Bleach vs Roundup [Which is Better for Weeds?]

Roundup is a far more effective weed killer than bleach. Roundup is a systemic herbicide that infiltrates a plant through the leaves and travels to the roots. This allows Roundup to kill a plant, including the roots. Bleach merely dries out parts of the plant that are sprayed with bleach. In most cases, weed roots won’t be killed by bleach. If you spray bleach on weeds instead of Roundup, you’ll have to fight the same weeds several times when they grow back.

Bleach vs Roundup

Does Bleach Work to Kill Weeds?

Bleach is a poor weed killer because it does not kill the entire plant. Bleach only affects parts of the plant the bleach is sprayed on. So, you may see leaves and stems wilt after spraying the plant with bleach, but the roots underground will be unharmed. This may be enough to kill very small weeds, but it won’t kill established weeds and invasive grasses.

  • Bleach is not good at killing well-established weeds and grasses.
  • Bleach dries out aboveground portions of weeds but won’t penetrate to kill the roots of weeds.
  • Stubborn weeds may appear dead after a bleach spray but they will grow back from the roots.

Even if you soak the soil with bleach, you are unlikely to kill weed roots. Deep-rooted weeds like dandelions will just grow back. This is because dandelions, horsetail, and many other weeds have roots that grow more than 12 inches (30 cm) deep. The bleach will be soaked up by the soil long before it penetrates deep enough to kill weed roots.

Does Bleach Harm Soil?

Bleach kills helpful microorganisms in the soil. This reduces the soil quality and prevents healthy plants and grasses from growing in the future. If you use enough bleach to soak the ground, you’re doing damage to the soil. Instead of using bleach, try using an organic weed killer spray made from citrus oil.

  • Bleach kills helpful soil microbes.
  • Soil damaged by bleach will have less available nutrients for desirable plants and grasses.
  • Instead of bleach, try this organic weed killer.

Although Roundup is considered dangerous for humans and wildlife by many, bleach is not a good substitute. The powerful antibacterial content in bleach harms the soil. So, keep the household bleach indoors.

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Is Bleach a Better Weed Killer Than Roundup?

Bleach is not a better weed killer than Roundup because it does not kill weeds to the root. Roundup does kill weeds to the root, which prevents weeds from growing back. Bleach is also poisonous to helpful soil microbes. So, it is not an effective or environmentally friendly substitute for weed killer.

  • Bleach is far less effective at killing weeds than Roundup.
  • Roundup kills weeds to the root, bleach does not.
  • Roundup and bleach are both not environmentally friendly, so bleach does not have the upper hand.

Roundup is far more effective at killing a broad range of broadleaf weeds and grasses than bleach. You’ll get more effective, longer-lasting results from Roundup than bleach. If your main concern with using Roundup is the effects of chemicals on your lawn, there are many safe alternatives to both Roundup and bleach.

Why is Roundup More Effective than Bleach?

Roundup is a systemic herbicide. This means that Glyphosate—the active ingredient in Roundup—enters plants through the leaves and travels through the plant’s vascular system. This allows it to reach the roots. Roundup then attacks every living part of the plant, including underground portions. This makes it a super-effective weed killer.

  • Roundup works by entering the plant and attacking the roots, stems, and leaves internally.
  • Bleach only dries out the leaves and stems of plants.
  • Plants and grasses treated with Roundup die entirely, including the roots.
  • A plant sprayed with bleach may appear brown, but it often grows new leaves and stems from the roots.

Bleach is not a systemic herbicide. It merely dries out portions of the plant it is sprayed on. This can cause the leaves to dry up and wilt. So, it will look like the bleach has killed the plant. However, in most cases, the plant roots are still alive. Homemade weed killers with bleach are just a temporary fix that won’t kill weeds permanently.

What Happens When You Mix Roundup and Bleach?

Never mix Roundup and bleach. Bleach is a powerful base that reacts with some acids and can produce chlorine gas. To stay on the safe side, never mix bleach with anything other than pure water. The fumes from a bleach reaction can be extremely harmful to your eyes, nose, and airways.

  • Never mix bleach with any substance other than water—bleach can produce dangerous fumes when mixed with some chemicals.
  • Adding bleach to Roundup will not increase the killing power—Roundup is already far better at killing weeds than bleach.

You will not increase the killing power of Roundup by adding bleach to it. Roundup is much more effective at killing weeds than bleach, so there’s no need to mix the two. No matter what types of weeds you’re tackling, a mixture of bleach and Roundup is not a good way to kill a pesky plant.

Can You Use Bleach Instead of Roundup to Kill Weeds?

You should never use bleach as an alternative to Roundup when trying to kill weeds. The reasons to avoid using bleach are:

  • Bleach only kills visible portions of the weed—it leaves plant roots alive to sprout new leaves and stems.
  • Bleach poured onto the ground will destroy helpful soil microbes.
  • Roundup is a systemic herbicide that kills all parts of the weed, including the roots.

If you are searching for an environmentally safe alternative to bleach, consider citrus-based organic weed killers. They are effective and much safer for the environment than spraying bleach outdoors.

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