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Is White Vinegar A Good Weed Killer?

Avid DIY-ers will know how handy white vinegar can be around the home. This inexpensive acid works wonders in removing stains, disinfecting surfaces and even cleaning windows, but it also has its uses in the garden. Today we’ll be asking, is white vinegar a good weed killer?

For over 15 years, we’ve been helping homeowners across the North-East make the most of their gardens by installing and maintaining their patios, pathways and driveways. We’re often asked about after-care, particularly how to keep weeds, moss and organic pests at bay, and many of our clients come away quite surprised when they learn how effective vinegar can be!

White vinegar is considered one of the strongest weed and grass killers, thanks to its relatively high acetic acid content. This chemical removes the moisture from weeds, killing them via dehydration, and is even more effective when mixed with a bit of dish soap to break down the plant’s outer layers.

Vinegar Weed Killer Recipe

To make your own fast-acting vinegar weed killer, you’ll need:

  • White vinegar (≥ 5% acetic acid content)
  • Dish soap
  • Empty spray bottle

Mix your ingredients

Combine four parts white vinegar with 1 part dish soap and mix the ingredients together. You may also consider adding 1 cup of table salt, as this can help to treat your soil and prevent new weeds from taking root.

Decant into a spray bottle

Carefully transfer this mixture into a clean, empty spray bottle for easy application to your weeds.

Apply to weeds

Spray the mixture directly onto the stems and leaves of the weeds you wish to remove permanently before removing them by hand at a late date. Often we get asked is pulling weeds a waste of time? It’s not if you get right down to the roots, but applying weed killer and then removing any dead weeds is far less time-consuming.

How To Use Vinegar As A Homemade Killer

When applying your vinegar-based weed killer, you should be aware that this solution is not selective, meaning any plant life it comes into contact with will be harmed, not just unwanted weeds! 

Apply the solution to the leaves and stems of every weed in order to break down the plant’s outer layers effectively. Though this mixture is very good at killing the above-ground portions of weeds, it won’t always work its way into their root systems, so you may need to reapply the solution if any green growth reappears after a few days.

For the best results, you should apply white vinegar weed killer on a dry, sunny day with little to no wind. Direct sunlight will help the vinegar to dry out the weed’s outer layers, though any wind or rain will risk the solution washing away and harming nearby, wanted plant life.

How long does it take for Vinegar to work?

In still, dry conditions, vinegar-based weed killers should kill unwanted plant life in under 24 hours, though discolouration should start in around 12 hours.

If you’ve waited over 24 hours and have yet to see any effects, the solution has probably washed off the weeds, or you used white vinegar with too little acetic acid.

FAQ’s 

What kind of vinegar do you use for weed killer?

White vinegar with an acetic acid content of at least 5% will be required to kill most weeds effectively. Apple cider vinegar with the same acid content will also work, though, for tough perennial weeds, you may need a specialised horticultural vinegar with 20% acetic acid.

How do you mix vinegar for weed killer?

Mix 4 parts vinegar with 1 part dish soap in a large bowl or bucket, then transfer to a spray bottle for application. You can also add 1 part water to dilute your solution if needed.

Is vinegar as good as Roundup?

Research shows that Roundup is more effective than vinegar, thanks to its active ingredient glyphosate. 

This chemical is absorbed by plants and transported to their roots, permanently killing weeds. Although it can take up to 14 days for results to show and it is known to be highly toxic to bees.  

Does vinegar kill weeds to the root?

Vinegar can work its way into root systems, especially when combined with salt, though it’s much more likely that this solution will only affect the above-ground portions of your weeds.

Will vinegar damage pavements and brickwork?

People are usually worried about using vinegar and ask us will vinegar damage pavers? It all depends on the acid content in the vinegar which can cause colour distortion.

Last Word 

There you have it! By following these simple steps, you’ll be left with an inexpensive and effective weed killer that can be used to free your garden from nasty organic pests!

Remember to use vinegar with at least 5% acetic acid, and make sure to coat the leaves and stems of your weeds on a still, dry day. 

Adding a little salt can help to prevent new weed growth, but be aware that a vinegar-based weed killer won’t be too good at tackling stubborn perennial weeds or working its way into their root systems as a shop-bought option.