Kill Weeds
How to Clean Up Your grASS Crack.

If you’re one of these “I love everything that grows” types you probably think a field of dandelions is beautiful.  You’re some kindda hippie, aren’t you?

When I see a field of dandelions (of which there are plenty now that no one’s allowed to use weed killer) I think.  Wow.  All those weeds are gonna end up right in my crack.

They might be nice to look at and even eat, but when a dandelion gets in your crack it’s pretty hard to get rid of without some sort of dangerous, deadly, dastardly poison.  You know.  The kind of stuff that makes birds start to grow beaks out of their bellybuttons.

I didn’t use a ton of poison around my house even before the ban on selective pesticides but now that I have chickens and vegetables and judgemental neighbours to worry about I obviously don’t use any at all.  Even the illegal stuff I have hidden in my potting shed behind the “All Natural Weed Killer – made from the breast milk of Mother Nature“.  The All Natural Weed Killer that not only wouldn’t kill a weed, but might even bring it back to life complete with dancing bugs and a miniature rainbow.

But I still had Grass Crack.  Grass and weeds growing up through cracks in my sidewalk.  You can’t pull those suckers out, you just can’t.  You have to kill them.  But how?  I tried a shotgun.  That was useless.

So, the hunt was on to find a way to kill weeds that wouldn’t anger Mother Nature.

And I found it.

Because I am brilliant.

And I know how to use Google.

I’d heard of this technique before, but wasn’t convinced it would work because it seemed too easy.  Too simple.

So I gave it a shot and it worked.  Immediately.  Shockingly.  Completely.

How to kill weeds in between sidewalk or paver cracks?

Boiling Water.

Yup.  Just pour boiling water on them.  I know.  I didn’t think it would work either.  But it did.  For now anyway.  I have no idea if they’ll grow back but even if they do, I suspect a few more treatments and they’ll be gone forever.


Weed before boiling water.

Weed 1


Pouring on Boiling Water.

Weed 2


1 hour later.

Weed 3


1 day later.

Weed 4


2 days later.

Weed 5


One half of the longgggggggg area I had to treat with boiling water.

The entire brick wall had hundreds of weeds sprouting out of where it met the sidewalk.

Weed 6


After 1 treatment 90% of the weeds were dead.  At least on the outside.  But like I say, I think with a couple of more treatments they’ll be gone for good.  Dead to me.  The larger weeds took 2 treatments of boiling water each to kill them.

Obviously you don’t want to use this particular method if you have weeds in your grass.  It’ll kill the grass too.

In that case, just drag out the All Natural Weed Killer, give it a spray, wait for the bugs and rainbows and charge admission.

With the money you raise you can go find yourself some of that illegal stuff that’ll kill the weed dead.





  1. Ruth says:

    We use gas stoves, for the most part, and since gas prices (and the cost of the alternative… electricity)are at an all time high, I will not be attempting this. There are, however, some ‘economically viable’ solutions sprinkled in among the rather entertaining comments. :D

    Don’t you just love being the catalyst for quality entertainment? The ‘powers that be’ should raise your salary….

  2. Deb Too says:

    My neighbor, a landscaper, told me about boiling water, said it works great. I’ve yet to try it; I’m still out there scraping, digging, swearing at the weeds between the pavers. Pesticides illegal? Who knew? Of course, I live in Oregon, so wouldn’t think of using the stuff…I’d be escorted to the border, I’m sure. (I think people do use it, but only after dark on a moonless night). Regarding the vinegar, neighbor also said to boil it like you would the water (mixed wih water?), but the thought of asphixiating myself trying to get to the stove definitely put me off.

  3. Annie Kip says:

    What an awesome easy idea – thanks!!!!

  4. trisha says:

    i guess i fall in the dirty hippie category, hell i’m even wearing deodorant that i made myself.. so our gardens are definitely 100% organic. but the douchebag that lives next door – thats another story. oh how i wish i could take a picture of what the idiot’s yard currently looks like.

    i woke up saturday morning to see that his newest adventure in chemicals was spraying his entire edge on both sides of the sidewalk and the walk going up to his house – the curb – around a telephone pole – around a tree stump – yes ALL yellow and dead. the point? maybe he wanted a striped yard? i don’t know. but hes an idiot. my mister said, “it’s called an EDGER, dumbass”

    people just aren’t as smart as us karen, plain and simple.

