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Use vinegar on weeds instead of weed-killer?

Okay, so I’ve heard about many amazing uses for vinegar, but this is a new one! Supposedly, you can use vinegar to kill weeds in your garden.

Here’s what A Garden For Your House wrote:

How to Apply: You can use a watering can, a spray bottle or a pump-sprayer to apply vinegar. I use a pump-sprayer, because it is more efficient. Be sure to rinse your sprayer after use, or metal parts (if any) can corrode.

Make your application on a warm, sunny, calm (not windy) day. Vinegar is not selective; it can potentially harm plants you wish to keep, should you accidentally spray them. As I said earlier, I use vinegar on walkways, where grass and ornamental plants are not an issue.

Will vinegar kill every weed in every garden? That I can not say. I only know that it has kept my pathways free of unwanted growth.

Have any of you tried this before? I’d love to hear if it actually works!

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  • J says:

    For us white vinegar works well. We use it full strength in a pump sprayer. There are times it takes repeated applications to kill stubborn weeds. We do live in a dry, hot climate and don’t apply it if it is going to rain because it will dilute it and then it won’t work. When we moved to Arizona we had tried various store bought weed killers and nothing touched our weeds. A kind neighbor told us about the virtues of white vinegar. We buy 4 huge jugs at a time and store them in the garage.

    • Stacy says:

      We live in Phoenix with desert (rock) landscaping, and vinegar was a no-go for us, as were bleach, boiling water, lemon juice, Round-Up mixed to double strength, rock salt, and paying a professional to spray. Even with all of those the weeds grew back almost immediately. The ONLY thing that works on our weeds is Ground Clear, and even then it only lasts a few months. I hate the stuff because it makes hubby sick after he sprays, but it is the only thing that works.

  • Jamie says:

    You can also use boiling water on the weeds in your walkways. It takes a few days to see the results, but it works.

  • AmazonsRock says:

    Love this method for controlling the dandelions in our yard. I no longer fear the children running around barefoot.

    • CFS says:

      We used vinegar on our dandelions in our yard last week as we will never use the chemicals. But do you just try and spray right up close somehow to save the grass? My father-in-law did it for us but now the yard is half green and half yellow splotches.

  • I use white vinegar and it works great! The higher the Acidity the better job it does! It takes a little bit longer to work than week killer but is much safer! Make sure to use it in full sun for best results!

  • Tricia says:

    I used apple cider vinegar and it didn’t work as well as regular weed killer. It was a few years ago though and I don’t think I did it on a particularly sunny day. (I did get some awesome looks from the clerk at the grocery store when I purchased about 10 giant bottles of it though!! )

    • Allison says:

      Apple cider vinegar is not as good as white vinegar. Some people recommend apple cider vinegar diluted with water to fertilize plants!

  • Bethany D says:

    I’ve used white vinegar on the weeds in my driveway ! It killed them alright but I still had to dig the remains out which is no big deal. Lots of kids in our development so I really didn’t want to use regular weed killer!

  • Terry says:

    I have used straight white vinegar in a spray bottle to kill the weeds on the patio and drive way. It works great!!!!

  • Molly says:

    I just recently tried this. However, I didn’t have much vinegar, so I diluted it with water. I can see where it started to try to kill the plants, but I am going to try with pure vinegar next.

  • Monica says:

    Can’t wait to share this with my husband!!! =)

  • Jennifer says:

    I have heard of this but the article I read said to mix a whole thing of table salt with a gallon of vinegar and let it sit overnight then stir and use. These people were using it for weeds around a fence row. Never tried it myself though.

    • Dee says:

      NOTHING will grow in an area that you salt. So, be careful. Only use that method if you don’t plan to grow anything in that area for years.

      • Kristi says:

        Dumb question but would the salt attract ants or any other insects?

        • Rachel says:

          No, it doesn’t attract Ants. I would not recommend this as Dee said, nothing will grow after you salt the earth {I believe that there is a scriptural truth to this? Does anyone know where it is?}

          • Nancy says:

            Might be thinking of this:

            Ezekiel 47:11

            “But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to SALT.”

