Will antifreeze kill grass?” is one of the common questions asked when someone plans to use antifreeze on the lawn.

Understanding the Impact Antifreeze and Grass

Well, the answer is yes, antifreeze kills grass! Antifreeze poisons grass and other plants upon exposure to soil for a long time.

Continue reading this complete and comprehensive guide to learn more about how antifreeze kills grass and how it affects other plant life.

Will Applying Antifreeze Kill Grass?

Yes, applying antifreeze will kill grass and other plant types like trees, shrubs, and vines. The propylene glycol and ethylene glycol content of antifreeze causes grass and other plants to die, and no matter how little antifreeze you spill on them, these plants could still be possibly killed or damaged.

If you are going to ask does antifreeze kill weeds and will antifreeze kill poison ivy, the answers to these questions would also be a yes.

– Antifreeze Effects 

If it is considered and advertised as non-toxic, will RV antifreeze kill grass? Most likely, the answer is yes! RV antifreeze is still a chemical, and the longer grass is exposed to it, the more likely the grass is to be damaged. In other words, RV antifreeze kill plants, even if it is non-toxic.

This is not true at all times, but it can still kill the grass because of its chemical content, the volume that has spread, and prolonged exposure. 

Dangers of Antifreeze Spillage on Lawns

The level of toxicity to plants varies among different RV Antifreeze types: ethanol, ethanol and ethylene glycol blend, ethanol and propylene glycol blend, and propylene glycol. Therefore, the toxicity that the antifreeze possesses depends on the type. It is important to differentiate and understand the distinctions if you wish to take care of your precious lawn and beloved plants.

– Diluted Antifreeze Can Kill Grass

You will still be able to kill grass with diluted antifreeze. Propylene glycol-based antifreeze can be diluted and still kill the grass, but it is still less harmful than ethylene glycol, which can kill or severely damage grass and other plant types when it touches them.

– Saving Grass From Antifreeze

There is a big possibility that you can save grass even after antifreeze has spilled on it. However, you have to set your expectations that spilling antifreeze on grass can cause light to severe damage for several weeks or months.

Antifreeze Damage to Your Grass

It’s a good thing that the damaged grass has the chance to recover, but unfortunately, new seeds can’t be saved, especially if the antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, which stays longer in the soil. As mentioned earlier, ethylene glycol is a very harmful and dangerous ingredient of antifreeze.

– Removing Antifreeze

Removing antifreeze that has spilled onto the grass does not require any technology. Just follow these simple steps. First, grab an absorbent like sand, baking soda, or the sand from your pet’s litter box, and then fully cover the area of the spill.

Next, cover the absorbent material with some paper towels, then allow it to sit for about 3 hours. Lastly, wipe the materials and paper towels using a new and dry paper towel. Make sure to properly throw these materials in the trash bin afterwards.

Whether it is intentional or not, if you spill any amount of antifreeze onto your grass or lawn, there will be an effect that will come up sooner or later. So, to prevent any damage, you should know how to properly dispose of antifreeze.

How Long Antifreeze Stays in the Ground?

If you are thinking about how long does antifreeze stay in the ground, it usually takes several weeks for the antifreeze to break down into the ground, and it takes about 10 days to break down in thin air.

The chemical content that antifreeze has can harm the grass and other plants; it’s dangerous, and it can delay plant growth or worse, kill the plants.

– Effects on Trees

Antifreeze won’t be able to kill tree immediately, particularly large and established trees; rather, it will affect the growth of younger trees and cause long-term damage to larger trees. The longer the trees are exposed to these chemicals, the higher the chances of stunted growth.

Will Antifreeze Harm Your Lawn

Given the fact that antifreeze won’t kill a tree immediately, will antifreeze kill trees later on upon exposure? No, it won’t. It would only cause damage to a tree, but antifreeze can’t completely kill trees. Despite the toxic and hazardous components of antifreeze, it still doesn’t have the capability to exterminate trees.

– Proper Disposal 

Before antifreeze disposal, check first if the antifreeze is used or unused. There is a difference between the disposal of used antifreeze and unused antifreeze. Antifreeze that has been diluted may contain metals that need to be disposed of in a separate manner.

The primary thing you will need to do is wear gloves to avoid having direct skin contact with antifreeze. Next, get a large draining pan, and place it under the draining plugs of the car to get the antifreeze. It is highly recommended that you make sure you are using a large draining pan to completely collect and pour antifreeze without any danger of spilling.

You should now get a safe, fully covered container to avoid any spills or leakage. Next, transfer the coolant safely. Antifreeze should be securely contained while you’re on your way to the disposing facility.

There are many places where you can dispose of your antifreeze. These places include recycling centers, service stations, and auto parts shops and services. Most of these places will dispose of the antifreeze for you, so these places are the safest locations to dispose of your antifreeze.

As mentioned earlier, the disposal of unused and used antifreeze differs. It is highly recommended to check your antifreeze beforehand and check with the disposing facility if they can dispose of the type of antifreeze you currently have.

If you’re thinking of disposing of your antifreeze by pouring it down the drain, stop that thought because this liquid product is toxic, and it can harm the people and animals that will eventually come into contact with it.

– Similar Chemicals and Their Effects on Grass

Like other liquid detergents containing boron, will fabric softener kill grass, too? Interestingly, it can both kill and nurture grass. The boron component, which is mostly found in laundry detergents and fabric softeners, is extremely toxic and hazardous to plants and grasses. So, you need to avoid applying Borax (Boron) on your grass since it will kill it.

If you want to water your plants or grass using laundry water, consider using a fabric softener that is usually added to dryers. Some detergents have a component that contains elements like phosphate, which can be a beneficial nutrient for plants.

On the other hand, using a weedkiller like Crossbow will not harm your grass.


Whether it’s toxic or nontoxic antifreeze, it can still damage and kill your grass. In this article, you learned everything you need to know about antifreeze poisoning grasses, lawns, and other plant types, and it would be easy for you to understand that you must be careful to avoid spilling antifreeze on your grass.

Let’s sum up all of the facts for you to easily remember:

  • Antifreeze kills not only grass but also other types of plants, including the allergenic plant, poison ivy. However, it is not considered to be a good killer of trees.
  • Antifreeze is composed of propylene glycol and ethylene glycol, which are known for killing and damaging grass and other plant types.
  • Propylene glycol is less harmful than ethylene glycol, but they can both cause damage to grass and other plant types.
  • RV antifreeze and fabric softeners can also kill grass and cause damage to grass and plants.
  • Take note that there is a proper way to dispose of antifreeze, as just throwing it away can cause harm.

Given all the information you learned in this article, it would be easy for you to keep your grass free from any danger that might be caused by antifreeze.

5/5 - (5 votes)
Evergreen Seeds