  5. Monique says:

    Karen, thanks for this great tip. We’ve tried the vinegar and baking soda solution but the weeds tend to return. Can’t wait to try boiling water on them. I’m guessing that pouring hot water on the weeds after the weeds have been baking out in the hot sun for a day or two, will encourage their demise.

  6. deb says:

    Too weird… I just tidied up my crack this morning! Really! Mix half a gallon distilled vinegar, juice of 1 lemon and 1 Tablespoon dishwashing liquid. Spray away! You’ll see results in just a few mins.

  7. Evalyn says:

    Please be careful with salt. It does kill weeds, but it also makes it so nothing else will grow there either. Remember when the Greeks salted the ground on the ruins of Troy so nothing would grow there again? Yeah. (If I’ve got the Greeks and the Trojans mixed up with someone else, remember I’m a computer major.)

    Frankly, it’s a waste of dandelions. Who else greets you with a bright sunny yellow face first thing in spring, offering leaves as greens, roots as coffee substitute and the possibility of wine from blossoms then floats away on the breeze like fairies? Try getting that from Kentucky
    Blue or Burmuda grass. Dandelions aren’t really weeds, they are just plants growing in the wrong place.

  8. Karla says:

    Thanks for the tip. I am putting the kettle on right now.

  9. Krikit says:

    What kinda water would a woman wield if a woman would wield water? Would wielding water waste her weeds wherever and whenever they were? Would a woman wield water to waste her weeds when weeding wasn’t working?

    OK. I’ve officially crossed over to the dark side. ~;0)

  10. Susan says:

    You cooked them!

  11. Kristen S says:

    Hey Karen, you got any mother nature tips to keep bugs out of your vegetable garden? Those douchey little aphids are eating my peppers. Been squirting them with water and dish soap, but I just cant seem to get rid of them.

    • Karen says:

      Kristen – I hate aphids. I hate them I hate them I hate them. I usually suck it up and go out and squish them with my fingers. Which is disturbingly gross. I’ve used the “Green Earth” brand of insecticidal soap to great success with white flies and to some success with aphids. Stupid aphids. I hate them. ~ karen

      • Beckie says:

        plant marigolds! the old-fashioned, heavily scented type

        those marigolds keep a lot of nibbly buggies at bay

      • Kristen S says:

        Damn…squishing eh? I don’t know why but those damn little things freak me right out. Especially the pink ones. I was hoping you’d have a magic aphid murdering tea, or some form of aphid voodoo doll. My skin crawls just thinking about those little bastards.

    • Jan says:

      How about unleashing a container or 2 of ladybugs? Apparentloy they LIVE to devour aphids.

  12. Katrina says:

    *BOOOOOM!!* <— my mind being blown

  13. Good job Karen I knew that but I have a husband who dresses up in a villian suit at night and then goes around spraying everything with poison laughing hideously like the joker. So this will fall on deaf ears.
    PS your blog is the best.

  14. Maureen says:

    Also, FYI…I tried to post a link to this post on my FB page and couldn’t. Got a message that this post has been blocked for “spammy content.” I reported it to FB to say that you are legit. I wonder if others are also having this problem.

  15. Brandi says:

    Figures that this is your post today when I pulled weeds for 2 hours yesterday! Thanks for the tip though, definitely going to try this on my crack!

  16. Maureen says:

    Karen, you are just super-duper. Thank you for everything. And just tell those judgemental neighbors to f-off.

  17. Patti says:

    Great post, Karen! My neighbour kept telling me that boiling water is the best way to kill weeds, and, though I`m sure this was a hint from her (my patio is all stone and the weeds have made themselves a lovely home there), and though her patio is completely free of weeds, I kinda needed to see it to believe it – and now I have! So I guess I know what I`ll be up to tonight!

    Thanks for your informative posts!

  18. kate says:

    wow! thanks for the boiling water tip! I’ll try it today…weee

  19. Sherri says:

    I’ve got enough weeds on my acre to try all of these methods and see which one works the best. Thanks for the tips, Karen and fellow fans!

  20. Shannon V. says:

    Karen….any tips on getting rid of creeping charlie that has started to take over the lawn…aside from ripping everything up and starting over.


