How Long Does Bleach Stay In Soil?

The GardenSpring |

Weeds and grass tend to grow everywhere in the garden, including driveways and between walkways, if not well maintained. There are some herbicides available for weed control, but household herbicides such as bleach (Clorox) can also be effective.

Bleach is a non-selective herbicide, so it is safe for spot treatment of weeds. If you use a garden sprayer, choose it carefully and apply it only to unwanted plants.

So in this article, you’ll discover how long does bleach stay in soil. Let’s start.

Can bleach permanently kill weeds?

Bleach can permanently kill weeds and grass by lowering the pH of the soil so that plants cannot survive or grow where it is applied. Applying bleach to driveways, between pavers, stones, and gravel can permanently kill weeds by making the soil highly acidic.

How bleach is used to control weeds

Bleach contains concentrated chlorine. In small amounts, it is beneficial to plants, but in high concentrations, as in bleach, chlorine can burn and kill plants due to its highly acidic pH.

  • Fill a garden spray pump with an undiluted bleach solution.
  • Spray the bleach directly on weeds in the garden, between walkways, and on the driveway.
  • After 2 to 3 days, repeat the application on weeds and grass that have not been removed.
  • Remove dead weeds and keep the garden clean

Bleach has two effects on plant and weed growth. First, sodium overloads the plant system with salt. Chlorine is necessary for the soil, but too much chlorine can cause a disease known as chlorine poisoning. Also, concentrated chlorine bleach has a pH of 11, which critically raises the pH of the soil.

High pH inhibits the uptake of nutrients such as calcium, iron, and magnesium, which are important for plant growth.

When salt damage blocks conduction pathways and prevents proper nutrients from reaching plants, plant leaves turn brown and burn, and all leaves may fall off. Once the leach has penetrated the plant, it is not suitable for planting this season.

Tips for using bleach to control weeds

  • Always wear gloves and safety glasses.
  • Make sure it’s not windy on the day you plan to spray the bleach. Particles from the spray could get into your eyes, nose, and ears.
  • Always test before spraying the entire yard.
  • Make sure children, the elderly, and animals are not around before spraying.
  • Avoid using any other bleach on the garden soil. Wait a few days to check the results.
  • Do not mix with other chemicals.

If you want to plant something at this site, wash it down with plenty of water to dilute the acidity of the soil. Repeat the downwash for several months before planting. Also, add compost to neutralize the acidity. Use a soil pH meter to check if pH has stabilized.

Alternative bleach mixtures for weeds

The high chlorine content of bleach is very harmful to garden soil. When bleach is used to control weeds, some organisms beneficial to the garden soil cannot survive.

Here are some homemade weed killers that use bleach.

Bleach + Dawn Dishwashing Liquid

Mix 1 cup of Clorox with 1 cup of water. Add 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid and mix well. Pour the solution into a plastic garden sprayer. Spray the solution on weeds in gardens, driveways, paths, and gravel walkways and let it sit for 2 to 3 days to kill weeds and grass.

The dishwashing detergent acts as a surfactant and helps the vinegar stick to the leaves of the weeds. In this way, the bleach can kill stubborn weeds more effectively.

Bleach and vinegar solution

Vinegar in its undiluted form has excellent weed-killing properties. It can be used with bleach to make a stronger homemade weed killer. Do not dilute the two, especially for severe weed problems.

Applying household vinegar directly to weeds between pavers and driveways will kill them and prevent them from germinating. Spray on a light bleach to ensure the weeds are permanently killed.

Photo by Sasha Kim on pixels

Where can you use bleach as a household weed killer?

Weeds have seeds that are carried by the wind and can settle between cracks. It is not advisable to use bleach on lawns, but it is effective on walls, driveways, and concrete surfaces. Weed roots that have penetrated between cracks cannot be removed, so the weeds will regrow.

Driveways and sidewalks

Driveways and sidewalks are common places where weeds grow in gardens. Soil collects in cracks and crevices where weeds and unwanted grass germinate.

Since you don’t want weeds growing on your paths and driveways, pour an undiluted bleach solution over the weeds and let them sit for two or three days. Remove any dead weeds and keep the driveway clean. Small weeds that are difficult to grab and pull can also be removed with a scrub brush.

Gravel and stones

Gravel driveways can have weed problems, especially if the gravel does not form a thick layer over the soil. Gravel driveways overgrown with grass and other weeds are best repaired with a concentrated bleach or vinegar spray.

Spray undiluted bleach on the weeds in the driveway to effectively cover them; repeat the process after two or three days to make sure all the weeds have died before pulling them out to make the yard look nicer.

Between paving stones

Some weeds grow in the gaps between paving stones. Common bermudagrass, for example, is a very difficult weed to remove.

If broadleaf weeds grow between pavers, they can be removed by hand or with a brush cutter. Clorox can also be sprayed into the joints between pavers to kill weeds and grass and prevent plants from growing into the joints.

Photo by Sasha Kim on pixels

How long does it take for bleach to kill weeds?

Lye is a strong acid, so it takes 2-3 days to kill weeds. As a result, the weeds will turn brown, wither, and fall over. These are all signs that the weeds have been killed by the action of the Clorox bleach.

Depending on the resistance of the grass, it may take a little longer than three days to kill the weeds and grass. Therefore, more than one application of bleach may be necessary to kill them faster and permanently.

How long does bleach stay in soil?

Bleach contains chlorine, which makes it acidic. When applied to the soil, it begins to decompose into chlorine gas. The bleach can last up to two days as it is broken down and weakened by sunlight and rainwater.

However, large amounts of Clorox can remain in the soil longer and prevent plants from germinating in the area.

Tips for controlling weeds in driveways, gravel, and rocks

If you have a recurring weed problem, here are some tips to prevent it.

  • Seal cracks in gardens, pavers, and walkways.
  • Weeds should be pulled out or burned with bleach to kill them before seeding.
  • Secure landscape fabric or geotextile netting before installing hard surfaces. This netting will inhibit weed growth.
  • Salt the soil. Sprinkling salt is an inexpensive way to sterilize the soil and prevent plant growth. However, be careful not to let the salt get on neighboring crops.
  • Keep garden tools clean Always wash garden tools after use. Weed seeds can easily be scooped into supplies. You may unknowingly drop seeds.


A. (2021, February 11). How long does it take for bleach to kill a plant? Askinglot.

Worley, A. K. (2021, April 24). Does Bleach Kill Weeds and Grass? Here’s How to Use it. Gardenine.,How%20long%20does%20bleach%20stay%20in%20the%20soil%3F,and%20becomes%20weaker%20and%20weaker.

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