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Using Vinegar to Kill Weeds: All You Need to Know

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Using Vinegar to Kill Weeds: The Ultimate Guide

Used for almost everything under the sun, vinegar is also good for killing weeds. This is because it contains acetic acid as its active component.

Vinegar is more effective at getting rid of small annual weeds in their early stages. It is also cheap and non-toxic.

The product that should be used for this purpose is regular white or horticultural vinegar.

Here’s how to use vinegar to kill weeds.

Horticultural Grade Vs. Regular White

The horticultural grade is 20 percent concentrated vinegar and should be used on mature weeds that are resistant to white vinegar (5 to 7 percent).

Soil Mender is also an alternative. It is a little stronger than regular white, plus it contains other natural ingredients, which makes it highly effective as an organic contact weed killer.

Killing Weeds Naturally With Vinegar

To make your own homemade weed killer, all you need is one ingredient and a sprayer to apply the solution.

A pump sprayer with a long nozzle and hose is best for large areas, while you can either use a hand sprayer or paintbrush for small areas.

Paintbrushes are ideal for single weeds surrounded by good grass since you just paint it on. This will keep you from killing your grass by accident.

You can also use hot vinegar to spray and kill the weeds permanently. 

How often you apply depends on how resistant they are to the acidic liquid. In the beginning, the solution is applied and then, it’s checked 8 hours later. If there is a need for a second application, do so and check back 24 hours later.

It usually takes about 24 hours for good results. However, resistant weeds will need multiple applications over the course of a few days before their roots die.

Afterward, apply every two weeks as recommended by the experts.

How long does vinegar last in the soil? It only stays in until it either rains heavily, or there’s a saturation of irrigation water. These will dilute it and wash it out of the soil.

When to Use

For removing annuals like crabgrass, apply it before the weeds go to seed to prevent them from propagating.

Success is also easier achieved with shoots and young plants rather than an older, mature one.

For perennials, removing the flower heads is a must to prevent seeding. They must also have the solution applied directly to their roots for fast results.

For best results, apply the application when it’s sunny and hot.

Effectiveness as a Weed Killer

As mentioned above, it takes about a day to start seeing dead weeds.

If the vinegar weed killer is used properly, at the right time, in the right amount, and for the required amount of time, it’s incredibly effective at removing, and maintaining control.

Please note, it is non-selective — it will kill whatever plant life it touches. This includes your vegetables and flowers, so be mindful of the application.


This natural weedkiller is cheap because it costs less than most synthetic herbicides and it doesn’t take a lot to cover a large area.

Even with Epsom salt or liquid soap added, it’s still cheaper than commercial alternatives. The only thing cheaper is hand-pulling it yourself. Moreover, it’s even cheaper than paying someone to pull weeds for you.

By using the right amount at the right time, this product can be a very effective organic method of combating weeds in your vegetable garden. It also works great on the lawn, patios, pavers, walkways, and driveway.

Adding Epsom Salt and Soap to the Mix

If you feel undiluted white vinegar alone isn’t working fast enough, you can add Epsom salt and liquid soap. Some people use dawn dish soap; however, we recommended using organic liquid soap.

  • Epsom salt helps the acid dry out the weeds.
  • Castile soap is a surfactant that removes oil. It is this feature that allows it to cut through the protective oils of weeds, allowing the acid to dry them out.

For this DIY weedkiller recipe, add 2 cups of Epsom salt and 2 teaspoons of organic liquid soap to one gallon of vinegar. Let the solution dissolve before adding it to a spraying container.


Due to its acidic nature, treat vinegar as an herbicide.

Yes, it’s a natural herbicide, but it can still hurt, even injure, if not handled properly. It can hurt not just the plants you want to keep, but also people and animals in the following ways:

  • Eye irritation and burns
  • Skin irritation
  • Allergic reaction
  • Digestive tract reaction or damage
  • Respiratory irritation

To avoid any possible irritations using the vinegar weed control method, especially the horticultural grade, wear gloves.

This is especially necessary when mixing it with either Epsom salt and castile soap. Additionally, it is best if you wear eye goggles, as using a sprayer or paintbrush can result in backsplashes to the face.


Vinegar is very useful and one of the best natural weed killers. It adds yet another tool to the gardener’s arsenal.

Sasha Brown

Blogger and lover of all things natural.

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