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How to Kill Weeds With Vinegar: Yes, It Can Be Done!

Tired of spending money on chemical-ridden weed killers? Looking for a way to use up everyday household products?

Look no more because in this post we are going to teach you how to kill those pesky weeds in your driveway and walkway with a product you likely have in your pantry: vinegar.

It’s true! Because vinegar is acidic, it will kill most weeds.

Keep reading to learn how to kill weeds with vinegar, what kind of vinegar to use, what other products to add to increase vinegar’s potency, and much more!

A generic bottle of white vinegar. If you know how to kill weeds with vinegar, you can whip up homemade weed killer an save money.

Step 1 – Decide if Killing Weeds with Vinegar Will Work for You

The best weeds to use vinegar weed killer on are annual weeds that are less than two weeks old.

Vinegar is non-selective which means it can be harmful to other plants when applied. Like any other weed killer, you need to take caution where you spray this solution to protect the plants you want to keep growing.

What Other Plants Does Vinegar Kill?

Not only will vinegar kill your favorite flowers and plants, but it can cause harm to your turf grass as well. When spraying your driveway or sidewalk, be sure there isn’t overspray coming in contact with your front yard!

What Plants Are Safe from Vinegar?

An advantage to killing weeds with vinegar as opposed to chemical weed killers is that it will only kill plants that have foliage on them. This means tree roots and bulbs that haven’t broken ground are safe!

Step 2 – Gather Ingredients and Supplies

Shelves in a pantry.

As stated above, most of the ingredients needed for this natural and affordable vinegar weed killer are probably in your kitchen cabinets! You’ll need the following:

  • 1 gallon of white vinegar (5% household vinegar is just fine, but remember, the more acidic, the more potent!)
  • 1 tablespoon of dish soap
  • 1 cup of salt
  • Bucket to mix ingredients
  • Funnel
  • Spray bottle or a garden sprayer (for larger jobs)

What’s the Purpose of the Salt?

Salt aids in drying out the weed’s root system & negatively impacting the soil, which will help prevent future weeds from growing in the same area. Adding salt is a cheap way to enhance your weed-killer solution.

A bowl of salt.

The Advantage to Adding Dish Soap to the Mixture

Dish soap is thick and slimy, making it a great addition to your vinegar weed-killing mixture. The slimy soap aids in coating the plants with salt and vinegar. Without it, the vinegar would slide right off the leaves and stems, not giving the solution adequate time to work.

A bottle of yellow dish detergent.

Step 3 – Measure and Mix

There’s no need to dilute the vinegar in water. Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, pour them into the bucket and mix well, ensuring the salt has dissolved. Once you’re confident it’s all mixed, pour the solution into the spray bottle using the funnel.

And just like that, you have a chemical-free, affordable solution to killing weeds with vinegar!

A small carafe of white vinegar and a jar of salt.

Step 4 – Check the Forecast

It’s important to check the forecast before spraying weeds. If it rains right after you spray, the rain will likely wash the weed killer off the plants.

Ideal weed-killing weather is sunny & between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Weed killers work slower if the temperature is below 65 degrees.

It’s also important to be sure that there isn’t any wind in the forecast. If it’s windy when you spray, you won’t be able to effectively control where the vinegar solution lands.

Best Time of Day to Spray Weeds

Mid-day, after the dew has dried up and the sun is nice and hot, is the best time to spray weeds. This gives the sunshine adequate time to dry the solution on the weeds.

Step 5 – Spray to Kill Weeds with Vinegar

Using a garden sprayer on weeds next to a fence.

You’ve gathered and mixed your ingredients, and the forecast shows it’s perfect weed-killing weather. Now’s the time to put your planning and preparation into action! It’s the moment of truth, time to start killing weeds with vinegar!

If there are plants that you don’t want to harm growing close to where you plan to spray the vinegar mixture, you may consider using the “paintbrush method.” To ensure the mixture is only coming into contact with the weeds you want to kill, take an old paintbrush and “paint” the vinegar weed killer onto the weeds.

It’s possible that the “paintbrush method” is too time-consuming for the number of weeds you need to kill. If that’s the case, consider covering the plants you wish to protect with a plastic sheet or cardboard. Once the vinegar weed killer has dried, you can remove the coverings from your plants.

Step 6 – Follow-Up, Did It Work?

You aren’t going to see results the same day. It can take up to 5 days to see peak results. It’s important to monitor the weeds and watch for changes.

Know When to Re-Apply

If you don’t begin to see wilted, yellow weeds in the area you sprayed after five days, you may need to re-apply. As with many other homemade solutions, you may need to change the recipe to work for the weeds you’re trying to kill. To increase potency, add more salt.

Using a red pray bottle on a weed growing between pavers.

How to Kill Weeds With Vinegar FAQs

All the information you need to begin is above, but you may have more questions regarding the pros and cons of using vinegar to kill weeds. If so, we’ve answered a few frequently asked questions below.

Is vinegar safe to use around dogs and household pets?

Yes! This is one big advantage of using vinegar to kill weeds. Some pet owners even give their pets vinegar each day for various health benefits. Unlike other weed killers, you won’t need to worry if your pets get in a patch of weeds soaked in vinegar that hasn’t had time to dry.

Is killing weeds with vinegar as effective as using roundup?

Using a garden sprayer on weeds growing between a sidewalk and wall.

After spraying the vinegar solution, you may not see results as quickly as if you sprayed Roundup in the same area. But with a little extra time and much less money, killing weeds with vinegar can be a great chemical-free alternative to Roundup and other commercial weed killers.

Does vinegar kill insects or important pollinators?

Vinegar is lethal to bees and can kill ants, spiders, and other insects. If you have a garden nearby, you may need to take extra caution so that you don’t discourage important pollinators from visiting!

Will vinegar damage pavers?

If using vinegar to kill weeds between pavers, keep in mind that some studies show vinegar can harm certain landscaping pavers. It can result in discoloration and damage to the integrity of the paver.

If you don’t feel comfortable using weed-killing solutions on your pavers, we have a great post on The 11 Best Crack Weeders to help you avoid spraying anything on your expensive landscaping pavers.

Will soil be negatively impacted by the vinegar?

The pH level of your soil may change for a few days after you initially spray with vinegar. It won’t last more than a few days as the vinegar breaks down in the soil.

Keep in mind that large amounts of table salt can harm the soil. Salt holds water in the soil and prohibits plant roots from receiving nourishment from the water. If you plan to plant flowers in the area where you’re killing weeds, use caution when measuring the salt for your vinegar weed killer.

Give Vinegar a Try for Your Weed Killing Needs!

A spray bottle of white vinegar.

There you have it — all the things you never knew you needed to know about how to kill weeds with vinegar!

Killing weeds with vinegar is an affordable home remedy option. Most of the ingredients are found in your pantry, it’s not full of harmful chemicals, and you can adjust the potency by adjusting the amount of salt you add.

If you feel like you need to learn more about these pesky garden tenants, check out our weeds page to learn all about different weed varieties, treatment options, and surprising information.