How to Use Vinegar to Kill Weeds

Updated on May 7, 2019
seh1101 profile image

Sean has been in the industry of gardening and landscaping since 2006. He is also a certified arborist that tends to focus on plant health.

Vinegar Weed Killer

Vinegar can be used as a relatively safe household weed killer without causing significant harm to people, animals, and the environment when used correctly. Vinegar is effective due to its ability to draw moisture out of foliage.

Household vinegar may have to be used in combination with other household items, like salt and dish detergent, to kill mature weeds. Horticultural grade vinegar has a much higher acetic acid content, but should be used only if household vinegar fails to kill targeted weeds.

How Vinegar Kills Weeds

Vinegar is created via a fermentation process and the result is acetic acid. Acetic acid is a desiccant which means it draws moisture out of plant foliage. Vinegar is non-selective and will kill weeds along with any other plant it contacts. Spot treating weeds is the most useful scenario for vinegar herbicide. Some plants may be resistant due to waxy or hairy leaves, so vinegar applications are not always going to be successful.

Household & Horticultural Vinegar

  • Household Vinegar: Vinegar contains acetic acid that is toxic to plants, but the concentration of acetic acid is key to provide and effective kill. Household vinegar only contains around 5% acetic acid, which will kill seedlings, young weeds, and even mature weeds depending on how susceptible the weeds are to household vinegar. Always start with household vinegar and spray a few weeds to see how susceptible they are. Apply horticultural vinegar when there is no threat of rain in the near future. If household vinegar does not kill the weeds, then horticultural grade vinegar or a vinegar and salt/detergent combination will be necessary.
  • Horticultural Grade Vinegar: Horticultural vinegar is many times stronger and more effective against stubborn, mature weeds due to having an acetic acid concentration of 20%. Apply horticultural vinegar when there is no threat of rain in the near future so the vinegar is allowed to be taken up by the plant without rain washing it off. Spray directly onto plants and do not dilute with water. Be careful when spraying to avoid non-target plants. Vinegar is indiscriminate and will kill non-target plants along with weeds. Avoid over-spraying as much as possible.

Repeated Applications: Reapplying vinegar is usually necessary, especially against weeds like crabgrass. Vinegar does not linger in the soil and prevent new weeds from sprouting. Spray new weeds immediately for maximum effectiveness. Reapplication is a slight downside to using vinegar as a chemical herbicide alternative.

Vinegar Weed Killer Mixtures

Vinegar can be used in combination with other household items to create weed killer solutions.
Vinegar can be used in combination with other household items to create weed killer solutions. | Source

Vinegar Weed Killer Combinations

Salt & Vinegar - Mix 1 & 1/2 cups of table salt into 1 gallon of household vinegar. Mix thoroughly so all the salt dissolves. Undissolved salt will settle on the bottom of the sprayer and may even plug the sprayer nozzle. Apply by spraying onto target weeds.

Salt is very effective in tandem with vinegar, but salt solutions can cause damage by soaking into the soil and spreading into non-target areas and plants. Be very cautious and use sparingly when applying salt solutions since non-target plants and lawns in the direct vicinity can easily be killed. Salt remains in the soil for a while and may cause lingering problems in other plants. Salt is best used against weeds in sidewalks, patios, and other hard surfaces.

Dish Detergent & Vinegar - Mix vinegar with a few squirts of liquid dish detergent into a sprayer or small spray bottle.Apply the mixture by spraying during the sunniest and warmest part of the day. Hot summer days provide the best results because the soap will dry into a film on foliage while helping lock in the vinegar.

Reapplying of mixtures is usually necessary, especially against resilient weeds. Such mixtures do not remain active for very long which allows new weeds to emerge. Spray new weeds as soon as possible.


Treat Vinegar Weed Killer as a Chemical Herbicide
Use vinegar and vinegar mixtures like every other herbicide and pesticide. Just because it is a common household item does not mean it can be used carelessly. Injury can occur to people, pets, and the environment if used recklessly. Every weed problem has its own unique scenario and blindly spraying vinegar and vinegar mixtures is highly discouraged. Also, household vinegar should be tried before resorting to stronger horticultural vinegar. Stronger is not necessarily better.

Acetic acid in vinegar can cause:

  • Eye irritation or burns
  • Skin irritation or allergic reaction
  • Digestive tract reactions or damage
  • Respiratory tract irritation

Read container label carefully before applying horticultural grade vinegar.

Vinegar Weed Killer Poll

Have you used vinegar as a weed killer?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • How often should vinegar be used on weeds?

    Apply vinegar to weeds about 2-3 times to ensure the roots are killed off. Some weeds may require more applications, while others may only require one.

  • Will the salt and vinegar solution kill moss on patio and walk bricks?

    Yes, a salt and vinegar solution should kill moss on sidewalks and patios.

  • How do you use vinegar to kill poison ivy?

    Continue to soak the ivy with vinegar spray every couple of days. Poison ivy is a tough and hardy plant, so repeated applications are necessary.

  • I am getting ready to use a solution of 30% vinegar diluted down to kill some weeds, but will it kill the good grass?

    The grass may be killed. It is best to use a vinegar, salt, and detergent solution to spot-treat weeds.

  • Will vinegar kill my regular grass?

    Yes, it will kill grass. A salt and vinegar is a non-selective herbicide, meaning it will kill or damage what it is applied to.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image 

      13 months ago

      what is the best to kill Japanese accumulates big time....

    • profile image


      14 months ago

      Put straight borax on a ant hill years ago ( that is main ingredient in ant poison)and that alone killed the grass there, took a few years to fill in again

    • profile image


      16 months ago

      will lemon juice help with vinegar

    • profile image


      23 months ago

      How to make 20% acid vinegar at home

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I am confused. Vinegar is an acid, but isn't soap/detergent base? If you mix them, it seems you are weakening the acidic properties of the vinegar which is what is the weed killing element. I know you want it to stick to the leaves, but this seems incongruous.

    • Riviera Rose profile image

      Riviera Rose 

      7 years ago from South of France

      I've been meaning to start using vinegar as weedkiller for a while now, so this hub's really made me enthused. I get patches of this really invasive climbing spiky thing (no idea!) and my plan is to cut it down and then spray what's left with vinegar. Brilliant idea to put it into a washing up liquid bottle that's still got some detergent in it - thanks a lot!

    • rexy profile image


      7 years ago

      very interesting hub.... for years l just sit back and watched those weeds.. grow... and lazy to go out to buy weed killer... l am certainly going to try out your vinegar weed killer... very cool... always have the vinegar but never thought to use it this way.... great interesting hub.....

    • sweethearts2 profile image


      7 years ago from Northwest Indiana

      I haven't tried vinegar as a weed killer, but will do so in the future. Thanks for the info.

    • moonlake profile image


      7 years ago from America

      Yes I have used vinegar to kill weeds it works. Voted up on your hub.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)