            To not be healed, but given to salt, signifies the land will remain worthless or desolate where nothing can grow there. Salt is the signification that it is made barren. If you’ve ever seen pictures of the salt sea, with it’s saline and chemical structures jutting from the waters, you can better understand it’s barrenness. It is a figure of how those coming under God’s judgment are left destitute. Salt on the land means it’s polluted, that nothing good will grow there.

      • Stacy says:

        Unless you live in Phoenix. We spread about 40 lbs of rock salt on our rock landscaping a few years ago and the weeds didn’t even blink. However, there is a huge salt pit a few miles west of here so I assume the salt content of the soil here is higher than in most places.

      • Leslie says:

        If you use Epson salt instead of table salt, the ground is ok to grow again after 2 weeks. Epson salt is magnesium where table salt is sodium.

  • Rachel says:

    I’ve used it with success as well. Just be careful to not use it in a flower/vegetable garden unless you are super careful. It will kill any green plant if it’s sunny and hot enough. I like it best for sidewalk/driveway maintenance.

  • Theresa says:

    My mom was over last weekend. I was grumbling to my husband about the weeds, and she told us about using vinegar instead of Round-up. Going to try when we have a nice weekend.

  • Wendy says:

    How funny! I was just telling my husband last night he could have used vinegar instead of Roundup to kill the weeds. Now here it is on your website.

  • Allison says:

    We use it all the time. It is cheaper than weed killer and much more environmentally friendly. Works great on bathways and in two rock areas we have. Just make sure you apply on a sunny day and not to plants you want to keep!

  • I did a post on 25 alternative uses for Vinegar and weed killer was one of them, but I find it interesting that it also works well to freshen cut flowers.

    My other favorite to keep the house poison free is to keep ants out of the house.

  • Anna says:

    You can also use vinegar (the stronger the better) as a weed-seed killer in the garden before planting. Apply heavily, then wait 48 hours, and plant as usual. Strong vinegar will kill even weed seeds, if they are close enough to the surface.

  • Amy f;) says:

    YES- please spread the word! We use a combo 2 punch of boiling water and then white vinegar on really agressive weeds. Last weekend- everyone was out in their driveways with giant containers of roundup!

  • suzanne says:

    Will have to try it. It works to clean glass too! I catch all kinds of smart remarks from city slicker in-laws about using vinegar. Even if it does smell like feet, it helps and it saves money too which makes the smell worth dealing with!

  • ERS says:

    Can anyone suggest to kill the cockroaches with homemade ingredients? I have 2 year at home and I am 5 months pregnant. Any toxics are no-no. We have been dealing with roaches from almost a year and tried every spray bottle available. I hate those little bugs to the core. They just crawl on everything in the kitchen and now slowly extending to my living room(onto my kid’s toys sometimes—yikes) and bedrooms.
    Any good solution—I am all ears…..need them gone for good.

    • J says:

      I left you a message on the site about the hideous cockroaches.

    • Angela says:

      Boric acid is the best thing to get rid of roaches. It has always worked great for me. Non-toxic and very effective!

    • Monica says:

      You should look into diatomaceous earth, its tiny shards of oyster shell (I think) that when the cockroaches crawl over it cuts them and they die.

    • Jessica says:

      If they are starting in your kitchen, cover your drains when not in use. In some areas of mexico, there are actual latch doors attached in the tub to keep it closed off for this reason. so, cover with an empty coffee container (and something to keep it in place) or a nice heavy glass

  • J says:

    whoa…the only thing we have found is a toxin. Good luck. They are persistent and nasty. My husband does the spraying and I go to the store or something and they are gone!

  • Emmy Roberts says:

    Just a side note, but I use Vinegar and water to mop my floors and then poor the water on fire ant beds when I am done! The fire ants move out quickly because they hate the vinegar 🙂

  • Meredith says:

    Okay, this works WAY better if you steep the water/vinegar mixture with some hot pepper flakes overnight. We’ve been learning to organic garden and this is how we were taught to kill weeds.

