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Does Swimming Pool Salt Kill Weeds


Weeds can be a persistent problem in gardens and around pool areas. Many homeowners are on the lookout for effective, affordable, and accessible solutions. One such solution that often comes up is using swimming pool salt. But does swimming pool salt kill weeds? This article delves into the effectiveness of swimming pool salt as a weed killer, how to use it, and the potential risks involved.

How Does Salt Kill Weeds?

Salt, particularly sodium chloride, is a natural desiccant. It works by drawing moisture out of plant cells, leading to dehydration and eventually plant death. When applied to weeds, salt disrupts their water balance, causing them to wither and die. This method has been used for centuries due to its simplicity and effectiveness.

Types of Salt for Weed Control

While table salt (sodium chloride) is commonly used, other types of salt can also be effective. Rock salt and Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) are alternatives. Rock salt is often preferred for its cost-effectiveness and availability in larger quantities. Epsom salts, on the other hand, provide additional nutrients like magnesium and sulfur, which can be beneficial in certain garden scenarios.

How to Use Swimming Pool Salt to Kill Weeds

Spot Treatment

For spot treatments, dissolve one cup of salt in one gallon of water. This creates a saturated solution that can be applied directly to the weed's foliage and base. Using a spray bottle or a watering can with a narrow spout helps target the weeds directly, minimizing the impact on surrounding vegetation.

Dry Application

Sprinkling dry salt directly onto the soil around the weeds is another method. This is particularly useful for areas like driveways or between pool decking where weeds are a persistent problem. However, this method can be less efficient and may require more salt to achieve the desired effect.

Effective Application Tips

  1. Choose a Dry, Sunny Day: Apply salt on a dry, sunny day to ensure it stays concentrated at the weed site and doesn't wash away.
  2. Avoid Rainy Days: Rain can dilute the salt and spread it to unintended areas, potentially harming other plants.
  3. Use a Funnel: For precise application, use a funnel to direct the salt solution to the base of the weeds.
  4. Monitor Soil Health: Be cautious of the long-term effects on soil health. Excessive salt can lead to soil degradation and prevent future plant growth.

Pros and Cons of Using Salt as a Weed Killer


  • Cost-Effective: Salt is inexpensive and readily available.
  • Easy to Use: Simple to prepare and apply.
  • Effective: Quickly kills weeds by dehydrating them.


  • Soil Damage: Excessive salt can sterilize soil, making it unsuitable for future plant growth.
  • Environmental Impact: Salt can leach into groundwater, harming beneficial microorganisms and nearby plants.
  • Non-Selective: Salt kills any plant it comes into contact with, not just weeds.

Real-Life Examples

Example 1: Joyce from Trouble Free Pool shared her experience with using salt to control weeds between her pool decking and deck. She found that while weed sprays were ineffective, salt provided a more lasting solution.

Example 2: A user on GardenWeb discussed using cooking salt and swimming pool salt for weed control. They found that dissolving the salt in water and spraying it on the weeds was more effective than sprinkling dry salt.


Q: Does swimming pool salt kill weeds? A: Yes, swimming pool salt can effectively kill weeds by dehydrating them and disrupting their water balance.

Q: How much salt should I use to kill weeds? A: For spot treatments, use one cup of salt per gallon of water. For larger areas, adjust the concentration to prevent excessive soil damage.

Q: Can I use any type of salt to kill weeds? A: While table salt is common, rock salt and Epsom salts are also effective. Rock salt is cost-effective, and Epsom salts provide additional soil nutrients.

Q: What are the risks of using salt as a weed killer? A: Salt can damage soil structure, harm beneficial microorganisms, and prevent future plant growth. It is non-selective and can harm any plant it contacts.

Q: How should I apply salt to weeds? A: Apply a saltwater solution directly to the weed's foliage and base using a spray bottle or watering can. For dry application, sprinkle salt around the weeds.


Using swimming pool salt to kill weeds is an effective and affordable method. However, it comes with potential risks to soil health and the environment. By following the guidelines and tips provided, you can use salt safely and effectively to manage weeds in your garden or around your pool area. Always weigh the pros and cons and consider alternative methods for a balanced approach to weed control.


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