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Using Vinegar to Kill Weeds: All You Need to Know

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Using Vinegar to Kill Weeds: Basic Guide

Commonly used to cook and clean in the kitchen, vinegar can also be used for killing weeds. This is due to the acetic acid it contains.

Regular household vinegar (5% acetic acid) is just fine; however, one with a higher acetic acid content works better at weed control.

To use vinegar to kill weeds, there are a few things you need to know.

Type of Vinegar

Standard white vinegar typically consists of 4–7% acetic acid, while horticultural vinegar is 20% acetic acid [1]. It is best to use horticultural vinegar on mature weeds that are harder to kill.

Killing Weeds Naturally With Vinegar

Vinegar works great at keeping your garden weed-free, especially if applied on warm days. It is also cheap and non-toxic.

To make your own homemade weed killer, all you need is two ingredients 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 will also keep you from killing your grass by accident.

To kill weeds with vinegar, combine one ounce of liquid soap with one gallon of vinegar in a spray bottle.

Some people use dawn dish soap; however, we recommend using organic liquid soap. The soap helps to break down the cuticle of the plants, allowing the vinegar to work better.

Shake well and spray the solution on the weeds. However, how often you apply depends on how resistant the weeds are to the vinegar solution. It works best on those that have recently germinated.

Apply the solution and then check on the plants 8 hours later. If there is a need for a second application, do so and check back 24 hours later. Mature weeds may need multiple applications over the course of a few days before their roots die.

You can also use hot vinegar to spray and kill weeds permanently. The heat of the boiling liquid will start killing the plants right away.

When to Use

For removing annual weeds like crabgrass, apply the solution before they go to seed. Success is easier achieved with young plants rather than older, mature ones.

For perennials and more mature weeds, horticultural vinegar is best. You must also have the solution applied directly to their roots for fast results.

Additionally, for best results, apply your garden vinegar when it’s warm and sunny.

How Long Does it Take to Work?

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 more than once, it’s incredibly effective at removing and maintaining control.

However, please note that vinegar it is non-selective. It will burn the leaves of any plant it touches. This includes your vegetables, fruit trees, and flowers, so be careful when applying.

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.

Adding Epsom Salt 

If you feel household white vinegar and soap aren’t working fast enough, you can add Epsom salt. Epsom salt helps disrupt the growth cycle of the weeds.

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


This natural weed killer is cheap because it costs less than most synthetic herbicides. It also doesn’t take a lot to cover a large area.

Even with Epsom salt or liquid soap added, it’s still cheaper than most commercial herbicides. It’s even more affordable than paying someone to pull out weeds for you. The only thing cheaper is hand-pulling them yourself.

By using the right amount at the right time, vinegar can be a very effective organic method of combating weeds in your vegetable garden. You can also use it on weeds in cracks, between pavers, walkways, and on the driveway.


Due to its acidic nature, treat agricultural vinegar as a herbicide.

Yes, it’s a natural herbicide, but it can still hurt, even injure, if not handled properly. It can not only hurt the plants you want to keep but also people and animals. It may cause irritation of the eyes, skin, throat, and nose.

To avoid any possible injury using this weed control method, especially the horticultural grade, wear gloves and a mask. Additionally, it is best if you wear eye goggles, as using a sprayer or paintbrush can result in backsplashes to the face.


Vinegar is a very useful home remedy to kill weeds. Some even say it’s one of the best natural weed killers. Moreover, it is non-toxic and very easy to obtain.

If you can’t be bothered with DIY concoctions, Phydura is an alternative. This product is a blend of natural ingredients including vinegar, making it effective as an organic contact weed killer.

Sasha Brown

Sasha Brown is a blogger and lover of all things natural.


    • No, it will kill the grass as well. It is non-selective.

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