    • Dee says:

      Huh. I’ve never heard of steeping hot pepper flakes in the vinegar and water. I wonder why the capsaicin would kill the weeds? Does it burn them?

  • This is fantastic! What an inexpensive and non-toxic way to get at those pesky weeds in our walkway and driveway! Thanks for sharing, and it’s great to hear all these positive results!

  • Hi and thanks for the tip! I’ve heard about and used hot water for weeds in driveway and sidewalks. It also works great but very time consuming waiting for water to boil. I have a few weeds to get rid of and can’t wait to use the vinegar.

  • Terri says:

    It works great straight on a sunny day. I sprayed white vinegar around my heat pump, which I shut off first so the house did not smell of vinegar, to kill the weeds. By the next day the grass was brown but the weeds are gone and have not grown back. When I replaced the heat pump the guy told me it was full of grass from mowing and weed eating.

  • Dee says:

    I started using vinegar last year on the gravel path in my garden. It took a lot more applications than Round-Up, but it did work. I used good vinegar (Heinz) because it has a higher acidity than cheap, generic vinegar. I didn’t use salt. I was concerned about run-off killing the lawn and vegetable beds.

  • august says:

    Can anyone tell me how this works on weeds in a flower bed? I have some that come up and I’m afraid to use it on them until I know it won’t hurt my other flowers. I have a bit of a black thumb, so the fact that I even have a space capable of being called a flower bed is a bit amazing. I’ll do anything to keep it going.

    Also, how does it handle the grass? We live in NC where the ground is more clay than dirt. Our back yard is about 70% weeds, but the front yard is only about 10%. However, our front yard has bald spots, so anything to keep the barely-there grass there is helpful.


    • Sarah says:

      August, don’t use it in a flower bed; it will affect the soil and be hard to not get anything on the other flowers. White vinegar kills everything it touches…saturates is a better word. I live in TN, with clay soil like yours, and have wildflowers. I have read everything there is to read on getting weeds out without hurting the flowers. The safe answer is to use an inexpensive weed puller and some elbow grease. There are pesticides sold that will kill only grass (and/or weeds) growing within the flowers, and spare the flowers, but the instruction sheet is enough to send even someone who doesn’t care about the environment, running. TOXIC to you, TOXIC to your property and TOXIC to any water nearby. If you have a flower bed that is more “manicured” than “wild” like mine, I would suggest several inches of mulch around and between the flowers. Regarding your front yard, you should heavily overseed and mulch over your yard, particularly on the bald spots, in early Fall. Then you will need to water, almost daily, if it’s excessively hot still or doesn’t rain much. It takes grass a minimum of 7 months to get established, and if it isn’t fully established by the time “hot” rolls around, you will lose your money and hard work. Corn gluten can be used in your yard to help manage weeds, as will setting your mower height high, to at least 3″. You can look all this stuff up online…just search “organic weed control,” “organic lawn care,” etc.

    • Sarah says:

      August, I typed you a long answer; I can only hope it shows up later, since I didn’t save it.

  • Angel says:

    I use vingar in a spray bottle I have deluded it 50/50 with water, but it works better full strength. You have to watch out not to spray your grass because it kills it too. I would try appling every day for a week. Personaly, I would rather reaply for a week than deal with chemicals.

  • erica says:

    Plain white vinegar works best the younger the weed is. Also try to apply it on a bright sunny day, the heat of the sun and the vinegar work quite well together.

  • Shari says:

    Definitely trying this! Thank you for the tip!


  • Karen says:

    I have had great success with the 10% vinegar on weeds. You can buy 10% vinegar at nurseries or feed stores that carry organic products. I use the pump sprayer which works well on spot or area weed killing. Howard Garrett, well known for organic gardening and green living advice has a website called dirtdoctor. You can find all kinds of information for your healthy and organic questions there.

  • Whaat? I’ve never heard of that but I’ll have to try! I just built a new planter box, so I am sure I’ll need it.

