Orange Oil Cleaner As Weed Killer   4 comments

One of the things that happens when you accidentally buy a case of 32-oz bottles of orange oil cleaner, is that you have A LOT of orange oil cleaner to get rid of. Even shipping a few bottles to interested friends and family hardly seems to make a dent in the volume. We typically use probably 1-oz in a year since most of our cleaning is done with just castile soap, vinegar, or baking soda (none of which are sensitizers like d-limonene, a sensitizer makes your body more susceptible to allergens and toxic chemicals). So a few weeks ago I read somewhere about using vinegar or orange oil cleaner to kill the weeds growing in the cracks and spacers in concrete, and I immediately thought it would be a great way to make some progress on our stash of orange oil cleaner!

Do you know what? It works.  It doesn’t actually take that much, but we have lots of concrete, lots of cracks/spacers, and therefore lots of weeds. Some of the weeds in the concrete are too large to pull out and repeated weed whacking just seems to make them tougher. But a dose of orange oil immediately shriveled them up and within days they were completely dead. It mostly worked on bermuda grass as well, although not all of the runners got killed. Since d-limonene is not a toxic chemical I don’t have a problem using it as an herbicide, and since it is extracted from orange peels I’m guessing that it is biodegradable so that there’s not a problem with harmful residues remaining on the concrete or contaminating storm water runoff.

Now there are two followup experiments: vinegar and time. Vinegar is cheaper, so if it works as well then it would be a better choice for anyone who didn’t accidentally buy a case of orange oil cleaner. And I’d also like to know how permanent of a solution it is. My guess is that any of it that soaks into the soil in the crack and stays will just help keep more weeds from growing for a while.

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Posted October 24, 2011 by mayakey in environment, gardening, resource use

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4 responses to “Orange Oil Cleaner As Weed Killer

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  1. I have used full strength vinegar as a weed killer and it does work. In some cases I had to apply it twice.

  2. Good to know!

  3. Thanks for posting this…I’ve been looking it up and am now excited to try a mixture to see if we can kill some of the weeds all over our yard. I hate having to use the pesticides in the stores and we’ve been looking for a good way to kill grass where we want to plant something else without having to dig it up.

    Jennifer McParland.
    • Let me know how it works. So far we’ve only tried it in the cracks in the concrete, and at full strength. I started experimenting today to see if a dilution works. I would think it would work where you wanted to plant other plants with little amendment or time since it shouldn’t be persistent like some herbicides.

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