  21. Deb J. says:

    I tried the boiling water thing with very temporary results. Maybe I wasn’t persistent enough. And I found it hard to have enough boiling water – had to take the kettle outside and keep plugging it in. Still have ‘crack grass’. Tried the vinegar too. Same temporary result but not the boiling bit. I suspect I might be killing the weeds but new ones are blowing in. Bleh! Next thing to try is to treat the weeds and then apply a new layer of the sand you put in the cracks. Maybe this will prevent some reseeding. However I have one dandelion at the base of a wall like Karen shows that I suspect has a root to China! I cut it out, poison it, boil it, vinegar it and it keeps coming back bigger. Maybe we should all admire dandelions – they are pretty amazing:)

  22. Barbie says:

    I’m going to try this Karen at least in my cracks on the sidewalk. Great idea! My Hubs will love this!

  23. Jillian says:

    A little bit of bleach mixed in after the water is boiled kills weeds and ants.

  24. Lorna says:

    This also works well on ant nests. We had a TON of ants last year making ant cracks (hmmm, doesn’t sound as interesting as grass crack for some reason), and didn’t want to use poison on them so I boiled them with a kettle or two of water. I had to do it a couple of times last summer since the survivors out hunting in the boonies came back and started new nests but it kept them down to a dull roar.

  25. Ann says:

    I have long used boiling water and love that it works so well and so fast. I am now adding some salt when I am working in an area that I don’t want the weeds to ever come back. But you have to be careful using salt. It will act as a long term herbicide but it can leach out into areas you don’t want to have it in. I use it down the middle of my gravel driveway but not at the edges and it seems to keep the worst of the weeds down.

    Vinegar has been a dismal failure for me as a weed killer. Even the horticultural strength. Not worth the effort of spraying it.

    Occasionally, and I do mean very seldom, I do use a glycosate product. Never, ever, ever do I use Roundup. Monsanto is the Devil’s company in my mind and I will not use anything they make. But there are just some rare times and places I need to get quickly cleared of vegetation and it does do the job. I just spent a lot of money to buy an even more organic type weed killer on line and it was a dismal fail. I was hoping for a better alternative to glycosate but so far it is not to be.

  26. Deborah says:

    And if you have a problem with pesky ants, the boiling water trick works on them too! Although they don’t turn red like lobsters though :P I have been using the Vinegar/Salt/Dishsoap “Herbicide” for the past few years, stuff works like magic – especially on MOSS. That darn stuff would not die no matter what you sprayed on it, I almost resorted to gasoline in my quest to rid my patio of moss. Then I discovered the all-natural herbicide of just 3 ingredients, and it really isn’t THAT much mixing! Try it – you’ll be amazed. Remember to thoroughly mix the salt and vinegar together before adding the dishsoap, otherwise, you end up with a spray bottle full of bubbles!

  27. cred says:

    I tried planting irish moss between our paving stones but the weeds sprouted up before the moss could grow dense and out compete the weeds.
    I gave up and tried digging up a portion and replaced it with gravel. Before I was finished with the whole area, weeds started growing up in the gravel. So, I’d abandoned ship and left the walk half finished.
    But now I have hope, I am going to try this on the gravel- thanks for the idea.

  28. Seriously ? I have been staring and hating my weeds for all these years for nothing?!
    Gotta run…I’m off to make a cup of tea and boil the heck outta some bad a$$ weeds.
    You d’best, you d’best, you d’best… Pretend I sung that in a beautiful rainbow voice.
    Goodbye evil weeds.

  29. Selva says:

    This seems cruel … I think it’s better to kill them suddenly pulling them to avoid the suffering of dying slowly :-/

  30. Lisa says:

    Hi Karen-
    I have a cool thing I call my miniature flame thrower. It’s in the shape of a candy cane and powered by a small propane tank. I turn on the gas and light it up by clicking a button – kinda like lighting a gas grill. In no time weeds are burned and their roots are destroyed with a couple passes of the flame. It’s fast and easy. Just dont wear flip flops while doing this in case you need to stomp anything out. Works like a charm.

  31. Petra says:

    Hm, we always just pulled them out.

  32. Linda says:

    This sounds like a much better method than the one my brother tried when he was living on an airforce base. He poured lighter fluid on them and set them on fire! The MP’s came – he was almost charged with arson but somehow talked himself out of it. Good thing, they probably would have given him a dishonorable discharge. For killing weeds! Boiling water is MUCH better!

