Does Bleach Kill Weeds? Use in Rocks, Driveways & Gravel

Weeds are the most annoying intruders for the majority of homeowners. They tend to grow in areas where they are not wanted and can be challenging to kill. It is for this reason that homeowners opt for many ways of getting a permanent solution. While most chemicals can be expensive, hard to find in the market, and sometimes not practical, home remedies such as bleach have proven to work successfully. Who knew that ordinary household bleach could kill weeds? Quite strange but very effective and quite economical.

Since bleach is not just for washing anymore, find out how effective it is in killing weeds.

Does Bleach Kill Weeds Permanently?

Many people have spent a fortune trying to get weed-killing solutions that work. That’s why most turn to cheap, readily available household remedies such as bleach. But is bleach safe, and does it kill weeds permanently?

Bleach is potent and hazardous hence destroys anything it touches permanently. Therefore, bleach is an inexpensive solution compared to herbicides. However, don’t do the happy dance just yet because bleach has permanent and adverse effects on the soil. Once it penetrates the ground, no other plant can grow there because it drops the soil’s pH. When it penetrates the ground, the acidity gets to the roots and eats the plant away from the sources.

As useful as it is, be wary not to use bleach to kill weeds on areas where you would want other plants to grow.

How to Kill Weeds Using Bleach

Things you will need:

  • Chlorine bleach
  • Sprayer suitable for holding bleach
  • Protective gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Funnel
  • Long-handle spoon
  • First and foremost, bleach is harsh on the skin and eyes; therefore, wear protective gloves and safety goggles to protect your hands and eyes. Get your undiluted chlorine bleach ready.
  • Use a funnel to guide the bleach into a spray bottle. You can add water to mix with the bleach. It is recommended to use half part water and half part bleach plus liquid soap.
  • Stir the mixture with a long-handle spoon. The funnel helps you not to have spills of the bleach on the surrounding area.
  • Cover any remaining bleach and make sure you use the bleach within 24hrs since it’s bound to lose its forte after a day.
  • Spray the bleach directly and generously on the weeds you want to kill.
  • Wait for about three days when the weeds turn brown ad pull them out.
  • If you have any plans of planting anything on the same spot, flash it down with a lot of water to dilute the acidity in the soil. Repeat flashing for several months before planting. Also, add some manure and fertilizer to neutralize the acidity. Be sure to test if the pH has stabilized.


  • Use the gloves and goggles at all times.
  • Make sure it isn’t windy on the day you plan to take action. The spray particles might be blown into your eyes, nose, and ears.
  • Always do a pre-test before spraying the whole garden.
  • Make sure there are no children, elders, or animals near as you spray.
  • Avoid using excess. Wait a few days to check the results.
  • Do not mix with other chemicals without investigating how they may react.
  • Bleach is very corrosive.

How Long Does It Take For Bleach To Kill Weeds?

Chlorine bleach affects plants and weeds’ growth in two ways: First, the sodium content overworks the plant’s system with salts. While chlorine is a necessary part of the soil,  too much can cause a condition called chlorine toxicity. Also, concentrated chlorine bleach has a pH of 11, which means it increases the soil’s pH crucially.

High pH levels inhibit the intake of nutrients such as calcium, iron, and magnesium essential for proper plant growth. With salt-jammed passages and the insufficient right nutrition, plant leaves turn brown and look burnt, and the plants may fall all their foliage. Once the bleach has penetrated, the soil is no longer suitable for planting for that season.

This is the process bleach takes to kill weeds, and sometimes depending on how hardy the grass is, it may take more than a single round of spraying bleach. But usually, bleach takes a couple of days, two at most to kill the weeds.

Best Places to Use Bleach to Kill Weeds

A neat driveway, rocks, or gravel in your home is a lovely sight to behold. Regrettably, lack of proper care and maintenance may cause them to get infested by weeds. Other weeds have seeds carried by wind and may land in between cracks. Since it’s not advisable to use bleach on lawns, it works best for block paving, driveways, and concrete areas. The roots of weeds in between cracks cannot be removed hence allowing the weed to regrow. This is why bleach comes in handy because it will burn the whole weed plant leaving no room for regrowth.

Warning: bleach may discolor your driveways or any hard surface if used to kill weeds growing in the cracks.

Tips To Prevent Weeds in Driveways, Gravel or Rocks

  • Seal the cracks.
  • Pull the weeds before they seed or use bleach to burn and kill them.
  • Fix landscaping fabric or a geotextile mesh before setting up hardscapes. This mesh will inhibit weed growth.
  • Salt the earth. Salt is an inexpensive way of sterilizing the ground so that nothing will grow on it. However, be careful not to pour salt on neighboring useful plants.
  • Keep your gardening tools clean. Always wash your gardening tools after use. Weed seeds can easily be transported even if you are carrying the shovel to its storing place. You could unknowingly be depositing the seeds on the way.

What Type of Weeds Does Bleach Control?

Bleach is a non-selective type of herbicide. This means that it will kill anything that comes in its way, weeds, grass, or even your desirable plants. While at it, bleach makes the soil incompetent of growing any plants or weeds until it goes back to its average pH level. Therefore, even though it may not be the most suitable and environmentally friendly option, bleach does kill all types of weeds.

Bleach is a lethal weed killer that is readily available in our homes. However, since it is also harmful to other plants, its best used in places covered with concrete or areas where you don’t plan to grow other plants. If you’re not sure how to use it, it’s better to get a professional to ensure you don’t accidentally harm other plants or damage your driveway.