We are asked quite often about how we create and use our vinegar weed killer at the farm. Without it, it would be simply impossible to maintain the property.

vinegar weed killer
We use vinegar on all of our stone walkways to keep them free of weeds.

Over the years, we have created a lot of stone walkways, paths, and brick patios at the farm. Add to that a 400 foot driveway that leads to the barn and garden below, and you have a lot of areas that are prone to weeds.

And that is where vinegar has come to the rescue. It has not only proven to be effective at weed control, but keeps us worry free about using any commercial herbicides.

We are proud to keep our little 3 acre mini-farm organic. It is safer for us, our bees, chickens, and of course, our farm dog Jazzy.

Homemade Natural Vinegar Weed Killer

For our homemade vinegar weed killer, we use a stronger substance called horticultural vinegar. Standard vinegar, the type found in your local supermarket can be used, but is has a much lower acidity rate.

Vinegar Weed Killer
30% solution of horticultural vinegar

Horticultural vinegar can be purchased with a 20 to 30 percent acidity rate. Store bought on the other hand is usually around 5 percent. If you are simply killing tiny weeds on a patio or driveway surface, the lower acidity versions will work, however you need to use it at full strength.

When weeds are at their peak in spring and early summer, we mix our vinegar weed killer in a ratio of 4 parts horticultural vinegar to 1 part water to keep the acidity level high. If they are especially stubborn weeds, we use it at full strength to take care of the problem.

Once summer comes and weeds slow down, we generally will mix 1 part horticultural vinegar with 1 part water. It keeps the acidity rate of the solution between 10 and 15 percent, which is highly effective at controlling the less aggressive weeds.

With the strong solution, you usually see leaves curl and brown within 8 to 12 hours. With the regular vinegar solution, it can be 24 hours or more to see results.   Product Links :  20 % Horticultural Vinegar  –  30% Horticultural Vinegar

The Best Time To Spray

When using a solution of vinegar weed killer, the sun and heat are your best friends for effectiveness. Just like flowers and vegetable plants, weeds are most stressed when the sun is shining hot.

For best control, spray weeds in mid to late afternoon on sunny days. This is when plants are most vulnerable, and the vinegar absorbs and kills at a much better rate.

How To Spray

We have a lot of driveway and patio space to cover at the farm, so using a sprayer is a must. One thing nice about using a vinegar or vinegar and water solution is that it is pure liquid, so clogging is never an issue.

For small areas, a simple hand-help pump spray bottle works great. We usually keep one already mixed and ready to go. It is perfect to apply to small weeds that appear here and there.

But for large areas, like our driveway and walkways, we use a pump sprayer. When we first started spraying, we used a 2 gallon pump sprayer. It worked incredibly well, but as we continued to add more and more space, we switched to a backpack sprayer. It holds up to 3 gallons, and pumps with a simple hand motion. It is by far the  easiest method to spray large areas. And much easier on the back!  Back Pack Pump Sprayer 

 A Few Words Of Caution

vinegar weed killer
The long driveway would be hard to keep clear without vinegar

Both regular and horticultural vinegar weed killer solutions are non-specific.That means they will kill whatever they come in contact with. Although it is wonderful for taking care of weeds in sidewalks, walkways, and gravel areas, it is not a good solution for using on the lawn or in compact planting areas.

We have used it a few times in the garden walkways for stubborn weeds, but are careful to make sure the spray never comes near our vegetable plants or growing rows.

Vinegar is a natural acid, so it is important to take precautions to prevent burns to the skin and eyes. Always use goggles and gloves to prevent burns to the eyes or skin. In the end however, I will take spraying a natural substance any day over using man-made chemicals to control weeds at our farm.

Happy Gardening! Jim and Mary. To receive our 3 Home, Garden, Recipe and Simple Life articles each week, sign up below for our free email list. You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, or InstagramThis article may contain affiliate links.

17 thoughts on “Homemade Vinegar Weed Killer – Controlling Weeds Naturally

  • June 30, 2018 at 1:08 pm
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    in your recipe what does the 1 oz. gin do ?? Can you use vodka ???

  • June 17, 2018 at 1:12 pm
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    Where do you buy horticultural vinegar? Big box stores?

    • June 19, 2018 at 3:13 pm
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      Some local nurseries carry it, but there is also a link on the article where Amazon carries it.

  • June 17, 2018 at 1:00 pm
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    I have used the household vinegar and soap solution for years with good success but there are those stubborn weeds. In regards to the poison ivy, I have used it and it does kill the leaves which is great and then you can carefully cut the vine and pull it up. But the only problem I have found is I used to many sprayers as the acid ruins them due to the acid corroding the tips etc. And I have cleaned them without any success. What kind do you use?

    • June 19, 2018 at 3:15 pm
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      Thank you for that tip Shirley! We use a 4 gallon backpack sprayer with a mesh strainer and plastic tip. We have used it for 2 years now without much difficulty. We do spray it out with water and then pump water through the sprayer immediately after we use it.

  • June 3, 2018 at 8:27 pm
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    Have you had luck killing poison ivy with this?

    • June 4, 2018 at 5:51 pm
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      Hi Sara Unfortunately it is difficult to truly kill the poison ivy vine (with anything!). The vinegar will kill off the leaves, but the vine will continue to grow and needs to pulled out to truly eliminate it.

  • June 3, 2018 at 1:35 pm
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    How much do I love that you use vinegar! I use the grocery store stuff at full strength, but I will look into getting the more concentrated type. As always, thank you for passing on helpful ways to stay organic.

    • June 4, 2018 at 5:50 pm
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      Thank you Daisy. Although I love the price of 5% vinegar, the industrial strength is much more effective.

  • June 3, 2018 at 11:42 am
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    We have trouble with poison ivy growing on some of our tree trunks. Would this be safe to use on these? They are large, well established trees.

    • June 4, 2018 at 5:49 pm
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      Hi Margi We have had limited success with truly killing off poison ivy. When we spray it will kill off the leaves, but because it is a vine, it is difficult to truly kill it without pulling it out. We usually cut off the vines that grow up our trees and let them die off and then remove them.

  • June 3, 2018 at 9:31 am
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    Thank you for this. I wondered why regular vinegar didn’t work and didn’t know there was a different strength.

    • June 4, 2018 at 5:55 pm
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      You are welcome. Sometimes if you add a little dish soap to the vinegar mixture it will help bind the vinger to the leaves of weeds that have a difficult time absorbing the vinegar.

  • June 3, 2018 at 9:10 am
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    I am wondering. can this solution be used to kill mold as well?

    • June 4, 2018 at 5:54 pm
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      Most vinegar solutions will kill mold.

  • June 3, 2018 at 8:32 am
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    How does it work on crabgrass?

    • June 4, 2018 at 5:56 pm
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      The horticulture strength vinegar works well on crabgrass. However, you may need to use less of a dilution ratio for fast and effective results.

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