DIY Weed-Killer: Vinegar & Soap
Did you know that you can kill weeds with ingredients that you probably already have in your cupboard?
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to make your own ‘natural’ weed-killer that is organic and much cheaper then buying weed-killers?
Well, here is all you need…
Believe it or not, vinegar, dish soap and a spray bottle are all you need to make an effective weed killer. You have these things already, don’t you?
I had known that vinegar and soap could kill weeds, but had never tried it before. So, I set out to prove that it worked in my own garden.
First, I took photos of a few of my weeds…
I must admit that it felt kind of funny taking pictures of ‘weeds’. My neighbor thought so too 😉 I sprayed each weed with my vinegar and soap mixture and waited 24 hours.
Here are the results:
Pretty impressive, isn’t it? I couldn’t even find the third weed – it had dried up so quickly.
So for those of you who like to know how vinegar and soap kills weeds, here is the scientific explanation:
The acetic acid in vinegar ‘sucks the water’ out of the weed while the dish soap helps to break down the outer coating of the plant, which helps the vinegar to penetrate.
*You can try using vinegar alone, but I didn’t get good results without using the soap.
So are you excited to try this for yourself?
Okay, here is how to make your own….
1-gallon of vinegar (5% acetic acid)
1 oz. dish detergent
1. Put in a plastic spray bottleand apply to plants on a sunny day.
Because this a non-selective weed-killer, it will kill anything it lands on – be careful not to get any on your plants, grass or trees since this mixture can hurt or kill them.
**For tough weeds, regular white vinegar may not be strong enough. In that case, you may want to use ‘horticultural vinegar’, which has a higher level of acetic acid (20%). You can find this type of vinegar online, which is a popular, organic weed killer.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to make your own ‘natural’ weed-killer? It’s organic, cheap and easy to make from ingredients you already have at home.
A Tale of Two Landscapes and a Single Weed
One small note is that you must have lots of sun for that to work. If it is cool and rainy, vinegar won't do very much.
Hmmm, wonder if I could convince hubby to use this on the lawn. I despise his weed killing spray, but can't convince him to give it up!
Just be careful – the vinegar weed-killer will kill the good grass if not used carefully… 🙂
Thanks for an excellent tip and the info, Noelle! I have a gallon of weed-killer in the garage, but I really hate to use the stuff. I've heard of using vinegar before, but didn't know about adding the dish soap. Will definitely try this!
I heard about vinegar a few years ago and tried it. It worked quite well but supposedly it's better to use "pickling vinegar" which is stronger, and I could only find the normal vinegar. I didn't know about the dish soap, I must try that.
What kind of weed is it in the first picture? I get those all over
That first weed is called 'Spurge' and I absolutely HATE it! It spreads so easily.
I hope your garden is relatively spurge-free 🙂
Thanks for the weed killer advice! I have a question about the spurge. We purchased our home a few months ago. Nearly every sprinkler head in the back lawn was broken where the grass wasn't getting enough water, we now have a huge patch of spurge, right in the middle of the grass. Any tips on how to get rid of it without killing the grass?
Say, Noelle, what is the name of the third plant pictured? It is very hard to kill completely, is a bit spiney, and has teeny-weeny blooms??????
I'm not sure what it's called, although it's probably in my "Weeds of the West" book. The homemade spray worked great on it!
I will definitely try this! Question: applying means exactly what? Do you need to really saturate each weed? And how close can you spray to an ornamental/garden flowers? Thanks
Noelle….I will definitely try this! All the rain we have gotten…..I have a marvelous crop of mostly weeds in my flower beds and the cracks in my paved driveway.
I do have a couple questions: how heavily do you spray these weeds? And how close can you spray towards your garden flowers/ornamentals?
Great questions! You would apply this weed killer the same way you would other weed killers, using a spray bottle. It doesn't take much – just a light spray. As with all weed killers, don't let it get on your flowers/ornamentals or it can affect them too. You could always use a large piece of cardboard to place between your desirable plants and weeds to help protect them from becoming inadvertently sprayed.
I hope this helps!
Noelle 'AZ Plant Lady'
Do you find that the vinegar bleaches anything? We have red stones in our desert landscaping.
Not that I am aware of – I haven't heard of that happening, but it may be wise to test it in a small area that is out of sight to be sure.
I hope this helps!
Noelle 'AZ Plant Lady'
Will this work on Desert Bloom…and would mixing in table salt make it last longer, as has been suggested elsewhere?
Unfortunately, it won’t work for desert broom or other perennials. Only digging it out seems to work for removing desert broom. Salt won’t help either and should be avoided because here in the desert Southwest, our soils are already naturally salty as is our water. Too much salt will prevent plants from growing and remains in the soil.
How well will this kill Posion Ivy?
Most likely not. This homemade weed killer isn’t strong enough for tough weeds or plants like poison ivy.
Once the vinegar/dish soap concoction has been applied, how long should I wait until I can safely plant in that area again?
I would wait a day or two until the weed is dead. Then water the area to help flush out the vinegar before planting.