  • Dawn says:

    I tried it recently and my weeds didn’t even wilt. I used white vinegar, did not dilute it and I use a pump sprayer.

  • Lynn says:

    You have to use the 20% acidity kind you can get from a home improvement store.

  • stacy says:

    never tried white vinegar…but salt water works too.

  • Katie says:

    My husband saw this idea on Pinterest and tried it at work. He sprayed it on weeds that grow in between the cracks of cement. He said it worked instantly on drying out and killing the visible part of the weeds. The problem is that it didn’t kill the roots, so they were back in 3 days. He said he’d use it again if we needed a fast kill, but won’t use it as a permanent solution. It might be because of where he tried it, but thought I’d share his experience.

  • Heather C says:

    Regular white vinegar from the grocery store can work but it does need to be a sunny day with the sun shining on the weeds. Some weeds are really tough and need repeat applications. One site suggested using a piece of cardboard to shield the plants you do not want to kill. I say weeds with a taproot in your lawn (like dandelion) need to be pulled up. Eat them for free greens in the spring! Or do as someone above suggested, use corn gluten. Vinegar is really best for sidewalks and such. I would think that something with a taproot in the sidewalk would be killed with repeat applications but you might just want to pull it up, if you can (and I found that half withered plants pulled up easier).

  • Susie says:

    Well, anything’s worth a try, but it never worked for me. We have Canadian Thistle and the only thing I’ve ever found that will even touch it is Round Up. So we just waited till the kids got a little older. Wish I could say vinegar is the miracle cure y’all are talking about, but it wasn’t for me.

  • Diane Moore says:

    I run white vinegar thru the coffee maker to clean it, then dump the hot vinegar on the weeds growing in the cracks of the sidewalk.

  • amy says:

    Anything natural to get rid of poison ivy?? We just bought a house, and I’ve noticed the stuff is growing up the sides of some of the trees in our back yard. :-/

  • Janice says:

    Our previous landlords used it to kill the thistles in the area where their cow grazed. Keeps the thistles down, and the cow can still eat in the pasture. They put it in a sprayer and just walked and sprayed each thistle.

  • Debbie says:

    I have used this method before and forgotten about it. Thank you for the great reminder.

  • TXMEL says:

    If you have children… they are the BEST reason to go Organic! Great place to learn and refer to…. YES, vinegar, if strong enough, WILL kill, but weak enough, can help in fertilizing. SO much to learn, but SO worth it!!!

  • Julie C says:

    When you are trying not to let spray drift with a pump sprayer, you can use an old cool whip bowl on the end of your nozzle. Just cut a small x in the bottom and stick the nozzle through. Hold the bowl over the weed you want to kill and spray.

  • Margaret says:

    I just bought a cheap electric tea kettle and use boiling water. I use it on all the cracks in the walks, driveways, etc. Works like a charm.

  • Melody says:

    Yes, this works great! I recommend adding a little bit of dish soap to the vinegar, as this helps it stick to the plants.

  • Catherine says:

    I use vinegar to kill the grass right next to my kids’ play equipment in the backyard that’s hard to get to with the mower or weed wackier. Works great! The grass does grow back though, so it needs to be done a few times each summer.

  • Jan H. says:

    I have used vinegar for controlling weeds for at least several years. My son told me about, said it was safe for pets and children, and the good part was that the weeds did not grow back all season as they had with toxic weed killers.

  • MauiMama says:

    We’ve used the vinegar solution for weed control along our fence line for years, but recently we noticed an added bonus. The neighborhood male dogs won’t “sniff & lift” near our fence line anymore 😀 We noticed they sniffed, sneezed and shook their heads, but there were no leg lifters. Great news for my husband since he won’t have to repaint the corner posts every other month! (lol)

    Oh, we also used hot vinegar to control (a.k.a. KILL) the ant population in and around our home’s foundation. It’s definitely the best economical and environmentally safe product out there today!! (My kids agree dirty hands down!

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