  33. marilyn says:

    they’ll be back

  34. Beckie says:

    I read about this method but thought it was purely hokum.

    thanks for the visual!

    added bonus: looking a bit…erm..*odd* with the tea kettle in the front yard =) (my neighbor leaves much to be desired…maybe this’ll make him finally stop trying to talk to me!)

    ~off to boil 50 gallons of water~

  35. Janet says:

    I did this last summer on my pave uni patio, but I added a bit of salt, worked

  36. But, I was having sooo much fun pulling them out! NOT! I’ll try this…thanks Karen.

  37. Susan says:

    Salt also works!!

  38. Diane says:

    All this talk about cracks is not good for my dirty mind! Think boiling water will fix THAT problem? lol :P

  39. Suzan says:

    I buy a round container of salt with the pour spout. Pour directly on the weeds followed by a little spritz of water to keep it in place. Kills them every time. No mixing, nothing fancy but it works!

  40. Court says:

    Would this work with the massive amount of weeds trying to take over my flower beds, or am I taking a large chance of killing my good plants?

    • Karen says:

      Court – If the weeds are in your flower beds you should be able to just pull them out. The boiling water is for weeds you can’t pull out, like those that are growing in between cracks. ~ karen!

  41. Gayla T says:

    Just when I thought we were BFF you go and turn on me! First off it’s the snide remarks about hippies. It would not be as offensive if you could just please call us Flower Children it would help a little bit. And when I see a field of dandelions I see a field of salad greens, spring tonics, bee food and gun muzzle decorations. As if the hippie remarks were not cutting enough you have to rub my nose in those beautiful brick cracks. Just as I was beginning to recover from the demise of my brick sidewalks, you have tramatized me all over again. And for what? A blog blatantly showing the waste of good food by cooking it in cracks and then putting the vinegar dressing on while still attached to the ground. What kind of cooking show has this turned into? I think you have fallen down the stairs one time too many. I think you really need some rest or something. This whole blog has gone to hell in a handbasket and I’m not sure you even realize that you are no longer the blogger here. Someone by the name of Liz and her side kick Kay are taking over. I just have a couple of questions for them. I’m sure you don’t mind. Just pretend you are already in the rest home while they carry on for you. Ladies, I just discovered that the 5 ft tall plant growing in my fence line is poison ivy. How would you suggest getting that much hot water on it and how much vinegar will it take to make a salad out of it? If someone can get the snail mail addy for the place they have put Karen in, I’ll be happy to over night some of the salad to her as I’m sure it will have amazing curative power. Just as a reminder that we have not forgotten her, you know? Maybe one of you closer to her there in Canada could drop by and get the chicken to go with it. She’s been kind enough to feed them all this time they can now feed her. Her! You remember, old what’s her name??? The one who just posted a tutorial on making salads and couldn’t remember for sure if she had just written it. She thought it was about weed killer or some silly thing.

  42. JBess says:

    Genius! I’ll try it!

    It’s a good way to remove ant colonies too. We generally leave the ants alone unless they start attacking the house- once they are on my kitchen counters all desire to live harmoniously with the ants disappears and I find myself walking out to their nest with a pot of boiling water.

  43. SK Farm Girl says:

    I have two more great methods for grASS Crack. 1. Use a blow torch to “burn” the weed to death (that is if you have a blow torch). 2. Lee Valley has a wonderful little tool called a “Crack Weeder” and it’s only $5.70! Both work great, but I like the idea of “boiling” the weeds to death and it appears to be a slow painfull death – Mwah, hah, hah!! Die weeds, die! Sorry, must be PMSing and on the dark side of the moon!

  44. Lindsay says:

    I have kind of have the opposite problem in my cracks. The violets I grew last year volunteered their seeds right in between all of my pavers. It kind of looks weird but I can’t bring myself to murder pretty little flowers. I’m torn, but at least now I know how kill them if I decide to! Thanks Karen!

    • Shirley says:

      Hi, Linds! I had the same thing happen this year, only with pansies. Serendipity! My walkway pavers look so charming that I’m thinking of by-passing the intermediate step (the planters) next year and just throwing the seeds out the front door. One caveat: if you’re going to try this at home, be sure to cut the package open first.

