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Using Vinegar to Kill Weeds: All You Need to Know

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Using Vinegar to Kill Weeds 101

Commonly used in cooking and for disinfecting surfaces, vinegar is also good for killing weeds. This is because it is an acidic liquid.

Vinegar is effective at keeping your garden weed-free due to the ​acetic acid it contains. It is also cheap and non-toxic.

The household type is just fine; however, the product that works better at weed control is one that has a higher acetic acid content.

Here’s how to use vinegar to kill weeds.

Horticultural Vs. Household Vinegar

Horticultural vinegar consists of 15-20% acetic acid. It is best to use it on mature weeds that are resistant to household vinegar.

Soil Mender is also an alternative. This herbicidal product is also stronger than household vinegar, 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. The heat of the boiling liquid will start killing the plant right away.

How often you apply depends on how resistant the weeds are to the vinegar. In the beginning, the concentrate 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.

To kill weeds with vinegar, it takes about 24 hours to see 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 or there’s a saturation of irrigation water. Excess water will dilute it and wash it out of the soil.

When to Use

For removing annuals like crabgrass, apply the solution 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 your garden vinegar 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 burn the leaves of any plant it touches. This includes your vegetables and flowers, so be mindful of the application.

Cost-Effectiveness 

This natural weed killer 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 household white vinegar alone isn’t working fast enough, you can add Epsom salt and liquid soap. Some people use dawn dish soap; however, we recommend using organic liquid soap.

  • Epsom salt helps the acid dry out the weeds.
  • Castile soap is perfect for removing grease and oils. As a result, the soap cuts through the protective oils of weeds, allowing the vinegar to dry them out.

For this Epsom salt and vinegar weed killer recipe, combine 2 cups of Epsom salt along with 1/2 cup of organic liquid soap in one gallon of household vinegar. Let the solution dissolve completely before adding it to a spraying container.

Precautions

Due to its acidic nature, treat agricultural vinegar as a homemade 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 this weed control method, especially the horticultural grade, wear gloves. This is especially necessary when mixing it with either Epsom salt or castile soap to make your own weed killer.

Additionally, it is best if you wear eye goggles, as using a sprayer or paintbrush can result in backsplashes to the face.

Takeaway

Vinegar is a very useful home remedy to kill weeds. Some even say it’s one of the best natural weed killers. Whatever the case, it adds yet another tool to the gardener’s arsenal.

Sasha Brown

Blogger and lover of all things natural.

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