control, which kills the plants by exposing them to high temperatures. Thermal weed control includes hot dry methods, such as fire, and hot wet methods, which include steam as well as hot water with foam, and steam with boiling water. Hot wet weed control can be effective because the water makes it easier for the plant to absorb the heat.

Steaming can be an effective form of control, especially if you're trying to get rid of pesky weeds growing in the cracks of your sidewalk or other areas that are difficult to access. Though it does work, it can sometimes be expensive or require multiple treatments to ensure the weeds won't grow back.

How steam kills weeds

When steam is applied to a weed, the high temperature leads to the water inside of the plant's cells expanding. This will cause the weed's membranes to burst and will kill the plant. Unfortunately, steam will generally only affect the parts of the plant that are above ground, as it is hard for the vapor to make its way beneath the dirt. Because of this, some weeds will have strong enough roots to eventually grow back, though it may take time. Within three days of the steam treatment, weeds should begin to turn brown and die. For steam to be the most effective, it needs to reach temperatures above 200 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Though steam is a natural weed control method that is not toxic, it may not be the best method for everyone. If you decide to DIY the project, you may have to purchase a special steaming machine that is designed for killing weeds. 

Benefits of steaming weeds

Unlike traditional chemical herbicides, steam treatments are not affected by the weather. While chemicals from herbicides can spread on windy days or be less effective due to rain, steam treatments are consistent no matter what's going on in the environment. Because the treatments only use water and contain no chemicals, you won't have to worry about your family, pets, or nearby animals being harmed by toxins. This will also help to cut down on pollution.

Steam treatment can also be applied to any surface where weeds are growing, such as in between bricks, making it easier to eliminate weeds in less accessible places. While some weeds may grow back if their roots remain healthy, many weeds will die and decompose without having to be removed. If you are sick of weeds but reluctant to spray chemicals over your lawn, steaming can be a great option for getting rid of those pesky plants.