    • nancy says:

      If they are real violets, and not violas or pansies, kill them NOW! Spray each little leaf with Roundup or other expensive killer or you will be very sorry, they can be VERY invasive.

  45. Liz S. says:

    Kitt- Thanks for tip. I need to kill weeds and grass along my fence and side if house so I don’t have to drag the trimmer out everytime I mow. Looked at the super killer stuff in stores but it’s a good $15 to $25 and contains God knows what. Really don’t want to spray that in the same yard my 2 year old plays in.

    • Karen says:

      Liz S. – Kay. Um. I gave a weed killing tip too. Ya know? The one with the boiling water. Where you pour boiling water on a weed. I wrote a post about it at some point. Recently as far as I remember. ~ karen

      • sara says:

        Maybe you should post the link?

      • Liz S. says:

        But it’s difficult to run around a big fenced in back yard (inside and outside of fence plus perimeter of yard and sidewalks) with a tea pot of boiling water and 2 year old in tow. The boiling water will be great for weeds trying to poke up through my mom’s wood deck but can’t be easily reached.

        • Leona says:

          Just have the 2 year old carry the pot and you can kick back with a glass of wine, right?

          (I’m obviously not a mom but I just can’t resist reaching out to help others.)


  46. Bonnie says:

    I recently tried boiling water with household vinegar…it instantly cooked the greens, but they’ll need a couple more treatments to kill the roots. I also tried boiling pasta water…so far so good :)

  47. Kitt says:

    I have been using a mixture of household vinegar (1 gallon), salt (1 cup) and dishwashing liquid (1 squirt) in a garden sprayer to kill the grass and weeds between my patio flagstones and it’s quite effective.

    • Karen says:

      Too much mixing for me. I hate mixing ingredients up unless it’s going to result in food. But thanks for letting us know. I’m sure there are others reading the comments that don’t have such a mixing aversion, LOL. ~ karen!

      • Shannon V. says:

        Karen…this is the recipe that I use as well (along with the boiling water method) but when I mix it, I put it into a gallon size garden sprayer (or bigger if I have it). That way it is less mixing and easier on you hands then a trigger sprayer. I either use household or pickling vinegar.

      • Gail says:

        Karen –

        LOL! I’m with you. Even if it results in food …. if there are too many ingredients listed …. not happening! Run into an ingredient going down the list I don’t like …. not happening!

        Even though my husband helped me pull the weeds against the brick, I’m going to try the boiling water now. Happy weeding to you!

  48. Katie says:

    Awesome! There is another method that works well and definitely kills the crack weeds – mixture of water and household vinegar!

    • Karen says:

      Katie – Have you tried this and had it work? I know that horticultural vinegar (which is much stronger) works, but always heard that regular household vinegar isn’t strong enough. ~ karen

      • Katie says:

        Yes, Karen, I have tried it. It does work! I used household vinegar with 5% acid. I don’t know if you know this, but those vinegar is a mild form of muratic acid! I also use them to lighten up my bathroom floor grouts (they are 50 year old grouts).

        • Sherry (BTLover2) says:

          And we recently used white vinegar straight from the bottle on our cracks. I was skeptical too but it actually worked. The only thing I will say is that we did not have dandelions. We had some type of weed that looked like grass (wimpy grass). I’m not sure how well it would word on the tough guys. Your boiling water method sounds even better (more time consuming but cheaper) ;)

      • Sue says:

        Straight household vinegar works for me, too. It works *best* on really hot sunny days, though. Not sure if it’s the sun effect on the vinegar soaked plant, or if the heat causes the roots to suck up moisture faster, or maybe a bit of both.

    • bob jinglhimer Shmitt says:

      Pure 5% acid white vinegar will do the same thing as Round up. It kills everything. Becareful. Use in between pavers and cracks in cement and driveways.. Don’t use in garden as if it gets on any leaf it kills it. Yes Even Poison Ivy. It is water soluble so use it on hot sunny days to work mot effective. It won’t leech int soil like Round up says it wont.. But Vinegar is 2 dollars a gallon. Round Up is 25-30 dollars a gallon. Plus Round up is made by Monsanto..The same CORP that told the Vietnam Vets it was perfectly safe to use AGENT ORANGE… Use vinegar.

  49. Claudine says:

    Good job. Mother Nature still loves you…

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